Review

Magneto: Testament #5

10th February 2009 | by | No Comments

We’ve been watching Magneto: Testament fairly heavily to see how Pak was going to reconcile the fundamental insanity of using a super-powered character like Magneto in a serious story about the Holocaust. With the closing of the series, one thing is fairly apparent, and that’s that the story just isn’t really about Magneto. Yes, it’s about the character as a child, and it certainly fits into continuity, but so much goes on between this and the character’s next chronological appearance that it’s no more relevant to Magneto as a character than Wolverine’s Origin miniseries was to him.

The question remains, then, whether this is a Magneto series at all. There are a few thematic connections between Max and Magneto – the way he becomes a leader, the way his experience of peaceful resistance could inform his future views, but, historical relevance aside, it only works as much as am “origin” story about Xavier sitting in a library reading about racial integration would. The holocaust is undeniably a powerful backdrop, but as for extending Magneto’s character, it does little to explain how or why Max became Magneto. He, as with Xavier, works best as an adult armed with fully-formed and defensible socio-political views, not being shown as a child experiencing one of the many events that shaped those views.

The series doesn’t try to draw any connections between the events we see and Magneto’s future. and perhaps that’s for the best. The subtle allusions to Max’s mutant ability never go too far, and the series mercifully doesn’t end with the character swearing unlikely vengeance on those who might try to opress him ever again. As a result, the tone is kept consistent, and it remains a worthwhile story even if you want to ignore the Magneto angle entirely. There’s a sneaking suspicion in me that this series was designed to give the character an “origin story” in time for any Magneto movie they make, and in that sense it does succeed. Magneto reconciles his romance with Magda and the two escape the concentration camp together.

Indeed, if anything needed more work, it was with Magda – a character who, having gone through similar experiences to Max, later leaves him in fear upon discovering that he’s a mutant. Some effort to flesh out that side of her would’ve been a welcome addition to the series, even if only alluding to future events. Overall, it’s a haunting story, but not one that’s really aimed at Magneto or X-Men fans, so much as it is at legitimising Magneto’s origin for a more general audience.