ByCarl Poole III, writer at
Carl Poole III

Where you wondering why the folks at Fox chose to create a JFK conspiracy site featuring classic Marvel Comics villain Magneto as the likely assassin? Did you find it disturbing? If you feel uncomfortable seeing a comic book villain cast in the same light as Lee Harvey Oswald, than this new promotion for the upcoming X-Men movie has had the desired effect.

Max Eisenhardt, aka Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto has always been a character riding the raw edge of our psyche in Marvel Comic titles. For 50 years, he’s been a villain woven into our contemporary history and, by design, is made to play on our empathy to present a truly human evil. Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby created a villain who witnessed first hand the genocide of the Holocaust during WWII. Magneto was molded into the dark reflection of the horrors he lived through as a German Jew who now seeks to ruthlessly protect mutantkind from the fate of a possible second Holocaust and dares all to stop him. We should feel uncomfortable with him as a villain.

The greatest appeal of the fantasy of super powered figures is wish fulfillment. We see the ‘normal’ characters we empathize with suddenly become gifted with great power and that empathy allows us to see ourselves in them. With a hero, that empathy is safe to deal with; a hero helps others and still deals with their everyday life. Empathy for the villain is much harder, so more often than not, they are cast as outlandish. A sociopath or mad scientist is larger than life and won’t easily fit the frame of what people relate to. With Magneto, we are forced to hang on to our empathy. The pain of his experience makes him fit into the real world somehow.

Lex Luthor builds a death-ray laser to rule the world while Magneto attacks a military base to further a political cause. The Joker kidnaps the mayor of Gotham just to mess with Batman and Magneto founds a small country for ‘his’ fellow mutants to legitimize his past crimes against humanity. Yes,they are all evil, but Magneto’s kind of evil is of a kind we can fully contemplate. His kind of evil is like that witnessed in Kosovo in the ‘90’s, on 9/11 or during the attack on the USS Cole. That kind of evil hits very close to home.

It seems natural that Filmmaker Bryan Singer would take this most visceral of comic villains and further inject him into contemporary history by way of the JFK assassination, especially considering we have already seen him on film doing what he does best. Magneto, as a primary villain of several superhero feature films, has killed both military and law enforcement, destroyed two national monuments, committed a major act of terrorism that threatened the lives of thousands in New York City and caused an international incident that nearly started another world war. All these films were deemed safe for kids to watch with their parents. Are you really that worried about a faux- conspiracy site..?


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