I remember it as if it were only yesterday. It was early autumn, the weather crisp and beautiful… the perfect day for my first visit to New York…
A man, elegantly dressed in a light coat and hat, gets off the plane. The customs officer addresses him as “Mr. Xavier” and asks if it is his first visit to New York. He lingers on the papers. Is there a problem? the man asks and mentally directs energy at the computer. Yes, the officer replies, but apparently it’s with their computer system as opposed to his passport. “Welcome to the United States of America, Mr. Xavier.” And with a broad smile Magneto walks out of the airport.
I had to assume that Charles wouldn’t mind my borrowing his name for just this little while… and really now… I wouldn’t care if he did.
Magneto takes a taxi into town admiring the lights. He’d spent his entire life so far in Europe. Like the people on the streets, he looks up in wonder to see the Human Torch fly. He feels a thrill at this sudden flux of “above men” and wonders, in the inevitable war to come, if they would be allies or adversaries.
The cab takes him to Brooklyn and the cabby asks him if he really wants to be in this neighborhood. Magneto asks him to stop. He wishes to stretch his legs. His funeral, the cabbie replies. Brooklyn, for heaven’s sake!
While the superheroes brazenly present themselves to the world, Magneto had heard rumors that those like him had gathered in this neighborhood in an invisible enclave of Homo superior under the very noses of unsuspecting humankind. He marvels at what astonishing mutant energy must be naturally emitted by this community.
Under the streets in the sewers something stirs… Something lives…
Magneto enters a diner and sits down at the counter. Small displays of mutant powers are visible as the waitress carries the orders telekinetically, causing a man to joke that sooner or later the wrong person’s going to see that and it’ll be up the creek for all of them. His wife tells him to eat his eggs before they get cold. Their young daughter pipes up that she can reheat them with a wave of her hand.
Magneto gets up from the counter to leave, leaving a tip on the counter. The barkeeper doesn’t seem satisfied with the amount. “Thanks for nothing,” he scoffs. He tries to lift up the coins and can’t as they’ve been magnetized. He has to tear out a chink of the counter to get them off. “Everybody’s a comedian,” he mutters.
Magneto has gone to “Cassandra’s fine tailoring,” where Cassandra Michaels, another mutant, creates clothing from thin air. For Magneto, she creates his red and purple uniform. Magneto praises the young woman’s work, telling her she lives up to her reputation, but adds it seems a waste of her gifts. She warns him that she doesn’t appreciate his tone. He meant no offense, he hastens, he is merely saying that someone with her abilities might consider… sharing them with the world? Cassandra asks. Like all those superheroes fighting crime? That sort or thing? Not exactly, he amends but yes, somewhere related to that sort of thing. Cassandra tells him she believes he is destined for great things, but those of them that choose to live here are content to fit in with the rest of humanity and let the rest of them – she refers to Magneto – save the world.
In the meantime, the energy of the young girl’s repressed powers has been influencing the local fauna in the sewers to create a problem…
Magneto has invited Cassandra Michaels to dinner and the two of them share a pleasant evening dining and flirting. Magneto is smitten with Cassandra’s mix of brashness and femininity.
Later, Magneto picks up the suit, Cassandra admits she was flattered that he seemed so happy about her work and charmed about his almost boyish desire to deck himself out in it.
A moment later, a raging monster emerges from the sewers. While Cassandra exclaims what in heaven’s name that is, Magneto calmly observes heaven has nothing to do with it. As the monster starts terrorizing the people, he calmly explains those are the unintended consequences of their mutant ghetto, cutting itself off from the rest of Homo superior. Simply put: the monsters of their childhood legends and folk tales were all too real. These creatures were the creation of the so called damsels in distress they threatened, monstrosities created by adolescent mutant girls from the depth of the unconsciousness, girls like the child he encountered in a local diner this very afternoon. Perhaps if Cassandra and the rest of her people were not so distant from their fellow mutants this nightmare could have been avoided.
That’s great, Cassandra replies impatiently, but now that he’s a superhero, what is he going to do about it? Amused by her naiveté regarding his role, Magneto drops his coat to reveal his costume. Very well then, he supposes he’ll simply have to save the day. Boasting, he tells the monster that he requires its undivided attention before consigning it to oblivion. He admits to himself to have a flair for the dramatic and playing to Cassandra.
He uses his control over magnetism to grab a girder from a building site nearby to bind the monster. That done, he falls down exhausted.
Agitated, Cassandra calls his name. He assures her he is all right, or will be in a moment. Cassandra admits this was the most amazing thing she’s ever seen. He thanks her but adds he expected one of her super heroes to come to the rescue making his actions moot. If this had happened in Manhattan, perhaps, Cassandra replies, but they are talking Brooklyn here.
Perhaps now she can see the mistake they’ve made, he lectures her, as he cups her chin. But that’s for others to deal with. She must come with him!
Honestly, she replies, she knows supersonic mutants who don’t move this fast. He tells her it’s time she become part of the greater community of Homo superior, for all of them so this sort of thing never happens again.
She barely knows him, Cassandra replies. She knows him well enough to expect him to use his mutant gifts to save her and her ungrateful friends and neighbors, he shoots back. And right there’s the downside of that boyish nature, she states. That adolescent attitude that thinks it’s entitled to have whatever it desires.
Careful, he warns her. He is not accustomed to being spoken to that way. Maybe he’d want to develop a thicker skin to go with his new superhero suit, she tells him as she walks off in a huff, or he just might end up as nobody’s hero.
And of course truer words have never been spoken.