Magneto: Testament #1 (of 5) (Marvel / US$3.99)
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
The Master of Magnetism finally gets the “Year One” treatment he deserves. The end result is an instant attraction. Not since God Loves Man Kills, has there been a more humane portrayal of Erik Lensherr/Max Eisenhardt (as he is known in this five-parter) and you can expect parts of this issue to pull the heart strings. While past X-Men tales have attributed his transition to the Dark Side as a result of his Jewish holocaust nightmare, this story arc promises an even more in-depth look at the man’s tragic past.
With no X-Men or Charles Xavier in sight, the debut issue is all about young Max €“ who is finding life tough as a Jew in German-dominated surrounds. Despite being different, as in the “gifted” sense, Max has tried to keep a low profile at school until one careless moment when he chooses to outshine his German classmates. Whether it was due to pent-up frustration, fighting for a girl’s attention or a culmination of both €“ Max’s moment of indiscretion not only places himself on the German radar but also his loved ones as well.
Call him a villain, Mutantkind’s saviour or an anti-hero €“ whatever the name, Magneto is already a legend in X-Men folklore. Having opposed Xavier’s team since their debut, Magneto’s “greatest hits” include removing Wolverine’s adamantium, replacing Xavier as the X-Men’s mentor, ripping up Apocalyspe and “killing” Jean Grey. Amidst the trail of destruction, the man remains an enigmatic figure that you-love-to-hate as well as a character that grows on you.
With a Magneto movie in the pipeline, Greg Pak’s script here would certainly provide good inspirational points. Art wise, Di Giandomenico’s work is a cross between Scott Kolins and Tim Sale, which certainly befits the pre-WWII setting. Expect Xavier to pop-up in future issues, but let’s hope that more time is focused on Max’s past for now.
Deadpool #1 (Marvel / US$3.99)
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Angel Medina
The perfect no-strings-attached return of the Merc-with-a-mouth ... and just in time for Secret Invasion, too.
A Skrull spaceship makes a baseball stadium its landing ground €“ and the question arises of who is the prey and the hunter when the Skrulls and Deadpool find themselves locked up together.
Alone against a ship of Skrulls may be a major disadvantage but not when you have a healing factor and a big attitude. Here’s where Deadpool cuts down the odds ... that is, until he meets the Super Skrull.
Basically, the same old nonsensical approach to heroism is recycled here, with the cliffhanger ending something very much expected of Deadpool’s ethics. Nevertheless, expect this title to go far, considering that the “Merc” is due for some Tinseltown exposure next year.
El Diablo #1 (of 6) (DC / US$2.99)
Writer: Jai Nitz
Artist: Phil Hester
If the cover (especially the mask) has you thinking that this is Nacho Libre’s foray into comics, then this Ghetto-incarnation of Ghost Rider will certainly disappoint. As for me, I enjoyed this rehashed Spirit of Vengeance tale, in which gang leader (Chato Santana) finds himself on his own gang’s execution list after a botched arms deal.
Having lost the use of his legs and placed under heavy police custody, Chato also has to contend with the mind games played by one Agent Aaron. After failing in countless bids to get Chato to squeal on his men, Aaron ups the ante by doing the “squealing” himself … but on behalf of Chato. On the night of Chato’s execution, he gets an unlikely reprieve via his comatose roommate who grants him the powers of El Diablo - the spirit of vengeance. Corny as the whole concept may sound, it’s such formulas that made Ghost Rider a household name. So why not El Diablo? Bear in mind that this series is DC’s second attempt at reviving the Silver Age character - hence the third time might be the charm.
Star Wars - The Clone Wars #1 (Dark Horse / US$2.99)
Writer: Henry Gilroy
Artist: Scott Hepburn
You either love or loath the recent cinema flick and here is where this new series will attempt to “force” you to come to terms with the fact that Episode VI is actually “the end” and we have to make do with Episodes 2.1 to 2.9! Set in the time between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, the emphasis here is on the legendary Clone Wars! It’s a tale of two Master-Apprentices as Anakin manages a dual-role of being Obi Wan’s apprentice and Ahsoka’s master, whilst freeing an alien race from the Separatists. Not vintage Star Wars material but should satisfy most fans ... momentarily.
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