Thursday, April 14, 2011
A Pond of Similarities; An Ocean of Differences
As most of you know, two of my favorite all time characters are Marvel Comics' Magneto, and Disney's Demona. Throughout the years, both characters have often been compared, even the Nostalgia Critic described her as "sort of a female Magneto." Some have even debated what would happen if the two ever somehow crossed paths. I figured I would bring my perspective on this match up. Are Demona and Magneto soul mates from different universes, or are they really too different to work with one another.
Let's look at their origins for a moment. Magneto was born Max Eisenhardt to a Jewish family in Germany. During the rise and reign of Adolf Hitler. To flee persecution, they fled to Poland just in time for the Nazis to invade. After spending some time in the Warsaw Ghetto, young Max's family was killed before Max himself was shipped off to Auschwitz where he survived working as a sonderkommando before escaping with a young gypsy girl named Magda who would eventually become his wife. Later on, they had a daughter named Anya who was killed in a burning building, and when the mob refused to allow Max to rescue her, his powers manifested where he killed everyone in the village. His wife fled in terror of him, calling him a monster. There were other events that took place before Max Eisenhardt (now calling himself Erik Lehnsherr or Magnus) became Magneto, but let's take a look at Demona.
The gargoyle who would become Demona hatched in the early tenth century. Years and years of bigotry made the young gargoyle paranoid and fearful of the humans they shared living space with at Castle Wyvern. But having always been driven to power, she studied magic under the Archmage who treated her cruelly, and even pushed her mate, the young second in command who would be named Goliath to wrestle leadership of the clan. While Goliath refused, their mentor and leader stepped down and Goliath became leader and his angel of the night became second. But the humans continued to treat the gargoyles with nothing but contempt, and when a band of Vikings started raiding the castle, Demona made a bargain with the Captain of the Guard to betray the humans of the castle and allow the Vikings to sack it, and take the humans away as slaves. Goliath, unintentionally screwed up her plan and before sunrise, Demona got nervous and fled, leaving her clan to the mercy of the Vikings who shattered them while they slept. Most of the clan had been killed and Goliath and the surviving gargoyles were cursed to stone sleep for the next thousand years.
Demona herself wandered for decades, gathering together a makeshift clan of gargoyles, and just barely surviving. Eventually, she allied herself with Macbeth, and helped him defend his people from King Duncan, overthrowing the king and allowing Macbeth to take the throne. Seventeen years later, when Duncan's son Canmore invaded Scotland with the English, Demona paranoid that Macbeth would betray her, abandoned him and allied herself with Canmore. Only for her new clan to be destroyed, and Demona (now immortally linked to Macbeth) spent the next ten centuries alone and wandering the world.
Both Demona and Magneto have very tragic pasts. But while Magneto has legitimate reasons to be angry at the world, and humanity at large, he is not at fault for the things that happened while Demona's own misery is largely self-inflicted. It wasn't Magneto's fault that Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews.
Their priorities are also quite opposite. Despite what Demona says, destroying humanity takes precedent over the welfare of the gargoyle species. With Magneto, while I'm sure he'd be willing to push the genocide button, he doesn't particularly want to. In fact, when he ruled Genosha, he allowed the human population to live there in peace, and didn't pursue any kind of persecution and allowed humans to sit in his cabinet. For Magneto, genocide is a means to an end. For Demona, genocide is the end.
The key difference is that there is no self-delusion on Magneto's part. Demona's hatred of humanity is a rationalization of her own guilt and self loathing. Magneto, by contrast, truly believes in his heart of hearts that he's doing what needs to be done. Magneto is basically what Demona likes to think she is.
Now, to answer my perspective on whether these two could ever conceivably work together, since I have seen this question come up. While I think Magneto would empathize with Demona at first, it would end once she inevitably stabbed him in the back. To Demona, mutants would just be humans who can crush tanks with their mind. She'd probably still try to manipulate him for her own ends like she did with Xanatos. But it would not last long at all.