The Mutants’ Court: The Mystery Deepens In ‘X-Men: Trial Of Magneto’ #2

by Scott Redmond

Hear ye, hear ye, The Mutants’ Court is now in session! Comicon.com’s new column is dedicated to covering the massive events of Marvel’s X-Men line (at least through the end of the year). With X-Men: The Trial of Magneto and Inferno running concurrently through the end of the year, we wanted to do something a little different. So for the next four months, Comicon’s resident X-perts, Scott Redmond and Tony Thornley are going to take you through the ins and outs of these two Krakoa-shattering events!

This week, the Avengers come a calling in the majorly twisty second issue of X-Men: The Trial of Magneto by Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles. Prime murder suspect Magneto is under wraps (or is he?) as Earth’s mightiest heroes come to collect one of their own for their first official visit to Krakoa. The X-Men and X-Factor must hold back Krakoa’s most sacred secrets as a wrench is thrown into their investigations.

Also, fair warning now, this is an in-depth discussion of the issue. That does mean there be spoilers ahead!

Scott Redmond: Whoa, just whoa. Williams sure knows how to draw a reader in with quieter character moments before dropping an M. Night Shyamalan-worthy twist to cap everything off. I have to say the X-Men and Avengers actually bonding and having some great moments together that aren’t them sniping and trying to tear each other down was so damn good. I miss the good old days (I sure don’t sound old) when the heroes actually got along rather than fighting one another every other week. 

Tony Thornley: You know, I don’t think anyone expected that this series would secretly be a sequel to 1987’s X-Men vs the Avengers but here we are. This was so much fun, but there were a LOT of layers to it. It’s easy to read this as a simple adventure story. There wasn’t quite as much in the way of clues and hints as there was in #1, but it’s clear that we’re just starting to scratch the surface.

Plus along the way we get some much-needed family drama.

Scott: We have to make sure to really give this art team props again because this is another all-around fantastic issue. From the relaxed Magneto telepathic “dream sequence” to the wonderful choice to give the Avengers a re-created House of X style tour of Krakoa, it all just works. Werneck has such a clean and detailed style, his figures having such a life to them, and fits a superhero-like book 100%. Just like the last issue, there are those really stunning pages that take things even further, like that aforementioned opening Magneto scene. Paired with Delgado’s colors gives it all even more weight, with that nice mix of bright comic book colors with some hints of shadow/darkness to them.

Tony: I enjoyed what they did here. We got nods to HOX. We got some MC Escher. A few homages to X-Factor’s David Baldeon. All around, great visuals.

Scott: So the main selling point to the issue was the Avengers coming to Krakoa for Wanda’s body, marking the hero team’s first journey to the X-Men’s new home. While the groups have had their major disputes in the past, it is kind of mind-boggling that a lot of other forces (some not so friendly) have been to Krakoa well before the Avengers. I appreciate how Leah easily juggled the Avengers and X-Men moments with X-Factor still investigating and Hope/Xavier mentally going at Magneto before giving us another pretty massive fight scene to top it off before the crazy twist. That twist being Wanda or someone appearing to be Wanda just walking right out and kissing Vision and talking about getting back to normal. 

What are we thinking about this twist as well as the bits of clues that were sprinkled into the issue, hell even the bizarre way that Hope is acting?

Tony: The issue could be split into two parts. Now, the tour and protecting the resurrection protocols, that’s fascinating stuff. It’s pretty obvious why they are protecting the protocols. Their allies (superheroic and political) are unlikely to take it well and question why it’s not being shared. Their enemies could use it as a target in several different ways.

In fact, this being a plot point for both X-Men and now Trial makes me think that the protocols are about to get outed publicly. So what will that mean? Will the Five have to go underground? Will Scott and Jean’s team have to relocate back to Krakoa? Will there be a new book in January exclusively about protecting the Five?

Scott: Oh yeah, things are clearly about to hit multiple fans in the ensuing months (one of the ways of course we’ll be covering in this column, Inferno– out on September 29th!). I can’t imagine that the rest of the MU, heroes/villains or civilians alike, will take it quite well that mutants have figured out how to cheat death for just themselves. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to see more of a backlash in the MU period from the civilians about how heroes/villains always get to beat death, while the ‘normals’ have to suffer it without any possibility of second, third, or tenth chances. 

Tony: And back to what you mentioned, the back half of the book. Suddenly the moment Xavier leaves, “Hope” wakes up Magneto and demands that no one touches Wanda’s body. This kicks off the fight you mentioned- first against the X-Men, then against the Avengers. 

Now, I continue to love how Williams writes Lorna. She probably gets Lorna better than any writer ever has. We see her get to drop truth bombs and reveal that she’s now DOCTOR Lorna Dane, Ph.D. Hell yeah. Even better, this is entirely during a fight with her dad.

But then it gets ugly with the Avengers and that killer twist happens. It’s clear not all is as it seems. You notice I put Hope in quotes up there and I’ll do the same with “Wanda” who shows up mid-battle. Something is fishier than a Long John Silvers up in here, and the only clue we have right now is that it’s definitely not Mystique.

What do you think is happening here?

Scott: I fully agree, this and X-Factor are the best Lorna content that we’ve gotten in a really far too long time. Big applause for dropping that education bomb on her dad, put him in his place, Lorna!

Yeah, there is definitely some third party that is pulling strings like a real shady puppeteer. That was not Hope, not one bit. This is really starting to feel quite personal on all levels, someone or something that wants to stick it to Magneto and Wanda especially. We’ve bounced Exodus name around in the last column & our pre-column conversations, which does make a lot of sense with the whole constantly telling scary campfire stories about Wanda any chance he gets. Yet, making a fully fake I would assume clearly tangible Wanda deception is out of his skill set. Seems pretty certain (unless the next issue disputes this) it’s not a psychic projection, like Emma’s hiding of Arbor Magna, since Jean is there and would pick that up. So many wild possibilities of who or what it could be, another shapeshifter or a robot or alternate reality duplicate, or who knows what else. 

This book is definitely keeping us on our toes, at this point I don’t even know if up is still up and down is still down. That’s a good place to be in a mystery I think. 

Tony: The only thing that holds me back on our Exodus theory is how much of a non-entity he’s been in this story. Plus these events point towards psychic manipulation to me- which is an ability Exodus does not have. It’s also not Mystique, since Williams and Werneck make the point of showing her watching the throwdown. I’m normally good at guessing these things, but Williams has me stuck here.

Scott: Another wild aspect is how quickly Magneto turns from the vicious old school Magneto, to begging to be arrested and confessing to the murder. Clearly, as we have already discussed, he’s not looking to be the culprit but who or what could break him in such a way that he’s willing to throw everything away to fight and then try to be taken in for a crime? A crime that could potentially get him tossed in the hole. Is it all just because he wants to protect and return Wanda, or are we thinking there is something else at play here?

Tony: Could it really be as simple as what we see on the surface is what’s happening? Did Magneto suffer a psychotic break? It almost seems like it here, with the return of his Mutant Genesis-era personality. I feel like all the clues are right in front of us and we’re just not seeing them. So we’re a little closer, but the actual return of Wanda at the end here definitely throws a wrench in the works.

So any final thoughts?

Scott: I mean if there is anyone that was bound to hit a point of a mental break, Magneto was probably at the top of the list with all he’s been through so that might track. Overall I’m very satisfied with how this is going, and the great character moments and work makes me fine with the fact that two issues in we’re still not that close to knowing just what has happened yet. I tend to get antsy sometimes with drawn-out mysteries, but not here. I got my desired X-Men/Avengers acting cordial to one another cake that I’ve been waiting years for, so I’m quite content. 

I’m just going to pull a Pup Named Scooby-Doo and keep declaring it’s Red Herring behind the crime until I’m inevitably proven wrong.

So that wraps us up this week, with all those dangling mysteries & twists, but we’ll be back in two weeks to talk about the first issue of Inferno where the previously mentioned Mystique might be burning everything down! After that, we’ll be back on the case in just over a month for the third issue of The Trial Of Magneto, where I’m sure nothing unexpected will happen. 

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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