Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
X-Men Magneto Testament #1 of 5
Marvel Comics – Marvel Knights
Pak, Di Giandomenico & Hollingsworth
You might look at this as just another origins comic book dealing with another long time character. However, this story, particularly this issue, is much more than a simple origins comic. The story is deeply rooted in World War II and told from the perspective of a young boy in early days of Nazi Germany. It’s an excellent blend of history and character development that just barely hints at the super hero genre. This is a series that shouldn’t be missed by history buffs that happen to love comics.
Max Eisenhardt is a boy who has a normal family. He has parents, an Uncle who hangs around and he happens to be growing up just as the Third Reich is taking his rights away as a precursor to taking his life completely. Max shows glimpses of his power to manipulate metal and it isn’t clear that he is aware of the power, but it comes in handy.
In school, his headmaster is aware that Max is a Jew and he makes no bones about exploiting his weaknesses, especially psychically. Max gets the upper hand in the old javelin throw. He’s coached to lay low and not stand out. He sees why when his Uncle is publicly beaten for “crimes” against a German woman.
The issue closes with Max getting expelled and his Jewish mentor getting taken out harshly. Things appear to be going downhill quickly for Max at the end.
The issue is very powerful. The whole story has such a serious and dark undertone that it has that sickening feeling to it. Personally, I felt Max’s story could have been any number of young Jewish kid’s stories during the mid to late 30s in Germany.
One item that was difficult to grasp was the love interest. Max seems to have a little girlfriend but with limited information it would appear she is a young Jewish girl, but in some lower class than Max, but I’m guessing at that. The love interest also looks way too much like Max. I’m sure the story will utilize her more later on, but for this issue I was little lost as to her overall place in it.
At the conclusion of the issue there is a letter from Greg Pak that talks about the historical accuracy for the story. It really helps to establish how serious the subject matter is and that the comic isn’t just another origin story.
I found the artwork to help make Nazi Germany realistic. It’s a normal looking town until you happen upon the parading paraphernalia and propaganda mixed with the brutal and harsh treatment of the Jews. It paints a powerful image throughout the comic.
This comic is not your typical “cape” story. This is a story that shows how a normal kid watches the world around him and his family crumble around him to the point where his survival forces him into an aggressive “villainous” frame of mind later in life. I’m heavily into this story and this issue is an excellent start.
5 out of 5 geek goggles