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. 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 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 time we’re diving into the fourth issue of X-Men: The Trial of Magneto by Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, David Messina, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles where we get a whole bunch of Wandas, there are still magical Kaijus to deal with, and we actually return to the whole investigation and murder mystery that got things started.
Also, fair warning now, this is an in-depth discussion of the issue. That does mean there be spoilers ahead!
Scott Redmond: Well it’s definitely been a while since we were last doing this, a couple of holidays have come and gone. Feels good to be back though. Works out quite nicely that this issue basically does a backtrack of sorts at the start, to fill in some gaps, that actually works as a bit of a recap. Compared to the last issue, which we summed up basically as a mid-story transition type of deal, there is some actual movement to the overall plot again and as noted above we get back to the whole actual murder thing (albeit as the cliffhanger ending). That being said, this really should have been like a weekly series or mega-sized three-parter or hell even an OGN (Original Graphic Novel) or something. I have some specific thoughts that pertain to the way that Wanda’s guilt and issues are dealt with here, but first off how did you feel about this issue overall?
Oh also, props on nailing the nature of the Kaiju in our column for the last issue.
Tony Thornley: Even though I guessed it, the action of this issue really only makes my guess last month feel half right. What a fascinating move forward for Wanda and mutantkind.
Scott: Before we get too deep into things, let’s give some props to the artistic side of the team. They’re doing a solid job bringing things to life especially since this series is bouncing around a couple of realms and often is a lot of people standing around talking or emoting at one another, outside of the bits of fight action here or there. This issue had more of that so they got to cut loose a bit. There are some really stunning pages here like the one with the healing three Wandas, where Delgado nails the softer more ethereal colors to match the energy given off by the overall art. It’s not a slight on anyone, but the artwork shifting between pages is a bit more noticeable this time but not in a bad way.
Tony: Yeah, I like it when, if they need multiple pencillers, they make the shifts feel organic. That clicked pretty well here.
So one thing I really dug is that Williams essentially ties Wanda to myth here. The three-in-one imagery we get with her really evokes Hecate, a goddess of magic and spells. Though she was usually portrayed as a single being, she also had three aspects. Seeing the young heroine, the experienced Avenger, and the aged witch merged as the singular witch by the end of the issue shows that not only is this a stronger overall Wanda, but it’s a Scarlet Witch who can work with the X-Men to move past her bogeyman status.
I’m actually very interested to see about the tease at the beginning of the issue. Wiccan tells X-Factor (before everything else goes down) that the metal that Eye Boy detected could have been mystically enchanted. That changes everything, but who could the culprit then be? I can’t think of any wizards or magic users we saw at the Gala outside of Strange and Wanda herself. Can you?
Scott: None that are coming to mind, unless we’re about to find out that someone has been using their new life in paradise to begin dabbling in magic for just such an occasion.
On that note, I will say that the overall mystery aspect of this mystery story isn’t hitting as much as it seemed to at the beginning for this very reason. That as we go into the finale the field is still infinitely wide open as to who the culprit could be. We sort of noted this with the third issue that there were tons more questions being thrown out with very little being offered as potential answers. While we got some answers here to Wanda’s situation overall, the whole mystery aspect and anything that might have dwindled our list of suspects down seemed to fall by the wayside. What do you think about the mystery overall at this point?
Tony: Yeah, this isn’t a mystery and it isn’t a Magneto story. This is almost like the final chapter- drawing the line in the sand, this far and no further- of the Scarlet Witch story that started in ‘Avengers Disassembled’… 15 years ago? (Shit, has it really been that long?!)
Honestly, before HOXPOX, that story felt settled, but making Wanda a bogeyman to a mutant nation made sense. Then Hickman showed that there was more to it than that in Empyre: X-Men and Al Ewing showed that Magneto still considered her a daughter… This feels like a natural conclusion to the point that I wonder if Wanda is going to be a big part of Destiny of X? It would make sense to me.
Scott: As I mentioned near the start, I have some very specific thoughts when it comes to Wanda’s big moments here and her move towards seemingly finally being healed of what a handful of creators did to her over 15 years ago. As a noted giant Wanda fan (go ahead check our first column for this series, I mentioned it there!) I am glad to see the merging that you noted earlier, and what seems to be her path to being healed and fully returning to who she always could and should have been.
That being said, it turned me off a bit that what spurred it on was her being yelled at by more men again. Sure it was her sons making an emotional plea, but they were yelling at her in a negative way that spurred her to want to do better and led to her taking back control. As a scene in a vacuum it would probably not stand out as much, but next to all the other scenes over her history of men, from family to friend to foe, yelling at her or demanding things from her just makes it not sit right for me.
Tony: That’s a good point, and I don’t think you’re wrong. That’s another thing that makes me wonder about editorial being involved- this is from Leah Williams, one of the best writers at the moment for emotional redemptive arcs. Hell, she made me like Magik and Daken, two characters that I was incredibly cool on prior to Williams writing them. So to have that moment feel so… Unempathetic to the story’s lead… It was strange.
Scott: So very true. There are a lot of things within these issues so far that sort of feel that way. Honestly, this somewhat reminds me of AXIS in one particular sense. Just like that event, this feels like it was clearly meant to be the next arc of a regular series (X-Factor in this case) but got bumped up to event status meaning it had to sort of expand in ways that perhaps were not the original plan.
Final thoughts on this issue?
Tony: I didn’t dislike it, but this one is going to read better in the trade, I think. But we are going to go straight from this to Inferno this upcoming Wednesday. Going to be an interesting follow-up.
Scott: I think you are 100% correct on both accounts, we’re in for some very interesting times.
We’re almost to the finish line for this one! Just one final issue to go, where presumably all the questions the series spent time throwing out will be answered. Up next we’ll actually be diving into the third issue of Inferno, the other mysterious question-filled stand-alone X-Men event going on.