Marvel’s X-Men may be led by Professor X, but he could learn a thing or two from Magneto about how to make his young students feel welcome.
Warning: contains major spoilers for Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1!
Magneto is typically portrayed as a villain with a sympathetic cause, but Professor X could learn a few things from him. Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 features a story that stars the Master of Magnetism and Bobby Drake. In it, the supervillain proves that he’s rather successful at making mutants who feel extra isolated less lonely.
Bobby Drake, better known as Iceman, came out as gay in 2015. He’s been one of the more popular X-Men, making him one of Marvel’s most popular LGBTQIA+ characters. In a new story within Marvel’s Pride month anthology special, Iceman is shown feeling like more of an outsider than normal. His identity gives him reason to feel even more different than he already is, but the good news is that there is comfort on its way – from a very unexpected source.
“Early Thaw” is a story created by Anthony Oliveira, Javier Garrón, and David Curiel. It sees Bobby trying to come to terms with who he is and how he feels. His fear of being himself is heartbreaking, but the story turns out to be very uplifting and sweet – all because of Magneto. The X-Men’s iconic antagonist is typically shown being destructive, but he also has moments like this where fans can tell that he understands what it’s like to be an outsider – that he truly wants the world to be better even if he doesn’t always go about it in the best way.
On his way to a confrontation with Professor X, Magneto happens to see Bobby by himself, crying. Abandoning his missiles, he stops and strikes up a conversation with the young man. Magneto provides comforting words and takes the time to just sit with Bobby and provide him with companionship. This supervillain isn’t known for being a mentor or a teacher and often leads destructive rebellions against human oppressors, seeking change through violence. This moment is very different, however. It shows just how effective Magneto can be at being a force for good and a future that he might have had were things different.
Despite coming to the school with the specific intention of causing a disturbance, Magneto realizes that some battles are bigger than others. Fighting with Professor X is not as important as making a young mutant feel more comfortable with who they are. Magneto also acknowledges that even though he himself is different because he is a mutant, his differences are not the same. Nonetheless, he does his best to bridge the gap and it is a truly beautiful, heartwarming moment. The X-Men have always been a symbol for those who feel different and this story exemplifies why’s important. They don’t simply offer a reflection of society and exclusion – they offer the inspiration for Marvel fans to be part of the solution and to remain hopeful.
Charles Xavier may be the leader of the school, but Magneto is an excellent teacher too. He may not choose to be this calm and helpful all the time, but if he did, Xavier’s Institute would have some of the most welcoming mutants in the Marvel universe. Should Magneto change his villainous ways for good and ever want to get involved in mentoring mutant youth, Professor X should hire him. Magneto knows how to make these youth feel comfortable in their own skin – more so than Professor X does at times.
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