‘I can’t believe it! This mess used to be our school!’ cries Samuel “Sam” Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball, co-leader of the teenage mutant heroes the New Mutants. Gazing around at the remains of their home and school, the New Mutants are uncertain of what transpired. Sam wonders what happened, to which his co-leader and friend Danielle “Dani” Moonstar a.k.a. Mirage remarks that it looks like the place exploded. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta wonders if it was Magneto, their headmaster, to which his best friend Sam replies that there is no chance it was Magneto, as he spends all his time with his allies in the Hellfire Club, so chances are he doesn’t even know what has happened.
Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair exclaims that she hopes no one was here because there is no way they could have survived. Rahne clutches onto their de-aged teammate, Illyana Rasputin, formerly Magik, recently reduced to infancy. Illyana exclaims something in her native Russian, to which Rahne assures Illyana that she has her, before remarking that it would certainly help if she spoke English.
Suddenly, the New Mutants hear a groaning noise. Danielle exclaims that she can see a death glow and motions to a pile of rubble, ‘Somebody’s dying!’ she exclaims, adding that they are alive, but barely. Sunspot uses his incredible strength to lift up some rubble, and remarks that it looks like a portion of the second floor fell on whoever is trapped there. ‘Hang on, we’ll have you free in a -’ Bobby begins to say, until the trapped person leaps out, revealing himself to be Sabretooth! ‘So you did, boy! To your eternal regret!’ Sabretooth shouts as he lashes out at Bobby.
Cannonball leaps into action and propels himself towards Sabretooth, knocking him over. Bobby remarks that he is in no shape to hurt anyone now, to which Cannonball wonders who he is, adding that he feels guilty for hitting him so hard. Sabretooth calls the New Mutants ‘Dum mutant brats’ and boasts that he did this, and was proud to. Rahne, in her lupine form, asks him who he is, to which he introduces himself as Sabretooth of the Marauders, that their boss is Sinister, ‘He fought your precious mutant heroes! Blew this place all to Hades!’
Sabretooth begins to tell the New Mutants that they should have been here as it was a riot, before the New Mutant’s alien, Warlock, proclaims him dead. ‘Is he?’ Dani asks. Warlock replies that he detects no vital signs at all. Dani remarks that this is odd, as the Valkyrie’s gift lets her see death coming. She points out that Sabretooth is dead, and yet death isn’t coming for him. ‘I wonder why?’ Sam reminds Danielle that her powers have been acting funny lately, to which Dani replies that her head is aching like mad.
Cannonball remarks that he wonders if there are any other Marauders around here, when suddenly a voice from above exclaims that the Marauders have made their move for domination long before he thought it possible, so perhaps emboldened by the X-Men’s demise, he should have seen it coming. ‘The Hellfire Club!’ Sunspot shouts as Magneto finishes his speech. The New Mutants headmaster hovers in the air above his former home, alongside Sebastian Shaw the Black King, Emma “the White Queen” Frost and Selene the Black Queen.
Bobby picks up a large part of the ruined school and shouts that the mansion is destroyed, the school is gone, so they will not come back with him. ‘Bobby, wait!’ Rahne exclaims, but it is too late as Sunspot hurls the rubble at the Hellfire Club. Magneto and the others continue to hover in the air, and Magneto asks Sunspot if, after all their lessons, he has no better judgment, then to hurl steel equipment at the Master of Magnetism? Indeed, Magneto demonstrates his power over metal by hurling the steel far away.
Sebastian Shaw tells Magneto that his student is strong in that form - not to mention impudent. Shaw drops to the ground and exclaims that he will be more than glad to match Sunspot strength for strength, and teach him the facts of mutant power! Shaw punches Bobby, hard, and sends him careening backwards. ‘Stop It, Shaw! Leave him alone!’ Cannonball shouts in defense of his best friend as he blasts towards Shaw, who just grins. ‘Selene - if you will?’ Shaw asks.
‘My pleasure, Shaw’ the sultry Black Queen replies as she causes some of the rubble to rise up before Cannonball, who slams into it, preventing him from reaching Shaw. Sam is slumped over in front of the Black Queen, who remarks that surely he remembers from their previous conflict that inanimate objects obey her every command. Selene puts one of her hands on Sam’s head and remarks that there is another aspect to her power, when suddenly, she is mortified as her body is transformed into that of a frail old woman.
‘No! What has happened? What have I become?’ Selene screams. Mirage announces that Selene has become what she fears the most - that her powers to drain life energy from others will destroy her. The White Queen comes up behind Dani and tells her that it was a nice try, and that it was a more thorough mastery of her power than she thought capable of her. Emma then orders Dani to release Selene and return her to normal. Emma uses her own powers on Mirage, forcing her to do as she is told.
Warlock comes to his friends rescue by transforming himself into a giant set of jagged teeth. Warlock tells the White Queen that her may be able to threaten Mirage, but he is impervious to her telepathic bolt. ‘But no impervious to me!’ Magneto exclaims, before encasing all of the New Mutants and young Illyana in a massive ball of metal, created from the rubble of the mansion. Magneto declares that he has had enough of this rebellious nonsense, and informs his charges that he will only ask them once, and expects a clear and immediate answer: ‘Who is that little girl? And where is Illyana?’
Young Illyana exclaims in Russian that she is Illyana! ‘Illyana? Reduced to childhood? How? Why - ? What have you done to her?’ Magneto exclaims urgently. Cannonball informs Magneto that Illyana did it herself, she chose it for herself. Sunspot remarks ‘That time when she started turning into dark Illyana, you thought you saved her…ha!’ Rahne tells Bobby to hush, pointing out that Magneto did try, but that Illyana could feel this evil building up inside herself, but she did also feel that Magneto saved her, she wanted so much to believe it.
Mirage informs Magneto that, finally, the demons tricked Illyana, and she became the Darkchilde, bringing Limbo to Earth. ‘But in the end, she saved the world…and herself…the only way she could…by becoming the little innocent child she used to be!’ Warlock informs Magneto that the only reason the New Mutants even came here was to tell him that they will not run away anymore, because they will not be living here anymore. The New Mutants tell Magneto that Warlock is right, they will not let him teach them anymore, as they are officially quitting. ‘We saw you make a deal with N’astirh, Illyana’s great enemy! And we’ve seen other things. We don’t want to have anything to do with you…or the Hellfire Club!’
Shaw rushes up behind Magneto and asks him if he sees the trouble that his weakness has caused. Shaw reminds Magneto that when they elected him a member of their Inner Circle, he controlled the New Mutants and the X-Men. ‘Now you control nothing!’ ‘NOTHING?’ Magneto retorts. ‘The X-Men are dead! The New Mutants, though mere teenagers, have defied you time and time again!’ Shaw remarks that as a direct result of this defiance, Illyana, the most powerful among them, and potentially the most likely to serve the interests of the Club, has been reduced to less than nothing.
‘You, Magneto, are now less than nothing! I move that you be removed as the White King of the Hellfire Club!’ Shaw shouts before delivering a punch to Magneto. On the ground, Magneto declares that it is Shaw who is unfit to lead, who, like Charles Xavier, is incapable of seeing the entire picture. Magneto exclaims that he knew that the struggle for world domination among the growing mutant factions would soon begin.
Magneto remarks that, nonetheless, he hoped that he would have time to walk the path of peace and that this path would lead to their kind to co-operation and reconciliation. ‘There was a human woman who fostered that hope in me!’ Magneto remarks as he uses his powers to send shrapnel flying up at Shaw, forcing his opponent back.
Magneto remarks that he gained control of both the X-Men and New Mutants, while his next step was to establish ties to the Hellfire Club, and thus he began to form his coalition, his power base, upon which to build a foundation for control and peace among mutant kind. ‘Then the Marauders attacked the Morlock tunnels, killing so many - I allowed the X-Men to face them alone!’ Magneto remarks that they were to be his army, his first line of strategic defense in his quest for peace. ‘I had to test them…to see if they would hold!’
Magneto exclaims that the line held, although there were losses, and he was pleased. Shaw lifts up a plank that Magneto is standing on and tells him he made the move of a fool, ‘Like your present attack - the move of a dreamer!’ Shaw reminds Magneto that he absorbs kinetic energy, so what doesn’t kill him, only makes him stronger. The plank slams down as Magneto takes to the air, admitting that Shaw is right to some extent - that the barbaric ferocity of the Marauders assault shocked even he. Magneto declares that it made him realize his mistake, and that time was running out!
Magneto transforms the metal plank into a large roll, declaring that he knew they must be ready, not to further peace, but to fight the ultimate war for dominance among mutant kind. ‘The X-Men, however, continued to express an ineradicable weakness for the humans…whom our kind is destined to suppliant!’ Magneto adds that in the X-Men’s defense, Professor Xavier had encouraged this weakness in them when they were young and malleable. Magneto declares that he saw Xavier’s philosophy in dealing with new recruits could not be his own, before smashing the large metal baton into Shaw.
Watching and listening through a gap in their “prison” the New Mutants understand now why Magneto joined the Hellfire Club. ‘And started bossing us around instead of explaining things!’ Danielle adds. ‘He didn’t want us thinking or acting for ourselves!’ Rahne exclaims. ‘He wanted us trained, like soldiers, to obey, to do whatever he told us, no questions asked!’ Sunspot remarks.
Suddenly, Shaw shreds the metal Magneto attacked him with, ‘Very effective, that exercise in control proved, Magnus, did it not?’ Shaw mutters sarcastically. ‘How your students loved you!’ he exclaims. Magneto replies that he did not require their love, only their obedience. Magneto remarks that, as he feared would eventually happen, the X-Men rushed to Dallas to defend the humans there against an encroacher, where he refused to aid them this time, on philosophical grounds.
‘The X-Men saved the humans of Dallas…but died themselves. The ultimate defeat!’ Magneto exclaims as he hurls a large jagged ball at Shaw, who uses his own strength to pick up an equally large “bat” and swat it away, while the New Mutants know now why Magneto did not try to help the X-Men. ‘He let them die…just to teach them a lesson!’ Sam exclaims in horror. ‘We made our speeches and we heard his, we know who we’re really dealing with now. It’s our time to bust out!’
Magneto uses his powers to form a large hand while telling Shaw that he claims that the “Goblin Night” brought on by one of his students caused tremendous economic loss, before telling Shaw to think about it - ‘The demons struck, not at our kind, but at the humans greatest city. It weakened the humans grip on this world!’ Magneto declares that Xavier could never see the big picture, as he was blinded by his faith in human goodness. ‘You, Shaw, are blinded by your greed!’ Magneto attempts to drop the massive metal hand on his foe, who replies ‘You think, Magnus, that I miss the big picture?’ Shaw swats the hand, in the form of a fist, away while telling Magneto that it is his racist zeal that blinds him to the profit potential the humans offer. The fist becomes a flat palm and engulfs Shaw, who remarks that Magneto would cause economic disaster for mutant kind, as well as the humans.
Inside their “prison”, Sunspot declares that no matter how hard he punches, the walls will not budge. Rahne suggest they try again, all together this time, to which Sam points out that they have tried, so Magneto must be using a corner of his mind, there merest portion of his power, to keep them contained in here.
At that moment, Shaw smashes free from his own prison, boasting that mutant factions will grow more powerful and each will profess its own attitude toward their place in the world. ‘X-Factor and Apocalypse. Alpha Flight…the Marauders and the Hellfire Club…and even in Genosha, where, by the way, the Hellfire Club has major investments!’ Shaw exclaims that Genosha is a litany of emerging mutant power and asks where the danger to them in that?
Magneto calls Shaw a fool and remarks that although he sees, he doesn’t understand. ‘The day for major confrontation is close at hand!’ Magneto declares that the day is coming when even the exploited Genoshan masses, trained in obedience and honed in hatred will rise up to vent their fury on the oppressing world. ‘Mutant will fight mutant…and the winner will take all!’ Magneto declares that already it is happening, and some, like the X-Men, have been winnowed out. ‘These martyrs to their cause may be the most dangerous of all…inspiring youngsters like these New Mutants to follow in their misguided footsteps!’
Magneto bombards Shaw with more metal while exclaiming that the most difficult thing is to fight a legend, before approaching Shaw and extending a hand to pull him out of the rubble while telling him that he is no legend. ‘Indeed?’ Shaw retorts, before Magneto is blasted back by a powerful energy, and Shaw remarks that Magneto’s greatest fault is that he underestimates his opposition. Shaw reveals that, built into his suit is a device that can reverse polarities, allowing him to fling off not only the crushing metal, but Magneto as well.
‘Holy cow!’ exclaims Sunspot as Magneto lands near the New Mutants. Bobby announces that Magneto is taking a beating and is now out for the count. Warlock tells his friends that they must break out so they can offer Magneto assistance. Wolfsbane asks Warlock if he is kidding. ‘Haven’t you been listening? Magneto’s as bad as they are…maybe worse!’
Shaw approaches Magneto and asks who is now the blind fool, revealing that, like Magneto, he planned for this contingency, this confrontation - since they say they met! Shaw grabs Magneto, who remarks ‘Have you Shaw?’ and telling him to know then, that the time for negotiation, for the slow and cautious path, has ended. ‘It is time to recruit and army! We must be ready, Shaw…or the world will bury us!’ With that, Shaw is taken by surprise as Magneto buries the both of them in a mountain of rubble from the mansion. Selene and the White Queen simply stand and watch.
‘What happened?’ exclaims Bobby. Sam asks his friend if he doesn’t remember that it was in the schools computers - the one way to beat Shaw is to overload him, and that is just what Magneto did, hitting Shaw with everything that he had. Rahne points out that, in defeating Shaw, Magneto buried himself also.
‘Both of them destroyed. How can he…?’ begins Selene, until Magneto exclaims ‘How can I what?’ as he uses his powers to clear the mountain of rubble, revealing himself and Shaw. Magneto tells Selene that, surely she doesn’t imagine that a barrage of metal would place the Master of Magnetism in jeopardy, before holding Shaw up to them and remarking that Shaw claims he is unfit to be one of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle. Magneto reveals that he knows something of Shaw’s economic activities, and that Shaw Industries financed the Sentinel operations against mutant kind.
Magneto tosses Shaw at the Queens’ feet, declaring that it is he who is unfit to be among them, and therefore Shaw must be forced from the Inner Circle. Shaw declares that they all know his Sentinel operations mask his real activities, while its government contracts and technological research have made many of their own advances possible. Shaw points at Magneto and remarks that Magneto is right about one thing - there is room for only one of them in the Inner Circle. ‘I say that he must go…if I am to remain!’
Magneto remarks that it is a stalemate and asks the White Queen what she has to say on the matter. Emma asks Shaw if he remembers when the Lords Cardinal faced the mutant slayer robot Nimrod, a battle in which Leland and von Roehm were killed. Emma asks what Nimrod can have been other than some highly advanced rogue Sentinel. Shaw replies that Frosts’ idea is impossible, and adds that even if it were so, their carelessness caused their deaths, not he.
The White Queen exclaims that Leland and von Roehm’s deaths were wasteful and did nothing to advance the Hellfire Club’s cause, so on this one, she sides with Magneto, voting that he stays. Magneto points to Selene, announcing that she casts the deciding vote. ‘Vote with Shaw, and he remains. Vote with us, and he is Black King no more!’ The dark-haired vamp remarks that she and Shaw have clashed before, ‘And yet -’ she begins to say, until Emma interrupts her, pointing out that without Shaw’s interfering, Selene would have a free hand among her Amazonian holdings.
‘Amazonian? But Amara lives there now and Selene -’ exclaims Rahne until Cannonball hushes her, reminding her that Magneto doesn’t know they know about Magma, and he doesn’t want him to know. ‘A free hand in the Amazon…’ Selene thinks to herself. ‘And among Lords Cardinal, as well, Miss Frost. Though that is not what you plan’ Selene then points to Shaw, and holds a “thumbs down” sign. Betrayed by his Black Queen, Shaw cries ‘Fools!’ before declaring that they will turn on each other as they turned on him, they will rend and tear until there is nothing left! He storms away, walking across the debris and warning them that, through Magneto’s bigotry, they will force their nightmare vision on their kind, and on the world! He warns them that they forget he remains a force to be reckoned with, and boasts that Shaw Industries will be at his back, just as his company has backed all of them.
Watching Shaw disappear in the distance, Selene remarks that this is an interesting development, their number being reduced further, and wonders who their new Black King will be now. Magneto asks if they really need another in their Inner Circle, and points out that the fewer who rule, the less the power must be shared our among them, and proposes that he functions as both Black and White King - ‘Grey King, if you will!’ Magneto remarks that for those who see the world in terms of black and white, of good and evil, are destined for disappointment and destruction.
‘We know you mean us!’ Cannonball shouts from within the metal prison. Sam tells Magneto that they know now he is one of the bad guys. ‘And that makes you the one who’s doomed for destruction!’ Bobby shouts. Rahne asks Magneto to think about what he is doing, as it is wrong. ‘And no matter what you do to us…’ Mirage begins, ‘…self friends will never join you’ Warlock concludes.
Magneto uses his powers to tear down the metal prison and tells the New Mutants that if that is the way they feel then they are free to go. ‘What?’ Sam asks in surprise. Magneto points out that they are young and asks only that they remember what they have learned here today. ‘You have been so dazzled by Xavier’s dream of goodness and peace…that you fail to see the world as it lies before you’. Magneto warns the New Mutants that as the decade progresses, and the wars begin, they will learn that he is right.
Magnus remarks that those who fail to seize power - and quickly - will be lost, and tells the New Mutants that, in time, some of them will return to join him freely in his conquest. ‘Know now, that you will be freely welcome’. ‘Never! We’ll never join you!’ Sunspot shouts, to which Magneto remarks that Sunspot will be the first of them to join him. ‘NO!’ shouts Bobby until Cannonball calms him down, pointing out that Magneto is egging him on purpose, and that he shouldn’t fall for it.
Sam tells his friends that it is time for them to get out of here, and Warlock scoops them all up as he transforms into a helicopter. Wolfsbane reminds her teammates that the White Queen has students too - the Hellions at the Massachusetts Academy, and wonders what this will mean for them. Sunspot recalls Magneto’s comment about letting Selene loose in the Amazon, and asks his friends what this will mean for Magma. Mirage declares that they cannot let him get away with this, to which Cannonball replies that he doesn’t know how, but they will find a way to stop Magneto.
Telepathically, Emma informs Magneto that she read the New Mutants’ minds and somehow they know about the Club’s connection with Magma and her father’s kingdom, though they have no clear idea what it is the Hellfire Club plans to do there. Magneto silently replies that he suspected that all along, but that it is good to have confirmation. He adds that, cut off from the school that trained them and suspecting the Hellfire Club of villainy, the New Mutants will no doubt go to Nova Roma and valiantly try to stop the Club and save their friend. He tells Emma that the New Mutants’ efforts will weaken Selene for them, and soon there will only be one Queen as there is now one King!