The world of X-Men has been revamped with new titles and teams being slung around every few months. However, there has been some significant amount of interest in the X-Men: Black title coming this fall.
Mostly because the originator of the X-Men, Chris Claremont, is returning to write the story for one of the standalone comics.
Claremont has produced some of the most well-known narratives within the X-Men universe. With such story arcs as God Loves, Man Kills and the Dark Phoenix story line, he has made his place among the mutant world. What his return to the comic book pages could possibly present is a return to some well-written material.
With this revamp of the X-Men titles, we see Magneto leading the mutant team in a new direction, having given up on having the mutants dominating the planet. The descriptor for the upcoming October title says just as much.
X-MEN BLACK MAGNETO #1
(W) Chris Claremont (A) Dalibor Talajic (CA) J. Scott Campbell
MAGNETO IS BACK!
…and so is Chris Claremont! For years, Magneto has done everything he can to achieve his goals for mutant domination. But now Magneto has declared that enough is enough. So what revolutionary plan does Magneto have that will change the face of mutantkind? And will anyone be able to stop him? Will anyone want to? PLUS: Includes Part 1 of X-MEN BLACK: APOCALYPSE the back up story by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, and Geraldo Borge!
Rated T+In Shops: Oct 03, 2018
Not only will Claremont be penning this one-shot, but it looks like he’ll be introducing a new character.
Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston was at San Diego Comic-Con where the announcement about X-Men: Black was made. He talked about the word ‘Warden’ being mentioned. He specifically noted this new character could possibly stop Magneto.
“Who will want to stop him? We heard the name ‘Warden’ mentioned… you know, like prison? Camp? The connotations seem clear.”
I wrote to Johnston asking about the source of the statement, and his reply was simply:
“Can’t tell you but this is not speculation or anything being tossed around.”
So if this ‘Warden’ is enough to stop Magneto, we might be looking back to his days as an occupant at the Auschwitz concentration camp. And it might be more of a psychological battle for Erik Lehnsherr/Max Eisenhardt than a battle of superpowers.
And if these rumors are true, we decided to dig into Magneto’s history to speculate on who this Warden could be.
One of the Auschwitz Guards
In anticipating the upcoming title, we could see some guards from Magneto’s past coming back. He served as a body disposal unit, the Sonderkommando, helping the Nazis at some point by helping bury his own people, in exchange for living another day.
He eventually escapes and builds a life with a gypsy woman, Magda, with whom he has three children. Two of which are the twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.
We aren’t familiar with any of the guards in Magneto’s concentration camp. They hardly warrant any historical significance to his past other than a few quick panels to explain Eisenhardt’s overall experiences. For Claremont to pull from Magneto’s already rich history to add a bit more might be confusing to long-time readers.
Pulling from First Class
In X-Men: First Class, Eisenhardt bends a metal gate when separated from his parents. Nazi scientist Klaus Schmidt in seeing this, takes the youth in as a test subject to unlock his latent mutant powers. Schmidt acts as Max’s torturer/warden, killing his mother to force him into using his powers.
How this might work in the upcoming comic books might be tricky, because Schmidt takes on the name of Sebastian Shaw later in the film, as leader of the Hellfire Club and instigator for the next world war. The film took artistic license to its utmost when pulling from the source material. However the Matthew Vaughn movie was regarded as one of the better out of the X-Men franchise. If Claremont takes from the film to introduce the Warden character, hats off to him because he’ll have to slaughter/retcon a bunch of comic book X-Men history.
Speaking of Schmidt
In Magneto’s solo series, Eisenhardt eventually murders the Red Skull and his group of mutant exterminators. But there’s a possibility for the Red Skull (or at least the clone) to reappear, who served as sort of a ‘Warden’ character for the island of Genosha turned mutant concentration camp.
The Skull clone, Johann Schmidt, wasn’t part of Magneto’s past in the concentration camp. However, he is a Nazi. ‘Nuff said.
In Cullen Bunn’s writing, Red Skull implants a part of Charles Xavier’s brain into his own, gaining access to the most powerful telepathic mind on the planet. Using it to control mass populations and bringing the mutant population of Genosha to an almost voluntary imprisonment. After the apparent death of the Skull, he revives as a combination of Red Skull and Onslaught, and starts telepathically spreading hate across the globe. The Avengers get involved eventually when finding the source of the hate. After being defeated a number of times, but managing to escape and rise to power once again, Red Skull is eventually killed by Steve Rogers as a peace offering to Magneto to establish a mutant-safe territory in Northern California.
The Skull reviving after such a long time will also be a narrative hurdle for Claremont. The last issue we saw the Schmidt clone was Captain America: Steve Rogers #17 almost a year ago. And there was a lot of gripe about that series, with Cap being a sleeper agent of Hydra. The Earth-616 situation has since been corrected through some writing-jutsu, but the damage to the history of Cap and the characters associated with him has already been done. If Claremont plans on taking from this obscure story arc, it’ll be interesting to see if he can make something redeemable out of it.
There’s a lot of details in Magneto’s past that we may have just brushed over and didn’t consider when contemplating this new ‘Warden’ character. Who do you think the Warden might be? How will they connect with Magneto’s past? What powers, if any, will they possess to halt Eisenhardt’s efforts in the new X-Men: Black series? Marvel also teases “Hearts of Darkness,” so what could all of this mean for the upcoming title?
X-Men: Black releases this October.