Writer: Leah Williams
Art: Lucas Werneck, Edgar Delgado, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Tom Muller, Valerio Schiti, and Marcio Menyz
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 18th, 2021
The HELLFIRE GALA was signified to be a festive affair where mutants and humans came together to commemorate Krakoa. But when the evening ended in carnage, mutants were left marveling as to who murdered the Scarlet Witch? And, where was Magneto when it happened? Well, X-FACTOR has been dubbed to analyze the death of Wanda Maximoff, using their comprehensive forensics capabilities to unearth the critical junctures leading up to her assault and murder. Let’s dive into X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO #1 by Leah Williams to see what this crack forensic team uncovers.
The simplest way to begin the review is to state the obvious. If you’re a Leah Williams X-FACTOR fan, this series is basically a continuation of that very series. It practically picks up right where it left off alongside the HELLFIRE GALA. However, like any good event title, Williams does a fantastic job incorporating the key players of both the current Gerry Duggan X-MEN team, as well as Benjamin Percy’s X-FORCE. Thus, with Kitty and Emma representing the MARAUDERS and Sinister contributing with the HELLIONS angle, this event does a terrific job juggling almost all the key players throughout this REIGN OF X.
Truth be told, I haven’t been a huge fan of Williams X-FACTOR run so I entered this opening installment of X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO #1 a bit reluctant. However, this investigation captivated my attention. Granted, everyone saw the writing on the wall. There is no X-fan that would be shocked to discover that the prime suspect in Magneto. Hence, the name of the comic. Nevertheless, Williams lays out exactly why and how the X-teams come to this conclusion. Plus, Williams utilizes multiple power sets to unearth their findings logically.
Furthermore, Lucas Werneck, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles do a fantastic job illustrating the past and present flawlessly. It’s the art team that navigates the beginning of X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO with ease providing Scarlet Witch’s perspective as well as the investigators. Moreover, color changes and hues help differentiate memories, mindscapes, and possible outcomes. Plus, as Wanda lays lifeless in the Krakoan Garden beds, this creative team utilizes the very plant life as borders and boundaries for unique guides to usher readers through the narrative.
And, if that’s not all enough, fans will get an action-packed showdown between Magneto and an array of mutants from multiple teams in which Williams does a fantastic job weaving together. Almost every mutant gets a fair shake in the battle with another special guest that just makes sense. Overall, X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO is well-balanced, thoroughly explained and delivers some emotional moments with the right people. It’s not too over the top nor is it light in certain areas. It’s the almost perfect start to what appears to be a solid X-MEN event.
In all reality, there aren’t many. However, the key issues I had in X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO warrant a bit of attention. Somehow, there is a reference to both Wanda and Pietro having their own backups because they are the “sole non-mutants to deceive Cerebro long enough” to receive backups. Granted, those backups are from long ago. This was simply hard to buy. Now, I understand the connection to the X-MEN lore as well as the purpose to drive a frustrated Magneto to explode in the story.
However, why wouldn’t Xavier have deleted them after discovering they’re not mutants? Or, how were they able to trick Cerebro into recording them? And, if that’s the case, why can’t Charles technically record anyone’s wavelengths at any time to resurrect anyone important? I feel like this was not only forced into the story but also opens up a can of worms that didn’t need to be opened in the first place. Now, the door is locked wide open to resurrecting anyone where before it seemed restricted to mutants. So, if Cerebro could be tricked once, who’s to say it can’t be again? Or better yet, configured to do it again.
Furthermore, when led to a vote, why wouldn’t everyone just vote to resurrect Wanda, especially knowing that her downloaded memory was before HOUSE OF M? Therefore, she has no recollection of what happened AND no one (including the Avengers) would care. Now, I could see the argument that this would lead to the Avengers discovering their dirty little resurrection secrets. Nevertheless, that’s not mentioned as a reason to skirt the issue. Again, I understand why these two items are in the book. Yet, they cause unwarranted gaps and questions merely to push the story towards a magnetic conclusion. I feel like Williams could have still escalated the story to that point and have been a bit more clear in the process.
Lastly, Dakken, Laura, and WOLVERINE were all in attendance during the investigation. Wouldn’t they easily be able to sniff around and find out exactly who was there by the scent immediately? Therefore, couldn’t they tell who the exact murderer was unless they didn’t recognize the smell?
Anyone reading X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO would agree that Magneto isn’t the killer. It’s too obvious. Granted, that’s exactly why it would be the perfect swerve. Nevertheless, my two guesses as of right now are Exodus and his little cult of mutant kids he’s been fashioning out in the woods. Or, it’s Mystique playing dress-up simply to get back at one of the big two for their manipulation towards her and Destiny. Either make the most sense right now, except I don’t know Exodus’ motive.
My reasoning for assuming Exodus’ kid cult is that it was implied during the forensics that multiple individuals were involved. So, Mystique alone seems fishy. Either way, we shall see how and why as this series unfolds. I just hope it’s not Exodus’ kid cult in which Exodus himself had no idea nor implementation. Therefore, he’s somehow not responsible and some rando kids are the ones thrown in the pit alongside Sabretooth. That would just rip the flare right out of the event. If this death is to be meaningful, then the murderer needs to be someone big and important. Fingers crossed!
X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO #1 conveys a sharp, systematic opening that simply makes a ton of sense. Williams and her team navigate the heavy, muddy waters of murder and mutants with expertise and excitement. Williams quickly gets the story to its logical trajectory and provides a few wrinkles to ponder before issue one wraps up. Werneck ushers in the visual storytelling with vibrantly detailed illustrations and eye-catching art that will draw readers deeper into the story.
Despite my disappointment in X-FACTOR and hesitance towards this event, X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO was engaging, explosive, and truly feels like an event. I left this first issue wanting more and can’t wait to see what’s revealed in this murder mystery next. I highly recommend X-MEN fans to give this event a look. Even those unfamiliar with the current ongoing titles can still hop right in with only the prior knowledge that someone killed the Scarlet Witch. Therefore, I could argue Williams set this story up for everyone. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!