The cover of the Trial of Magneto, Magneto reaches towards the viewer.

The Trial of Magneto #1 & Comic Book Reviews

Tom King is 50/50 this week, while the X-Men absolutely clean house with my pull list this week. Between the Trial of Magneto and Way of X, I thought X-Men was spoiling me. Then I read Marauders and X-Corp and knew that I was getting more X-goodness than I deserve. I understand that they’re not series that are for everyone but they are very much for me, and I want to share how much I enjoy them.

Then I get into a tale of two Tom King’s. One is creating possibly one of, if not my favorite story by him, and the other can’t help but be self-indulgent. Between Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, and Batman/Catwoman, I have to admit that Tom King has a range of quality.

The Trial of Magneto #1

Written by: Leah Williams

Art by: Lucas Werneck

Coloring by: Edgar Delgado

Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

The Trial of Magneto is perhaps the most jam packed of emotion issue that I’ve read all year. There is so much going on between the mourning of Wanda and the rage of Magneto. In this one issue we see the effects that Wanda has had across the Marvel universe, both good and bad. We see the people who loved her mourning, and the people who hated her celebrating.

Magneto nearly loses himself to his arrogance and rage, having lost his daughter after getting her back, and then being accused of her murder. You should know the premise of the Trial of Magneto by the cover alone, but even knowing what the issue’s about before it starts could not have prepared you.

There’s this mounting horror as characters follow the evidence (and the red herring) that Magneto killed Wanda. Then there’s this numbing loss as her friends and loved ones find out about her death. There’s even hate and anger, as we see those who loved her lash out. It’s hard to explain and give justice to how well this creative team captures emotion, and displays it accurately.

The best and most important thing about the Trial of Magneto has to be how it pays respect to Wanda Maximoff. I’ve personally been back and forth on whether or not mutantkind should forgive her. On one hand, she never finished curing or helping all the mutants she hurt. She’s made several attempts that she never finished in several stories, The Avengers: The Children’s Crusade namely. On the other hand that feels more like the product of editorial error and mandates when the character is constantly trying to make up for her sins. 

Its fitting that the Trial of Magneto treats her as a person to be missed more so than anything, by focusing on how her loved ones miss her in their own ways. But this isn’t a one and done-story, though it feels like it could have been. It sets up the rest of the story spectacularly, I believe, but I won’t spoil it.

Just know this, the Trial of Magneto #1 is about Wanda Maximoff, and the rest of the series looks to be as well. Did you like it?

Way of X #5

Nightcrawler looks up as Onslaught looks at him.
Nightcrawler has one of the best moments since his creation in this issue, and its against Onslaught! Yeah, never would have picked that for my bingo card.

Written by: Si Spurrier

Art by: Bob Quinn

Coloring by: Java Tartaglia

Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Way of X hits hard every time, but never harder than in this final issue. Nightcrawler’s been tasked with answering the question of what’s missing from the mutants on this island. At first, he considered a lack of religion and faith brought on by the resurrection protocols. But, soon he realized that wasn’t the case. The problem wasn’t something so simple or tangible. The problem was inside the mutants themselves, and how they understood themselves.

They have this law, respect this sacred land, but what was the sacred land? The creative team here recognized that Nightcrawler was the best choice to figure that out and he did. At the same time, he had a surprisingly perfect villain to get in the way.

The fact that the resurrection protocol becomes why Nightcrawler forgets his great revelation, makes it this book’s great villain. Yes, Onslaught is the official villain in the best story he’s ever been in and will ever be in, but he’s more a product of Krakoa’s resurrection protocols. He is the punishment for mutants defying death, making death and resurrection the true enemy.

Nightcrawler’s actions in this book almost feel like a metatextual commentary on death in comics. Death only matters, when it’s made to matter. Not just because a character’s dead.

Marauders #23

Kitty Pryde, Bishop, Banshee, and Tempo fight off plants.
The Marauders are here (sort of).

Written by: Gerry Duggan

Art by: Ivan Fiorelli

Coloring by: Rain Beredo

Lettering by: VC’s Cory Petit

It’s been confounding to me how Marauders has been continually one of my favorite X-Books but no one else’s. I feel similarly about X-Corp, but I understand some criticism with that one’s premise.

Here, I don’t.

Here, we have the White Queen, Emma Frost, time after time, again and again, reminding us why she’s one of the best X-Men. This series is as much her series as it is Kitty Pryde’s, if not more, and this series just has them doing their best.

Maybe it’s because the other characters on the team aren’t always given the best material. Bishop, Iceman, and Pyro didn’t even show up despite being on the cover. The Marauders does have a problem where as the book’s art improves, its ability to showcase its large cast does not. This issue does at least improve by giving us some quality panels of characters who were runner-ups in the recent X-Men roster contest. It promises to give us more of them, where other books haven’t

But, this series, despite giving me all I could want of Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde content, hasn’t proven that it works beyond them. We have this issue that gives page time to other characters, but will next issue?

This week, we continue to have A+ Emma Frost content, but not A+ content for the book’s cast. If that’s the reason you dropped Marauders but don’t love it, I understand. If that’s not, then tell me, because I really want to understand.

X-Corp #4

Selene and Mastermind sit in a chair, side-by-side.
Look at these Masterminds! Heh?! I’ll see myself out.

Written by: Tini Howard

Art by: Alberto Foche

Coloring by: Sunny Gho

Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

I really love X-Corp, it’s like my guilty pleasure. It reminds me a lot of HBO’s Succession where a lot of different personalities that shouldn’t be likable, clash. For the most part, unlikable mutants drive the plot, in unsympathetic boardroom situations, vying to make more money while they’re all already rich.

It’s easy to understand why people hate this premise, especially for heroes that are supposed to stand in for the oppressed. No one oppresses more than the rich. 

But I love all this.

This series makes boardroom drama entertaining as the verbal gloves come off. Being nice and good doesn’t drive these characters. Base desires drive these characters and they’re more truthful than even the most honest of heroes ever are. 

And they’re very mean about it.

This issue added two more old X-Men villains to its roster in parts they play to perfection. Rather than change course, X-Corp steps furth into the niche it’s carved out. If you haven’t liked previous issues, you wont’ like this issue, but if you did, you’ll love it. It’s honestly that simple, which is ironic, because this series is anything but simple.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #3

Supergirl and her companion are walking away from a corrupt clerk.
Just gotta be honest, this issue gets really dark.

Written by: Tom King

Art by: Bilquis Evely

Coloring by: Mattheus Lopes

Lettering by: Clayton Cowles

It’s hard to separate art from the artist, and the writer from the written word. Tom King undeniably wrote this story. If you removed his name from this issue, I still would know he wrote this by reading it. He has that dry wording, that is both hollowing, vague, and yet so very precise. 

I understand that people find his writing condescending. I find it striking, in how it sets me up to be filled with whatever emotion he aims for me to feel. Last issue, I felt full of inspiration, and defiance, and hope, but also shame. I came to understand Supergirl’s pain in a way that made me think I should have always understood.

This issue reminds that nothing is as it lies on the surface. The world can always be darker, more sinister, and lacking in hope. That’s why its always important to have some. It’s a sharp fall from the last issue that not everyone will respect, and most certainly not enjoy. 

While I think it takes a white man’s simplistic view of racism, it captures the horrors of what the privileged can do when given the chance. It achieved a worthy message more than well enough. 

I love this issue, and I believe full-heartedly that many fans of Supergirl, and even Tom King fans will hate it. That’s okay.

Batman/Catwoman #6

Catwoman looks off into the distance in the foreground as Batman looks at the reader in the background.
Not gonna lie, I think I’m over the Batman/Catwoman relationship.

Written by: Tom King

Art by: Clay Mann

Coloring by: Tomeu Morey

Lettering by: Clayton Cowles

I love Tom King’s writing, enough to say he’s my favorite comic writer, possibly of all time. Saying that, even I have to admit he can be hit or miss. For every masterful mini like Mister Miracle, The Omega Men, and Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, there missteps like Rorschach.

For the several story arcs that are great, like Batman: Beasts of Burden, the War of Jokes & Riddles, and Superfriends, there are story arcs like City of Bane and the Gift. I fear that Batman/Catwoman can go either way.

With each page, there’s something that makes me bask in the character work and depth being given to Catwoman. The creative team puts her in the middle of being both an ex-villain and alright-hero. She’s constantly swinging like a pendulum between the symbols of justice and doom in her life, Batman and the Joker. In these moments, which fill at least half of every issue, we have something truly spectacular. 

Then we have moments ruined by a baffling stupidly and insulting creative choice.

In Rorschach, we had that time when the creative team made infamous Batman writer, Frank Miller, into a character in the story. Here, we have Catwoman, whose either in her sixties or seventies, dressing like she did when she first appeared. The art in this issue chock full of a panels with a grandmother’s head on a twenty-year-old’s body, and the only way I can describe it, without using many very bad words, is tasteless.

Strange creative decisions like this hold the series back. The thing these strange decisions have in common, is that most have to do with the disrespectful sexualization of Catwoman. This series could be so much better than it is, and I don’t why the creative chooses not to make it better. 

The Trial of Magneto Brings Tears, While Tom King Horrifies in More Ways Than One

I love the X-Men; I love the direction they have been going since House of X; and I love every issue they released this week. The Trial of Magneto embodies my favorite things about the X-Men. They’re vast, diverse, with many different powers and ideologies, and they magically mesh for better or worse across diverse titles.

Each one this week was different, and each one had something worth saying. I can’t give higher praise than that. 

And I think Tom King’s two DC books tried to do something similar. I just wish that he had succeeded with this week’s issue of Batman/Catwoman, like he did with Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow.

Leave a Reply