SPOILERS for X-Men Blue #34 by Cullen Bunn, Marcus To, and Matt Milla follow.
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was founded by Magneto. The group was the X-Men's first real enemies but was relatively short-lived. Magneto's children - Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch - reformed and joined the Avengers. Magneto tried to recruit new mutants to his cause, but the Brotherhood was never quite the same under his leadership.
Mystique formed a new Brotherhood. That team eventually became the government-sponsored team known as Freedom Force. She'd later form new iterations of the Brotherhood, as would former founding member Toad. Most recently, the mind-controlling mutant Mesmero formed another Brotherhood. It was later revealed that the members his group were in his thrall, all under the orders and payment of a mutant-hating politician.
But now the Brotherhood is back for real, and Magneto has returned as their leader.
Cullen Bunn has been telling a grand Magneto story since 2014 when Marvel launched a Magneto ongoing series. Bunn painted Magneto as a mutant Punisher, using his mutant gifts to torture and murder without remorse those who would harm mutants.
Bunn continued this story in the relaunched Uncanny X-Men series in 2016. With mutants under threat of extinction from the M-Pox epidemic, Magneto formed his own team of X-Men. This team featured members and used methods that would be more at home with the Brotherhood. These included former Brotherhood members Sabretooth and Mystique. The X-Man Psylocke was also a part of the team, though she as there mostly to keep Magneto in line.
After the X-Men's war with the Inhumans, the threat of M-Pox passed and Magneto's tactics became harder to justify or tolerate. The X-Men needed to rebuild their public reputation, so Psylocke took unilateral action. She thought she had killed Magneto, but he was rescued by allies with healing abilities.
In X-Men Blue, Magneto went off the grid in Madripoor and was secretly training his old enemies, the time-displaced original five X-Men. These X-Men only knew Magneto as a villain and a terrorist, so it was strange that they would ally himself with them. A recent issue revealed the moment Magneto asked Jean Grey for the X-Men to join him. He let Jean read his mind and see the turmoil and violence inside. The real reason he wanted the young X-Men with him was to keep him from reverting to his villainous ways.
But then Magneto time-traveled 20 years into the future to escape an attack. He found a city in ruins and statues of himself all around. He was greeted by mutants who saw him as a savior. He was also greeted by the time-displaced X-Men, who say Magneto is beyond redemption and that they should have stopped him when they had the chance.
When Magneto returns to his own time, he decides it's time to stop pretending. He knows who he is, what he is, and he feels that being that person, that monster, is necessary for mutants to survive. His trip to the future assured him of that.
In this issue's closing pages, Magneto dons his classic red and purple costume. He steps onto his restored base, New Asteroid M, and calls upon his new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Standing over Magneto's left shoulder is Exodus, Bennet du Paris. Exodus is an immortal mutant with powerful psychic powers. He is one of Magneto's most devoted followers.
Over Magneto's right should Amelia Voght, one of Charles Xavier's former lovers who never bought into Professor X's philosophies. Instead, she joined the Acolytes, a group of mutants religiously devoted to Magneto. She can turn herself into mist and teleport and has been one of Magento's most powerful allies in the past.
The golden boy in the corner is Josh Foley, aka Elixir. A former student at Xavier's School, Foley can heal with one hand and poison with the other. He never quite fit in with other students at Xavier's and has followed a darker path since leaving the school.
Standing beneath Voght and Elixir is Briar Raleigh, a human character introduced by Bunn in the Magneto solo series. Raleigh was injured during one of Magneto's terrorist attacks and became fascinated by him. She was part of a subculture of villain followers until she met Magneto. They've had a complex relationship ever since, spanning Bunn's runs on Magneto, Uncanny X-Men, and X-Men Blue.
Beneath Exodus is Marrow, who also goes by Sarah. Marrow can grow and pull bone blades from her body. Marrow grew up a sewer-dwelling Morlock and has always distrusted humans and even other mutants on the surface. For a time she was a member of the X-Men and later X-Force, but has since gone her own way.
At the bottom is Toad, one of Magneto's original Brotherhood recruits and one of the group's most frequent rejoiners. For a time, Toad had seemingly turned his life around, working as a janitor at the Jean Grey School and entering a relationship with the X-Man called Husk. Then he fell on hard times and attacked and nearly killed the time-displaced Cyclops. He got involved with the Mothervine project, which enhanced his mutation. Toad already had incredible reflexes, agility, and strength, plus an elongated, prehensile tongue. Now that tongue can also set people on fire.
This seems to be the conclusion of Bunn's Magneto saga and drives home everything the writer has been saying about the character for years. It also marks Magneto's return to clear-cut villainy after being a member or ally of the X-Men for the better part of a decade.
This story is likely to be picked up in X-Men Black: Magneto in October. The one-shot (one of five focusing on different X-Men villains) is being written by Chris Claremont. Claremont is the writer most responsible for developing Magneto into the nuanced character he is today.
Whether this new Brotherhood has a role to play in the "X-Men: Disassembled" arc in the November relaunch of Uncanny X-Men is unknown.3comments
What do you think of Magneto's new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants? Let us know in the comments!
X-Men Blue #34 is on sale now. X-Men Black: Magneto goes on sale Oct. 3rd.