Giant-Size X-Men has been an interesting mini-series to follow. The first two issues of this series have been building a mystery around the Children of the Vault and how Storm’s life hangs in the balance with whatever they are doing. That is what the first issue of Giant-Size X-Men set up with Jean Grey and Emma Frost’s adventure together. Most recently within the second Giant-Size X-Men we saw Nightcrawler leading a team back to Westchester for an adventure in the old X-Mansion facilities. A lot went down during this adventure and it all led to Nightcrawler and the X-Men finding and recruiting Lady Mastermind to join their ranks back on Krakoa. Now with the third Giant-Size X-Men, we are going to see Magneto get the spotlight after he has largely served a supporting role in most of the X-Men comics. Let’s see what Jonathan Hickman has in store for Magneto with the latest Giant-Size X-Men issue.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Ramon Perez
Colorist: David Curiel
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Out on Mykines, located in the Faroe Islands, Magneto is shown waiting for someone to arrive. The island caretaker asks Magneto if the boat parked near the island is his. Magneto responds by saying it is as he is interested in gaining ownership of Mykines from the owner. The caretaker says Magneto could be waiting a while before the island’s owner shows up. Magneto says he is patient.
Earlier, Magneto meets Emma Frost in the White Palace on Hellfire Bay. There Emma serves Magneto a full gourmet meal cooked by Saucier. Magneto compliments Emma on the chef she has hired as his food is delicious.
Emma then gets down to business by telling Magneto that given the Hellfire Trading Company’s success she is looking to expand. Magneto knows that Emma wants his help. Emma says all she wants is Magneto to help an island that will allow the expansion to happen.
Back in the present, Magneto patiently waits for some unknown time period, during which he becomes friends with the island caretaker.
Eventually, someone jumps out of the ocean and to the island. That person turns out to be Namor, who owns Mykines. Magneto mentions how long he has waited for their meeting. Namor reminds Magneto that he is a king and that he does not do the waiting.
Once they get down to business Magneto reveals that Emma is interested in leasing the island. Hearing Emma’s name, Namor agrees to Magneto’s proposal. Namor then asks Magneto to join him for a mission underwater as part of their deal. Magneto agrees and they shake hands to finalize their agreement.
While swimming underwater Namor reveals that an Atlantean exploration team was sent to explore the deepest parts of the trenches but never returned or communicated back with him. Namor then leads Magneto to a giant door that is extremely old. Namor asks Magneto to open the door for him. Magneto easily starts opening the door with his powers.
As the door is about to fully open a kraken burst out of it. The kraken immediately attacks Magneto and Namor. Magneto and Namor try to fight the kraken but are quickly eaten by the beast.
Inside the kraken’s belly, Magneto and Namor are confronted by three Sirenas. Namor demands to know where the Atlantean explores that have gone missing are. The Sirenas reveal that they are all dead after making the wrong decision when given three choices by them.
The Sirenas then asks Namor the same question of choosing from items on three different pillars with only one of the items being the correct one that will lead them out of the Kraken while the others will kill them. Namor selects the spiral shell as it is a symbol of the Uhari. That was the wrong choice as a monster comes out of the shell and wraps its tentacles around Namor’s face.
The Sirenas give Magneto an opportunity to choose an item that can save him and Namor. Magneto first goes to the large crystal, much to the Sirenas pleasure. Magneto reveals he knows that the crystal is the wrong choice and smashes it. He then chooses the skull which leads to the deaths of two of the Sirenas.
The one remaining Sirena hands Magneto a key while asking if he cares for what it does. Magneto says he does not.
Later, after repairing and closing the door Magneto gives Namor the key he got from the Sirena to complete their island transaction.
Later, back on Mykines, Magneto uses his powers to bring the cargo boat close to the island. He then uses his powers to take all the cargo aboard the boat and creates a citadel on the island and places one of the plants from Krakoa on the citadel to create a Gateway. Magneto completes the new citadel, which features the head of a Sentinel looking out to the sea.
Later Emma uses the Gateway to arrive at the new citadel that Magneto created for her. Emma thanks Magneto for his work. Magneto responds by asking what Emma plans to do with her new island and citadel. Emma says she is going to send out invitations and see who shows up. End of issue.
The Good: Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto is an enjoyable adventure for one of the franchise’s most popular characters in the form of Magneto. Jonathan Hickman’s approach, like in the previous two Giant-Size X-Men comics, was about spotlighting Magneto in a fun adventure. At least that is what is at the top-level. But like all of Hickman’s work, Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto clearly builds towards the bigger plans he has for the franchise. How successful that it does vary as we won’t know the full impact of this issue’s events until much later down the line.
The reason Giant-Size X-Men works so well is Hickman’s strong understand of who Magneto is. While Magneto is one of the main leaders of Krakoa he, like Charles Xavier, is not playing a front-line role like the members of all of X-Men teams are. That has made any time Magneto appears on screen in the current X-Men books come across as special. Which is exactly the feeling you get from this Giant-Size X-Men spotlight. Even if the adventure isn’t a big blockbuster event you get the feeling the entire time that this is building towards bigger plans that Magneto and Charles Xavier are working towards.
Throughout this Giant-Size X-Men Hickman is able to create this feeling because of how he portrays Magneto as the constant ambassador of Krakoa. There is never a point that Magneto loses his cool. Whether it was talking with the island caretaker, Emma Frost or Namor, Magneto knew exactly what to say to each character. Specifically, with Emma and Namor we saw how Magneto kept his words to a minimum to get right to what each character wanted from him. Even when he was getting into partaking in pleasantries with Emma during their meal he did not waste to much time as he knew she wanted something from him.
Emma looking to expand the reach of the Hellfire Trading Company to have an island that is not connected to Krakoa was an interesting move. That is furthered with how Magneto does not question what exactly is driving this desire to obtain an island by Emma. The way they talked made it clear that Magneto knows more about Emma’s plans even though she does not talk about all of them. This also plays into the trust these two have with each other as fellow members of the Krakoan Quiet Council.
It made the chemistry that Magneto and Namor shared for the bulk of this Giant-Size X-Men issue stand out more. Hickman got across how there is a great deal of respect between these two alpha males. At the same time, Namor just can’t help himself in reminding everyone, including Magneto, of his status as King of Atlantis. That bravado by Namor is further emphasized with how he made a choice without actually thinking of the consequences if he was wrong when getting involved in the Sirenas game.
Namor’s attitude made Magneto’s calm approach to everything come across better. We saw how Magneto quickly understanding what decision the Sirenas were trying to make him choose made it easy for him to outplay them. The anger in the Sirenas faces before they crumbled away made Magneto’s clear decision-making skills be a highlight in all this.
Through all of this Hickman does a good job bringing in some past Marvel continuity into play. Specifically with how Namor quickly agrees with Magneto’s proposal when Emma Frost’s name is brought up. Namor jumping at the chance to work with Emma again brings back their connection that dates back to their Dark Avengers days. We know that Namor has a certain weakness when it comes to Emma. This could be an interesting element to add to the X-Men franchise, especially since Namor is still considered a mutant, that can be brought up in future story arcs in any of the X-Men books.
Ramon Perez delivered a lot of impressive artwork. What made Perez’s artwork look even better was the trust Hickman had in him. There were various points in Giant-Size X-Men that Hickman simply let Perez tell the story through his artwork while keeping the dialogue to a minimum. This allowed you as the reader to have a greater sense of awe when Magneto put his powers on full display when creating Emma Frost’s new citadel or when the Kraken attacked Magneto and Namor. It is a great example of how important the trust between writer and artist is for a comic book. An understanding of when the dialogue or artwork should be at the forefront affects the impact of the story.
The Bad: The one spot where Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto is not as successful with is with how it connects to the greater Children of the Vault or other storylines Hickman and the other X-Men writers are working on. The impact of Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto will likely not be felt until later down the line. Knowing Hickman that is exactly what will happen. But for the immediate impact of what Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto has it is hard to say. This may disappoint readers who are looking to connect the dots with all these Giant-Size X-Men one-shot stories that are building to a picture that becomes clearer with each issue. That just does not happen here.
Overall: Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto is an enjoyable comic book that places the spotlight on one of the most popular characters in the franchise. The trust between Jonathan Hickman and Ramon Perez is evident throughout this issue as both the dialogue and artwork get a chance to shine at various points. That all helped to elevate the interactions Magneto had with both Emma Frost and Namor during this story.
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