|Storm • Dazzler • Havok • Magneto • Rogue • Wolverine|
| Captain America • Black Knight • Captain Marvel • Dr. Druid • She-Hulk • Thor|
|Vanguard • Crimson Commando • Darkstar • Titanium Man • Ursa Major|
Eventually Magneto surrenders and submits to a trial, but not without consulting Captain America about whether he should use his mass-prejudice-removal device on the entire world (which he cobbled together from bits of Asteroid M - now only practical that Xavier has left the planet). Cap says no, Magneto blasts him with it and is surprised to find his answer still the same. Cap never had been prejudiced against mutants.
This breaks Magneto a bit. It's time for his retrial (again with Haller defending and Jaspers prosecuting. The defence tries a new argument, that Magneto is a state actor in his own right, part of a new nation of mutants, and hence not bound by the Geneva Conventions. As an argument, I'm not sure this works: the Geneva Conventions are part of customary international law, but it's not like this comes up much. But if we're bringing the real world into it, it's far more likely that Magneto would be shipped to Cuba in an orange jumpsuit. The court rejects this argument, and then evidence is taken about Magneto's atrocities. Stern knows his stuff (he was editor for this part of Uncanny's run, after all) and the evidence here presented is a decent hatchet job on Magneto.
The court now retires to consider its verdict. Magneto is worried the ruling is going to go against him, and there will be an uprising by his Singaporean fan club and other such mutants. He'd really rather avoid that. Can the judges be trusted? One item of bizarre random paranoia is his belief that one of the judges is secretly a mutant and wishes to martyr Magneto precisely to start the race war, which mutants will win. Some investigation proves this false: the more prosaic and explanation is that that the judge is a mutophobe. Fortunately, Magneto's got an app for that.
Magneto gets let off: the revised non-bigoted judges accept his argument of lack of jurisdiction. It stops rather abruptly, as he leaves the court building he sees an angry crowd and wonders whether he didn't just make a terrible mistake. The idea that we can go back to business as usual (or rather, to Uncanny X-Men #220) after this is nonsensical, and I was almost expecting an issue #5, with the pogroms beginning.
The miniseries has to fit here because there's nowhere else for it to go: they just got Havok in #219 and then Storm goes off in #220. But it doesn't actually fit here. Apart from the difference in tone (apart from the scary ending, we'd simply not get something as Silver Age as a global anti-prejudice ray in the main series in 1987), we're seeing a different Magneto to the one we've been seing lately. Claremont's is just headmaster of the school and is kept at arms length from their other activities, whereas this one appears to be a fully-fledged member of the X-Men. Claremont's has reformed. This one just thinks he has. This Magneto has all sorts of wacky psychic powers that Magneto hasn't exhibited since Uncanny #4. Claremont's is the master of magnetism. I did this out of order (it's Christmas Eve, if you're wondering), and I can tell you that the Claremon/Simonson Magneto isn't going to put on that helmet for a good long time yet; whereas this Magneto doesn't even give it a second thought.
And yet, although he on paper he is examining a less well-developed Magneto, the ground this is covering is a far more interesting use of the character than the ineffectual sub-Xavier that Claremont/Simonson have him be at this bit in the run. That Magneto is never really tested, not until Inferno, at any rate. What are his limits? This title is willing to ask and answer that, and the answer, though less definite, is more convincing. And there's this idea of Magneto as a revolutionary hero to a mutant underground. Well, that's gonna have legs...
I originally wrote this post more or less as it appears above. Then I happened to look at the last few pages of the collection, that contained behind-the-scenes notes. And suddenly, it clicks into place why the last issue was so different to the others. Tom DeFalco wrote it, not Roger Stern. Stern's original treatment is presented: it presents a much less noble Magneto, still definitely wearing a black hat under that metal helmet. I said "Stern knows his stuff"; he only went and went through every single issue of any comic Magneto has ever been in and documented all crimes, however slight. He poured scorn on the rejuvenation defence, too. But this was not to be. Then, as 16 years later, Marvel would see value in a redeemable Magneto, but this time they caught it before it went to press.