Is Magneto truely evil?

Discussion in 'The Comics' started by MajinShenron, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. MajinShenron Registered

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    Mutants are people were, most commonly at puberty, has a change different of that of a normal human. These changes affect their growth and gives them powers. These powers could be used for good, or evil.

    Now, a lot of humans hate mutants. They kill many mutants just because they are different. They hunt mutants, throw things at them, make fun of them, torture them, and more. Charles Xavier's X-men are a team of mutants to protect the people who hate them.

    Magneto takes a different route, he takes the offensive on the people who hate him. What he is doing is self-defense. What he is doing is trying to make civil-rights for mutants. But for him, he is trying to do this with violence.

    I dont keep track everytime Magneto comes in a comic so I dont know if some writer made him rob a bank, but from what I see he isn't evil.
     
  2. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    I generally like to call Magneto the Malcolm X to Xavier's Martin Luther King, Jr. Although Magneto sometimes has a more terrorist spin than Malcolm X, but regardless.
     
  3. rjb182 Jedi Gnat

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    "I am the sort of monster created by the world. I am what becomes of a man who knows too well how things should be in the midst of what is. I am the necessary kind of monster, for all change comes through the likes of me."

    -- Line from a fanfic. Also my personal take on Magneto's philosophy. Whether or not that self-image is accurate depends on your *own* philosophy.
     
  4. Spectre722 Registered

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    magneto, regardless of his intentions, has become the exact thing that he hates. he fights against the oppression of humans, comparing them, in his mind to the nazis. however he has become a very hitler like character, believing one race is superior to the rest of humanity.
     
  5. Exile Registered

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    I believe that with Magneto, its not black and white. Given the circumstances in which he grew up and what he saw and experienced with regards to the holocaust, he could have been the worlds greatest hero if he was born elsewhere.
     
  6. FieryBalrog Registered

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    Magneto is evil. He is a sympathetic tragic figure but still evil, given his methods and goals.

    His goals are evil (racial superiority)
    His means are evil (terrorism, murder, slaughter)

    thus he is evil.
     
  7. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    "Good" and "evil" are all in the eyes of the beholder.

    If Magneto is evil, then so too are the humans who oppress mutants (as that is "morally bad or wrong"), but so too are the X-Men, whose choice to divide themselves from Magneto indirectly causes "ruin, injury, or pain" to both mutants and humans.
     
  8. Valechan Registered

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    It all depends on who's writing him. To Claremont, Magneto isn't evil and has never killed anyone. That's the view I like the most of him.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Colossal Spoons Paper boi

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    I think that correlation should be pointed out to all new X-fans, if they can't see it already. :up:
     
  10. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    ^ Aww... thanks! :D
     
  11. rjb182 Jedi Gnat

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    This is very true. Magneto is probably the most unintentionally schizophrenic character out there. Sometimes he's written as a prattling Silver Age villain or a monstrous lunatic. Other times, he's an otherwise good man who simply believes in fighting fire with fire...

    It *would* be nice if they could get their stories straight, and then we could avoid stuff like the Xorneto quagmire. But that's probably a pipe dream, because I think both views of Magneto have their points-- on the one hand, he's better as a more complex, less evil character, but on the other, he still works best as their main villain... and therefore ought to be, y'know, VILLAINOUS sometimes.

    So people will probably continue to see-- and write-- the character both ways.
     
  12. Ming The Observer.

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    Personally, I think Magento is evil. While Charles Xavier is trying to teach his students to control their powers and not to hate the humans for the acts of merely a few, working to a future where humans and mutants can live together as one, Magento is trying to rally the mutants in hopes of distroying the humans in order to ensure mutant prosperity. So viervent is his zeal in a pure mutant world that he is willing to betray his friends and kill his allies in order to achive his goal.

    This viewpoint I find ironic, seeing as he was put in a concentration camp by the nazi's as part of their grand scheme of killing all "undesirables", and with his vision of distroying the humans, he has, in-turn, become his tormentors, seeking to distroy all those who aren't "the future".

    Of course, my view is open to debate.
     
  13. BrianWilly Disciple of Whedon

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    Yes, he is evil.

    I hate it when people place villains like Magneto and Dr. Doom on these ridiculous, nobly tragic heroic "shades of gray" pedestals. Of course they're complicated characters and things are very often not black and white about them, but they're also mass murderers many times over who have shown little remorse over their actions. People keep forgetting that. People keep forgetting that if you actually met Magneto or Dr. Doom, it's highly, highly likely that you would wind up dead simply because they wanted you to be dead.

    I completely disagree. There is a standard for good and a standard for evil, and even though our own human flaws and societies have muddled and complicated those standards sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable, there are still very straightforward and very universal truths about good and evil that are always readily apparent.

    Being compassionate is good. Being hateful is bad. Helping people is good. Hurting people is bad. There. Simple. Magneto is hateful and he hurts people, so he's bad. There. Also very simple. The fact that he was once a victim of the holocaust is one of those societal factors that complicates matters, yes, but it doesn't come close to justifying him.

    I also completely disagree on that last part. Saying that the X-Men are responsible for people hurt from Magneto's war is like that saying policemen are evil 'cause sometimes civilians get hurt while officers protect them from criminals. It makes no sense. They don't ask Magneto to attack people. In fact, they want Magneto to stop attacking people. Their primary goal is to get humans and mutants to stop attacking each other. There is absolutely no comparing the amount of good the X-Men have done to the measley few that may have gotten hurt through a mistake they may have made from time to time that were, frankly, always brought about by villains. Villains like Magneto.

    The key word that you yourself said was "indirectly," meaning that they the X-Men themselves are not the causes of the ruin and injury and pain. People like Magneto are the direct causes.
     
  14. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    That's wonderful. And it's from your POV.

    There's no standard for good and evil. Or, if there is, what is it? Does it come from the Bible? If so, you can probably cut me and many others away from that standard. And if you look back far enough, you can probably track a lot of "moral" beliefs to the Bible and Christianity. There's that. If not that, then what? A general consensus of morality? There is one? Really? Ask a dozen Americans what they think is good and evil and you'll likely get half a dozen different responses.

    Americans believe Al Qaeda and the terrorists to be evil. THEY think they're doing the right and proper thing - and no, I'm not getting into a religious debate here. It's all in the eye of the beholder. You think Magneto is evil. The average Marvel human likely finds Magneto to be evil. Magneto, on the other hand, thinks he's right.

    There's only a "standard" for good and evil if you place yourself on a pedestal and define it... in which case you've already set the beholder's eye.

    We look back on the American institution of slavery and think about how horrible and awful and morally wrong it was. The average English, French, Dutch, or Portueguese colonist back in the 1500 or 1600 or 1700s - and, later, the average American in the 1700s and early 1800s, not to mention the wealthy landowners who owned them - had no problem with it. Only as time passed was a new standard of morality developed - and even then, it took another hundred years after the Civil War, and even today that STANDARD isn't fully held by all. So... it's probably not even really a standard, but I don't care to philosophize another term for it. =P

    You have your own standard of what makes good and evil, based on whatever it is you based it on. I'm willing to bet our "standards" of good and evil don't coincide. I won't speak for anyone else.
     
  15. BrianWilly Disciple of Whedon

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    Thank you. I actually think that, at the end of the day, religion is just another one of those factors which complicate the issue. And yet even in terms of religion, you see very simple message come through: Be compassionate. Don't do things you don't want done to you. Help your neighbors. Don't hurt your neighbors. When you strip away all the layers of hypocrisy and posturing and technicalities, that's really all that you end up with. At least, in the case of most religions. And in the case of slavery being a moral standard back in the 19th century, well, the argument could be made that we as a culture are constantly moving towards a better understanding of good and evil, learning from past mistakes.

    There has to be an ultimate universal standard, even if no one really knows or can agree on what it is. Saying things like "there is no good and evil, there's only points of view" feels too much like trying to justify things that can never be justified. Honestly, I think it's very telling that we only really hear that line of thinking when people need to justify or make sense of acts that they feel was evil in the first place; when have we ever heard anyone using that slogan to slander acts that they felt was good?

    Indeed, what about the good that has been done? What about people like Mother Teresa or MLK Jr. or all the social workers and police officers and teachers out there? We never say "those acts aren't good because good is only a point of view" about those acts because, frankly, it's plain as day that they are good. I don't believe that, deep down, we don't know what good or evil really is because, frankly, sometimes it's incredibly obvious what good and evil is. And when it isn't clear, it's almost always due to artificial and superficial complications that we ourselves as a culture and a species have thrown into the mix, complications like race and religion. If we take away the significance of evil, then we take away the significance of good as well. And I don't think we can do that...as in, it literally and logically doesn't work.
     
  16. FieryBalrog Registered

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    double post.
     
  17. FieryBalrog Registered

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    And the funny thing is, no one who argues that all morality is relative to the perspective of the observer ever truly believes that himself, its impossible, anymore than it is possible for a solipsist to believe that the physical world is unreal when you're hanging him out a window from a skyscraper. Morality is real just as our senses our real. People disagree over the results of their physical senses all the time, but the physical world still exists and is real.

    Describing morality as relative to perspective is an old tactic, and its usually political. Friesan School said it best:


    It is even simpler than this. Moral aestheticism, relativism, and scepticism are used to defend what is favored by a political writer. The argument is then that whatever is favored is allowed because nothing can be morally disallowed. On the other hand, moralism, absolutism, and dogmatism are used to attack what is not favored by a political writer.


    I'm willing to bet our standards about the physical world don't coincide. So what? Physical world still exists.

    For example, do you regard racism as an absolute moral evil, say? I.e., are there situations in which racism might be good or morally required, or legitimately viewed as such?
     
  18. Abaddon Watching

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    This isn't very original,but I agree.
     
  19. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    Brian, you're totally right. The argument can definitely be made that we, as a culture, are learning from our mistakes... or we're repeating them in different ways. We are, for the most part, past the institution of racial slavery - most definitely. The repercussions of the institution, as well as discrimination, echo into the future, but we're past it. But rather than learn from that mistake, it's instead been repeated by sexual intolerance - and what does that intolerance stem from? The moral beliefs of an organized group of people. (Anyone who doesn't get what I'm saying here, well, maybe that's for the better. ;) )

    They believe in good and evil. I don't view good and evil in the same way as they do. I'm sure that a lot of people differ from my views. Maybe there is something universal, but if there is, it's so much more abstract than "Be nice to your neighbors" and "do good things" and "treat others how you'd like to be treated." I don't talk to my neighbors (maybe that's being nice to them :D). I do things that benefit me, but not necessarily others.

    But using the term "universal" is bad, I think, because nothing's universal. Social classes are not universal. Cultures are not universal. Maybe I'm moving too much into the physical here, but that's why I contest the idea of anything universal being so very abstract.

    Furthermore, if it's not abstract, when you do use the terms "good" and "evil," then you really are drawing from Christianity (and before that, Judaism) - at least when talking about Western Europe, the Americas, and probably Japan. Because, inevitably, if you're talking about "good" and "evil" in these cultures, today, then you're drawing from Christianity, because the religion is ingrained in the culture (just like sexism, as racism once was, as capitalism is, etc). When we think good, what do we think? We think God, we think of light. And when we think of evil, we think of Satan and darkness. Even for those who don't believe in Christianity, these are such cultural norms that they're quite often the first identified.

    And if you move away from that black and white way of dividing things, because that's what it is, you do move into the gray. And even this scale is immersed in Christianity - the black of Hell, the white of Heaven, the gray of the inbetween (Earth, the physical, we humans with free will). And it's exploring that moral gray, I think, that is the utter joy of fictional characters, whatever the type. When you explore the character, it turns away from black-and-white and away from utter condemnation or praise, and instead becomes a matter of questioning whether or not the ends justify the means.

    And that works back into POV. Whether or not the end product justifies the means used to get there depends on the individual viewer's POV. And by all means, don't count POV as a method of morality. But in the end, it is there. If morality was universal and rigid, then the terrorists would think themselves as evil as we think they are, and there would never be any conflicts of morality.

    Moral philosophizing aside... I return to my original statement.
    I look at Magneto as Malcolm X. I look at Xavier as MLK, Jr. And that said, I think Magneto gets a bad reputation from a lot of readers, and likely some writers as well. I'll never say that Magneto has turned into a Nazi, or into Hitler. Hitler wanted to slaughter an entire group of people for no better reason than their propagandized "impure" blood. Magneto might kill humans, he might engage in terrorism, he might even attack fellow mutants, but I don't think that, if it came down to it, Magneto would engage in genocidal retribution against the entire human race. But whereas Xavier preaches nonaggressive tactics to find co-existence, Magneto uses aggression and force.

    Does that make him evil?

    Malcolm X always believed that blacks were justified in defending themselves against whites who attacked them. These were at essentially small protests and rallies. X's followers attacked back, whereas MLKJr's followers took the beatings.

    The mutant situation exists on the large-scale, across the entire world. To Magneto, mutants have been attacked by humans all over - and he's not wrong. Even back in the 90s cartoon, there was that group of hillbilly human guys that would attack mutants and terrorize them. Magneto's fighting back, rather than playing by nonaggressive tactics.

    And yes, I stand by my idea that Magneto's ultimate goal is peaceful coexistence rather than to subjugate the human species. Yes, he considers mutants to be Homo sapiens superior, but is that wrong? They're not Homo sapiens sapiens if they've truly evolved, and it's obvious they have. And, remember... when Magneto was given Genosha to be a safe haven for mutants, and its own independent country, he ceased his aggressive activities against the world.

    So, yes. Magneto has fought against the humans. He's engaged in terrorist activities, he's a killer, a murderer, but in the end, is his goal different from Xavier's? If Malcolm X and his followers had killed white aggressors, would we view him, his followers, and their crusade any different than we do today? I think we'd certainly call him extreme, more so than we already do, but we'd still think of him as one of the Civil Rights good guys. But that's my *gasp* POV, and I look at the end as justifying the means.

    That's just me. :D Magneto is my Marvel Comics' Malcolm X.
     
  20. Abaddon Watching

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    Well that was the whole point,what with all his talk of "brotherhood".
     
  21. Ming The Observer.

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    So killing all humans is right and just for eqaulity? I don't buy that.

    I often get the vibe that the reason so many side with Magneto is out some juvinile feeling of the need for vengence over some act that happend in the past. The thought of "eye for an eye", set all things equel.

    If you look at it from another point of view, the sole reason behind Magneto's war against the humans, behind all the guise of careing about mutant rights and what happens to other mutants, it is vengence against what was done against him in Germany, and vengence, no matter how bad what was done to you, always comes off as somewhat petty.

    Wars should be fought of stronger stuff then vengence.

    Again, I'm open to debate.
     
  22. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    Read what I wrote. I said nothing about killing all humans - in fact, what I said goes against that.

    As for the edit to your post, I also wrote nothing of Magneto's childhood in my reasoning for his actions. So... in fact, I don't think I've read anything in any of these posts about Magneto acting out against his childhood.
     
  23. Ming The Observer.

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    Did. What I'm saying is I don't agree with your saying that he want's peaceful coexsistence with the humans.

    Also, I'm disagreeing with your statement that if Malcome X and his followers went out and killed white agressors that he would be viewed as a civil rights hero. Odds are if he did that, the civil rights would be pushed back years and all of their hard work would be distroyed. I see what your saying that white aggressors probably got what would be comming to them, but then they would be no better then they are, and since it was the blacks trying to get rights, it would only act upon them negatively.

    Ugh, it's late, and I'm tired. My view is my view from which I see the world. Talk to you maybe tommarrow or something.

    As for your edit, I don't believe I implyed you did. I was just providing information on which I based my view.
     
  24. FieryBalrog Registered

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    "Sexual intolerance" is not a new creation of 20th century society so I dont think any mistake is being repeated. Said intolerance has been part of most of human history, a few cultures excepted, for thousands of years just like slavery.

    Eh, I dont agree. For one thing, I grew up in a completely non-Abrahamic world. And I still encountered concepts of good and evil, just with different names like subh and paap. Any advanced civilization in the world has such cultural notions. They may not align perfectly but there usually is a big overlap.

    But in the case of Magneto you have evil ends (mutant superiority) and evil means (murder, terrorism, slaughter). How can clothing it in noble language and charismatic appeals make it any better? Not to mention, if evil means are pursued for a noble end, you usually dont get that noble end anyway.

    It doesnt matter what the terrorists think of their actions any more than it matters what fundie Christians think about evolution. It is still a fact that their actions are evil just as evolution is a fact of biology.

    I dont think any reason for slaughtering entire groups of people is a good one. Magneto's certainly aren't any good.

    To murder is an evil act.

    He's tried, and besides, you dont have to commit genocide to be an evil person. If we're going to use real-world morality, think of the victims of Magneto's actions, and the lives ruined by those casual murders. Does that count for anything? Thats why I was shocked by Xavier's casual attitude towards stopping Proteus or Magneto in Ultimate X-men and why I was totally siding with the Ultimates in Ultimate War. 3000 people died because Xavier was too self-righteous to hand over a murderer to justice.

    First of all, Magneto explicitly doesnt want co-existence. He wants domination. And using murder to achieve domination is evil, yes.

    Why wouldnt you believe his own words about his goals? He's talked about subjugation tons of times.

    Is it wrong for the human lynch mobs to consider themselves superior to a blue skinned mutant? You answered your own question, turn it around.

    And what about Eve of Destruction?

    Not only are his goals different, wanton murder in the name of Xavier's dream totally defeats the purpose of the dream. Its like a terrorist hoping to convert infidels by bombing them.

    Yes, I certainly would.

    No, I wouldn't have any respect for such a man. Would you have any respect for white supremacists who oppress and kill minorities? Then why the other way around?
     
  25. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    To continue these posts would really, really push this thread further off topic, and would be hypocritical after I tried to bring my last post back around to the thread topic.

    So, you have your opinions, views, ideas, and I have mine. That's where it stands, and that's where it ends.

    So, to reiterate my earlier answers: I think of Magneto as the Malcolm X to Xavier's Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Next?
     

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