Published December 26, 2017

X-Men: Blue Face the Old School Magneto

Cullen Bunn on the team encountering the Master of Magnetism in the past.

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Most of the time it’s pretty safe to assume that when you travel in time, you should expect some drama. What new challenges will the Original Five X-Men face in X-MEN BLUE #20 on January 24, as they encounter an old-school version of Magneto, their former nemesis turned current day ally? We caught up with writer Cullen Bunn to find out. Will encountering Magneto as they travel to the past cause the X-Men to doubt their decision to team up with him in the present? Will it remind them of all the reasons he was originally their enemy?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, absolutely! The X-Men will be seeing a very different side of Magneto. This is the Magneto who wants to conquer the world, to see mutants rule over humanity. I’m not sure this will make them doubt their decisions, but it will reaffirm why they joined Magneto in the first place. They signed up with Magneto so they could be there if and when he finally snaps and goes to the dark side. They might see some hints of the “kinder, gentler” Magneto, too. Those personality traits are always there. But this also shows that the darkness, the rage, is always there, too. On the other hand, will knowing that their relationship with Magneto changes in the present impact the ability or willingness of the X-Men to fight him as they travel through time? Will they feel more reluctant knowing that he allies with them in the future/present?

Cullen Bunn: I think they might be reluctant to fight Magneto, knowing that they will someday be allies. But…who says they’ll be fighting AGAINST Magneto in the past? At least this time around, they may be siding with Magneto. Now, if you’re talking about will traveling to the future and living with the modern X-Men make them reluctant to battle Magneto if and when they return home…well…we’re addressing that a bit in this arc. A key point of this arc is that if the Original Five do anything different in the past, it will upset the present. With that in mind, they MUST fight Magneto, just as they did in the past.

And here’s a real twist of the knife:

Maybe the Original Five in the past fought Magneto in their earliest encounters BECAUSE they know how he’ll end up in the future and they need to guide him to that moment.

X-Men: Blue #20 Magneto has always seemed like a character who, at least some of the time, has relatable motivations for what he does. He’s not just a one-dimensional bad guy. So seeing him at these different points in his personal history could kind of bring to light that internal tension that we’ve seen over the years.

Cullen Bunn: True. One of the things that makes Magneto interesting to me is that he IS a villain. He’s done some terrible things. But because of all the horrible experiences he’s had, we can almost understand why he does what he does. What’s scary about Magneto is that right now he is acting somewhat “heroically” but if he really dwells on all the awfulness that has surrounded him, he might just swing back into his rage and darkness. It’s not a matter of it, really, but of when. What do you think Magneto of the past would think of Magneto of the present and vice versa?

Cullen Bunn: The Magneto of the past would likely not understand the motivations of the Magneto of the present. He might be wondering what the angle is, because he would assume that there is one.

The Magneto of the present might look back at his past and feel a bit of remorse… but he might also know that everything he’s done has been for the good of mutantkind, and he might feel some comfort in that, some resolve. That life… those decisions… make him who he is today and may inform his choices for what comes next. Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Cullen Bunn: Coming out of this story, we’re going to be seeing a lot of the plot lines I’ve been seeding over the course of the series will start to bear fruit. One of those threads will address the Original Five’s concerns that Magneto might one day “go bad” once more.


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