Vox fudges up Magneto's exact history
In the eyes of its most fervent fans, Marvel has assassinated Magneto, arguably the most beloved villain the comic book company has ever created. And they did it with just one cover.It's not that they diminished the past work of Kirby/Simon. It's that they spat in their faces. All that aside, when Magneto's background as a Holocaust survivor was first established in the early 80s, he wasn't actually depicted as Jewish. At the time, he was established as more of Roma/Gypsy background, as were Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. It was only around the turn of the century, when the first X-Men movie was released, that Marvel suddenly began to change this, and not for the better, since the first story where they began implying he was Jewish was in "Eve of Destruction", one of the worst stories Scott Lobdell ever wrote. As a result, it turned out to be one of the most inauspicuous retcons they ever worked on.
This past week, Marvel revealed variant covers to its upcoming crossover event “Secret Empire,” an event in which Steve Rogers’s allegiance to the Hydra criminal organization will be revealed. Magneto appears on one of those covers, suggesting he’s been in clandestine cahoots with Rogers and Hydra. And being that Hydra is an organization with comic book roots in Nazi Germany, the cover links Magneto, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, to Nazis by way of Hydra.
Fans are upset.
Their gripe: Marvel has miscarried the character, jettisoning decades of storytelling and fundamentally misunderstanding Magneto’s very nature by aligning him with Hydra.
The apparent editorial move — which at this point is still speculation based on a variant cover — comes on the heels of last year’s Marvel reveal that Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, believes himself to be a Hydra agent. That decision was also met with fan resistance, and insistence that Marvel diminished the work of Rogers’s creators. Magneto’s similar twist makes it seems like Marvel is doubling down on the prospect and also not listening to the feedback the company has received.
Even before that, Chris Claremont himself was sowing the seeds of miscarriage, since, several years after bringing Erik Lensherr over the good side in the New Mutants, he turned him criminal again, and more lethal this time, though Lobdell and Grant Morrison may have done the real damage in the years afterwards.
Maybe the biggest problem is that Marvel goes by the notion that Magneto must be kept around as an ongoing adversary for all eternity, recalling a time when Joe Quesada claimed supervillains are indispensible, whereas superheroes/co-stars by contrast are expendable. Of course, they made it difficult to accept that Magneto could be killed off (even if it was only temporary and reversed soon after), given that they already published 2 terrible stories by both Lobdell and Morrison, which saw Magneto get stabbed to death by Wolverine in the latter. Yet nobody wants to publish a story where Erik could die of natural causes or an accident like a wooden tree falling on him, and a story where, if they were smart, they'd make it self-contained, with no crossover connections.
For people who aren’t comic book readers or casual fans, the vocal fight over the origins of fictional characters can seem confusing, or even trivial, considering real life white supremacists have become fixtures in the current national political conversation, and bad fiction happens all the time.Well at least they admit here that bad fiction can always happen. But that doesn't mean it couldn't be avoided, and they certainly don't have to serve as apologists for the same, especially considering the writer doesn't seem to have much affection for any of the creations. Nor does the writer of this tedium seem interested in asking why only white supremacists are considered valid but not of other races, or why the only white supremacists the leftist establishment in showbiz won't feature as adversaries are Islamofascists. The writer goes on to suggest the audience is stupid:
Magneto’s Hydra business comes on the heels Marvel’s reveal last May that Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, believes he is a Hydra agent. The condensed version: A character named Kobik restores the aging Rogers’s youth and powers, but also rewrites his earliest memories. We later find out that the Hydra leader, a Nazi known as Red Skull, influenced Kobik to corrupt those memories.Umm, is that meant to imply the fans are wrong? He misses the point - it's a terrible story written for little more than shock value, and it makes little difference whether Steve Rogers was brainwashed or time-warped; what matters is that the whole farrago was only intended as an excuse to depict Steve as an agent of evil. And whatever they have to show for their stupidity over the past year sure doesn't give much reason to think they know what they're doing.
When Marvel published that reveal, fans felt that the character and, more importantly, his creators had been wronged.
Interestingly, they also remind everyone of where the idea to make Hydra a Nazi movement may have come from:
In the Marvel cinematic universe, Hydra is portrayed as having its roots in the Third Reich, as seen in the Captain America films. The comic book version of Hydra has those same roots, but also states that Hydra predates the Nazis. [...]If that's where this whole debacle came from, it compounds just how erroneous Marvel was to mimic the movies, act like movie audiences only want to read the brand new material and not the old, which is an extremely deceptive and disrespectful thing to do to consumers, and above all, not give anybody the right to judge for themselves. Their inability to respect the differences between two mediums has only dumbed down the zygotes in the lowest way possible.
Whether or not Magneto turns out to be a Hydra collaborator himself in the upcoming issues of this latest atrocity, it won't alter the fact that already, the books they're coughing out are just a lot of sensationalized junk that were only intended to suit TPTB's visions and not that of a wider audience. I just hope fans recognize that regardless of what turns out to be, they shouldn't buy the Secret Empire crossover, because the company wide events are not organic, do nothing to better the materials, and with cover prices nearly 4 dollars, just aren't worth the expense.