Saturday, September 20, 2008

X-Men: Magneto - Testament #1 (of 5)

Greg Pak & Carmine Di Giandomenico
I really love that cover by Marko Djurdjevic. It was definitely one of the things that compelled me to pick up this comic. That, and the fact that Magneto has one of the most interesting backgrounds in superhero comics, at least for a supervillain. But there's hardly any semblance of the man that he will become in the beginning of this mini-series following a happy-go-lucky, proud young man named Max Eisenhardt. He faces adversity at every turn as he tries to impress girls and crafts jewelry under the tutelage of his father. Max is a very likable character, the kind of underdog one can't help but root for. But we know how history plays out. This work is grounded in history, and Auschwitz is looming in the future for this boy who is figuratively beaten down by the headmaster of his school, and literally beaten down by his classmates. All around him, he bears witness to examples of the persecution of Jews (including the announcement of the Nuremberg Laws), and things begin to fall apart around him. The beginning of this story is bleak, but it does hold on to a little bit of hope, like the groundskeeper's daughter, whom he fancies, and returns his affections, and his brave defiance in the face of shame. I like this boy Max, and I'm interested to see how the trials ahead of him are going to shape him into the man he will become. Pak weaves an intriguing bit of historical fiction here, complimented by Carmine's pencils and the washed-out colors of Matt Hollingsworth. A fine, human beginning to what I hope will prove to be a powerful story by its conclusion.

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