New X-Men (1st series) #147

Issue Date: 
November 2003
Story Title: 
Planet X - part 2: Magneto Superior

Grant Morrison (writer), Phil Jimenez (penciler), Andy Lanning (inker), Chris Chuckry (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Rus Wootan (letterer), Anne Thornton (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

From his latest headquarters, the top floor of a building from which he can look over the city borough of Manhattan, Magneto begins the devastation that tears apart New York City, transforming it to New Genosha. The task begun, Magneto confers with the latest incarnation of his Brotherhood, gathered by his lieutenant, Esme, promising them that he will turn the world upside down for them and the rest of their people. Next, to display his power to the crowd of mutants gathering below, Magneto shows his powers by tearing apart four fighter jets, which tried to attack their position. Before appearing before the masses below in person, however, Magneto secretly takes another hit of the mutant performance-enhancer drug, Kick, which is supplied by Esme. His power reestablished, Magneto hovers before his people, using his powers to destroy such landmarks as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Later, while the mutant populace, now convinced that their time of ascendancy has come, begin to corral humans for extermination, Magneto gloats upon Professor Xavier, who floats helplessly in a containment tank as a prisoner. Grinning maniacally, Magneto tells his old foe that, sooner or later, he will have to admit that he was right.

Full Summary: 

Magneto gazes out of the skyscraper’s window and looks upon the vista that is Manhattan Island, the heart of New York City. Rising from the city streets, arcing over towering buildings and plunging back into the streets below dozens of metal tentacles, which begin to wrap themselves around the city itself. Closing his eye, Magneto concentrates on these items of his creation. One day, he says to himself, imagining himself out in the city. As the tentacles flex, destroying the buildings around which they are wrapped and unleashing carnage most foul, Magneto opens his eyes once more. I did it all in one day.

The task begun, Magneto walks away from the window, not bothering to watch the devastation that he has unleashed. No longer clad in his former X-Man uniform, which he wore in the façade that was the X-Man named Xorn, Magneto is clad in a variation of his old costume. Purple and magenta in color, he still wears his cape, but his battle armor has been replaces with a sleek, business-style uniform, unadorned by visible buttons or snaps.

“I’ll call it New Genosha,” he announces to himself. It will rise like an accusation… or better yet… a promise. Approaching the floating mask that he once wore as Xorn, Magneto asks himself if it was worth all those long months sweating under the mask… biding his time. Was it worth all the time spent eating away at Charles Xavier’s school from within? Tearing the X-Men apart and slowly killing them, one by one? Not bothering to answer his own question, Magneto states that they shall build an empire there… they’ll have a high-speed magnetic induction monorail system, clean antigravity public transport…

Magneto’s thoughts are interrupted by the voice of Esme, who sarcastically tells Magneto to not mind her. Having gained Magneto’s attention, she informs him that they brought Professor Xavier back from his Institute. He didn’t put up much of a struggle, she tells him, after he took away his legs. Finally getting to her point, Esme addresses Magneto as Erik and asks what he wants them to do with him. As an afterthought, Esme adds that Xavier is naked.

Snapping back, Magneto informs he that he is Magneto… “Erik” was the name their oppressors gave him. Placing her hands on her hips in incredulity, Esme is flanked by the rest of the Institute’s “special class” and a new arrival and former follower of Magneto, Toad. Replying to Magneto’s request by addressing him as such, Esme points out that she did all this to help him. He could at least say “thanks.” Smiling wryly, Magneto reminds Esme that he promised her a new world… and there it begins. Where mutants are kings, not freaks. Where the outcasts, the despised, the rejected… are champions. Where they are all part of a great fraternity… his Brotherhood.

In punctuation to this remark, Magneto levitates his old battle helmet to his side and places it upon his head. Solemnly, he turns back to the window and is joined by his new Brotherhood; Esme, the Beak, Angel, the children of Angel, Basilisk, Ernst, Martha Johansson and the Toad. He has turned the world on its head for them, he continues. And the lowest are now the highest.

Breaking the moment, Ernst innocently asks when Mister Xorn is coming back. She doesn’t get it. Asking if she is a monkey from a medical experiment, Basilisk informs Ernst that Xorn was just a character! Magneto was totally acting! Which makes him, Basilisk continues, a Xornvestite. To this punch line, Basilisk gives a chuckle. After replying to this that “Mister Xorn” was nice, Ernst is told by Esme, most emphatically, to stop going on about it. She’s been privileged! Doesn’t she understand anything? Privileged! Turning to Magneto with a sneer, Esme once again calls him Erik, telling him that she would never hang out with people like this. They can do better.

As Ernst protests once again, stating that Mister Xorn was nice… and that she misses him, Magneto approaches the window, flanked by Toad. Crouched close to the ground in a way that only he could be comfortable, Toad asks his master where he found these losers. Replying simply, Magneto states that they build the armies where they can. They were all losers… once. Remember?

Nearby, Basilisk approaches Esme and softly repeats the name of “Erik,” mocking her. Grinning stupidly, he tells Esme that she has an obsession with old Xornvestite and that she should have her own special website. Replying coldly, Esme states that they shall see. She has nothing in common with any of them, she tells Basilisk and the rest. Magneto’s going to be King of the World this time! He worked this while thing out and she helped him. Turning away, Esme repeats that they’ll all see. He needs her more than any of them.

At the window, Magneto calls out to the masses below. My reach is long now… he bellows. … the sentimental message he left mankind upon his “death” was actually a virus designed to cripple all electromagnetic technology! Not receiving the reaction he anticipated, Magneto turns to Toad, asking where he found the crowd. They’re hardly reacting! Speaking in an impossibly articulate manner, given that his meter-long tongue is extending from his mouth, Toad replies that a lot of people aren’t really sure what’s happened yet… and the speakers are distorting his voice. He’s been declared dead so often… it’s… they don’t know it’s really him.

Taking this in, Magneto looks back outward. As he does so, his gaze falls upon four jet fighters making a run toward the city. Watching as they four jets begin their run on the Brotherhood’s position, Magneto asks if they really don’t believe it is he. Did no one tell them his name? Magneto? Master of Magnetism? Reaching out his hand, Magneto gestures at the airborne war machines. In the street below, the mutant masses look up into the sky and witness the four planes begin to come apart. Almost magically, every individual piece of the planes detaches itself from the body of the jet, until there are no more jets. Far below, the mutant populace cheers at the miracle they have witnessed.

The threat over, Magneto declares that this is an end… and end to fear… an end to hiding… an end to Man. As Toad begins to protest at Magneto’s declaration, he hears his master ask what is happening… why are they all looking away? Replying simply, Toad states that no one can see him all the way up here… Turning away, Magneto instructs Toad to work the crowd for him. He needs some… some water. To this end, he calls out to Esme, even as he leaves the group. Watching his master leave, Toad protests, telling Magneto that they won’t listen to him! What’s he supposed to do? Sing anti-human songs?

Joined by Esme in the lavatory, Magneto states that they lose interest so quickly now… he can barely finish a sentence… They have short attention spans and high expectations, Esme replies. They want to see the world’s most charismatic terrorist at the height of his powers. They want him to be the way he used to be. Or… preferably better, she continues, producing a small black inhaler, adorned with a simple, red ‘X.’ Kick can take him there, she states, hading the inhaler to Magneto. Hesitating slightly as he reaches to take it, Magneto replies that… yes… just this once more.

On the street below, Toad does his best to do as commanded. Speaking haltingly over a microphone, he tells the huddled masses that they will replace the old ways with… new ways… shiny new ways. Toad’s words do little to assuage the screaming mob, who yells back for him to leave and for him to prove Magneto is there. In answer to their cries, Magneto appears, levitating above the ground like an angelic being. Speaking through the loudspeaker system, he tells Toad to step aside. Now addressing the crowd, he proclaims that sixteen million mutants were exterminated in Genosha; sixteen million potential warriors, leaders, scientists! Murdered by man!

Unable to fly, unable to burrow or crawl without the aid of machine monsters, he continues, the human germ threatens all life. With its cringing fear of everything it cannot understand, with its greed for oil to power the machines it needs to survive, the human disease has consumed the world! Unchecked! He is Magneto, he proclaims, he does not issue demands here today. Nothing the humans do can change what is to happen. This is how it will be. Nature itself has triggered an extinction sequence in the human genome… humankind is dying! As the agents of evolution, they mutants must deliver the killing stroke.

Punctuating his speech, Magneto pulls together the magnetic forces of the area, which swirl around him like a whirlpool. Directing the energies of this eddy outward, Magneto lifts cars and people alike, lifting them high above the street. Focusing his attention elsewhere, toward the Brooklyn Bridge, Magneto proclaims that Xavier and his X-Men wanted them to build bridges between man and mutant… but they can fly and swim and leap! They have no need for bridges! Illustrating this point, Magneto flexes the forces he has gathered and rips the bridge to shreds, the remains falling into the East River below.

Addressing the crowd again, Magneto informs them that they have no need for human laws or human opinions. Or human beings. Directing the magnetic forces once again, this time into the harbor, Magneto lifts the small plot of land called Liberty Island, causing the 19th century creation known as the Statue of Liberty to fall to the ground, in pieces.

(later that evening)
In Central Park, Esme directs a mass of mind—numbed humans with the crack of a whip, corralling them like cattle. Speaking to the other Brotherhood members present, Beak, Basilisk and Toad, Esme informs them that he’s pushing the humans along with her mind… the whip’s just for show. Standing next to the self-sure teen, Toad informs her that she can push him around with a whip anytime…

In the crowd below, a group of mutants have captured a U-Man, still in his environmental suit. Egging on the others, one mutant orders them to kill the human flatscan, an order to which another complies. Looking upon this in ambivalence, Basilisk proclaims that only a total drug addict could think this up; Magneto hates people, doesn’t he? Aghast at the site he cannot tear his eyes away from seeing, Beak simply repeats to himself that this is terrible… this is terrible.

Back in the skyscraper, Magneto uses his vantage point to look upon the lights in Central Park. The view is framed by his still-present metal tentacles, which helped to tear the city apart. Speaking aloud, Magneto announces that he wishes he could exterminate them all… all at once. But, one can hardly expect mutants to clean the sewers or carry away their trash in the midst of this great transition to a new way of life.

These creatures, he continues, speaking now directly to Charles, have no desire to integrate. They never have! He worked it all out. Waiting. “Meditating.” His pacifist “institute,” he tells Xavier, is where he trains his soldiers now… a place for young warriors to be indoctrinated with a burning hatred and contempt for the genetically impure.

Not hearing a response, Magneto asks Xavier if he remembers the Institute. He had to redesign it a little, but it’s made all the difference. This said, Magneto projects a mental image of the Institute to Xavier’s mind. The school is in flames, torn asunder by magnetic forces. Gutted from the inside out, it is now only a shell.

Back in reality, Magneto approaches the vertical tank in which Charles Xavier now resides. Kept aloft by the buoyancy of the liquid, Xavier’s feet do not touch the ground. To keep him from drowning, an air regulator is taped to Xavier’s mouth, while other tubes and wires are attached to his head and spine. Lacking clothes of any type, Xavier floats naked.

Fully garbed in his new uniform, Magneto looks up to his defeated and helpless foe. To this old adversary, Magneto instructs Xavier to tell him that he was right… Whether he tells him now or later, Magneto informs Xavier… he will in the end.

Characters Involved: 

Professor X

Angel, Angel/Beak children, Beak, Basilisk, Ernst, Martha Johansson, Toad (all Brotherhood)

Various mutants
Various humans
Jet fighter pilots


Story Notes: 

Magneto’s “message” was heard among the ruins of Genosha in New X-Men #132.

Through his research, the Beast discovered a gene that he believes will cause the human race to become extinct within three to four generations. It was tentatively labeled the Extinction Gene or E-Gene for short.

The mutant performance-enhancer drug known as Kick (or Hypercortisone D) first appeared in New X-Men #134. It subsequently became a major problem in the Xavier Institute but it was never discovered who was supplying it. As Esme seems to be supplying it to Magneto, it is possible that she was the culprit, or at least was involved.

Esme’s use of a whip to corral humans is in honor of a fourteen year-old artist’s sketch of a possible future run by mutants. The photo had been originally published on the day of Quentin Quire’s birth and had fascinated him. [New X-Men #134] It was originally published in X-Men (1st Series) #14.

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