Ultimate Magneto’s wild ridePosted: 06/16/2012
You know about Magneto. Master of magnetism. Arch-nemesis of the X-Men. Versatile supervillain. Let’s talk about him today.
You know the shpiel. Magneto, seeing the mutant race hated and discriminated against, plans to overthrow the humans and rule or destroy or manipulate them for his own goal of mutant superiority. Simply, Magneto believes the mutants to be superior beings, while Professor X and the X-Men just want the mutants treated as equals. But like I said a few articles back, while most characters get their origin stories updated so they stay roughly the same age, Magneto doesn’t get such a luxury. His origin story and beliefs are tied directly with his experiences as a child in the Holocaust. Except that the Holocaust was in the early 1940s and the Marvel universe takes place in present day. And how scary exactly is an 85 year-old Magneto?
Luckily, because comics are comics, Alpha the Ultimate Mutant turned Magneto into a baby as revenge in 1974. An alien agent later aged him to the “prime” of his life. Couple that with the always ten to fifteen years rule that the Marvel universe has been around, Magneto is now probably in his late 40s or early 50s. So that’s why modern Magneto’s posture and muscle tone are so fantastic.
But enough speculation. We’re going to talk about the Magneto from the Ultimate Marvel line that ran through the 2000s. This Magneto, while still just as arrogant and evil, is far darker and crazier. Let’s examine three important components of Magneto’s arcs in Ultimate X-Men.
He’s not a terribly complex villain. Every action he takes is based around this idea:
Now certainly killing seven billion people may be a bit extreme, but don’t forget that in the Ultimate universe, mutants are not treated especially well. And by well I mean mutants are a roach infestation that needs to be removed with lots of bug spray and some boot stomping.
Because you’re a rational person, you understand that the “us vs. them” mentality is rarely if ever that cut-and-dry. But that’s also why you’d make a terrible supervillain. With the exception of maybe Dr. Doom, the key characteristic of every major Marvel supervillain is that all their schemes and desires are coated in a thin layer of mental instability. And Magneto is no different. Even when he’s in that delightful plastic prison you know from the X-Men movies.
I know there’s a girl there with him. Don’t worry about that. Long story.
So let’s pretend you’re Magneto. You’ve made an insane point. You’ve gone into a long soliloquy about why your way is right and if this young girl wants to join your cause, she’ll not only be rewarded, she’ll be fighting for the safety of her people. You’re staring each other in the eyes as she contemplates the offer just presented. She’s young, but even she must understand the threat approaching mutantkind in these tumultuous days. She gives you her answer. What do you do?
Did you say hit the teenager with a chair? No? See, this is why you’d be a terrible supervillain.
Okay, you’ve realized he’s delusional and egotistical, but to be fair, so would you if you had his mutant powers.
What does magnetic manipulation actually mean? It’s fairly vague, but by changing the magnetic fields that are always around us, Magneto can fly, bind superheroes, control metal, etc. Essentially, that means don’t bring anything around him of sentimental value:
Because he can do this:
Oops, no more plane. The problem with such power as that is it’ll go to your head. If you can jump ten feet, you can use it to pick chicks up at the bar, but you’re not going to trash talk other dudes who can make lightning storms or shoot eyeball beams. But magnetism is different. Cue the boasting:
As sweet as Kanye West’s beats are, he can’t shift the earth’s poles and flood the planet. This is an ego well-deserved. Except for one problem. He gets his butt kicked. Like a lot. As in every time he tries to do something. Sure, he’ll start with the advantage, but that’s because superheroes are reactive and not preventative.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, no villain has accomplished as much as Magneto in terms of amount of destruction. He’s wiped out cities and set off nuclear reactors. Yet send a group of six children and their paraplegic teacher after him and he folds like tissue paper.
Hate Magneto yet? You should. Sure, he’s fictional, but he would hate you. Can’t turn your body into ice or command telekinesis? Magneto thinks you’re better off dead. Yeah, what a jerk. Luckily, the X-Men will protect you the best way they know how. Painfully.
And the peace-loving, human-loving Professor X? Sure, he’s not an advocate of violence. Yes, he doesn’t want to endanger the lives of his students. I know, he’s the moral compass that all the X-Men are expected to follow.
But most importantly, don’t screw with the professor.
Maybe there’s a reason the people fear mutants so much.