Classic X-Men #12

Issue Date: 
August 1987
Story Title: 
<BR>The Gentleman’s name is Magneto (1st story)<BR> A Fire in the Night (2nd story)

Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Glynis Oliver (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief), Arthur Adams (cover), John Bolton (back cover)

Brief Description: 

First story :
The first story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) # 104.
Second story :
In Paris, the rejuvenated Magneto dreams about his past… how he and Magda escaped from Auschwitz, built a life for themselves in eastern Europe and finally moved to the Soviet Union with their daughter, Anya. After his boss tries to cheat on him, Magneto subconsciously threatens the man with his slumbering powers. Returning to their inn, he finds that it is burning and manages to save Magda with another display of his powers. As he still wonders how to save Anya, who’s trapped upstairs, he is arrested and beaten by policemen for his earlier display. As his daughter dies, Magneto kills all bystanders in a fit of rage. Horrified, Magda leaves him. Magneto awakes in the present to see a burning building in the neighborhood and a trapped family within the building. He saves the family, proving himself to be more than just a terrorist or a monster.

Full Summary: 

First story :
This main story reprints X-Men (1st series) #104, however there are three additional pages to the first chapter:
After the X-Men’s hovercraft explodes, the metal parts proceed to attack the X-Men. Storm is grabbed by tentacles and almost drowns, until Wolverine cuts her loose, sneaking in a kiss in the process (only to share oxygen, of course). Nightcrawler, who finds that some force is preventing him from teleporting is saved by Banshee, until both are drenched by a huge wave. The spectacle is watched by Magneto via a screen. Sitting in what appears to be Xavier’s office on Muir Island, he muses about the new team’s powers and skills and admits that he could kill them now, but wants it to be personal. Taking a picture of Charles that shows Xavier, Magneto and Gaby Haller during the early days in Israel when they were still friends, he calls Xavier a fool and claims that Xavier was trying to use his powers back then to influence Magneto. He has learned the hard way that he is the only hope for mutantkind and all traitors, such as the X-Men, will receive the fate they deserve, Magneto swears.

Second story :

Paris, the city Magneto came to after being turned back into an adult by Eric the Red. He tosses and turns in his bed, drowning in memories. Eric the Red restored him to the prime of life, but the price is a flood of memories, exploding from a mind as keenly rejuvenated as the body that houses it.

In his dreams, Magneto is back in the death camp, Auschwitz, at the end of World War II. The Nazi guards knew that the war was as good as lost and were determined not to leave any witnesses. As one of the guards is about to shoot an emaciated young woman, the equally emaciated Magneto hits the Nazi from behind with a piece of wood. He grabs the gun, takes the woman by her hand and they make their escape. Some distance away from the camp, they huddle exhaustedly around a campfire young Magneto built for them. Magda wonders if they will survive, weak as they are, if there even is a point: her whole family, everyone she knew died in the gas chambers. She doesn’t want to be alone. Magneto urges her to not give up and promises to protect her as he did in the camp.

The couple wanders south into the Carpathian Mountains, where Magneto finds work and friends. Eventually, he and Magda learn to live again, they fall in love, get married and have a daughter, Anya.

Magneto is a highly intelligent man with an insatiable hunger for knowledge. So, a few years later, the small family moves away from their village and to the Ukrainian city, Vinnitsa, in the Soviet Union, hoping to win a place at the university. Magneto leaves his family at their new one-room apartment to look for a job and finds work at a construction site. However, his boss tries to cheat him out of money. As Magneto protests, a crowbar suddenly flies towards the other man. Scared, he gives him the rest of the money.

Magneto is still mulling over the incident as he reaches the inn where they live, only to see that a fire has broken out on their floor. Anxiously, he runs inside to find Magda, who has just come back from shopping for supper, but the child is still upstairs.

Frantically, the couple wondered what to do. As he flames close in on them, Magneto instinctively raises up a force bubble to protect them from the fire and the falling wreckage. They run outside. A frightened Anya leans out of their room’s window, calling out to her parents. Magneto realizes that he can save his daughter with that newly found power of his. But, as he still wonders how to make the power work, he is suddenly grabbed by policemen, who accuse him of extortion and assault.

Over his protests that he has to save his daughter, the men repeatedly hit him, while his boss from the construction site looks on and mocks him. The burning child finally jumps from the room and the foreman cynically gives his condolences. The world blacks out for Magneto as he shouts out his denial. When he can think clearly again, everybody on the street save for him and Magda is dead. The horrified Magda shouts that he isn’t human, that he is a monster and runs away in terror.

In his bed, Magneto awakes from his dream, remembering how much that day hurt, how he was too weak to follow Magda until it was too late. They never saw each other again. Magneto looks out of the window to see a burning building across the street. He assumes that the smell of smoke prompted his dream. He sees a family in an upper story apartment calling for help and realizes that the fire brigade won’t be in time. Not his problem, he tries to convince himself, as he draws his curtains shut. He only cares about his people, Homo Sapiens Superior, after all.

Across the street the desperate mother decides to jump with her child, preferring a quick death and hoping her body will shield the child from the impact. But, at that moment, the walls explode inwards and Magneto enters protected by a forcefield. He extends the field to the family and lowers them all safely to the street, secretly wishing that he had such skill a lifetime ago. How different the world would have been. The husband hurries to thank Magneto telling him he can never repay him. Actually, he can, Magneto replies, by telling the world that Magneto the villain, the terrorist, the mutant, saved the family, that he chose life over death. As Magneto leaves, the man stats that Magneto may be all those things, but first and foremost he has prove himself to be a man.

Characters Involved: 

First story :
Second story :

A French family

in the flashback
Young Magneto
Magda (Magneto’s wife)
Anya (Magneto’s daughter)


Nazi guard
Magneto’s boss at the construction site
Sovjet policemen

Story Notes: 

First story :
The cover is a homage to X-Men (1st series) #1 and #104.

Second story :
Magneto didn’t learn until much later (the first Vision & Scarlet Witch limited series, in fact) that Magda had been pregnant with twins when she left him.

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