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X-Position: A X-Men Podcast #3: Enter Magneto & Deadly Reunions

"...But for some, a war is never over." Creatively, one of the most contentious elements in the making of X-Men: TAS was the decision to forestall the first appearance of Magneto until after the series premiere. As the X-Men's greatest rival, his omission was viewed by many within Marvel as starting the show off on the wrong foot. In retrospect, this choice would prove to be another win for the production team in their commitment to a specific vision of the X-Men on screen. Having put in the work of clearly defining the human-mutant conflict -- and its stakes established as nothing short of life-or-death -- the path was paved for the other side of the equation to be introduced. Suddenly, with our heroes' necks under the oppressive jackboot of human bigotry, Magneto's philosophy of mutant supremacy begins to look a lot more sympathetic. But make no mistake, this is a decidedly terroristic depiction of Magneto, a controversial figure whose motives and personality have varied enormously since his 1963 comics introduction. Can his actions in this two-parter be reconciled with the nobility that has also come to define more contemporary presentations of the character? To the show's credit, it embraces, rather than shies away from this question. In strategically and tastefully navigating Broadcast Standards and Practices, the show is able to preserve the traumatic backstory and shared history with Professor Xavier so crucial to Magneto's fundamental being, without explicit reference to real-world events. The duality of conflicts set up by Sabretooth's simultaneous intro and treatment by Xavier in contrast to the re-emergence of his old foe is likewise impressive. Also appreciated is the renewed focus on Beast's plight, not forgotten since his capture last episode, which serves as a logical springboard for Magneto's introduction. All in all, it's an underrated, brilliantly written pair of episodes, hitting all the right notes for a major debut and crafting a compelling portrait of one of comics' greatest characters. Join us for this continued examination of X-Men: The Animated Series, proudly presented by Jennifer Smith, Tim Capel, and "Dark Keithie" Langston.


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