Excalibur (3rd series) #8

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 
Saturday Night Fever

Chris Claremont (writer), Aaron Lopresti (artist), Greg Adams and Sean Parsons (inker), Transparency Digital (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Stephanie Moore (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

Xavier, Magneto and Callisto launch their plans to rebuild Genosha. Xavier’s young followers begin the task of demolishing the ruins of Hammer Bay while searching for any useable resources that might remain. Meanwhile, Karima establishes her authority at the newly constructed Genoshan Community Jail. After unsuccessfully trying to recruit Unus and his mutant allies to help in their efforts, Xavier strikes an uneasy bargain with Genosha’s current prisoners: Stripmine and his crew, the former Genoshan Magistrates and the mysterious Dark Beast, who has his own agenda at play.
Magneto finds two more Genoshan survivors, Broadband and Book and Xavier develops a plan to seek out other survivors beyond Hammer Bay. He and Callisto embark on a journey into the island of Genosha, leaving Magneto in charge of reconstruction in Hammer Bay. Magneto continues to bond with the younger mutants of Genosha. This is interrupted when he sees a broadcast from New York about the destruction of Avengers Mansion and the deaths of several members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. His concern for the welfare of his children is confirmed by a cry for help from his daughter, the Scarlet Witch. He uses his powers to open a wormhole and emerges several hours later with an unconscious Wanda in tow.

Full Summary: 

Hammer Bay, Genosha:

Xavier, Magneto and Callisto look out over the ruins of Hammer Bay. Charles declares that they are there to stay and that together they have a nation to rebuild. “Let’s get to work”, he adds.
Xavier thinks to himself that in coming to Genosha, he left everything behind: his school, his students, his family.
Unus and his mutant gang are startled by a loud crash. They hurry to a window wondering what could have caused such a commotion. Outside, they see Shola flying with his telekinetic powers. He smirks at them and waves as he says, “Mornin’, losers!” Unus identifies Shola to the others and calls him a “smart-mouthed punk” as he wonders aloud what Shola is doing. Shola shouts, “Fire in the hole!” as he dive bombs into the burnt out remains of a skyscraper. He joyously blasts out of the bottom, the building collapsing behind him as he soars into the air. He tells Freakshow who is waiting on the ground below that what’s left is all his.
Xavier muses on why bother rebuilding Genosha. He notes that it was only made a “mutant homeland” because the United Nations succumbed to Magneto’s blackmail. He realizes that it makes a perfect target for the enemies of mutantkind. But he also views this as a potential home for mutants who are continuously viewed as a threat.
Freakshow morphs into a reptilian tunneler with a long worm-like body and huge teeth. He tells Shola, “you knock ‘em down…I eat ‘em up!” as he slithers into the ruins and devours the rubble. He notes that what is left is clean, arable land. Meanwhile, Wicked explains to Magneto that her “ghost-friends” are searching the ruins for anything they can still use. The ghosts are shown collecting valuables and intact food. Magneto asks Wicked to remind her “friends” to mark any ferrous materials so that Freakshow doesn’t eat them, noting that he has plans.
Xavier believes that to leave Genosha in ruins is a sign that there is no hope, that there is not common humanity. He thinks it defines the lives of mutants in terms of fear and hate leaving them a future where they must hide or conquer in order to survive. He notes that the survivors in Genosha are mostly children and that they must be shown a better way. He also realizes that not everyone shares his intents.
Xavier and Callisto seek they aid of Unus and his gang. Unus asks what is in it for him. Callisto is typically cynical (or perhaps realistic) and playfully tells Charles that they’re wasting their time. As she does so, Toad-in-Waiting flicks his tongue out to catch a fly but Callisto stabs it with one of her blades before he has the chance. Xavier tells Callisto telepathically that he has to try. Unus offers to share what he and his gang have…for a price. Xavier retorts that he will not leave the fate of these people to the likes of Unus and leaves with Callisto who cannot help but say “Told’ja so.” Unus taunts Xavier by saying “Come again, old man” and tells his group that Xavier is a chump and that when he’s done or he’s failed, they will move in and take it for themselves.
Elsewhere in Hammer Bay stands the newly erected “Genosha Community Jail”, a battered looking stone building amidst Genosha’s ruins. The Dark Beast compliments Karima on her lovely name and accent. He is all smiles as he flirts with Genosha’s new “sheriff”. She stands with her arms folded, not giving in to his attempts at winning her favor. He asks how she ended up there and she replies that she was helping a friend, before asking what his excuse is. He replies with more witty banter, “Bad genes”. She asks if he’s the “real McCoy” noting that there are 1143 websites devoted to the Beast. The Dark Beast feigns feeling flattered, noting that Karima must have scanned the Internet with her built-in satellite modem and stored the data on the hard drive that replaced her brain when she was transformed into an Omega Sentinel.
Karima notes that none of the websites mentioned the evil incarnation of the true Beast. McCoy assures her that there is only one Beast and that it isn’t that “Cowardly Lion” poseur in Westchester. He claims he should not be there, that it was all a misunderstanding. He offers food and medicines if they can come to an agreement of some sort. Karima in turn pops the blades on her fingers and offers instead to peel the flesh from his bones with them until he talks. The Dark Beast claims he’s in love. Karima in turn cautions him to be careful…she might take souvenirs. Beast smiles and assures her that he knows she’s no that kind of girl. He also asserts that he has nothing to hide and that Xavier can pick his brain if he dares. He notes that Genosha has no courts to try him, only Xavier and what he says.
Their banter is interrupted by one of the five Genoshan magistrates held in the neighboring cell. The magistrate calls Karima a monster and she readily agrees. She admits she was designed to kill mutants, but that she is not a murderer but an officer of the law. She says that she thought they might feel the same. She confronts them with the hypocrisy of their views. They claim Genosha belongs to them, though they built it on the backs of mutant slaves. She wonders if that is what they hope to restore or if they just want to exterminate the few mutants who remain. She asks if it makes them feel proud to embrace that heritage and if they look forward to killing children. She admits that they face the same issues in India. She tells them they have the chance to walk another path by helping to make Genosha into a land that humans and mutants can share.
Karima’s speech is interrupted, as one of the three imprisoned trolls breaks free of the cell holding him and his comrades. The barred wall to the cell crashes down on top of Karima, carried forward by the weight of the troll who lands squarely on her chest. He raises a piece of steel bar to impale her saying that they are warriors and do not make peace. She grabs the bar and punches the troll off of her and into a wall near the Dark Beast’s cell.
The Beast notes that it is curious that only one of the trolls attacked and wonders what their game might be. He states that whatever it is must not interfere with his own. He uses a claw to poke the troll in the neck. Karima attacks with the length of steel bar which the troll catches. He asks if she really thought such a pathetic structure could hold them. She replies that holding them there is her job at which point a second troll attacks from behind. The troll calls her a “wench” and as she slams him into the ceiling demands he show some respect by addressing her as “Detective-Inspector Wench”.
Suddenly, the trolls fall unconscious as Xavier psionically subdues them. His astral form appears and he apologizes to Karima for his intervention noting that he did not want the prisoner hurt. He asks what the meaning of this is, to which Stripmine replies that they do not like prisons or wondering what will be done with them. He asks Xavier if he can blame them for trying to escape. Xavier replies that he cannot blame them for feeling this way and explains that he has come to talk. Karima tosses the trolls back into their cell.
The Dark Beast looks intently at the blood from the troll on his claw. He licks it noting cryptically to himself that so much can be learned from a single drop of blood.
Xavier explains that Genosha is under global interdict and that anyone caught leaving will be shot by the security cordon. The Appraiser asks if he’s offering a deal. Xavier offers parole to those willing to join them and work with them to rebuild Genosha. He also offers to help them return home when the time comes. The Dark Beast immediately accepts with overly gracious aplomb. As do the Genoshan magistrates. Stripmine looks skeptical as Xavier offers him the chance to earn what he previously hoped to steal.
On a nearby dock, Magneto receives a telepathic report from Xavier. He is surprised to learn that their prisoners agreed and asks Xavier if he trusts them. Xavier scoffs and tells Magneto not to be ridiculous.
Behind them, a boy named Broadband is fishing and catches a strangely mutated fish which he shows to his companion, Book. Magneto tells Charles that it was as they feared, Hammer Bay is contaminated. Nearby, Shola shouts with joy as he finally manages to tap into the municipal water tunnel. Xavier asks Magneto who his new companions are. He introduces Broadband, a young man with gray skin and green hair with the power to access and project electronic communications and Book, an older blond woman who is a living repository of human knowledge. Book corrects Magneto saying her name is Annika and she’s a librarian. Magneto notes that they are finding more survivors but that the island is huge. Naturally, Xavier has a plan.
Back in Xavier’s room, Callisto grumbles that his plan won’t work if it involves his wheelchair, which is out of commission. He assures her that they’ll find a way to cope and Callisto, who has been carrying Xavier in a back harness for mobility’s sake, complains about her aching back.
Xavier continues to discuss his plan with Callisto and Magneto (via astral projection). He looks over a 3-D model of Genosha explaining that the main attack was on Hammer Bay but that he has telepathically found life signs throughout the island. Practically, they need to continue focusing their efforts in Hammer Bay but those who are beyond its borders must be contacted in person, since his telepathy is limited by the island’s physical nature. Magneto is shocked to see how few lifesigns Xavier has tagged out of the previous population if 16 million. Xavier solemnly notes that Cassandra Nova’s Sentinels were extremely thorough.
Xavier wonders if he can ever admit that Cassandra Nova was his twin sister and if he can possibly atone for what she has done.
Back at the dock, Magneto asks why Xavier must go out there himself. Xavier assures his old friend that he is the only one who can locate them and that Magneto is in charge until he returns. Magneto asks Xavier if he trusts him to which Xavier slyly replies, “Of course not. I’m controlling your mind.” Magneto smiles to Book and says he told her that Xavier would say that and the woman gasps.
Back at Xavier’s room, Callisto asks if he’s kidding to which Charles replies, “Would any of you ever know?” Callisto grumbles that she liked him better when he was a “stiff”. She can’t believe Xavier’s newfound wit and asks if he’s insane or has been taken over again. Xavier tells her firmly “Never again.” He muses that for them, might makes right is an easy path. Callisto assures him he’s preaching to the choir as he climbs onto her back. She calls him “King Arthur”, but he considers himself more Uther Pendragon – last of the old guard. They compromise on Merlyn on a quest for the “true king”. The pair leave Xavier’s room and the team’s compound via Callisto’s tentacles.
Later that evening, the youngsters are watching some American television that Broadband has pirated from local satellites and is projecting on a wall. Magneto wonders if they all shouldn’t be in bed, to which Shola replies that he doesn’t sleep anymore since the attack. He reminds Magneto that each time he closes his eyes he relives another of the deaths that occurred here.
Magneto confides to the young Genoshan that he isn’t the only one who is haunted by his dreams. Shola is not so into the TV show and so Magneto invites him to come and make himself useful. They go to some of the ruins excavated by Freakshow earlier. Magneto raises the remaining ferrous metals and asks for Shola’s help in lifting it all. Using it, Magneto constructs the framework of a small building. Shola asks if he knows what he’s doing and Magneto tells him that his first trade was building houses, most of which still stand. Shola wonders why he quit, joking that perhaps conquering the world paid better. Magneto simply replies that he lost his dreams and his thoughts turn once again to the loss of his daughter Anya. He sees the flames and the Russian police restraining him as his daughter screams “DADDDDEEEE!”
Shola starts to apologize for his flippant remark but they are interrupted by a news broadcast that Broadband is projecting. The report comes from New York City where camera crews show the destruction of Avengers Mansion. The reporter notes that there are reports of casualties and confirmed deaths among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Wicked looks to Magneto who tells those gathered that his children, Wanda and Pietro are part of the Avengers.
Shola tries to reassure Magneto that they’ll be all right but Magneto is overcome with guilt as he thinks of how he once treated them. He tells Shola that all he wanted was to be a loving husband and good father and look what he became instead...the very thing he hated most. He says that no matter what he does or how hard he tries, that is how people choose to see him. He feels as if he’s not allowed to change. Shola disagrees but tells him that in this case, there’s nothing he can do.
At that moment, Magneto sees or believes to see Wanda crying out “DADDEEEE!” just as Anya had all those years earlier. He reaches out with his power and replies to Shola, “Really??” as he uses his power to create a sizeable energy pattern before him. He tells Shola to pray that his children are safe for if they have been harmed, he will have his revenge. Magneto then disappears into the warp effect he has created.
The Genoshan Highlands:

Xavier and Callisto have taken shelter in a destroyed passenger car and are looking at out a herd of cattle. Callisto wonders if they might be mutant cows, and Xavier replies that they have to eat. Callisto tells him to quiet down in case they’re listening. She wonders if he knows how to be a butcher, too. Xavier explains that by linking with Book he can read the proper manual and that it’s good to learn new things.
He offers the job to Callisto since she’s so good with knives. She replies that that is typical, no matter how enlightened the man, it’s always the woman who does all the work. Xavier suggests a 4-H club to help get Genosha on its feet, reminding Callisto that he is a teacher above all else. She tells him he is a dreamer. She also asks why he keeps looking over his shoulder and asks if there’s something out there. He tells her there is nothing he can sense but comments on the interference he is experiencing with his telepathy while on Genosha.
Callisto senses that Charles is uneasy being out of touch with Magneto and Charles admits that old habits die hard. He notes that Magneto shouldn’t even be alive; he compares magnetism to the Phoenix force since both are fundamental forces that define the physical world. He wonders if Magneto himself is aware of his limits or his true potential. He tells Callisto that he suspects that there is literally nothing that Magneto could not do and that if that day ever comes, they have to be ready. Callisto is surprised at Xavier’s ruthlessness and reminds him that they are best friends. Xavier, in turn, reminds her that Cain and Abel were brothers.
Hammer Bay:

The sun rises over Hammer Bay and Shola is relating what happened to Karima. He explains, with great shock and concern, that Magneto created a wormhole. Karima does not get the significance but can tell from Shola’s extreme reaction that this isn’t a good thing. Shola assures her that it isn’t and says they have to find Professor Xavier.
At that moment, the wormhole reappears and Magneto returns. Instead of his previous black outfit he is wearing his helmet and the same costume worn by the impostor “Magneto” who devastated New York City. He is carrying the unconscious body of his daughter, Wanda Maximoff AKA the Scarlet Witch. Upon arriving, he says “Forgive me, Charles. Perhaps this is not the age for dreams or dreamers.”

Characters Involved: 

Callisto, Charles Xavier, Freakshow, Karima Shapandar, Magneto, Shola Inkose, Wicked (all members of Excalibur)
Book/Annika, Broadband (Genoshan survivors)
Hub (Part of a Genoshan Underground)
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Unus the Untouchable, Toad-in-Waiting and other members of Unus’ mutant gang


Asgardian Trolls (Yalo and two others)
Dark Beast/Henry McCoy
Former Genoshan magistrates
In Magneto’s memories:

Russian police officers

Story Notes: 

The death of Magneto’s daughter Anya was first depicted in Classic X-Men #12.
The destruction of Avengers Mansion occurred in Avengers (1st series) #500 as the opening salvo in the “Avengers Disassembled” story arc. During this storyline, the Avengers were attacked on numerous fronts resulting in the deaths of Ant-Man and Hawkeye and the destruction of the Vision and Avengers Mansion. It was finally revealed that these attacks were caused by Wanda Maximoff who had gone insane due to the hardship in her life and her being more powerful than anybody suspected. Dr. Strange neutralized Wanda by shutting her mind down. It was at this moment, that Magneto arrived seemingly out of nowhere and collected his daughter.
Given the scope of Wanda’s powers as revealed in Avengers (1st series) #502-503, it is possible that she may have enhanced Magneto’s powers to allow the creation of a wormhole, as seen in this issue. Possibly she is responsible for his costume change casting him as the “evil Magneto” who destroyed New York.
The friend Karima refers to is Thunderbird III. Helping him was the reason she was turned into a Prime Sentinel [see X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #27].

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