Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Supervillains and Dirty Diapers.

Baby Magneto looks just plain cute sitting on the floor of the U.N. Building in his oversize helmet.

Baby Magneto? Yes, and chubby little baby Blob and baby Unus the Untouchable and baby Mastermind and pretty little baby Lorelie.

How, you might ask, did the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants end up quite literally living out a second childhood? It all begins in Defenders #15 (September 1974), when Doctor Strange receives a psychic message from Professor X. Magneto is planning something horrific and the X-Men are off on a mission. Can the Defenders help?

They can, so Dr. Strange, Nighthawk, Valkerie and Hulk, with Professor X in tow, head off to a remote area of the Southwest, where they confront Magneto and the Brotherhood in the process of using advanced alien technology to create the ultimate mutant.

A battle ensues, but the good guys are not able to stop the experiment. Defenders #16 shows us the
creation of Alpha, a 20-foot-tall mutant of obviously limited intelligence. He is indeed the ultimate mutant, with powers that evolve to do whatever he needs to do. For instance, after enduring one mystic blast from Dr. Strange, he is able to erect a force field to protect him from further attacks. He becomes stronger and tougher than the Hulk after getting punched once.

But, unfortunately for Magneto, Alpha is evolving in intelligence and moral fortitude as well as in raw power. Magneto uses Alpha to teleport to New York and kidnap the entire United Nations, levitating the U.N.
Building into the air. But Alpha begins to question the morality of these actions.

It all ends with Alpha basically switching sides, zapping the evil mutants back to infancy before zipping off into space to explore the universe.

The concept of the all-powerful being dealing with moral questions is a fairly common science fiction concept, but it's always a good one if done well. (Though these stories often imply that increased intelligence naturally brings increased morality--something that history and human nature have sadly disproved time and again.) Writer Len Wein constructs a good plot and keeps his entire cast in character. The art by Sal Buscema is good and the action flows along nicely.

It's also always nice to see a story that crosses over characters from other books without requiring you to buy those books just to get the entire story. Professor X's presence in the story and his motive for asking the Defenders for help are perfectly reasonably--it's another example of using a cohesive fictional universe to tell an entertaining story.

And the ending is really pretty cool. At the beginning of the review, I was making a little fun of it, but in the context of the story it works really well. Alpha doesn't just destroy the mutants he has come to realize are evil--instead, he gives them a second chance at life. A chance at redemption. It's a great ending.

But I can't help it. Baby Magneto is just so cute. I have to wonder, though. How do you change diapers on Unus the Untouchable?


  1. in X-Men #104 Magneto is returned to adulthood from being a baby, or a four year old, I forget which... is this when that happened? How did the other mutants get returned to adulthood? And how on Earth did Magneto get returned with his memory intact?

  2. Comic Book Science has an explanation for everything. Actually, I don't remember how they re-booted the whole baby thing--I'll have to take a look at the appropriate Essentials volume when I have a chance.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...