Magneto (2nd series) #8

Issue Date: 
October 2014
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Javier Fernandez (art), Dan Brown (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Declan Shavey and Jordie Bellaire (cover artists), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), 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)

Brief Description: 

Magneto follows the trail from the fighting pit to the drug dealers who create Mutant Growth Hormone from the dead mutants. He discusses the situation with the drug boss who knows about Magneto’s current weakness and isn’t scared of him. A fight is about to start when the SHIELD agents who have been following the trail attack. In the confusion, Magneto confronts Agent Haines about SHIELD’S unwillingness to help mutants. He manages to flee and abducts the cook. Later, he informs him he will be working for him now.

Characters Involved: 

Hong Kong, in what’s left of the fighting pit:
Looking at the dead Predator X’s, one SHIELD agent remarks he takes it their guy’s not an animal lover. Agent Haines summarizes these “animals” were bred for the express purpose of killing mutants and were used in some sort of spectators’ death match. Think dog fighting… even more heinous. It’s a safe bet Magneto enjoyed getting bloody here.

Maybe he felt a little compassionate for these guys, Agent Rodriguez remarks, examining another dead Predator X. After all, he fed them.

The victim was injected with something before he was thrown into the pit. Looks like MGH. That would explain why these mutant hunters found the victim so delicious. Rodriguez muses, somebody sold this outfit the tech to identify mutants on sight. They used it to “recruit” participants for their little game. And harvested mutant growth hormone from the mutants who didn’t make it?

Haines agrees. But they didn’t create the MGH here. They don’t have the equipment. So they are shipping the bodies to their cook. She figures they are close.

In the office, she asks Agents Lumley and Withers what they got. She means besides about ten minutes before the Chinese government realizes they are peeing in their pool? Lumley asks. Not much. Magneto found what he was looking for then wrecked everything.

Haines asks if they can recover the data. What kind of field tech would he be otherwise? comes the reply. Lumley begins to patch up the computer and, moments later, Haines exclaims they know where Magneto is heading.

Elsewhere, a toxic hazard sign stands outside a town. Magneto muses a town is like a living thing. It has a heartbeat, a nervous system, a pulse. And like a living thing it can die. Natural disasters, outside forces, acts of God. And in some cases a town might be murdered by the parasites living within its boundaries, those who profit from illegal bargains. Who feel above reproach. Let’s call them the disillusioned. Because sooner or later they fall and anyone close to them risks being dragged down.

Towns die or they are murdered, and all that’s left are the scavengers to pick the bones. He waits outside a small house.

Inside, several men are busy creating a very special drug. The cook is happy with the latest batch and believes profits will go up. His partner thinks that means they will get out of this backwater. Another frightened man warns the boss someone is here to see him. The guards lead in Magneto, who is pleased that he still instills fear in others.

The guards shoot up with MGH to have temporary mutant powers, just in case. Magneto is not impressed.

He addresses the drug boss and tells him to have his men stand down. He didn’t come here to fight but to talk. Clearly the drug boss doesn’t believe him. He doesn’t have a rep for civilized conversation. He supposes not, Magneto agrees, recalling his lack of power. But times change.

The man laughs he knows him. He’s in the mutation business. Some of his men even have Magneto was right shirts. Magneto assures him he doesn’t know him and he just wants to talk. The boss points out, he doesn’t look good and offers a chair. Magneto prefers to stand.

He knows his kind, the boss continues. He’s probably pissed or something. But this isn’t some mutant hate operation. They admire mutants. And they don’t hurt them. By the time they get them, they are already dead.

Magneto glares and snarls, this stops! Now! The boss tells him to watch his tone. He gets authoritative and his men go antsy.

The men surround Magneto threateningly. The boss chuckles. He gets what Magneto is saying. But he has to understand… this is a lucrative operation, especially when you’ve got a cook like his guy here. The cook adds he’s perfected the process. High yield. It’s a cleaner strain. Not like that Madripoor garbage.

The boss points out neither of them is at the top of the food chain. It will do Magneto no good to destroy the operation. Assuming he survives. They’ve all heard stories. Let’s face it: his days of inverting the Earth magneto poles, of calling himself the Master of Magnetism, are over. Take a look around. This place used to be alive and now it’s just a ruin… like him.

Magneto is aware the man is goading him. But what’s worse is he is right. He doubts the other man wants to put that to the test, he finally announces. After everything he’s been through, eliminating dealer after dealer after dealer, dispatching thugs who inject themselves with mutant growth hormone, tracking their activities back here to them… Does he really think Magneto would walk away without satisfaction?

Nah, the other man replies. He knows what he is about. So should they cut ahead to the main event? Magneto looks at the five powered up henchmen.

That moment, several armored armed SHIELD agents burst in from above, ordering everyone to stand down.

The mutated humans attack the SHIELD agents. Magneto is not surprised they came for him, as evidenced by the glass flechettes their weapons use. He is also not surprised that the dealers fight like someone who has no experience with being persecuted and therefore easily go down. He does notice though that the agents choose to go for those who look like mutants.

The boss tries to drag the cook away to safety. Magneto drops a container in front of them, cutting off their way.

Agent Haines addresses him and orders him to surrender. Does she think to treat him like a common street criminal? Magneto asks, addressing her by name, which makes some of the agents nervous.

Training her gun at him, Haines announces she thinks he is a serial killer and she will put him down if he doesn’t comply.

A non-metallic gun he observes, loaded with their special munition. They’ve got him dead to rights… and still she is trembling. Is it fear? Or doubt? Now they see what he sees, yes? Mutants suffering. Butchered because they are different. Perhaps she realizes deep down that, if SHIELD would waste less time chasing him and spend more time policing these atrocities, no one would ever need speak his name again.

Haines repeats her order. He may have been something special once, but now he’s just a feeble old man. Angry. Hurting others to make himself relevant.

He walks toward her and tells her she is wrong. He doesn’t answer to her. And his goal coming here was not to kill. He distracts everyone with metal whirling around. By the time they can focus again, Magneto and the cook are gone.

Back in Magneto’s HQ, the cook asks what Magneto wants with him. Is he gonna kill him? She doesn’t think her friend would have bothered extracting him if he wanted him dead, Briar Raleigh points out while giving Magneto a syringe. And she certainly wouldn’t have invested money in this lab.

Magneto agrees. He wants his miserable little life to mean something. He wants him to perfect his MGH formula. He wants him to make a serum befitting the master of magnetism!

Story Notes: 

Briar Raleigh

Haines, Lumly, Rodriguez, Withers and others (agents of SHIELD)

MGH drug boss
MGH drug cook

Issue Information: 

The “Madripoor garbage” refers to Mystique’s MGH business in Uncanny X-Men (3rd) series.

Written By: