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Off My Mind: Can Villains Turn Good? Magneto Edition

Magneto is bringing Kitty back. What are his true intentions?

Magneto has always been one the greatest villains the X-Men have faced. One more than one occasion, he has also been their ally. It could be argued whether or not Magneto truly is a villain. His motives have always been to make things better for mutants. It's his methods that are usually called into question. 
 
Currently we see Magneto back with the X-Men. He claims he wants to work with them in preserving the lives of the remaining mutants. With Magneto, you can never be too sure. He has already roused suspicion when he went behind the current X-Men leader Cyclops' back. Utopia, the sanctuary for mutants built on Magneto's former Asteroid M, was on the verge of sinking. Magneto took it upon himself to work with the Atlanteans to construct a pillar that would support Utopia and also provide a home to the Atlanteans. Sounds like a nice gesture but is it really part of a bigger scheme?  

With Magneto, you can't help but be suspicious. Did he work with the Atlanteans without anyone's knowledge to make himself look better? Why would he make this plan without consulting the leader of the X-Men? In this week's Uncanny X-Men #522, we will see the results of yet another secret plan. In Uncanny X-Men #521, Magneto decided to bring back Kitty Pryde. Kitty has been trapped in space since 2008's Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men. Again, you have to ask, is he trying to do a noble thing or is this just another part in his power play to get control of the X-Men?
 
By safely bringing back Kitty Pryde, Magneto will have done something that the rest of the X-Men could not do. Provided that bringing the ghost bullet back towards Earth doesn't destroy everything, Magneto will be a hero among the mutants. With Magneto's plan of working with the Atlanteans and this current one to bring back Kitty, Scott appears agitated. Scott's a great leader and often sees the bigger picture. He just doesn't always express himself as well as he should. Rather than thank Magneto for saving Utopia or for bringing back Kitty, he goes straight into panic mode. His ability to see how things could potentially go bad could be perceived in a negative way. Some might even wonder if he is perhaps a tad envious of Magneto's ability. Could Cyclops be jealous of Magneto and is feeling threatened as leader?
== TEASER ==
 
As you may know, Magneto was actually the leader of the X-Men and New Mutants way back in 1985's Uncanny X-Men #200. When Professor X was on the verge of dying (again), he gave his mutants over to his former friend and enemy. Magneto had been on trial but even Professor X saw some good in Magnus. While performing as headmaster of the Xavier Institute, he became a member of the Hellfire Club. He used his position as the White King to oust Sebastian Shaw from control. It turned out Magneto was trying to raise an army in what he perceived as the upcoming war between humans and mutants. To make things worse, after this, he allied himself with Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, Wizard and the Mandarin in the Acts Of Vengeance scheme of the villains.
 
Magneto rarely explains his true motives. Even though he claims he is always trying to save the fate of the mutants, does this excuse his actions? While I am happy to see the return of Kitty, I can't help but be suspicious. It will be interesting to see how this act affects the way others see him. Will bringing back Kitty have a happy ending? What will happen to the bullet that is now heading towards Earth again? Is Magneto going to try to take control of the X-Men away from Scott? Uncanny X-Men #522 is on sale this week. Perhaps we'll get some of the answers to these questions.

46 Comments
Posted by LT1085

Magneto was never really a bad guy. He has always fought for what he believed was right. I'f Kitty has been holding her phased state this whole time, then, when she returns she should have a major boost in power and controlling said abilities.

Posted by MonicleMonkey

agreed, magneto has always been that malcolm x figure, where he is just very physical in his beliefs, he doesnt do evil things really unless it is to humans, and for the most part it seems like those evil shenanigans have been lessened as well

Posted by xerox_kitty


Part of Magneto's lasting appeal is that he isn't 'evil' in the usual sense.  He's not psychotic like Green Goblin.  Instead, he has a reason, a sense of morality.  He believes in his cause, even though it's caused problems for his friends and family. 
 
But I hate the recent renditon of him.  The pomposity towards other characters like Xavier, when he'd recently made peace with him in X-Men: Legacy just didn't make sense.  It didn't make sense to repower him.   
 
Ultimately, it doesn't make sense to make him a tenuous ally.  The whole 'is he good' angle is a bit weak.  He's been good and bad like a yo-yo pretends to defy gravity.  It is on again & off again as frequent as Xavier's ability to walk.  Both feel like temporary plot twists until the next writer comes along and decides that they don't like what's been written before them...    
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Posted by FoxxFireArt

" Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person. "

Redemption is always as equally possible as one that is good can fall into damnation, but perhaps I'm being a bit too philosophical.
This act alone to save Kitty seems more reasonable that he kept to himself. The actions with the Atlanteans. Not so much.
 
Probably wouldn't want to raise expectations and not be able to follow through on his promise. He's never struck me as the kind of person who likes to be shown as incapable. Not consulting Scott on such dramatic actions is suspicious.
I'm not sure who is directing these events, but if it's Fraction. I wouldn't get my hopes up. The Utopia story had a lot of potential that never quite followed through. It was a whole lot of build up to little. Odds are good that this will end up rather cliche. Magneto was brought back a bit too flashy and suddenly for things to go too well.
Edited by cmaprice

The sad thing about Magneto is that he'll never be consistent. Anytime he has a new writer, that writer wants to take him to the opposite side of the hero-villain spectrum, even if it makes no sense for his character to do so (i.e. the Xorn mess and aftermath/retcons)
 
Instead of walking the fine line between hero and villain, he's been made into a bipolar mess who shifts gears for no logical reason more quickly than his son can run.

Posted by chalkshark

Villains "turn good" all the time. A better question would be, " Can villains stay good?" In the case of Magneto.... absolutely not. He is the classic X-Men nemesis. Writers will always return him to his villainous roots because he works best that way, as the antithesis to Xavier's dream & a foil for the X-Men. Big villains will always remain villains. Small villains, like Hawkeye, The Black Widow, Quicksilver, The Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Rogue & Nighthawk, can more readily make the switch to the side of the angels & stay there.

Posted by leokearon

Blame John Byrne for bringing Mags make to villiany, Claremont wanted to keep him good
Posted by Quintus_Knightfall
@xerox-kitty:  Agreed.
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Posted by G-Man
@chalkshark: I meant for the 'stay good' part to be implied by mentioning Magneto being good then bad then good...
Staff
Posted by DarkSyde79

The easy answer would be "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" but we all know when it comes to Magneto, he's always one part selfless and one part self-centered. He thinks that his vision for mutant-kind makes him the person to lead them into the future war against human. In a lot of ways, this makes him not different than Apocalypse. In the end, this nature will prove to be his downfall. His actions of late, while they seem good, could prove that he's raising an army. Saving Utopia only means he wants to keep himself in the good graces of mutants and other non-humans and bringing back Kitty Pride does not only that but brings back to earth a giant planet killing bullet, that so happens to be made of metal that would leave him with either the resources or the means to do any number of things.

Posted by Bruce Vain

The way I look at it is that he does what's necessary in his mind for his people. You can't blame a guy for doing that whether you agree with it or  not by his actions. I've always kind of leaned on the side of Magnus, but there are times he should've handled things a different way. But bottomline I've never really considered him as a "villain" , but neither a hero. He's in between really, and it depends on the situation. But I tell you what when sh%$ goes down I'd want Magneto on my side that's for sure.
Edited by Theodore

lol BAMF? Bad Ass Mother F**cker?
 
I do think that villains can become good guys.

Posted by crimsonspider89

Magneto and Dr. Doom are two villains who do good things as well as evil things.  
 
Magneto did what he thought was right for mutantkind and Dr. Doom has made Latveria into an economic powerhouse and its civilians have some of the best living standards. Both classic villains but also more human than some heroes. 
 
If it is a villain like them two, yes would not be that far of a stretch to make them heroes. For a short time in case of Dr. Doom where Magneto could become a permanent member of the X-Men.

Posted by Roninidas

I like Ultimate Magneto.  That was pretty hardcore.   
 
I always liked Magneto because I can understand where he is coming from.  His points of veiw are always Rational.  Humans have always given him cause to be an extrememist.  I don't necessarily agree with the means in which he does it, but it is not like he doesn't have reason to be.   He survived the Holocaust he knows the hate of man all too well.

Posted by chalkshark
@leokearon:  All John Byrne did was draw the issue, & he was a fill-in artist ,at that. Louise Simonson was the writer.
Posted by chalkshark
@Bruce Vain: The problem with Magneto's motivation is that they're not his people. The mutant population has never lined up unanimously behind Magneto. He justifies his actions by stating that it's on their behalf, but no one ever asked Magneto to step up for them. He took  on that mission alone, by attacking an American military base, which prompted a contingent of "his" own people, the mutants collectively known as The X-Men, to put him down like a mad dog. It's only after he gets his head handed to him that he goes out & actively starts recruiting other mutants to his side. Two of whom, Quicksilver & The Scarlet Witch, immediately bail as soon as they realize what a scumbag Magneto actually is. Magneto has only ever been interested in amassing a power base for himself. If he really held the interests of the mutant population near & dear to his heart, he wouldn't be so concerned with making himself their king. He'd just help them.
Edited by MysterioMaximus

To be honest, without a shadow of a doubt I'd join Magneto before Xavier. One man’s terrorist is another’s liberator. Characters like Magneto, Ra’s Al Ghul, and Dr. Doom have had such an impact because they’re identifiable.  They’re made up of ambiguous grays, like real people. They’re human! While maniacs like Joker or Green Goblin undeniably have as large a role in pop culture, it’s for opposing reasons. That sort isn't sympathetic, they're not especially empathetic, they're almost a creature of myth and legend, inhuman in every way, representing one set emotion in its purest inherent form. But someone like Magneto or Doom believes more so in Darwinian beliefs and inherent nature over nurture. While absurdly boastful, they have room to be, whether their opposition admits it or not. They are superior! Is there truly anything ethically wrong with naturalistic beliefs? You do what's right for the species, not the individuals. After all, as the Joker in Batman (1989) says, although his motives weren't just, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs”. Add true and genuine reason to those sentiments and you get Erik or Victor. Sometimes maliciousness does play a role, but the underlying point is…it’s nothing personal for someone like Magneto. It’s just the way life is, one harsh mistress, and he’s evolutions facilitator.    

Posted by The WeatherMan

Magneto has already seen what can happen when someone singles out one race and channels everyone's hatred towards it. He survived the holocaust and he does not want the mutants to be a victim of such a horrible event. He believes he must be forceful and take over the humans before they start burning mutants in gas chambers. He doesn't see himself as a villian, but as a savior of mutant kind.
Edited by Lupine
@xerox-kitty said:

" Part of Magneto's lasting appeal is that he isn't 'evil' in the usual sense.  He's not psychotic like Green Goblin.  Instead, he has a reason, a sense of morality.  He believes in his cause, even though it's caused problems for his friends and family.  But I hate the recent renditon of him.  The pomposity towards other characters like Xavier, when he'd recently made peace with him in X-Men: Legacy just didn't make sense.  It didn't make sense to repower him.    Ultimately, it doesn't make sense to make him a tenuous ally.  The whole 'is he good' angle is a bit weak.  He's been good and bad like a yo-yo pretends to defy gravity.  It is on again & off again as frequent as Xavier's ability to walk.  Both feel like temporary plot twists until the next writer comes along and decides that they don't like what's been written before them...     "

I think that's just a problem of comics in general. Every time we change writers everyone wants a "new direction" it gets old; especially when the "new" direction is stuff that we've seen hundreds of times before. Or sometimes out right horrid writing (I'm looking at you Ghost Boxes). Nothing stays where it was or has any lasting appeal in the industry sometimes for this direct reason. I mean off the top of my head...the death of Captain America. How epic was that? How much news coverage did that get? And then when Bucky became Cap, everything just sort of fit; and now Steve's back. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome that he's back, but the return wasn't a great story to me and now it just sort of feels tacked on. Magneto as a hero tends to do the same, it has appeal and it could be interesting, but at the slightest breeze or writer opinion it's back to status quo and that's all status quo, even emotionally like when his reconciliation with Xavier in legacy just sort of got swept under the rug. Heck even Xavier's new out look on life from Legacy seems to just get brushed away when it's writer convenient. 
 
Enough with the ranting though. Personally I think Mags is gonna lead the X-men. I don't think Scott is jealous to tell the truth, I just think he takes Magneto with a dash of salt and he might be right to do so. Mags could very well become leader while having some sort of Dark Reign-esqe scheme in the background.
Posted by jstarzyk

I don't really think Magneto is a villain.  He's just out for his own agenda.  You don't always see what that agenda is from the outset.  That agenda has often pitted him against the X-Men, but it does not mean that he's solely a bad guy.  When his agenda aligns with that of the X-Men, he will work with them.  Those are also the reasons I don't think he would make a good leader of the X-Men: he's out for his own ideals.

Posted by Moomin123

I think Magneto is the best X-Men character of all but he's not what I'd call a hardcore villain. He sure is evil but he is still respectful to Prof. X and the X-Men despite their battles, plus, he was a Holocaust survivor so there's a reason for him to feel angry.
Posted by sora_thekey
@xerox-kitty said:
"Part of Magneto's lasting appeal is that he isn't 'evil' in the usual sense.  He's not psychotic like Green Goblin.  Instead, he has a reason, a sense of morality.  He believes in his cause, even though it's caused problems for his friends and family."

I agree, I believe that there's nothing wrong with him wanting was best for his people, he's just misguided. If he were really evil then he would shoot the Skrull queen take over SHIELD, make a super hero team with villains, be insane and create a war against gods! 
 
@G-Man: Great article by the way! It got me thinking on something. I did a blog post about my hypothesis on Kitty Pryde's role in Second Coming... 
If Magneto has an ulterior motive then maybe the results are: 
 
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Edited by SunnyD

I actually prefer Mags to Xavier.  To me, Xavier always seemed a bit of a hypocrite, always preaching about living peacefully with mankind and then sending his X-Men out to "fight evil" (when all they really seemed to do was blow stuff up and make things worse for mutants.)  I'm not saying that Magneto didn't cause a lot of destruction -because hey, let's face it, that's practically all he did - but at least he never claimed to take the road of peace while doing so.   
 
And hey, during the Mutant Massacre, wasn't it Magneto who made the deal with the Fantastic Four to save Kitty's life?  I guess it's kind of fitting to have him bring her home this time as well!        
Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd
@DarkSyde79: Wow you just made a REALLY good point there... Hold the earth to ransom? or utilise ALL THAT METAL to some Mutant  liberation sheme he's cookin up. With Mags you NEVER know..EXCEPT that the only constant bein he ALWAYS does these thingsf in the INTERESTS of Mutantkind
Posted by Ikkybooger

If Magneto has the power to bring Kitty back, why the hell didn't he do it before?

Posted by Joe Venom

I wouldn't trust him, he's an opportunist so Magnus being on Utopia while it is currently populated by (about) 90% of the mutants in the MU would be the smartest place for him to be if he was looking to put together a force needed for any future plans he has. Its easy to see that not every human on the island is hero material, few have even been Brotherhood members at some point, so im pretty sure that with little effort he could win some trust with some some them (if he wanted to), in fact I wouldn't mind reading a one shot where someone like Toad for example approaches Magneto and says something like," So, when do we make our move?" and Magnus respond as " What 'move' do you speak of?" and so on. Good or bad hes up to something and since he technically has the home field advantage it would be wise for "Slim" to keep an eye on Magnus because when the time is right he will take action.

Posted by Druid

Magneto is arrogant. He wouldn't consult with anyone concerning his plan of action unless it was necessary.

Posted by jonasLighter

Who says Magneto is/was evil?  Like all mutants, he was a normal human at one time. He knows the horrors of humankind. Hell, he experienced them first hand. Magneto is merely the flip side of Charles Xavier, two sides of the same coin. Magneto knows there can be no peace with people are willing to kill mutants as quickly as they would kill one another. In my book, that makes Magneto an extremist. Not evil.

Posted by Illyana Rasputin

Magneto's actions are always influenced by what he can achieve from it, regardless of how outwardly helpful or selfless it may seem. On another note, how has Kitty survived so long on that bullet?

Posted by goldenkey

he good then bad the good then bad then.....................
Posted by jordama

I love the fact that magneto thinks, "I'll bring the bullet back with Kitty" and not for 1 second does anyone say, yeah she might be dead in that bullet

Posted by G-Man
@Ikkybooger: 
In Wednesday's issue, it shows that he did know before but was...busy.

Staff
Posted by audiszayd
@G-Man: 
So this clears up the issue that Kitty has been in phased state since saving Earth.  She'll probably come back with more control over her ability or if it was just an effect from the "magic" bullet that kept her in that phased state for so long. Either way, We're all pretty curious on how she managed to stay alive this whole time without the basic needs for survival (food & water)...
Posted by Meteorite

Magneto will never truly be a hero. No matter what they try, some writer will always end up coming along at some point and turning him into a villain.

Edited by damswedon

Magneto isn't a bad guy, he knows that the mutant race is the future of mankind so they must come first.

Posted by Halberdierv2

simply put, magneto isnt evil, he's probably mad, explaining his odd methods of carrying out seemingly good motives.

Edited by CATMANEXE

you know, veering off his ethical stance a bit...
 
why hasnt the fact that he is repowered raised questions with not one of the other X-Men/mutants?
most of them knew he was depowered by Wanda. isnt finding a way to reactivated the x-gene...you
know, something the X-Men are concerned about?
 
@G-Man:
i like how HE is totally unaware that a bullet was recently phased through Earth (the planet he watches and studies 24/7) and unaware of Kitty Prydes powerset (given he studies and catalogs mutants).
Herbert must be getting cobwebs in the attic in his old age. thank you again Fraction for your wonderful characterizations and for doing the research as usual. lol.

Posted by DEGRAAF

i think characters like magneto could switch between hero and villain. Its like Lex Luthor, He wants to make sure humanity and Earth is safe (he also wants to make sure he is the one that saves those things) So he hates superman but they want the same thing
Posted by Edamame

Magneto has attacked and imprisoned his own people. Not living up to his saying that he is the savior for mutant kind, in my opinion.  I'll admit that he is not as extreme as Apocalypse is though. 

Posted by unbreakableburr

I'm worried that this will have the Buffy effect...

Posted by LT1085
@TheDarkHeart said:
" @LT1085:   The Spanish and other Inquisitions acted for what they believed in as well. "
What? Full thoughts please.
Posted by TheDarkHeart

 The post above was a reply to one of mine that I deleted. I’ll clear up my old statement before I start with the new.

Any group or person can justify their actions by saying/believing they are acting as a force of good. The Spanish and other Inquisitions did this; the people behind the Salem Witch Trials did this and we all know the Nazi’s did this, I’m sure other groups and individuals have done this as well, in fact I know they have. Evil actions justified as good because of the potential long term benefits just don’t ring as Good to me.

Now onto Magneto, not only was interred at Auschwitz but he was forced to help the prison guards murder other Jews more efficiently. This would leave deep emotional scarring on anyone. Then he finds out he’s a member of another ‘minority’ group that could be hunted to near extinction again only this time he has the power to do something about it, tremendous power.

Can I point my finger and blame him for using it, no. Do I think this makes him a good guy or even have the chance at redemption do to the vast number of past 'crimes against humanity' , no. Magneto is Magneto and the circumstances of his life have made him what he is. It’s that simple. 

Posted by JuGGlover

@Lupine said:

"@xerox-kitty said:

" Part of Magneto's lasting appeal is that he isn't 'evil' in the usual sense.  He's not psychotic like Green Goblin.  Instead, he has a reason, a sense of morality.  He believes in his cause, even though it's caused problems for his friends and family.  But I hate the recent renditon of him.  The pomposity towards other characters like Xavier, when he'd recently made peace with him in X-Men: Legacy just didn't make sense.  It didn't make sense to repower him.    Ultimately, it doesn't make sense to make him a tenuous ally.  The whole 'is he good' angle is a bit weak.  He's been good and bad like a yo-yo pretends to defy gravity.  It is on again & off again as frequent as Xavier's ability to walk.  Both feel like temporary plot twists until the next writer comes along and decides that they don't like what's been written before them...     "

I think that's just a problem of comics in general. Every time we change writers everyone wants a "new direction" it gets old; especially when the "new" direction is stuff that we've seen hundreds of times before. Or sometimes out right horrid writing (I'm looking at you Ghost Boxes). Nothing stays where it was or has any lasting appeal in the industry sometimes for this direct reason. I mean off the top of my head...the death of Captain America. How epic was that? How much news coverage did that get? And then when Bucky became Cap, everything just sort of fit; and now Steve's back. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome that he's back, but the return wasn't a great story to me and now it just sort of feels tacked on. Magneto as a hero tends to do the same, it has appeal and it could be interesting, but at the slightest breeze or writer opinion it's back to status quo and that's all status quo, even emotionally like when his reconciliation with Xavier in legacy just sort of got swept under the rug. Heck even Xavier's new out look on life from Legacy seems to just get brushed away when it's writer convenient.  Enough with the ranting though. Personally I think Mags is gonna lead the X-men. I don't think Scott is jealous to tell the truth, I just think he takes Magneto with a dash of salt and he might be right to do so. Mags could very well become leader while having some sort of Dark Reign-esqe scheme in the background. " 
 
Yes, exactly, I have only been into comics for a few months and I have noticed it all tends to be a big bs circle with no rules or regulations, any writer can do whatever they want basically, and that is a slap in the face to fans who pay money for something only to be running a rat wheel.  People deserve to be respected especially when they are paying for it, it seems only cash is king in comics in a fantasy industry where you would think the fantasy would be the most important part.


 

Edited by Gothic Storm

I'll use an old method of categorizing comic book characters and their alignments. In simpler terms, Magneto is what I consider chaotic evil... Now, you are probably scratching your head and thinking, "Dude, you have good and you have evil." Ah, but hear me out first. I will use DC and Marvel characters that are cut and dry as well as familiar to all fans here.
 
First we have from top to bottom: Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, and finally Lawful Evil. Superman and Captain America are what I consider Lawful Good. They fight for truth, justice, blah blah yawn. Batman and Punisher are what comes to my mind first when I think of Chaotic Good. They fight for the innocent in their own way... or their own brand of justice if you will. The 'Chaotic' part is that they do things their own way instead of always abiding by the law. Lawful Neutral would be a perfect way of explaining Marvel's The Watcher. He merely... watches. Chaotic Neutral describes Catwoman to a "T" (or is it "C"?). She will fight on either side, but ultimately (and when you least expect it!) she is on her own side. Chaotic Evil is perfect for sizing up the Joker since he will do anything for a laugh, especially when it comes to hurting innocents! Villains who are chaotic evil usually tend to do anything to get their way... even if it includes their race overtaking the human one.  Lawful evil is Darkseid, Dr. Doom, or Thanos through and through. These guys will stop at nothing to rule the world/universe. Magneto, in my opinion, falls into the Chaotic Evil category since he is doing what he believes is right, but will stop at nothing to see his dark vision through... And ultimately, as we've seen in the past, innocents will get hurt, even if it's his own family.
 
Ultimately, you really have to look at things from a different perspective. Magneto fights for what he believes in his heart is right. He believes that mutants should rule over humans. Do you believe this is chaotic good or chaotic evil? Is Magneto's vision really any better than Adolf Hitler's vision of a supreme race? This is why Magneto will always be a Villain in my book.

Posted by Japeto

Magneto is a deep character and very complex (that's why I love him) but sometimes he seems a good guy, sometimes ruthless and sometimes something in between. Personally I think he is not black or white he is more like gray, obviously he didn't bring back Kitty because he was having a good day but to show he had really changed for good. Can Magneto turn good? I think it is likely, maybe he has seen that all what he was sticking to in the past is not useful anymore and he thinks that he should take another path. Magento's redemption? It's possible.

Posted by G'bandit

In my eyes Magneto isn't evil.. All he ever wanted is to be able to free his race