Magneto (2nd series) #2

Issue Date: 
March 2014
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Gabriel Hernandez Walta (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson (cover art), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

In 1942, Max Eisenhardt and two other Jewish boys are foraging for food outside the Warsaw ghetto. One of them, Avner, is caught by some Nazis. They give him the choice to either tell them who was with him or die. He names the third boy, Levi, but doesn’t betray Max. Afterwards, he is killed anyway. In the present, three SHIELD agents talk with the victims of Magneto’s attack on the police station while Magneto himself visits the homeless camp in Down Acres. He talks to one of the homeless men Samuel about Colton Hendry and learns that mysterious armed men sometimes abduct the homeless at night. Magneto waits for the next attack and kills the attackers. He keeps one alive for answers and kills him afterwards as well.

Full Summary: 

An injured young woman, wrapped in a shock blanket, states she’s seen him on TV, she guesses. But she never imagined…The way he just walked in and… and started throwing everything around.… It was like … She thinks. She grew up in tornado country. Oklahoma. She’s seen plenty of twisters. That’s what this was like. Like a tornado… only if the tornado enjoyed what it was doing. She saw it in his eyes. He wanted them to know. He wanted them to know that Magneto had come for them.

The place is a destroyed police station building in Mountain Air, California. Several others victims are also treated and questioned.

One SHIELD agent asks another, Agents Withers, how the interviews are coming. Almost done, he replies. People are shaken pretty badly. A few serious injuries. Lots of scrapes and cuts. Insurance premiums are about to skyrocket in this neck of the woods. And Magneto is long gone. Still ten steps ahead of them. Did he see the victim? she asks. The man in the cell? He replies he’s not sure he will be able to eat for—

What the hell? his superior, Agent Haines, exclaims seeing several men standing outside the closed-off area. Another agent, Rodriguez, announces she’ll handle this. She tells the men this is a SHIELD investigation. How did they get in here? Are they residents? Witnesses? He wishes, a man replies enthusiastically. They are not witnesses. They are fans. He opens his shirt, underneath he is wearing a Magneto was Right t-shirt. Rodriguez sends them away.

Withers wonders how Magneto was able to cause all this with broken powers. Agent Haines replies this is what scares her. Because God help them if he ever gets better.

Down Acres, a tent city:
Magneto walks through the area musing that the man he killed, the unwitting Omega Sentinel , was from this place. Before he died, he told Magneto this is where they found him. This is the “home” he was taken from, before he was changed into an instrument of death.

Dozens of haphazard structures leaning together in hope of faking a community. A tent city for people who don’t have anything else. People abandoned by society. Forgotten, unless someone actually bothers to pay attention. And if that happens, they’ll be outed. Or worse. Is that fear in their eyes as he walks past? he wonders. Can they sense a predator among them? Or are they simply resentful of another mouth that’s come to devour their crumbs? They’re without hope. They’re sickly, they’re starving. They are familiar, he realizes.

Warsaw, Poland,1942:

A rainy night: Three Jewish boys, Max Eisenhardt, Aver and Levi have gotten some food outside the ghetto and are now trying to get back into the ghetto through a hole in the wall. Hiding in an alley, they see two German guards passing the hole.

They examine their spoils. When the guards are gone, Avner orders them over. They run to the hole. Avner tells the other two boys to go first. Avner, however, is caught by the returning guards.

Magneto can’t stop thinking about that night, how it might have played out differently. And if it had, would the world be better or worse for it?

An elderly man introduces himself as Samuel and notes he is new here. What brings him here to Down Acres? There’s nowhere else to go, Magneto replies, eyes downcast. He’s sure it feels that way, Samuel replies and asks for his name. Max, Magneto replies. Samuel offers him some food and Magneto silently wonder if the people would have ended up here regardless of the path they walked. And did they take those first steps themselves?

Samuel hands Magneto a bowl of soup and tells him there is always somewhere to go and further to fall. Times are hard, He knows that. Hardest he’s ever seen. Max looks like he’s seen some tough breaks himself. He can let the bad times teach him something or let them eat him up inside. Never both? Magneto asks. Samuel tells him he is welcome here.

Magneto grabs his arm. There’s something wrong here, he states. He met someone… a young man Samuel knew. Colton.

Colton was a good kid, Samuel replies. What are they supposed to do? They come here every couple of weeks. Used to offer work until the homeless realized none who went there ever returned. Then they stopped making offers. They stopped asking. The ones who fight are the ones to be taken first. So they put their heads down and hope to go unnoticed. Like he said: There’s always further to fall.

Magneto recalls how Avner was cornered by the two Nazi guards. They saw someone else with him. They demand his name.

On the other side of the wall Max and Levi debate what to do.

Suddenly, the Nazis are joined by a SS man in a limousine. The SS man, Hitzig, asks Avner if he was smuggling and almost kindly remarks he must be very hungry to take such risks. He’ll strike a bargain with him: tell them right now who was with him and he’ll let him go. He can even take the food with him. But if Avner doesn’t give them a name, he will kill him on the spot and his family next.

After some hesitation, Avner gives away the name Levi Weinlaub.

On the other side of the wall, Max tells Levi to find his family.

Hitzig order the men to find the Weinlaubs. He turns back to Avner, telling him it isn’t so bad, not when it leads to cooperation, good decision making. He orders him to pick up his food. As he does so, Hitzig shoots him.

He never saw Levi again. Perhaps his family went into hiding. Perhaps they escaped. Perhaps… but it’s not likely. In his final moments, Avner chose to utter Levi’s name and not Max’s. Those are decisions that shape lives. Levi was sacrificed like a lamb before God, so that Max could live.

He has to believe this was done, so he could determine the course of history.

Nighttime at the homeless camp. Magneto gathers some used nails and watches the cars coming. Samuel and his people fear what comes for them in the night and yet they do little to stop it. They are almost paralyzed by dread when the press gangs come for them. Because of their hopelessness, they don’t fight as they are turned into monsters. And because of their rigor his people… mutants… suffer. They close their eyes and hope the bad men won’t come. But the bad man is already here.

He levitates the nails and has the hail of nails attack the armed strangers. As he attacks the ones still standing physically, he notes they are not Omega Sentinels, just men. He breaks one man’s neck. Another has a weapon pointed at him and demands who he is. Magneto uses his powers to tear up his hand to his face as nails are stuck in the back of the hand, then pushes the nails through. Heavily injured, the man sinks to his knees.

Magneto levitates the gun before him and asks what they do with the people they recruit. Tell him and he will walk out of here. The man tells him everything he knows, wanting to believe Magneto will spare him. Perhaps part of Magneto wants to believe that as well. But bad times teach you bad lessons. And they eat you alive. Just as hopelessness can crush your spirit and turn you into a monster.

The gun goes off.

Characters Involved: 


Haines, Rodriguez, Withers (SHIELD agents)


In flashback:
Young Magneto / Max Eisenhardt
Avner, Levi Weinbaum

SS officer

Story Notes: 

Magneto’s youth as Max Eisenhardt is told in the Magneto: Testament limited series.

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