Cullen Bunn has a history of writing comics that accentuate horror elements within different genres: The Damned is a gangster drama, The Sixth Gun is a western, and Helheim is a swords-and-sorcery fantasy epic. (All three of those titles are published by Oni Press.) Bunn’s insight into the darker aspects of his characters has led to him writing two different solo series spotlighting supervillains, Magneto and Sinestro, with the former emphasizing the atmosphere, tension, and terror that has made his work at Oni stand out.
Teaming with artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta and colorist Jordie Bellaire (with impressive fill-in art by Javier Fernandez), Bunn has made Erik Lehnsherr’s righteous mission of mutant salvation one of the most fascinating character journeys in today’s superhero comics. Each issue flashes back to key moments in Magneto’s life, events that have pushed him to the righteous mass murder he commits in the name of fallen mutants everywhere. Bunn has succeeded at the difficult task of making the reader sympathize with a bloodthirsty killer; this is a man who has survived the genocide of his people twice, and he’ll do anything to prevent that from happening again.
Walta has done remarkable work depicting the small town locations that Magneto hides away in on his cross-country murder spree, and a Google image search of Saranac Lake, New York reveals just how dead-on his recreation of the city is. That detail adds to the gruesome horror for moments when Magneto unleashes his full power, like the chilling two-page spread in this exclusive preview of next week’s Magneto #5, which also spotlights Jordie Bellaire’s intense color palette. (Also included is an unlettered version of that spread from this week’s “Sunday Conversation” with Bellaire at Comic Book Resources, a great interview discussing the coloring process and Bellaire’s ongoing crusade for gender equality in the industry.)