X-Factor annual #4 (Magneto)
Issue(s): X-Factor annual #4 (Magneto)
Doom wants to know why Magneto has been acting like a good guy recently. To ensure a true response, Doom has with him what he claims to be a mutant telepath, who happens to be a little girl.
Doom has also acquired Magneto's helmet, the one that he recently nearly used to wipe out prejudice of mutants in all of humanity.
However, Dr. Doom has inspected the device, and learned that it could not really do what Magneto claimed it would.
The two characters then engage in a mental test of each other's weaknesses, which is really just a retelling of their origins, interspersed with nasty commentary from the other villain, like "It's miraculous that in the face of Reed Richards' obvious superiority you haven't foresaken your dreams...", which is mild in comparison to Dr. Doom implying that Magneto subconsciously killed his daughter so that he could have a reason to give up humanity and become a mutant terrorist.
When it's over, Doom challenges Magneto regarding the mutant child. She's probed deep into their minds. Does Magneto "possess the will to do what must be done? The wisdom?". Magneto responds by blasting the child.
As Doom removes a duplicate Magneto's mind control circuitry from his own helmet, rejecting the idea of ruling a mind controlled world (as we've seen before in Super-Villain Team-Up #14, which also featured Magneto, and in Emperor Doom), the dead child comes into focus.
Now, based on Magneto's commentary, i kind of suspected that the girl is supposed to be a robot. Obviously this is a code book and i don't think Marvel is yet ready to show us the charred skull of a girl. And Magneto doesn't really have energy blasts, although his powers can be a little ambiguous. But it's really not clear from the art. And of course John Byrne was a big proponent of Magneto returning to villainy, so the point of this scene could have been to show that he really was. It had to be confirmed in the lettercol for X-Factor #48 that the child really was a robot. The confusion doesn't really help with the story.
I have a suspicion that the purpose of this story was to undo the idea that Magneto could design a device that would affect the minds of the entire world. That seems especially important since, at the time of publication, Magneto had turned back to villainy. Beyond that it's just a little verbal sparring and original retelling from the two arch villains, which is fun if ultimately meaningless.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place "shortly after events chronicled in the X-Men versus the Avengers limited series".
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
This seems like a weird place to have a Magneto story. X-Factor has very little to do with Magneto or Dr. Doom.
Posted by: clyde | October 20, 2014 3:16 PM
I meant to say recently. Obviously, this being the original group of X-Men, they fought him in the past. However, the "new" group of X-Men have been allied with him recently.
Posted by: clyde | October 20, 2014 3:37 PM
The "child" is confirmed to be a robot in the X-Factor letters page. I never understood why people thought it was supposed to be a real dead kid- it always looked like a robot to me.
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2014 7:56 PM
Also note that Magneto's THOUGHT BALLOONS confirmed that he could use it to wipe prejudice from the human race in X-Men vs. Avengers- the idea that he was bluffing doesn't work.
Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2014 11:56 PM
The Comics Code was getting extremely mushy when it came to violence at this time. Not too long after this, an issue of Alpha Flight supposedly showed someone's spine getting ripped out(or vomited up), causing comic critic Don Thompson to moan "If the CCA doesn't object to things like this, what on earth is it for?"
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 27, 2014 11:23 AM
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