Excalibur (3rd series) #2

Issue Date: 
August 2004
Story Title: 
Forging the Sword - part 2: With a Little Help from My Friends

Chris Claremont (writer), Aaron Lopresti (artist), Greg Adams (inked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Stephanie Moore & Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

In the eye of the mega-sentinel statue, a mutant group of Genoshan rebels discusses the whereabouts of their leader, Unus. At the hideout of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, the two mutants discuss the death of Jean Grey and the recent rise in mutant births around the globe. The two allies are finishing their supper when the tentacle wielding Callisto shows up on the scene, demanding answers from Charles about his involvement with Magneto. Before he can try to calm her down, Wicked arrives on the scene and sends her specters after the one-time Morlock. Callisto easily defeats the young woman, but is shocked to find Xavier would have a child fight for him. Picking up the pain-stricken Wicked, Callisto is startled by Freakshow, who comes on the scene, demanding that Callisto step away from Wicked. Humorously, Freakshow is stopped by his sudden urge to vomit and regurgitates Unus out of his body. Freakshow transforms into his human form, showing himself to the others in nothing but his undergarments. This seems to embarrass Freakshow, who tries to apologize to Unus, who leaves them in anger. After arriving back at the mega-sentinel, he demands his lackeys to attack him. They do so, with the result ending in Unus’ victorious boasts. Nearby, a young mutant named Hub receives a telepathic message from her true compatriot, Hack. Hack tells her to be on guard, because an Omega Sentinel is on its way to wreck havoc on the Island of Genosha.

Full Summary: 

Near Hammers Bay, in Genosha, the mutants that survived the recent holocaust try to make the most out of their day. Magneto tells Charles that it is his move, as the two elder mutants play a game of chess. Elsewhere, Xavier’s newest recruits, Wicked and Freakshow, draw closer to the building that houses their new mentor.

Freakshow asks Wicked if they can stop for a moment, due to the pain he is feeling. Wicked teases her friend, asking him if it was something he ate? Above the waters that surround Hammers Bay, a fishing boat is commanded by a military copter to go back to shore, or risk them opening fire. Aboard the vessel, a member of the ship calls back to the helicopter to tell them that they are just trying to catch some food, because their people are starving. Inside the trio-statue, specifically the eye of Magneto, Unus’ group of Genoshan mutants discusses the possibility of their leader not returning. Toad-In-Waiting tells Toad that Unus was swallowed by Freakshow, which means he must be dead. The unknown blue mutant, states that Unus has powers, which makes him impervious to injury. The new mutant named Hub asks them what they will do once Unus returns; will they invite him back as their leader?

Magneto stands on the balcony of their new hideout and asks Charles why his chess moves seem so unconventional, wondering if Charles just does not care. Xavier places his hand to his chin, caressing it; he tells Magneto that he knows him better than that, because he always plays to win. Xavier changes the subject, beginning to remove supplies from the metal coffin, which seems to be used as a makeshift table. He apologizes for not being able to bring more supplies. Magneto tells Xavier that he has always been impressed by his resourcefulness. Xavier tells Magneto that he was not always a teacher. Showing his concentration camp-tattoo numbered 24005, Magnus tells Xavier that the two of them both have shadows on their souls.

Knocking on the casket, Magneto asks Xavier who is in the coffin. Looking up to his ally, Xavier tells Magneto that it is supposedly him! Solemnly bowing his head, he tells Xavier that the coffin seems convenient then. Xavier pulls out the first aid kit from the metal casket. Somberly, he says that the imposter told him that his second mutation was to always come back from the grave. Magneto, teases that the raising from the dead used to be the province of a mutant named Jean Grey. Xavier continues to say that, whoever he was, he killed Jean Grey!” Shocked, Magneto looks back towards Xavier, telling him that he did not know. Erik approaches the wheelchair of Xavier’s, placing his hand to Charles’ back he tells him he is sorry.

Charles tells him that she was not the only casualty, the latest count in New York, is 5,000 dead, due to the fact they were not mutants. Magneto, taken aback, asks Xavier if he and they think he is capable of such a thing? Xavier grimaces, when telling Magneto that he does have a certain reputation for this sort of thing. Magneto’s eyes light with electricity, accompanied by the gritting his teeth. The house begins to shake, as he says, “NOT FOR THIS!”“ Xavier calmly tells him that he agrees with him, that he would not cause so much wanton death. The electricity begins to fade. Xavier asks Erik if he is alright? Erik lifts a hand to press against his head. He says that it is just a headache, which is life’s cue to keep his temper in-check.

Xavier states to Erik that he has been prone to these headaches since they first met. Erik says that he has had the headaches ever since his powers over the magnetic field became evident. Xavier tells Erik that Moira once had a theory about his headaches, when he was under her care. Magneto, angered by the name of someone he loathes, tells Charles that, even though he knows Charles loves her, his memories of her are soiled.

Xavier tosses some canned foods to Erik, while the two of them continue their discussion. Xavier asks how two people like themselves wield so much power without their being some backlash from Mother Nature. With a handful of food, Erik states that you would think Mother Nature would have designed mutants to better withstand the toil on their bodies. Xavier continues the theory by stating that mutants might be actually a work-in-progress, in the boundaries of evolution. Smirking, Erik states, “Homo sapiens not quite Superior.”“ Xavier shuts the door to the coffin, stating that their flaws might be why nature has created the so-called secondary mutations.

Xavier grabs a bottle of wine, as Erik prepares their plates for supper and the two friends sit down for supper. Magneto asks Xavier if the mutant genome could really be so adaptable. Xavier goes on to say that he did not think so, but he also never thought that there would be so many mutants in the world. They sit on the balcony, eating while continuing the discussion. Xavier states that is almost as if they jumped a scale on the evolutionary chart in only a few months. Magneto states that he thought Charles was supposed to be the expert on mutations. Xavier states that he is only human. Frowning, Erik tells Charles that, dissimilar to current belief, he is as well.

Changing subjects, Erik tells Xavier that he knows he wants to ask him about how he survived the Sentinel attack. Charles says that he knows Erik does not know the answer, so it would be a waste to ask. Magneto tells Charles that people came to Genosha because he called them. He goes on to say that the country was built on engineered slaves; the world knew about it and did nothing. Standing to his feet, Erik looks towards the mega-sentinel statue and tells Xavier that he used his reputation as a monster to get the UN to give him Genosha. He continues on to say that he only wanted a place for his people to live in peace, but one day a true monster fell from the sky, tearing his dream into shreds. Magneto tells Xavier that he cannot help, but feel sad over the inability of his to save his own people from the Sentinel’s attack. He tells Xavier that he was the only one to wake up. He asks Charles if it matters how he survived?

Continuing his speech, he tells Xavier that the past cannot be changed; the only thing that is in their hands is the present and future. Charles looks up, as Erik cleans the dishes from the table and asks what is waiting for them in the wings now. Erik states that, on Genosha, their most pressing concerns are food, medical supplies (or at least a mutant with healing powers) and shelter. Xavier enters through the balcony door, to see a familiar face asking Erik what he will do after he gets all his help. With her tentacles’ strength, the woman known as Callisto lifts Erik Lensherr from the ground, with ten knives at his throat.

Callisto asks Charles if he was hiding Magneto or if he is just improvising, due to the sudden appearance of their foe? Charles asks Callisto why she is there. She tells him that, officially, she is recruiting for the Arena but, unofficially, Storm asked her to cover Xavier’s back. She goes on to ask if Xavier has thought this through, wondering how, if the world found the two of them together, they might deal drastically with his X-Men? Magneto tells Callisto that they all have their regrets; they each in their own way try to balance the scales. Callisto states that she does not believe a word he says. Erik states that he is not trying to fight back. Callisto counters with the fact he could not, due to her ingenuity in bringing ceramic knives to combat him. Xavier thinks to himself about how Callisto’s mental blocks are strong, thanks ironically to his teachings.

Suddenly, specters appear in the air surrounding Callisto. Xavier knows that it is Wicked’s doing. He also knows that Callisto is rarely surprised. Even when she is, he knows that she overcomes most obstacles. As she shows, she can even overcome the power of a handful of specters, by slicing them until Wicked collapses. After Wicked screams in pain, Callisto approaches her and finds that she is just a child. She states that Wicked must have some kind of empathic link with her specters, so when she cuts them its like cutting Wicked too. Callisto holds the child up in her arms and asks why Xavier would bring her into harms way.

Just then, Freakshow appears (in his monster form) on the scene, telling Callisto to “take her hands off Wicked!” Callisto tells him to open his eyes, because she is only trying to help. Freakshow tells her to put down the knives or there will be trouble. With that said, Freakshow begins to vomit. Turning his head, he hurls both food and Unus nearby. Wicked, who seems now okay, tells Callisto that Freakshow ate Unus earlier. Freakshow transforms back into the young boy, standing only in his undergarments; he seems extremely shy about the others seeing him that way. Xavier, Magneto and Wicked smirk at the humorous situation with both Unus and Freakshow. Callisto, however, laughs with hysteria at the two of them.

Unus lies on the ground, covered in green mucus, as Freakshow reaches to a nearby Stop sign to hide his lower extremities. Freakshow apologizes for eating Unus. Unus screams at him to stay away, telling Xavier to keep his “freak” on a leash. Unus runs away from the mutants, telling them to stay away or he will not be responsible for the consequences. Magneto hides in the shadows of their hideout, while Xavier waves goodbye to Unus, thanking him for the warning. Freakshow tells the others that he hates it when he is called a “freak.”

Callisto pulls him close to her body, telling him that many people think mutants are freaks. Callisto carries Wicked to a nearby couch, telling Xavier to use his mind powers to help her rest. Xavier tosses some clothing to Freakshow, telling Callisto that she is too forward. Callisto states that she is a natural-born charmer. Magneto smiles towards Callisto and asks her about her new look. She tells him that a former Morlock named Masque did this to her, but she has grown to like the change. Xavier looks to Magneto, teasing him about their earlier conversation about the diversity of the human genome.

Freakshow grasps the arm of Wicked’s, telling her that he is Magneto! She tells Freakshow that he should still be dead. When Erik asks her why she wants him dead, she tells him that he could not save his own people. Erik humbly tells her that he is sorry, but he will not let it happen again! Xavier looks up at his five-man army and tells them that, together, they will make Genosha better.

In the head of the mega-sentinel statue, the mutant known as Unus asks his seven-team members to attack him. The strong person of the group attacks first, but his blows are deflected with ease by Unus’ shield. Next, the blue person of the group uses his power of electricity to try to fry Unus; the attack is unsuccessful as well. Unus screams out that he is still “da man,” so the kid and “baldy” Xavier are going to be dead.

Nearby the parading Unus, the mutant known as Hub secretly makes fun of Unus, also stating that she is bored. Suddenly, her true ally, a telepath named Hack, contacts her. She begs him to leave before her cover is blown, but he tells her that an extreme threat is approaching them, an Omega Sentinel.

Characters Involved: 

Charles Xavier




Hack & Hub (Part of a Genoshan Underground)


Shocker II, Toad-In-Waiting, Unus, and his four other mutant allies

Story Notes: 

This is the first insinuation that the Magneto who masqueraded as Xorn and wrought havoc in New York during the "Planet X" storyline was not truly Magneto, but an imposter.

The Omega Sentinel is from the Mekanix series, which was also written by Chris Claremont.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: