Reign of X was the second movement within the Krakoan era.

It more or less started after X of Swords and was capped off with Inferno and the end of Jonathan Hickman’s tenure with the X-Men. It was a fairly busy time for the mutants, continuing on many of the plot threads from the initial spate of books and expanding further afield, crossing over into the broader Marvel Universe a few times. Tying in to major events like King in Black. And the Last Annihilation crossover. Or the brilliant Hellfire Gala. Even giving them a whole planet this go around.

Yet it was one of the smaller series that was one of my favourites. Full of humour and an interesting premise of the team serving as detectives to find out missing mutants to verify the resurrection queue. Leah Williams, David Baldeon, & co.’s X-Factor. Which led into one of that period’s key plotlines in its own series.

Ah. I see. You think I killed Wanda.”

Trail of Magneto

X-Men – The Trial of Magneto by Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, David Messina, Edgar Delgado, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller was originally meant to be an arc in X-Factor. Unfortunately, that book was cancelled, but the idea lived on in a limited series. It’s one part murder mystery, one part character redemption arc, and one part bizarre kaiju action. Spinning out of the end of the Hellfire Gala event, Scarlet Witch’s body was found and, well, then looked at Magneto first as the prime suspect. Chaos ensued.

While the story starts out as a whodunit, it morphs fairly quickly into an accusation and condemnation of Magneto. Especially as the Avengers show up. There’s not really much of a trial. You can argue that it’s messy, but I feel that’s part of the point of the story. While we do find out what happened, I feel like the reintegration and redemption of the Scarlet Witch is the more important point. Themes of dealing with guilt and responsibility echo across the tale. And of Magneto’s complicated family, including great character moments from Polaris.

The art from Lucas Werneck, David Messina, and Edgar Delgado is quite good. Werneck handles the lion’s share of the line art with a style not too dissimilar to the Immonen-inspired style prevalent through Krakoan era artists, but with a bit more grit to it. Some scratchy shadows that set him apart and gorgeous faces. It’s also fascinating to see the variety of costumes on display, including thematic changes in Magneto’s wardrobe as the story progresses. Messina has a thicker-lined, more angular style, though not jarring in comparison. His kaiju monsters are incredible. With Delgado’s colours making everything beautiful.

There’s a bit of a departure for the lettering and text pages here, though still consistent with the overall design of the era. Clayton Cowles uses a bit more all caps fonts (granted the characters are yelling, so it makes sense). And the text pages eschew the usual X-page design elements. Again, making sense here because many of them are dealing with Wanda’s chaos magic and experiences.

Well, then. This should be interesting.”

I know that folks will point out other great stories during this period. What with Way of X really diving deep in to the three core tenets of Krakoa’s founding, SWORD sending mutants into space and beyond, the compelling corner of the universe that Benjamin Percy was carving out in Wolverine and X-Force, Hellions, Children of the Atom, and more that I’ve mentioned earlier. The relaunch of X-Men leading into the next movement of the Krakoan era. All of them are valid choices and underline all of the bits of magic that were continuing to be crafted here.

X-Men – The Trial of Magneto from Williams, Werneck, Messina, Delgado, Cowles, and Muller continued on part of what I loved from the earlier X-Factor series and gave us a resolution to the Scarlet Witch story that blew up decades earlier in House of M. All while deepening the pool to who could come back.

Trial of Magneto

Classic Comic Compendium: X-Men – The Trial of Magneto

X-Men – The Trial of Magneto
Writer: Leah Williams
Artists: Lucas Werneck & David Messina
Colourist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 9 2022 (collection) | August 18 – December 22 2021 (original issues)
Available collected in X-Men – The Trial of Magneto and Trials of X – Volumes 1 & 2

Read past entries in the Classic Comic Compendium!