Ah, it’s that wonderful time of year…by which I mean Chanukkah of course! In honor of one of my favorite holidays, I decided to continue this week by reviewing the story of my favorite Jewish superhero: Magneto! I reviewed Not a Hero #1 last month, and eagerly anticipated the continued story. Was this issue the perfect present or is its paper better used for stoking a warm holiday fire?
Regenesis: Magneto: Not a Hero #2 follows Magneto’s quest to clear his name for an apparent massacre of anti-mutant protesters. Early in this issue, he discovers his once-dead clone, Josef, was responsible for this atrocity. Magneto confronts Josef, and the latter asks the former to join him in once again pushing for an agenda of mutant superiority by any means necessary. Magneto declines Josef’s offer, stating that th0ugh his ultimate goal is the same his methodology has changed, and the two enter into a fight to decide the true master of magnetism!
Not a Hero’s writing remains excellent in this second installment. The plot progresses at a good rate, moving things along without rushing or skipping over key details. The characters are fleshed out and the past conflicts and convictions among the three key players, Magneto; Astra; and Josef, have weight and reality behind them that lend true strength to the issue’s writing. The dialogue among the three is also praiseworthy, with Magneto’s tough exterior and stubbornness clashing with his two adversaries even before the metal massacre begins. Skottie Young, author of Not Hero, imbues vast amounts of character and subtlety to each individual in this issue. As mutants have evolved over humans, so too has Magneto evolved as a person from once a mere war-monger to a valiant defender of his kind; truly, the evolution marked in this volume is not mere coincidence and cannot be ignored. Astra and Josef are also interesting characters, the former an ex-lover of Magneto who seems desperately tied to their former relationship almost to the extent of insanity, and the latter hoping to almost become Magneto himself, feeling he lacks purpose in life unless he can eliminate his apparent competition. The battle between Magneto’s past and future clash in this epic story and I’m intrigued to watch how his character responds in the next two installments.
The art of Not a Hero is fairly variable, ranging from exceptional to downright poor. In my honest opinion, the first few pages came off as sketchy, the characters appearing off-model and the backgrounds just blurs of color. As Magneto arrives, however, the artwork takes a decidedly better turn: Magneto himself looks amazing, and his he enters his final conflict with his clone there are some spectacular panels of metal manipulation as the two levitate over the spectacular arctic landscape. Colorists David Curiel Inshield and Sonia Oback must be praised for imbuing even the lower quality pencilling with flair; this team utilized spot color and contrast to excellent ends, especially through the vivid costumes of the main characters. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed to see very little of the Brotherhood (or perhaps Josef’s new Brotherhood) in this issue as implied by the previous one, as their designs in Issue #1 were exquisite; I suppose I’ll just have to wait until the next release to see them in action. The art was, therefore, a mixed bag, starting off weak but growing in quality throughout the progression.
Magneto: Not a Hero #2 is a wonderful continuation of an excellent story arc, evolving a popular and well-known character in exciting ways. Though the artwork took a slight downturn in this installment that’s not to say it was bad by any means; ultimately, the artistic team behind this piece possesses a lot of talent, and I’m sure much more amazing visuals will arrive at the scene as we reach the series’s climax. What I’d say is that this series is worth following if you like Magneto and the X-Men, though perhaps those with less interest in such characters would find it less exciting and may want to give it a miss. If, however, you love seeing the Master of Magnetism in action, there’s no reason not to pick up this stellar title!
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He wonders if Magneto reshapes his menorah to his own liking each Chanukkah.
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