Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #200

Issue Date: 
December 1985
Story Title: 
The Trial Of Magneto

Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. and Dan Green (artists), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Magneto has been transferred to Paris where his trial is taking place if front of the International Court of Justice, trigerring an uproar across the world from both pro-mutant and anti-mutant protesters.The X-Men and the New Mutants return from Asgard where they fought Loki, Thor's half-brother. With the New Mutants safe on Muir Island, a dying Xavier begs Cyclops to find those who have been orchestrating terrorist attacks across europe on behalf of the X-Men and of Magneto : Magneto's cause is the cause of all mutants. While the anti-mutant hysteria spreads on, Magneto's trial is going on with an hysterical Jaspers trying to prove the court that Magneto is the lowest kind of scum who ever lived on earth.Eventually, the X-Men discover the guilty parts behind those terrorost attacks : Wolfgang von Strucker's children, aka Fenris, out to settle an old score that their father has with Magneto and Xavier. Magneto realises that there is always a time when past errors of judgement come back to bite you in the behind. After Fenris is neutralised, Xavier, dying from a heart attack, manages to have Magneto as his successor as head of Xavier School before being taken away by Corsair and Lilandra, who sensed her lover’s bad health through their mindlink. Back in New York, Madelyne Pryor is about to give birth.

Full Summary: 

After the events of last issue during which Magneto surrendered to Freedom Force for his crimes against humanity, the master of magnetism is brought to the International Court of Justice in Paris to stand trial, with reporter Neal Conan giving us a recap of Magneto's past battles with the X-Men and how the Mutant Alpha reverted him to infancy for a short period of time. There will be no jury at Magneto's trial : just five juges from France, Great Britain, China, the USSR and the United States. The event has been trigerring riots all around the world, with pro-mutant sympathisers against anti-mutant hordes requesting the death of Magneto. Magneto's atorney is Israel’s ambassador to Great Britain, Gabrielle Haller, assisted by an expert on genetic mutation, namely Charles Xavier. According to Xavier, the only way to put that wave of hysteria down is to
face it during that trial.
Somewhere in the Mediterranean sea, a duo of siblings is watching the news and bringing a toast to the eventual downfall of Xavier, Haller and Magneto. They are Andrea and Andreas Von Strucker, neo-nazi brother and sister who have an axe to gring regarding past events from fifty years ago.
Meanwhile, in Paris, a flash of light tells of the return of two teams of mutants : the X-Men and their junior team, the New Mutants, back from an adventure in Asgard where they had to free themselves from Loki's sortileges, with some of them undergoing permanent changes. The X-Men find themselves in a foreign country without money, ID's and unable to speak French save Cypher, who can adapt to any language. Anyway, Rachel manages to bring everyone to a more discreet place, making the witnesses believe George Lucas is filming a new movie with astounding special effects.
A few days later, in Poland, the military compound of Szczecin is destroyed by armed forces which identify themselves as the X-Men, requesting Magneto to be freed.
Back in Paris, a dying Professor Xavier is apalled that the USSR is in full-scale alert and hides his deteriorationg health conditions from Cyclops who tells him that the New Mutants have been sent to Muir Island under Dr. MacTaggert's care. Xavier wants Cyclops and the X-Men to investigate the plot against the X-Men and Magneto, to find the guilty parts. Cyclops is reluctant to do so but is convinced by Xavier who believes Magneto deserves a fair trial : he is risking his life for the whole of mutantkind and the X-Men need to be proven innocent.
During the trial, Sir James Jaspers is proving himself to be a rabid anti-mutant prosecutor who wants Magneto to be punished for his crimes.
Another terrorist attack in Holzruhe, Germany, triggers another wave of anti-mutant hysteria. Again a message is left behind that the X-Men are responsible.
Gabrielle Haller's line of defense is that everything Magneto did before being reduced to infancy have to be considered null, as in this momemnt his life started again and he could not be judges for dcrimes comitted in another lifetime. Additionally Magneto's motives were pure, he was not acting out of greed or hate, how can he be viewed as a guilty man ? Jaspers yells at Haller's statement : regardless of his age and his being reduced to infancy and restored to adulthood he did commit all those crimes.
While the X-Men plan to wait for an attack for the terrorists in Paris, President Devereux states that there is prescription to the crimes Magneto committed before being reborn, which greatly infuriates everyone attending. The next witness of the prosecution is Admiral Gregory Michaelov
Suvorov, head of Russia's strategic forces who had originally lauched a submarine against Magneto on Bermuda Island.
Eventually, the terrorist nearly destroy the St.Just military hospital with the X-Men trying to both fight them back and rescue as many civilians as possible. Cyclops gets a litle bitter : the X-Men try to rescue people and end treated like dirt anyway. That, and the destruction of this hospital
brought a severe blow to Magneto's cause. Kitty Pryde is enraged at the manifestant, but Haller cheers her up, reminding her that it is the duty of the death camps survivors to prevent another
An ocean away from Paris, a quite pregnant Madelyne Pryor is watching the news on TV, she feels hurt that although Storm, Nightcrawler and Kitty called several times, Cyclops never called her. Not even once. Seeds of bitterness abounding. Anyway, Corsair and Lilandra suddenly appear in a flash of light: Lilandra sensed Xavier’s agony though their mindlink and hopes the Starjammer's medical abilities will save her lover's life. When Maddy tells her Xavier is in
Paris, the two aliens rush back and leave Madelyne alone, and right then she goes into labor.
In outer space, the Starjammers are at a stargate. Binary powers up the gate, but they need to recalibrate it to the coordinates of Paris. They choose to try and and reach Xavier, despite they are hunted by Shi’Ar hunters gunning for them, and their ship can’t take much more damage.
In Paris, the X-Men are again planning what to do. Kitty gets angry when she sees the many protesters outside, but the others tell her to read the signs they are carrying. Actually this crowd is pro-mutant. Kitty tries to read the signs, but she can’t get her eyes to focus and the letters stay blurry. She fears that she will need glasses. Rachel tries to psionically localise their enemies
At the trial, Admiral Suvorov testifies that Magneto did sunk a nuclear submarine that he had
lauched in retaliation for Magneto's threatening the world. Magneto explains that he was acting in selfpreservation and the enraged Jaspers screams that Magneto was holding the world hostage and is sternly asked by President Devereux to be quiet : this is a court of jusice, after all. Then Magneto makes the statement that is really the point of this whole shenigan : what is the right of a nation to hold him prisoner ? He is not a citizen of USSR or of the USA, although their weaponry can easily destroy him and the whole of mutantkind; if Magneto lives it is only because two men on this planet chose peace over war. Magneto tried to use means only mankind could understand : brutality and threats, but it only trigerred more violence and bloodshed. Magneto realised this too late. Magneto's goal always was to prevent mutantkind from ending in crematoriums; he can‘t
believe Auschwitz won't happen again : men kill eanch others over the color of their skins, over religious believes, over parts of territories, etc. Since violence wouldn't work, Magneto chose to explain himself in front of a court and to surrender himself. But mankind should never forget that
mutantkind is its offspring. Not even his death will change that.
In a fly-boat on the Seine, the X-Men fight another heavily-armed squad, probably wounding many innocent people. They nearly destroy Notre-Dame and the Court of Justice before the terrorist reaveal their identity : the von Strucker silings, aka Fenris : the wolf that soon shall
dominate the world.
Xavier is unable to stop them, Magneto is their only hope. Magneto and the X-Men join forces to save as many lives as possible with Magneto wondering why the nazi punks hate him so much; the answer comes from Rachel who telepathically "heard" the von Strucker name in the siblings' heads. 25 years ago, Magneto and Xavier neutralised von Strucker, a nazi major. Von Strucker
had children who became his heirs and swore to avenge their father. While Fenris are concentrating on Magneto, Xavier jumps between them from behind, separating them. The need physical contact for their powers to work, and are now helpless. Jasper takes opportunity of the situation, and attempts to hit Andrea on the head with a piece of rock, yet Magneto stops him. Xavier has a seizure and in the distraction the twins can touch hands again. They blow a hole to the river, and vanish in a the flood that comes in.
As the weakly Xavier is swept away by the river, Magneto jumps after him to rescue him from drowning. They emerge in a beautiful garden. As he lies dying in his old friend and former enemy’s arms, Xavier makes a most fateful decision : he wants Magneto to be his successor as headmaster of Xavier School and as mentor of the New Mutants. Magneto doesn't feel worthy of such a responsability but promises to do as asked anyway as his old friend is taken away by Corsair and Lilandra, who hope that the superior technology aboard the Starjammer will be enough to save the Professor’s life.
The X-Men capture the other terrorists that have been working together with Fenris and turn them over to the local authorities. At the couthouse, President Devereux tells Gabrielle Haller that she would have accepted a plea for mitigation of sentence had Magneto been found guilty. Yet it’s a moot point now (as the defendant is no longer present), whatever Magneto and the X-Men do now, they have to answer the court of public opinion. The people of the world will determine wether they are guilty or innocent.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

Cannonball, Cypher, Karma, Magma, Magik, Mirage, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

Madelyne Pryor, Cyclops' wife

Binary, Ch'od, Corsair, Cr+eee, Hepzibah, Lilandra Neramani, Raza, Waldo (all Starjammers)
Gabrielle Haller, Magneto's attorney

Sir James Jaspers, prosecutor at Magneto's trial

President Michelle Devereux

Admiral Gregory Michaelov Suvorov, head of Russia's strategic forces

Fenris / Andrea and Andreas von Strucker
seen on TV :

Neal Conan, reporter

Story Notes: 

Beautiful art by John Romita jr at his best, Paris is very well portrayed with the Bois de Boulogne and the Place de l'Etoile. Solid writing from Chris Claremont, too, who do us the favor of solving a
years-long dangling plotline.
The issue is set after New Mutants Special #1 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #9, where both teams met in Asgard.
Magneto’s first battle with the X-Men occured in Uncanny X-Men #1, he was reduced to infancy in Defenders (1st series) #16. The incident involving the russian nucklear submarine occured in Uncanny X-Men #150.
Gabrielle Haller is a former lover of Charles Xavier, together they have the son David Haller, aka Legion.
The von Strucker siblings have been plaguing Ororo Munroe's life during her trip in Africa. Their father Wolgang von Strucker had a run-in with Xavier and Magneto in the past, as can be seen in Uncanny X-Men #160.
Sir James Jaspers is a chracter from Marvel UK. Shortly after his appearance here, he will discover his own reality warping power. He will be responsible for the "Jaspers Warp" during which he turned England into a nightmarish world where super-heroes and mutants are sent to concentrations camps. In the end Jaspers was killed by the Fury, bent on the destruction of everything superhuman. Those events occur in Mighty World of Marvel #7-12.
The original plan for the Mutant Massacre story involved the Fury destroying the Morlocks and the Hellfire Club allying itself with the X-Men; Jaspers was supposed to join forces with Senator Kelly to trigger the Days of Futire Past events with Captain Britain and Rachel Summers conveniently out of the way as members of Excalibur. It didn't happen because of Alan Moore's legal problems with Marvel, so we had Sinister sending his Marauders to wipe the doomed Morlocks out. The original storyline would have been Marvel's answer to DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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