Magneto (2nd series) #9

Issue Date: 
November 2014
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Gabriel Walta Hernandez (art), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mike Marts (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Magneto checks out Genosha, after having been informed of something weird going on. There, he learns that the Red Skull has turned it into a concentration camp for mutants and Inhumans. Confronted with the atrocities, Magneto thinks back on his time in the Nazi death camps when he was helpless to get revenge on the Nazi Hitzig, as he had sworn. He vows to kill the Red Skull for this but finds himself no match for the telepathy the Skull stole from Charles Xavier. He finds himself helpless as his servants the S-Men beat him up.

Full Summary: 

Genosha, formerly a wealthy country built on mutant misery… then, under Magneto’s reign, it became a heaven… then a grave. Now it is something else. Secretly, the Red Skull has built a mutant prison camp. Magneto’s source alerted him to the atrocities committed here.

Magneto uses a secret entrance route via a tunnel into the prison camp. He kneels down next to a dead mutant prisoner left in the street. He wonders what gifts that man possessed. What wonders might he have shared with his people? With the world? Did he bow or fight back?

Magneto remembers a rogue Sentinel razing the island, killing sixteen million mutants. And he was powerless to stop it.

He’ll be damned if he allows one more mutant to—
Magneto looks horrified at a pile of dead mutants and Inhumans in front of him. Like a garbage pile. Why? he wonders, why again?

He recalls how in Auschwitz he was a Sonderkommando responsible for getting rid of the bodies in the ovens.

Young Max was weakened and had a moment of nausea. He sank down and retched. A fellow inmate told him to get up before someone sees.

As they walked out a commander gave orders to keep the fires stoked, get in another detail of Sonderkommando if they must. Max recognized him as Hitzig.

Later, in their hut on his cot, Max has a few belongings on a handkerchiefs, among them a nail. He focuses on it and it moves, embedding itself into the wooden beam next to the bed.

Magneto wrestles with his shame. He can tell himself he had no choice. If he wanted to live, he had to serve. Disposing of the corpses of his slaughtered people… He can tell himself that he endured such disgrace to get a chance to strike back at Hitzig. But such lies leave a bad taste in his mouth.

He sees to imprisoned young women carrying a container of some hot substance, possibly food. They drop it when they see him. He tries to calm them. He magnetically removes the blonde’s power-suppressing collar. When he tries to do the same to the dark-haired woman, she begs him not to. Leave her alone! If they find her without the collar, there’s no telling what they’ll do.

What about her? Magneto addresses the blonde. Should he have left her shackled with an inhibitor collar as well? Hesitatingly, she tells him there is a man in their heads and he warned them what would happen if they disobeyed. The man with the bloody skull.

The Red Skull, Magneto realizes. Are they afraid of this man? he asks. Too afraid to stand up for themselves. To fight?

The blonde explains, even without her collar, all she can do is make small illusions. She is barely a mutant. Sometimes the man with the bloody skull looks different in their minds. Kindly, though his words are cruel. She shows an image Magneto recognizes as Charles Xavier. He says the man with the bloody skull took his powers. That he is going to use them to do terrible things. And it’s going to hurt and there nothing they can do but let him. That’s what she’s afraid of.

The dark-haired girl urges the blonde, Amy, they have to go. If they find them—

Magneto tells them to go and cower. Let someone else stand for them. He’ll shoulder the battle. They can live with the shame. Because it is not powers that give you the strength to fight but conviction.

The concentration camp:
All prisoners were called outside. Max looked at the nail inside the palm of his hand and slightly levitated it. But when he came close to Hitzig, another prisoner shoved Max accidentally. Max dropped the nail and it was too far away for his weak power.

Hitzig is dead. But he did not kill him. Even years later, after his powers had matured, he let someone else do the dirty work for him and he’s lived with the shame, the humiliation ever since. Stealthily. he follows the Red Skull’s team. Today, he vows, he’ll make amends.

He sees the Skull, flanked by guards in front of a mutant prisoner. Killing the Red Skull today will not change the past. Hitzig still tormented countless innocents. He still terrorized a boy who would one day grow powerful, but who would always be haunted by a moment of fear and weakness.

He levitates some nails. After all this time, he’ll get some reprieve from his disgrace, a part of him doesn’t believe he deserves – no more than the Skull deserves to live.

A moment later, he is hit in the back by an energy blast. The Skull’s super-powered team, the S-Men, have discovered him. While Mzee utters threats, the water woman attacks.

Magneto tries not to be dissuaded from killing the Red Skull. He reminds the Skull how he once told him he was his better. But where once he showed him clemency, this time he has brought him nothing but death.

The Red Skull calls him a fool. Still fighting the same war. Still believing he faces the same old enemies. He doesn’t know the Skull any more than he’ll accept is own failings.

Mzee attacks Magneto from behind, followed by Insect. Magneto realizes he waited too long. His nails fall down. Goat-Face Girl mockingly calls him a weakling. The Skull orders the S-Men to take him. Mzee announces he wants to see him pay.

The blonde girl looks on, horrified. Magneto urges her to keep out. There is nothing she can do, nothing either of them can do, he realizes as the S-Men beat him up.

Characters Involved: 


Amy unnamed mutants and Inhumans

Red Skull
Dancing Water, Dangerous Jinn, Goat-face Girl, Insect, Living Wind, Mzee (S-Men)

In flashbacks:
Max Eisenhardt
Unnamed prisoners

Story Notes: 

This is part of March to Axis.

Hitzig murdered a friend of Magneto in the Warsaw ghetto as shown in issue #2.

Presumably Hitzig is the Nazi whom Magneto asked X-Force to kill.

Actually, in previous stories, Magneto didn’t have access to his power in the concentration camp.

The Red Skull stole Xavier’s brain in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #1.

Magneto claimed to be the Skull’s better when he bested him in Captain America (1st series) #367. 

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