cover image X-Men: Magneto Testament

X-Men: Magneto Testament

Greg Pak, . . Marvel, $24.99 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-7851-3823-5

It takes a lot of nerve to use the Holocaust as setting for a superhero story, but villain/antihero Magneto’s background requires it, and the story by Pak and DiGiandomenico carries out the idea with respect. The boy who would become Magneto is Max Eisenhardt, smart and athletic, living with his family in Germany in 1935. He watches in horror as the Germans invade Poland, prompting his family to flee; he sees them killed, like thousands of others; he takes his place as a worker in a concentration camp. But all the while, it nags at him that he should be fighting back, and his father’s admonition to wait for the moment, “a time when everything lines up, when anything is possible, when suddenly you can make things happen” rings in his head, as does the face of the girl he has always loved, a girl who has ended up in a Gypsy camp, fated for extermination. This is an inherently powerful story, handled with grace and care, delivered in a haunting, painterly style—and filled with historical information and context. Extensive back pages include a teacher’s guide to using this series in the classroom. (June)