Another awe-inspiring X-Men epic retold - THE RETURN OF MAGNETO! How has the Master of Magnetisim escape from his impenetrable prison? And what is the connection between his escape and the mysterious Eric the Red? The X-Men might not survive long enough to find out!
Reprint of and retroactive backup story to The X-Men #104 - The Gentleman's Name Is Magneto (April, 1977)
A Fire in the Night!
Magneto sleeps restlessly in a hotel in Paris. He's recently been revived to the prime of his life, a process that has not only returned his powers to their full strength but also revived the clarity of memories that had previously been faded over years, giving all of his memories their original emotional impact.
"As always, the dream begins with Auschwitz.." we see Magneto as a young man in the concentration camp he grew up in, see him with his first love, Magda Eisenhardt, and how the two escape together as the Allies invade Germany. He remembers how they lived like animals in the woods, barely able to keep from freezing or starving, how they traveled into the villages of the Carpathian Mountains and started a new life together, and the birth of their first child, Anya.
As Anya grows from infancy, Magneto's thirst for scientific knowledge compels him to move his young family to the large Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa. There he leaves Magda to care for Anya while he goes to find work to provide for them.
He finds work as a labourer, but is paid less than half of what he was promised. Frustrated to be cheated out of his pay when his family is so desperate, he confronts his boss and unconsciously hurls a crowbar at him with his powers. He is then paid what he was promised, but completely bewildered by this first evidence of his powers.
He returns home to find that the building his family is in is on fire; he races in to save Magda with a magnetic shield, but they can't get up the stairs because of the fire, leaving Anya trapped. As they rush out onto the street, Magneto tries desperately to make his powers work again to try to save Anya, who is calling to him from a window, but he doesn't know how to control them yet.
As he struggles to make his powers manifest, he's grabbed by three policemen and his employer, who is charging him with extortion and assault. He begs for them to let him go so he can save his daughter, as Anya screams out that she is burning alive, but they will not let him go and continue beating him with batons.
As Anya's burning body hurls herself desperately from the third story window, his boss looks up in shock but claims that Magneto has only himself to blame. Magneto howls out in anguish and seems to black out. When he comes to, he is surrounded by the lifeless bodies of Anya, his employer, and the police, as well as others. Magda is horrified of him, claiming that he threw lightning from his eyes and has become a monster. As she runs from him, he chases after, calling her name louder and louder, waking himself from the dream.
As he awakes and gets out of bed, his heart is heavy again from the loss of his wife and child. He looks out his window and sees a nearby building is on fire, a young mother and her child trapped inside. He contemplates the insignificance of their human lives to his mission to fight for mutants, but then he goes and saves them anyway.
As he flies them from the building safely down to the street, the girl asks her mother if he's an Angel. As he delivers them to a man waiting for them outside, he says that he can never repay Magneto for saving his family. Magneto replies that actually he can.
"By telling the world how your family was saved by Magneto. Magneto the terrorist, Magneto the super-villain, Magneto the Mutant.Remember me always, m'sieu. I could have let them parish --but I chose LIFE!"
As Magneto flies away in a giant bubble, the man comments that though Magneto may be all of the terrible things he's said, on this night he has first and foremost proven himself "to be a man."
- The cover is a homage of the cover of X-Men #1.