Magneto is many different things to many different people. To some, the Master of Magnetism is a hero and savior. To others, he's a villain and monster. But before Magneto was any of these things, he was a Survivor. This September, in the five-issue Marvel Knights miniseries, "Magneto: Testament," writer Greg Pak and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico show readers the difficulties and horrors Magneto faced growing up Jewish in Adolph Hitler's Germany. CBR News spoke with Pak about the project.
Editor Warren Simons only needed to say, "Magneto Year One" to get Pak involved with "Testament." "For years, Warren has wanted to tell Magneto's origin story," the writer told CBR News. "Which means telling the story of a Jewish boy and his family struggling against all odds to survive the horrors of Hitler's Final Solution. Warren and I have been researching and planning for over three years now -- it's become a mission for both of us to do this story justice."
Pak's story takes place entirely during the 1930s and '40s, and unfolds in places like Nuremberg, Berlin and Poland. "When our story begins, our hero is just a boy," Pak said. "He's quiet, intense, smart, and in his awkward, preteen way, ridiculously romantic. And he's stubborn as a mule. I love this kid. He's a normal boy dealing with normal problems like bullies at school and first crushes and family troubles. But he also happens to be Jewish in Hitler's Germany.
"The book will trace the sometimes slow and sometimes horrifyingly sudden ways in which everyday people were swept up into the Third Reich's Final Solution," Pak continued. "In the historical timeline, we pick up with our characters with the loss of rights and citizenship under the Nuremberg Laws of 1935."
In "Testament," Magneto isn't just shaped by the horrific political climate of the time. The supporting cast includes two characters that will have a profound effect on the title character. "Our hero's father is a proud German Jew, a decorated veteran of the Great War who believes against all evidence that the nation that produced Beethoven, Schiller, and Mendelssohn can't completely lose its mind," Pak explained. "And there's a character named Magda."
Pak is thrilled to be collaborating artist Carmine Di Giandomenico on "Testament." "In the 'Daredevil: Battling Jack Murdoch' miniseries, Carmine's art ensured that every act of violence had a real impact, both physical and emotional," Pak remarked. "At the same time, Carmine's fantastic with quiet, character-based moments. And he has a great feel for atmosphere and location, which is critical for a historical book like this."
The writer continued, "This is the most harrowing subject matter I've ever tackled as a writer. But this is a story about human beings, ordinary people with all their flaws and fears and quirks and humor and heroism. So the book will be as sad and funny and disturbing and maybe even as inspiring as its characters."
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