Spring is a time of rebirth for Marvel and the X-Men. After what seems like a decade or more on the run or under the gun, the mutant squad is finally free of most of their major woes – and enjoying their renaissance in “ResurrXion.” Spread throughout nearly a dozen comic series, everyone from Weapon X to Generation X are getting in on the action, including the original X-Men. However, they aren’t the only characters given an opportunity to theoretically rebuild their lives.
Longtime antagonist, sometimes terrorist, and even outright villain Erik Lehnsherr, or Magneto, is also seeking to reconfigure his life. Prior to the renewed X-book push, Marvel announced a somewhat surprising team-up, as their first X-posse – not far removed from their own displaced past lives – would work alongside the controversial antihero. In X-Men: Blue #2, Magneto continues his “cooperative” efforts with the mutant band, now operating out of the island nation of Madripoor. But has he truly changed his ways, or is he simply looking for a new way to push his old agenda of mutants over humanity?
A Tenuous Alliance
The first issue of X-Men: Blue ends with the startling alliance between the fab five and Magneto, a marriage of necessity to take down his old Hellfire Club housemate Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut, as well as driving the team forward in their mission. The second issue, however, delves deeper into their shaky coalition. It also reveals how the Master of Magnetism initially invites Jean to a junkyard – an admittedly unnerving meet-up when surrounded by jagged metal scraps and massive steel husks. Despite his decades of antipathy, Erik admits that he needs the X-Men, mostly to help rebuild his reputation in the eyes of an admittedly skeptical world. Jean herself is understandably dubious about his motives, since her team's conflicts with Magneto are much fresher in her mind than his current, more complex status.
In an effort to gain her trust, Erik removes his psychically dampening helmet, allowing the powerful telepath to judge his intentions. Although she gets the distinct feeling his strong will is restricting her access to his deepest thoughts, she does detect a genuine interest in a more collaborative relationship, not just with the X-Men but between humanity and mutant-kind. She also stumbles across the chasm of sadness and rage hewn from his past, including his darkest days as a victim of the Holocaust and travails with human bigotry.
While her team trusts her and her judgement and also appreciate Lehnsherr’s assistance, they still enter into their new partnership with due diligence. Their relative mistrust is well-earned, of course, as Magneto may be hiding a troubling agenda.
Magneto’s Hidden Agenda?
Admittedly, the classic X-Men refuse to be left in the lurch if Magneto betrays them. With the aid of Henry McCoy (Beast), they lock out their danger room session, allowing the squad to covertly train against their new ally. When they’re called away to Spain to contend with a Sentinel attack, they debate the merits of their new ally, as well as the possibility of a worst-case scenario playing out. Even if he isn’t secretly working against them, what’s Erik’s angle?
Unsurprisingly, Magneto hasn’t been entirely honest. The final moments of the issue reveal his trip, along with the X-Men’s robotic butler Ferris, into the lower levels of the complex, where a large technological construct awaits. Apparently, their he's been constructing a transportation device for the expressed purpose of sending the original five X-Men back to their proper timeline, as revealed during the “Battle of the Atom” crossover.
In the event book, Beast recruited the original lineup of the X-Men from an alternative timeline, in order to remind a borderline-psychotic Cyclops of his noble origins. Unfortunately, the classic squad was trapped out of time, and despite numerous attempts to return to their original reality, remain trapped in the present day, at least until recently. Younger Beast zapped them back in time, thanks to his burgeoning wizardry, but they quickly realized that, somehow, their timeline had continued on with another version of themselves.
Is Magneto aware of their time-displacement conundrum? And if so, what exactly is the longtime X-adversary after by returning them to a time they no longer belong? If he's not aware of the situation, then why does he want his new “team” to return to the past so badly?
Only two issues in, it’s a bit too soon to determine Magneto's true purpose. Our natural instinct, especially coming from the shifty electromagnetic mutant, is that he’s simply trying to use the X-Men to take out his former allies – while perhaps healing his public image – before dispatching them to their original realm. Another consideration, once again on the dark side, is that Erik is actually using them to gather the roughest mutants on the planet in one place, either to reassemble them as a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or to destroy them.
Of course, the more intriguing answer is that, much like Doctor Doom, Magneto actually wants to help his fellow mutants return home. Knowing Marvel, the truth is likely somewhere in between. Eric could also possess some knowledge about the X-Men's presence in their past or future that he’s not letting on. Perhaps their continued existence in modern times is upsetting overall continuity, or he’s trying to push them into the past to right a wrong they failed to correct after being displaced.
Hopefully, the next few issues will unravel the truth behind of Magneto’s plans. Discovering the true nature and depth, as well as corrupting influence, of Beast’s new magical skills should also prove fascinating. In addition, the upcoming chapter should address the reason this latest batch of Sentinels addressed the X-Men as “fellow mutants.” Most of all, we're all excited for to the mutant band’s encounter with Wolverine’s son from the Ultimate Universe in upcoming issues of X-Men: Blue #5.
X-Men: Blue #2 is currently available.