Magneto is in the upcoming Secret Empire Hydra Villains covers. You probably heard it from a mile away and I can already hear the fans typing away in their keyboards and cellphones, telling Marvel that this is preposterous. Outside of another cosmic cube hullabaloo, you’re probably correct. I’m not sure what’s on Axel Alonso and Nick Spencer’s minds right now, but this is obviously a marketing ploy to make noise for Secret Empire. Sadly, it works.

I can list you many character quirks in Magneto that will never make him join Hydra outside of being another brainwashed character of another cosmic level device. The primary reason for this, for casual fans, is that Magneto is Jewish and a holocaust survivor, while Hydra is a Nazi-backed organization that has included the likes of Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker and Red Skull – two prominent in-universe members of the German political faction, with Red Skull himself being trained by Adolf Hitler himself. I truly don’t see how this happens, except for one reason.

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Marketing. Marvel expects people to be outraged by the whole cover, similar to how people were outraged that Captain America became Hydra. (For the record, I still dislike Marvel for that move.) Marvel is doing the same thing with Magneto, putting him out of character and against the grain by adding the master of magnetism in a Nazi replacement fictional organization. It is insulting for Marvel to do this, considering Magnus (or Max, depending on who you ask) is one of the most iconic, most respected figures in the Marvel Universe. This is an obvious marketing ploy for the fans to buy in. This is an obvious marketing ploy for the fans to get up in arms, rush to buy Secret Empire and curiously find how Magneto becomes a Hydra, and ooh boy I’ll tell you now, it’s working.

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Fans on Twitter are foaming in the mouth once they saw the covers, and Marvel loves these reactions from the fans.

This is what Marvel wants, however low or disrespectful it is to the character that they created. They want people to talk about it and then eventually downplay it. Magneto is a beloved character and mucking his character history through the mud is nothing to Marvel because he is what he is – a fictional character. I can already see Marvel doing work to downplay this – either for this to be just a variant cover with no impact on the story at all, or Magneto getting into a contrived situation where he has no choice but to join Hydra. This will nevertheless fulfill Marvel’s need for a clamoring audience.

The furor over Magneto becoming Hydra, and by extension a Nazi, is an obvious after-effect of a marketing ploy to capitalize on an audience that values their fictional universe a lot. I understand to the extent that Magneto is just a fictional character and that Marvel can write him however way they want to write him. Regardless, I still shake my head because I love Magneto and his vengeful spirit. I love his backstory and his roots and as a fan of Marvel for so long, I can’t see why Marvel has to stoop so low and do their character a punch to the groin. If this is all for marketing Secret Empire, then you got us.