Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
X-Men Magneto Testament #3 (of 5)
Marvel Knights (Marvel Comics)
Pak, Di Giandomenico & Hollingsworth
This comic centers squarely on the Holocaust. It’s graphic but not too vulgar. It paints as realistic of a picture as it can when dealing with a horrific historic event in a comic book. To be fair, this comic has little to do with the X-Men, heroes, capes, villains and super powers. It takes a major player and drops him, as a child, in the worst documented atrocities seen made against mankind in the twentieth century. This issue was disturbing but very good.
This issue picks up with Max aka Magneto in Auschwitz in 1942. The Jews are herded on to trains being lied to by the Nazis the whole way. The men and women are split up, promised to be reunited on the other side, but not before all their possessions are taken from them, including their clothes, and then hosed down like cattle. The young, old and weak, once out of sight of their loved ones are killed immediately as we see when some of the kids are promised to be removed from the work line and put in the school line.
Max finds someone from his past who promises to help him out if Max hands over anything of value. Things don’t work out for Max and he ends up with a job of clearing out people’s belongings. He sees, first hand, how the Jews are lied to right up until they voluntarily walk into the gas chambers. It’s horrifying, even in comic format.
Max writes in a note about two years later about all the unbelievable acts of inhumane genocide he’s seen. He outlines removing gold teeth from the dead, moving dead bodies from the gas chambers to the ovens and mixing children and old men to make them burn better. The issue wraps up with a moment where I thought Max was about to show his power, but instead he sees one more person from his past, also stuck in the camp. It’s a griping moment as you assume this person is just waiting to die like the rest of them. It just doesn’t seem that anyone Max knew in his life escaped.
The issue has no light points. There is nothing but death in this issue. It’s hard to praise something like this, but it is well told, even if it doesn’t show you all the awful things that the Nazis did to the Jews, it comes pretty darn close.
The artwork is somber and depressing and it helps to make this feel like a death camp. The spread that I found to be most stunning was when Max tosses the eyeglasses into the eyeglasses room and finds perhaps millions already in there. It was at this point where Max finally understands just how many people had already died there.
The issue puts Magneto in a position where it is really hard to see him as a villain anymore. As a Jew or as a mutant why wouldn’t he do whatever was necessary to preserve his race? Even if that means violence, I think I can understand why he would take the extreme side of the coin.
This comic is for history buffs that might also like the X-Men. This story presents the Holocaust in a respectful manner and doesn’t try to turn into a super-hero thing at all. It’s a fantastic read that brings out emotions that many stories simply can not.
5 out of 5 geek goggles