Sunday, December 25, 2011

X-Men Magneto Testament Series Complete

Magneto's first original title was the four-issue miniseries Magneto (Nov. 1996 - Feb. 1997), by writers Peter Milligan & Jorge Gonzalez, and penciller Kelley Jones. The miniseries took place during a period where it was believed Magneto had been de-aged and was suffering from amnesia, calling himself Joseph; it was later revealed that Joseph was a younger clone of Magneto. Later, Magneto became ruler of the nation Genosha. During this period, he received two miniseries; Magneto Rex (written by Joe Pruett and drawn by Brandon Peterson) and Magneto: Dark Seduction (written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Roger Cruz). A trade paperback novel detailing Magneto's childhood, titled X-Men: Magneto Testament, was released in September 2008, and written by Greg Pak. Magneto Testament, which Pak based on accounts from Holocaust survivors, watched documentaries, and read comics such as Maus, finally confirms and clarifies into the Marvel Comics canon, Magneto's personal history and background. Before the publication of X-Men: Magneto Testament, Magneto's personal background and history was established in Uncanny X-Men vol. 1, #150 (August 1981) as him being a Jewish Holocaust survivor; while he was searching for his wife Magda, a Sinti Gypsy, Magneto maintained a cover identity as a Sinti Gypsy. This created confusion amongst some readers, as to his heritage, until it was authoritatively confirmed in Magneto: Testament that he is, in fact, Jewish.

Magneto was born Max Eisenhardt sometime in the late 1920s to a middle class German Jewish family whose father, Jakob Eisenhardt was a highly decorated World War I veteran. Surviving discrimination and hardship during the Nazi rise to power, Kristallnacht, and the passing of the Nuremberg Laws, in 1939 Max and his family fled to Poland where they were captured during the German invasion of Poland and sent to the Warsaw Ghetto. Max and his family escaped the Ghetto, only to be betrayed and captured again. His mother, father, and sister were executed and buried in a mass grave, but Max survived, possibly due to the manifestation of his powers. Escaping from the mass grave, he was ultimately captured yet again and sent to Auschwitz, where he eventually became a Sonderkommando. While at Auschwitz, Eisenhardt reunited with a Roma girl named Magda, with whom he had fallen in love when he was younger, and with whom he escaped the prison camp during the October 7th 1944 revolt. Following the war, he and Magda moved to the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, and Max adopted the name "Magnus". Magda and Magnus had a daughter named Anya, and lived uneventfully until one night when an angry mob burned down their home with Anya still inside. Enraged at the mob for preventing him from rescuing Anya, the young Magnus's powers manifested uncontrollably, killing the mob and destroying a part of the city. Magda, terrified at Magnus' power, left him and later gave birth to the mutant twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch before walking away to die. Wanted by the authorities for the deaths and destruction in Vinnytsia, while searching for Magda, Magnus paid a Romanian forger, George Odekirk, to create the cover identity of "Erik Lehnsherr the Sinte gypsy" for him.

"Erik" relocated to Israel, where he met and befriended Charles Xavier while working at a psychiatric hospital near Haifa. There, lengthy debates were held by the two regarding the consequences humanity faces with the rise of mutants, though neither revealed to the other that they both in fact possessed mutant powers. However, they were forced to reveal their inherent abilities to one another while facing Baron Strucker and HYDRA. Following the battle, Erik (now dressed as Magneto), realizing that his and Xavier's views were incompatible, left with a cache of hidden Nazi gold, which provided him with the finances to pursue his goals.

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