Magneto (2nd series) #21

Issue Date: 
September 2015
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Gabriel Hernandez Walta (art), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), Christina Harrington and Xander Jarowey (assistant editors), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mike Marts (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Magneto created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

As Magneto tries his best to stop the Incursion, he recalls events in his past when he acted ruthlessly to achieve what he thought to be a greater good; events that shaped him. On the ground, Polaris and Briar Raleigh watch as he fails and is consumed by the Incursions, as are they shortly after.

Full Summary: 

Cape Citadel:
Keeping back rockets, tanks and other weaponry brought up against him, Magneto announces that for too long he has watched as mankind amassed power. A pale imitation of what mutantkind is capable of, yes, but power just the same… unfettered by understanding, unburdened by responsibility, easily corrupted and abused. But he did not sit idly by while humans grew bloated on their false godhood. He prepared.

Dead soldiers lie strewn around him. And today he acts, he says, addressing the five young original X-Men that face him.

He is Magneto, the master of magnetism. Like them he is a mutant. Unlike them, he is no longer content to squirm under the boot heel of unworthy masters. He throws an iron girder at Iceman and Beast, announcing they are the masters. Why do they oppose him? Why not join him in overthrowing those works? Do not make him fight his own kind!

He steers the missiles toward Angel and creates a magnetic shield to fend off Cyclops’ optic blast. Next, he tosses a tank at the X-Men held off by Iceman’s icewall.

Today, he announces, the world meets its future overlords, as the human dominion draws to a close.

Magneto flies into the air, power amplifiers surround him as he struggles to fight the other Earth, minutes left before the end of the world, unless he saves it. The irony does not escape him.

Magneto sends a holographic message to the Russian submarine Leningrad. He had warned their leaders what would happen if they attacked him. Now they have to pay the price for their leaders’ stupidity. The captain protests that Magneto threatened all the governments of the world. Of course, they staged a missile strike. What kind of reaction did he expect?

Magneto uses his powers to prevent the launch by short-circuiting the electricity on the submarine. He announces an example is needed – the Leningrad is lost. As are the lives of all aboard. The captain protests they were following orders. Magneto replies he has no sympathy for any who are “only following orders.”

He uses his power to damage the submarine. The hull breaks, water rushes in. Is he really going to stand there watching them die? the captain demands. Would he prefer it if he made a speech? Magneto asks. Does he want the last thing he hears to be a power-mad diatribe?

As the water crushes them, Magneto figures that this serves no purpose and so let their final moments be silent. Silently, he watches them all die.

There is no redemption, Magneto thinks. He has always been and will always be the monster.

Metal flies from the ground. Among the people watching is a weakened Polaris after Magneto stole her power. Briar Raleigh offers help. Lorna angrily tells her to get away. She wants no help from her. She accuses Briar of tricking her and luring her to Magneto’s side. Briar tells her to look around her. They are not at Magneto’s side, either one of them. He’s on his on now. He stole her power. Lorna fumes. He could have asked nicely, Briar admits, but that’s not really his style and, if he had asked, what would she have—

Briar breaks off and stumbles as the metal from her leg brace liquefies and floats upward. Now it’s Lorna’s turn to help her. Briar assures her he didn’t use her as some kind of sacrifice. He did this so he wouldn’t need to sacrifice her. Lorna replies she’s sure that’s what he told Briar and himself, but he’s always been good at letting the ends justify the means.

The South Pole:
As Magneto faces the X-Men, Professor X accuses him of acts of terrorism and of breaking international law. He must be taken into custody to be tried in a court. His actions serve the needs of mutantkind, Magneto replies. He will not be tried in a forum presided over by humans serving laws he refuses to recognize. Xavier pleads with him, trying to show him his crusade does more harm than good. Magneto promises to regroup and do it all over again. Rogue and Storm hold back Wolverine who wants to kill him.

That moment, a UN helicopter lands. Alda Huxley, speaking for the UN, offers Magneto a permanent ceasefire and sovereignty over Genosha. Magneto smirks at Xavier.

Fighting the Sentinels, Magneto muses that he attacked Cape Citadel to introduce mutants to a world that would hate and fear them. He sank the Leningrad, a submarine with a crew over 150 sailors, in retaliation for an attack against him, He ripped the Earth’s electromagnetic field apart for the promise of a mutant haven. Acts of cruelty to serve a greater good. Xavier warned that his war against humanity would consume him. He never understood the full truth of it. The conflict gave him purpose but it fed a deeper compulsion, one as bottomless as it tended to protect his people.

Perhaps he never recognized it himself. Here at the end he sees clearly the powers that have guided his hand.

On the ground, an awed Polaris believes he is pushing back the other world. Briar corrects her that he has already failed.

Magneto screams in pain, recalling anger, hatred, fear. These forces more than any other have fueled him, defined who he is and carved out the legacy he will leave behind. There is no way around it: he will die to save the Earth. His body cannot contain such vast power. But even if he succeeds, how will he be remembered?

He recalls fighting the X-Men, the Avengers. Not as a hero or as a protector of his people. His legend will be that of a mutant bogeyman bent on punishing the sins of the past… a creature driven by cold-blooded vengeance with the fury and power of a wrathful God at his fingertips. Unstoppable… unrelenting… unforgiving.

The destroyer of worlds… all the vicious acts he has committed… against mankind… against mutants… against men and women who might have been his friends. The terror he has sown in the face of the apocalypse seems so small… so petty. He let his own fury drown out the voices of the people he swore to defend.

Mutants have been burdened, scarred by his actions. His war will not consume him, for there is nothing left to consume. Nothingness in front of him. He moans: “Ah Charles, why didn’t I see?” And he is swallowed by the Incursion, only his helmet falling down.

He’s gone, isn’t he? a shocked Polaris asks. Briar sadly agrees. There is nothing left. The two young women look up at the Incursion coming closer. Lorna muse that her father always hated this world, hated these people but still he tried.

The Incursion swallows them.

Characters Involved: 

Briar Raleigh

In flashbacks:
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (original X-Men)
Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Dr. Alda Huxley
Crew of the submarine Leningrad

Story Notes: 

This is part of the Last Days titles leading up to Secret Wars and the last issue of the series.

Though Magneto dies here, he (like the other characters) is resurrected in the wake of the end of Secret Wars.

Magneto next appears in Uncanny X-Men (4th series).

The flashbacks are from X-Men (1st series) #1, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #150 and the Magneto War respectively.

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