The first villain-centric book from All-New Marvel NOW! sees the master of magnetism himself, Magneto, running across the country righting what he perceives as the wrongs done to mutant kind. It's not a wholly original storyline, in fact it feels like The Punisher by way of Magneto, but that doesn't make it any less interesting and enjoyable.
Gabriel Hernandez Walta is the artist for the debut issue of the series, but don't let the slow start to this first issue fool you, he steps up his game by the ending. The main draw back to Walta's art in the issue is the Steve Dillon-like rigidness in their facial expressions. Though not ever-present, it does rear its ugly head with the more regular folk in the panels and certainly becomes distracting, especially when Magneto looks like Gru from Despicable Me in some panels. Walta handles the more intimate moments of the story, which plays out in a very noir fashion in terms of pacing, with ease though, and the more explosive moments are the true highlight as his sequencing is at its peak. There's room for improvement in the visuals, but I have no doubt he can manage it.
Writer Cullen Bunn, who will be writing a different villain centric comic for the Distinguished Competition in April, pens this tale of revenge and judgement and does it very well. I really love what Bunn is doing here, especially since villains are seldom the focus of a series. He's approaching the material from an unlikely angle, and it's working. Again, Magneto #1 feels like another Punisher book, but with the focus being on the mystery of attacks and murders and not the dispatching of foes. One trait of the series that I would place as being very important to its structure, and adding to how interesting it is as a narrative, is that despite Magneto's association with countless other groups and mutants, there is seemingly no connection in his solo series with the rest of the Marvel U, meaning you can pick it up and read it without reading the other titles.
Magneto is a pulp mystery infused with the heart of the X-Men. It's intimacy and explosives, though day and night in terms of story, work together to create something well worth reading even with some of the flawed art. Villain-centric books are uncommon, but this one is starting us off right.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
On page 3 we review Wolverine and the X-Men #1!