The Krakoan Era of X-Men comics has done tremendous work invigorating, resetting, creating, and returning characters. Magneto is the only major character in the franchise to die a Permanent Death. How could one of Krakoa’s founders and a principal X-Men character be taken off the board indefinitely? Moreover, why?
Magneto’s journey across this era mimics a full day. House of X & Powers of X are the dawn of his new epoch. He awakens, rinses himself clean of his past, and heads out into the world as a New God. From there, he spends the bulk of the daytime adjusting to Krakoa and its ramifications for his people, his family, and himself. During the daytime of his Krakoan story, Magneto tries to “build something…A great work. The great work” as he later tells Fisher King. That day at work is hard, harder than he imagines and, as dusk settles in, Magneto is left “shattered to pieces.” The evening of Magneto’s tale sees the breakdown of his triumvirate with Moira and Charles, the Trial he endures with his family, and the loss of trust between himself and his fellow Mutant. At night, Magneto lays down to rest but “[he does] not fear a life that ends” because he has raised up a new generation of political leaders to carry on and improve his legacy should he not wake from his sleep.
He did not wake.
That is how Magneto was taken off the board, but the reason why is more subjective. The Krakoan Era has revealed a lot about the three “traditional” leaders of Mutantkind that form the Autumn Seats of the Quiet Council: Apocalypse revealed his true self, [A], and the deep Mutant history that comes with him; Xavier has allowed power and secrets to reveal the depths of his narcissism and egomania; and Magneto struggles between his classic self (vicious, egomaniacal, and grandiose) and his best self (familial, heroic, and commemorative). His best self wins out in the end.
Since his story has come to a close, for now, I wanted to develop a comprehensive reading order for Magneto. Each issue below characterizes Magneto and his relationship with various characters. To that end, I have marked each issue with “thematic signifiers” to help guide reading. “Founders” marks issues that focus on Magneto and Prof. X and/or Moira X. Often, these issues demonstrate Magneto out front as statesman with Prof X., working in the shadows with the founding triumvirate, or both. Issues marked “Family” illuminate the complex familial relationships between Magneto and his relatives. Over the course of the Krakoan Era, his relationships with his daughters are an absolute treat, highlighting the importance of healing intergenerational trauma, and demonstrating the diversity of familial relationships people may have. While not family, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and eventually Legion and Hope are marked as “Heirs” to Magneto’s name. They aren’t simply leaders of Mutantkind like the Quiet Council, but Mutants who take on Magneto’s legacy by charting their own course and developing new blocs and movements within Mutant politics, specific to the Krakoan Era. Interactions with the current leaders of Krakoa are denoted as “QC” for the Quiet Council.
Similarly, “GR” marks interactions with the Great Ring of Arakko. These two thematic signifiers often demonstrate Magneto’s political maneuvering, for better or worse, and tend to be ripe with exquisite banter and charm. Frequently paired with “GR” is “Brotherhood” for the Brotherhood of Arakko. The “night” of Magneto’s life cannot be understood without seeing him building the Brotherhood of Arakko with Storm and giving his legacy and the legacy of a “Brotherhood of Mutants” to her and Sunspot. “Community” marks the issues that demonstrate what Magneto means to his people and show him interacting with the broader community, negatively or positively. Lastly, “Illuminati” designates important interactions with the Illuminati. While never a member, Magneto is clearly of their caliber in the Krakoan Era and outright challenges their positions and authority in a time of Mutant ascendancy.
Here is the Krakoan reading order for Magneto: