The Trial of Magneto Confirms Who Should Be Leading the Mutants

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men: Trial of Magneto #3, now on sale from Marvel Comics.

The X-Men have a number of impressive leaders, each of whom has their own strengths as commanders of the mutant nation. While some of the commanders have had issues with coming to terms with their new status, others have adjusted better to the demands of the new Krakoa era. But there's one mutant in particular who has just proven to be a cut above the rest in terms of sheer leadership potential.

In X-Men: Trial of Magneto #3 (by Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, David Messina, Edgar Delgado, and VC's Clayton Cowles), Northstar repeatedly proves how powerful he's become as a fighter as well as how capable he is as a leader.

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Northstar is the leader of the current incarnation of X-Factor, which operates as a sort of Krakoan FBI, investigating the disappearances of mutants and confirming their fates so they can be resurrected or helped as needed. As a result of his position, he's proven to be one of the most important mutants looking into the death of the Scarlet Witch. As the investigation becomes more enigmatic due to the arrival of the Avengers and the appearance of a resurrected Scarlet Witch (without the full memories of what she's done, suggesting she was brought back by the Five), Northstar repeatedly proves his ability to multitask, stay cool under pressure, and not aggravate tensions.

When Magneto initiates an attack, Northstar strikes him down, quickly and effectively neutralizing the threat posed by the powerful Master of Magnetism. This allows the lightning fast mutant the chance to fully rescue his husband Kyle and remind Magneto just how powerful he really is. Afterward, Northstar reasserts X-Factor's investigation to the assembled heroes -- but also makes sure to remind Captain America and the Avengers that they are still welcome on the island and to attend dinner with him and Kyle. Later, when three mysterious kaiju attack the island, it's Northstar who speeds around the island nation and identifies them, updating the other heroes on his discovery just as quickly.

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Notably, two of Marvel's biggest leaders -- Captain America and Cyclops -- both defer to Northstar in this moment. Northstar asks for the Avengers help in contending with the threats, and they agree. The longtime Avenger even apologizes for missing dinner due to the emergency. Meanwhile, Cyclops tells Northstar to take point while he rallies the other Krakoa Captains and prepares reinforcements if they're needed. It's an amazing show of faith in the Alpha Flight veteran, with two of Marvel's most notable commanders both conceding control of the situation to Northstar. To his credit, Northstar's speed and intellect make him ideal for the situation, allowing the Avengers and X-Men to fight on even when the kaiju are revealed to be regenerating.

Due to the expansion of Krakoa, many mutants are now in surprising positions of authority,  ranging from the New Mutants' commitment to helping the next generation to Beast embracing his dark side to lead X-Force. Bishop was recently promoted to a major position within the War Captains, and Psylocke took over the role vacated by Gorgon. But Northstar just made a very impressive showing of what he could do in a leadership position, and potentially helped soothe things over with the Avengers in the process. Going forward, it might be a good idea to give Northstar more authority on the island, especially as a potential check and balance against the Quiet Council.

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Brandon Zachary (4193 Articles Published)

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].

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