By Eric Drumm
PRESENTS #3 cover
by Mike Deodato
MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS, in its various incarnations, has always been the premiere place for characters in the Marvel Universe to have all eyes on them in solo adventures. Sometimes you get a funny tale of a day in the life of your favorite hero, villain or supporting cast member and other times the story adds a layer of complexity to the character previously not thought of. In MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #3, one of the oldest and most feared villains in Marvel history gets the solo treatment when Magneto takes the spotlight. Writer David VonAllmen and artist Mico Suayan (MOON KNIGHT) bring the master mutant menace to center stage in "Hateful" with Nick Lowe on editorial duty.
So far in the newest incarnation of MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS, we've seen solo stories featuring beloved characters such as the ever lovin' blue eyed Thing and the deadly copycat mercenary Taskmaster. According to Lowe, the notion of a Magneto solo story came solely from VonAllmen.
"David and his friend Sean Murphy did a Hand one-shot to serve as a submission to a bunch of editors up here at Marvel," explains Lowe of how he came across the writer. "It wasn't solicited, they just wanted to show us what they could do. I really liked it and got in touch with David when a couple of us got MCP going. David sent in a couple of ideas and I really dug the Magneto one."
As with all MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS stories, limitations exist for those bringing the characters to life. Only given a few pages, creators have to hit hard and fast but still provide a memorable and enjoyable story. With the Magneto story in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #3, Lowe feels that the mission gets accomplished in a tale that may be short and sweet, but doesn't lack power.
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"It's a story of a major Marvel character," reminds the editor. "A snapshot into the past of one of the most important villains in the Marvel Universe. And it's got a nice twist. A lot of eight page stories try and pack in a thousand things, instead of just telling a solid short story. This is a nice simple story with a solid twist and some great character beats. I'm really proud of it. David did a great job with the script and Mico just knocked it out of the park."
Regardless of story length, Magneto never does anything small scale. Causing trouble for mutant and humankind alike since way back in 1963's original X-MEN #1, the Master of Magnetism has been villain, savior and friend across the Marvel Universe and remains a power player to this day. For VonAllmen, Magneto is a character that has been with him for quite a while, and getting the chance to write this story was hardly a chore.
"I've got every issue of UNCANNY X-MEN back to #145 (May 1981) so I'd say I know him pretty well," boasts VonAllmen. "The great thing about MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS is that Nick Lowe just said, 'Pitch me some stories you could tell in eight pages,' and the rest was up to me, so I wasn't assigned a character, I was able to pick one I was already excited about. This was my first gig for Marvel so when Nick read my pitches and said, 'I love the Magneto one, write it,' I was floored that they let me write one of their biggest name characters."
Magneto has worn many hats aside from his pink and purple helm over the years, dabbling in politics and genocide among other pursuits. Utilizing the Master of Magnetism's vast history and complex personality traits, VonAllmen had quite a bit to work with. What did he ultimately base the story on? Magneto versus the X-Men? A visit to House of M? A college romp with Charles Xavier?
"It calls into question Magneto's motivation for doing what he does.," says VonAllmen. "That's as much as I'd really want to say before people read it,"
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Throughout his history, Magneto has always surprised readers. A man of firm beliefs, he is driven towards wicked acts but has been known to show compassion, mercy and even a genuine love for his fellow mutant. The back and forth between straight villain and misunderstood prophet has resulted in Magneto becoming one of the most complex characters in the Marvel Universe, with his actions and beliefs making him hard to categorize as definitely good or evil. VonAllmen believes that's what makes Magneto so darn interesting.
"That's the reason he's one of my all-time favorite characters in any medium or genre," gushes the writer about the oft-malicious mutant. "Back in the late 80's Marvel published a series called CLASSIC X-MEN that every month reprinted old X-Men [stories] so you could read things like the 'Dark Phoenix Saga' monthly. The real treasure of this series, though, [was] that every issue had a second, new story by [writer] Chris Claremont and [artist] John Bolton in the back. Issue #12 had a 12 page story that told Magneto's origin and completely gripped me. Why it wasn't an original graphic novel I'll never know. It showed just how complex Magneto really is and was the inspiration for my story."
How will this story fit into the complicated machine of Magneto's inner workings? Will it add yet another layer onto his thick hide of machinations and contradictions?
"I just started out with this idea that I thought would really be a punch to the gut for Magneto and the question of how he would respond," shares VonAllmen. "How much that adds to the character is something that readers will decide when they read future Magneto stories - if they find their interpretation of his actions being colored by 'Hateful' then I guess the answer is yes. "
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On art for this Magneto tale is Mico Suayan, who recently captured a broken hero's dark road to redemption in the pages of MOON KNIGHT. VonAllmen feels that Suayan was a good match for his story, and that Magneto is in his full glory.
"Mico is fantastic," he raves about his creative counterpart. "When I was paired with him I didn't know his work because his run on MOON KNIGHT hadn't come out yet. I went to his web site and was blown away, his pencils are amazingly tight and detailed. I was worried about the inking because I didn't want to lose that, but as it turns out there was no inker on this, just Matt Hollingsworth's colors - and what could be better than that?"
See what unfolds for the magnetic magnate Magneto as well as other stories in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #3, on sale November 14th.