X-Men: Prelude to Schism #2: Part Two

Facing pending peril, Cyclops consults with his once-enemy-turned-ally Magneto. Having heard advice from his mentor Charles Xavier, Cyclops also wanted to seek guidance from Erik Lehnsherr, who offered experience from the other end of the spectrum. Magneto respects Cyclops as “a great man”, “the leader who united the mutants, and who brought [them] to [their] promised land, [their] Utopia”, and compares him to a man he respects the most, his father Jakob Eisenhardt.

Erik’s father was honoured as “a proud son of Germany”, having fought bravely during World War I. But when Hilter came to power, the Eisenhardts became outcast because they were Jewish. Despite the “injustice”, Jakob still believed in “the greatness of [his] country”, and Erik admired “his optimism and his courage”.

As the National Socialist Party became the dominant political power, Jewish businesses and synagogues were desecrated, and the Jews were sent to concentration camps in Poland. But Jakob was still blindly faithful to his end, despite being condemned because he was born different. After Erik became orphaned, he was forced to work in the camp as he was “young and fit”. He saw the irony in his service for Germany. Where his father buried the bodies of dead war commrades, he buried the bodies of the innocent.

But Erik managed to escape slavery, and found love with a girl named Magda. They had hoped to start a new life in Ukraine with their daughter Anya. His happiness was short-lived when his mutant powers manifested, and ignited the fear and hatred in his community. And when they burned his house and murdered Anya, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Having witnessed and survived the Holocaust, Erik could see the same happening again for mutants. But where his father was powerless to stop the Nazis, Erik felt “[he] had the means to change things” with his mutant powers and create his better future, and thus became Magneto.

Magneto first encountered Cyclops and the X-Men at the battle for Cape Citadel Air Force Base. His point of view had diverged from his friend Xavier, and Magneto was pursuing an aggressive path to create change. The teenaged X-Men were barely a match for Magneto. But Magneto admits that when he first came face to face with the young and optimistic Cyclops, he saw in Cyclops the possibility of “a very different future from the one [he] had intended”.

Magneto’s advice to Cyclops is not to be blinded by his own “passion” and emotions, and not to be a “slave to anything”.

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