The mysterious guru called En Sabah Nur is holding a speech in Central Park, surrounded by a large curious audience. They all know, deep in their hearts, that something isn’t right in this world, he explains. They’ll tell you that the problem is wanting to be together. Wanting a connection. Longing for the warmth of another in your bed, he scoffs. He begins drawing a circle of lines around his right eye.
They’ll tell you that your emotions are base, that they’ll corrupt your capacity to be an individual and that such autonomy is the key to a more advanced form of life. En Sabah Nur stresses that he and his people are here to tell people that “they” are wrong. They are here to embrace the connections that make life worth living. As a society, they have accepted that all mutations are beautiful. But they say they are more. All mutations are beloved. Whether they are blue, winged, horned or made of moss, they are made to be loved. Yes, those mutations make them themselves, but the same traits make them appealing to others. And they are not only talking about romance but about all bonds. Bonds extend between every one of them. They are in their blood, they are part of their DNA.
Kitty Pyde and Genesis also step onto the stage. En Sabah Nur puts his hand on Genesis’ shoulder. When he first learned of his son, Genesis, they were told their love is alien. That his desire to be close to him is the enemy. How can you separate what was once part of you?
He kisses Genesis gently on the forehead to the shock of the crowd. They have no enemies, he announces. Not when they love one another!
The X-Men have reached the crowd. X-23 announces he sounds insane and Magneto muses they should put a stop to this. To what exactly? Jean Grey demands.
En Sabah Nur continues and points to his right eye. It has become a symbol of individuality. It is the eye of Hope Summers, a hero they are told acted alone to give them all mutations. This is a lie. Today they reclaim this mark as a symbol of unity. That they are indivisible from each other. As proof that they are strongest together. Today they reclaim all these false prophets of isolation.
He points toward a huge statue of Wolverine. Some members of the crowd get ready to tear it down. X-23 has had enough. She runs towards the statue. As one of the statue’s claws breaks off, X-23 has a memory flashback.
During her X-Force days, she and Wolverine are fighting some enemies. He points out she was made for this, designed to kill. Sometimes she will want to tear them to shreds because that is her nature… his nature. Even though it is in her blood, the choice is still hers to make, he warns.
The girl who broke off the statue’s claw lies on the ground bleeding and shouts that X-23 cut her. X-23 stammers confused. Magneto draws her back and tells her she lost her temper. She tries to tell him what happened.
As the crowd argues on whether an X-Man would do what X-23 did, X-Man announces this has gotten out of hand and suggests they all take a deep breath. &%# you! the girl whom Laura cut replies and decks her. Laura’s apologies don’t stop her. Others in the crowd attack as well and X-Man protects the X-Men with a telekinetic shield.
Some crowd members intend to ram through the forcefield. Colossus takes the ram away, chiding them for not understanding how dangerous this is.
Genesis suggests they get out of here. En Sabah Nur refuses. They must show them the way.
X-Man intends to calm the crowd by disrupting the flow of hormones from their pituitary glands. Jean chides him to let them feel what they need to feel. It’s not their place to suppress emotions.
Storm and Nature Girl use their powers to keep the crowd at bay and Nature Girl marvels she has never seen such anger before.
Other crowd members hit Colossus, who doesn’t even notice the blows and tells them they are throwing their lives away for En Sabah Nur.
Addressing En Sabah Nur as “murshid,” Kitty Pryde points out that every second they spend here increases the danger against him. Who will guide them if not them? he asks.
Magneto has had enough. Storm reaches out to him, warning they are not worth losing everything they built. She has a short memory flash of another time, of battling each other, as does he.
En Sabah Nur addresses the crowd, announcing there is no room for hate in his family. They believe love is not war. The crowd look down ashamed.
Magneto states he must be En Sabah Nur. The guru replies he is honored the exalted X-Men have come to their first gathering. He apologizes for a few passionate individuals taking things too far. He wants them to know, he loves them. Colossus and Kitty Pryde share a glance. He loves them all. En Sabah Nur lifts himself, Kitty and Genesis into the air.
Later the X-Men discuss matters in their HQ. They are just going to leave them alone? X-23 asks. Nature Girl retorts, what should they do? Nightcrawler interjects Charles wouldn’t want the X-Men to hurt them.
Jean points out that they have all been forced to violence by the other side. How can they be so quicks to judge? Colossus replies it is their duty to keep the world safe, and they pose a danger to it! They don’t know that, Nate points out calmly. Colossus continues he called that boy his son! And kissed him in public!
X-23 complains about the way they looked at her. Nature Girl retorts that they looked at all of them that way. X-Man points out that, of the 40 mutants present, less than a dozen turned violent. They shouldn’t judge them by the actions of a few.
So, if they just ignore them, they think they’ll go away? Nature Girl asks. The X-Men didn’t, Jean points out. All movements start small, Storm agrees. Nightcrawler adds they must act now before this gets out of hand.
Nature Girl muses she sees violence all the time with animals, but mutants don’t seem to like it much. Is it sometimes okay then? She is answered by a ‘yes’ from Colossus and a ‘no’ from X-Man. Magneto admits he isn’t sure anymore.
Jean points out the majority in the park were calm and happy. They were preaching love, outdated as it may seem, and the X-Men didn’t actually speak to a single one of them. Maybe they are blowing this out of…
Ne Nado! Colossus shouts and hits the table. They protect mutantkind! They uphold their values! There is no room for error! They are obligated to anticipate and counter threats before they can threaten the world. Yes, the threat has changed! Yes, there is only a small chance they might turn dangerous. But it is no different than a spreading forest fire. Angrily, he gets up.
Jean suggests they all agree they have to keep an eye on this. Nate adds they have to inform Department X.
Soon, Jean, X-Man and X-23 visit Department X, where they talk to Psylocke and Moneta. They explain what happened. They have ruled out mind control? Psylocke asks. Jean explains the people were acting of their own volition. Zut alors, Moneta swears. She wouldn’t have believed they’d see the day when mere words stoked mutants into violence.
Psylocke tells them that, unless En Sabah Nur’s people rush down the middle of Fifth Avenue blocking traffic, there isn’t much Department X can do. Moneta pipes up and suggests they can put up a memo to the rest of the department and see what comes up on this Sabah Nur fou. Make this disgusting ‘grade a person of interest. Psylocke telepathically chides her the less the X-Men know about what they do, the better. With her voice, she replies that, as long as En Sabah Nur doesn’t expose himself to the crowd, they can’t do that. If they find the mutants who defaced the statue, they can hit them with some mandatory volunteer hours. If they find the ones who got violent…
X-23 interrupts it was just a misunderstanding. Moneta lectures her they need to make sure mutants don’t act like hat. Violence negates harmony.
X-Man asks about En Sabah Nur’s ideology. Words are more dangerous than fists. Amour? Moneta scoffs. Sounds like he found an old sex ed text book and now thinks he’s Allen Ginsberg, Psylocke jokes. But the X-Men were actually there. What do they think? Jean is silent for a moment, until Nate calls her name, then states it is a dangerous mindset. It represents a backwards leap. She’s more concerned when his words translate into flagrant displays of affection. Moneta grimaces in disgust as she recalls En Sabah Nur kissing his son on the forehead. C’est degoutant!
Psylocke points out Moneta is dunking Blob’s blueberry cookies into orange soda, then recalls the X-Men mentioning two lackeys. Who was the other one?
She was beautiful, Colossus muses as he thinks of said other lackey, Kitty Pryde, in his home. He thinks of her auburn hair and dark eyes while painting a small purple dragon. He wonders why he can’t stop thinking about her. He doesn’t even know her. He tells himself she cannot matter. All she stands for is in direct opposition to his way of life. He just scolded his team- Spoke the truth from his heart. But here he is with these perverse obsolete thoughts. As Mother used to say, he carries fire on one hand and water in the other. Disgusted, he tosses his paintbrush against the wall.
In his own home, Magneto tries to drown his sorrows. He muses that he destroyed his helmet to open himself to others. To begin anew. But he has yet to accept that vulnerability and freedom go hand in hand. What he has accepted is that he used to be a villain. A term he always thought rather reductive and, yet, what he saw today made him fear that part of him could come back.
He sits down, wondering that it seemed real like a memory or desire. The bourbon doesn’t make it better. He felt rage. A flash but within it he wanted to kill Storm. Irrational. Fearful. Emotions he hasn’t felt in years, but which are dragging him back to the man he used to be. He won’t go back. Angrily, he tosses the glass to the ground.
A crack opens from it and an image emerges an image of the Scarlet Witch, the woman he believed to be his daughter. She announces he was used. The great Magneto a pawn in someone else’s game.
He sees himself cradling Quicksilver, while the Scarlet Witch in the sky announces that Magneto has no family. That he is alone. The two of them battle.
Magneto tells himself those images lie. Wanda and Pietro… his children. Stryfe killed them. Wanda’s bones shattered in her chest. Pietro’s heart slowed to a stop. That was before the Resolution. They’ve been dead for years. He tells himself it’s the drink or guilt. He tells himself it is not real but he feels the pain linger. Feels a bond to a past that does not exist.
He is unaware of Storm hovering outside, looking in.
“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human