Ultimate X-Men #30

Issue Date: 
May 2003
Story Title: 
Return of the King - part 4

Mark Millar (story), David Finch (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Chris Sotomayer (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), C.B. Cebulski (associate editor), Brian Smith (associate editor), Ralf Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Magneto prepares for the big event. This evening he intends to use Forge’s power amplifier to reverse the magnetic poles, effectively obliterating every living beings, save for the mutants, and the animals that are safe in his citadel. Several mutants, among them the machine’s inventor, Forge, have doubts about Magneto’s plans but don’t dare to do anything about it. In the infirmary, Cyclops takes a doctor hostage, notifies the X-Men and demands to be brought to Magneto. While the Brotherhood frees the mutants in Camp X-Factor, including Professor Xavier and Nightcrawler, Cyclops stops Magneto, just as he is about to use the amplifier in earnest. He is joined by the other X-Men, who quickly take out Magneto’s followers until the furious Magneto strikes them all down and uses the damaged machine for one last act of terror; destabilizing the core of a nuclear plant near Miami – effectively dooming the East Coast.

Full Summary: 

Magneto’s secret citadel at the North Pole:

Magneto stands on a balcony, addressing the hundreds of mutants standing on the ground below him. By midnight this night, everyone standing there will be all that’s left of Earth’s entire population, Magneto states. It’s quite exhilarating he enthuses, like the Christian book of Genesis, played in reverse. He descends the stairs, where he finds Sabretooth and other mutants counting pairs of different animal species.

He feels sorry for the animals, Sabretooth complains. The people can go hang as far as he is concerned but what did cats and dogs ever do to deserve to suffer? Regrettable but unavoidable, the master of magnetism replies. Still, a healthy male and female of each species is being preserved in the Ark project for breeding purposes. Well, he’d rather have some extra pigs in there than some snot-nosed human scum eating up their food supply, Sabretooth complains and shoots two human prisoners among the animals a filthy look. Magneto explains that Miss Klein – the woman – is one of the forward-thinking humans on the planet and young Travis - the male -is their most perfect physical specimen. He’s not so monstrous to obliterate an entire species when two healthy young mammals can be fed and cared for quite affordably…

As the two men take a walk through the citadel, Magneto admits that he’d trade them all in an instant for all those poor brother mutants still missing. Those prisoners in Camp X-Factor are their first concern, naturally, but he weeps for all those sickly youths Moira MacTaggert is hiding. And his own children – despite their squabbles, one must never underestimate a father’s power to forgive. It breaks his heart to think that they chose to die with the lowly human trash rather than rule beside him. Sabretooth is less sad about the twins’ fate. Pietro and Wanda knew the score when they started taking calls from the Ultimates.

The young inventor, Forge, calls out to them and asks Magneto if he could have a second. He wasn’t aware that Magneto was planning to do with that power amplifier he built for him. He was thinking he’d just blow some things up and terrorize people for a while. But he didn’t expect a big plan to reverse the world’s magnetic poles and extinguish all living beings. Forge’s problem is that he is still clinging to some prepubescent notion that he is human, Magneto explains. He has to transcend these old-world beliefs. He isn’t having second thoughts, is he? Of course not, Forge quickly claims. Good, Magneto announces as they stand before Forge’s power amplifier, because the coming race has little time for the faint of heart.

In the Citadel’s infirmary, two members of the infirmary staff discuss the situation. One of them believes that they are going too far. Taking a stand against their persecutors is one thing, but obliterating an entire species? What’s the alternative? his colleague asks. It’s “us or them” and he’s heavily into self-preservation. But there are five hundred mutants on this rock, the first man continues. They could fight the humans instead of obliterating them. Five hundred against six billion, the others scoff. What kinds of odds are these? He knows what the other man is going through – he also has people he likes out there, but he has to remember that threats to the status quo have a habit of disappearing. Besides, there’s nothing they can do about it now. So, they should get back to work and run through the details of the John Doe they picked up.

Mutant one-eighteen, the first man starts, found in a Savage Land ravine, both starved and dehydrated. Patient has yet to be identified, but is possible one of the Brotherhood people who survived the Sentinel attack way back when. The second man sees the patient for the first time. Incredulously, he asks whether his colleague really doesn’t recognize this traitor? It’s… Before he can say “Cyclops,” the patient’s optic blast hits him. A nurse or doctor, standing near him, warns him that she’ll burn his head of his shoulders if he makes another step. Not now that he knows where she’s standing, he replies and blasts her as well. The first staff member lies on the ground and reaches for his glasses. Cyclops, dressed only in his tightie whities, grabs him by the shirt and tells him that he is going to be his eyes till he finds himself another ruby-quartz visor. Where is he supposed to take him, the panicked man asks. “Magneto, moron. Where do you think?” the X-Man replies.

The citadel, 0200 hours:

The mutants are gathered around Forge’s amplifier machine, as Magneto stands on the platform within it. He reaches out with his magnetic powers, shouting how incredible this feeling is. It’s like a pocket calculator being transformed into a super computer. The amplification is allowing him to touch things so far beyond his usual reach, even he begins to tremble at the thought of what he may be capable of. Just for fun, he’s erasing videotapes in Japan and whipping up a magnetic storm off the coast of Hawaii. He tells his followers to close their eyes if what he is about to do is too much for them, but there is really nothing for them to fear. The rest of the world should be quaking. Do they now regret all their taunts and their intolerance towards homo superior? he wonders, while cracks open on the streets of major cities.

In the meantime, Brotherhood members attack camp X-Factor and take out the SHIELD agents. A leader tells the others they have two minutes to release the prisoners, then they are teleporting back to base. Xavier, in his cell, asks Nightcrawler if he knows what’s happening - he can’t see a thing. Same for him, Nightcrawler replies. He hears screaming and shooting - it sounds like a rescue operation. Compliments of the Brotherhood of Mutants, a rescuer replies as he and another prop up the paralysed Xavier. They didn’t think the Brotherhood would leave them to die with the lowly human cockroaches, did they?

Magneto – perceiving all this – urges Xavier to take the man’s hand and let bygones be bygones. Charles was too good a friend to him once to end up brushed away with nature’s detritus. Their argument ends with this obsolete species. Together, they can build the world they once dreamed of.

Magneto reaches across the contours of the planet covering all continents as with a hand and now intends to squeeze the fist tumbling the world into chaos. As if on cue, Magneto is hit in the back by Cyclops’ optic blast. He falls to the ground and momentarily loses his concentration. The mutants are incredulous, mumbling they thought Cyclops was supposed to be dead. They thought wrong, Cyclops – still holding the doctor - announces. Now they’d better step away from that machine before someone gets hurt. Yeah, someone spelled C-Y-C-L-O-P-S Sabretooth announces grimly. Magneto, still crouching, orders Sabretooth to leave the boy alone. What harm can he do without his visor after all? He can’t see a thing. He’s just a tragic little blind boy striking out for a lost cause against impossible odds. Has Charles broken down his independent thought to the point where it really seemed a good idea to tackle them all alone? As Cyclops smirks Magneto asks what’s so funny. Cyclops holds up his x-communicator and asks who said he was alone?

As Magneto tries to take in the consequences of that statement, the X-jet rams the citadel breaking right through the wall to them. Magneto shouts at his followers to get up and fight! What’s the matter with them? He thinks they know when they are outclassed, Iceman announces, as he freezes everything in the citadel. Even as Magneto orders Blob to take point and all others to take battle formation, the other X-Men attack, making short work of Magneto’s shocked followers.

Magneto babbles to himself, blaming himself for not simply killing Cyclops and finish it while standing around, preening. Above him, Storm tells him to shut up and repeatedly hits him with lightning. Cyclops finds he can suddenly see with his eyes closed. A neat little telepathic trick, Miss Grey? he asks. Jean hugs her boyfriend and suggests that, now that he knows where the creeps are standing, he could hit them with some optic blasts. Cyclops complies and orders Kitty to trash the power amplifier and Jean to take out every Brotherhood mind she can get a hold of.

Sabretooth tells Wolverine, who is rushing towards him, that he’s wasting his time. He’s bigger, stronger and can heal any wound Wolverine could possibly inflict with those “sissy, little claws.” “Well, let’s see how long this takes to grow back,” Wolverine replies and decapitates his foe with one strike.

Magneto finally manages to throw up a magnetic shield against Storm’s attack and shouts “enough,” then attacks her in turn hurling metal objects at her. He puts on his helmet, while Cyclops orders Jean to create a forcefield. No, no forcefield Magneto states. This ends here. He’s had enough of this idiocy! With a gesture, he plays with gravity, swirling the X-Men around. He then rushes onto the amplifier’s platform, angrily asking what’s the matter with the X-Men anyway? Had they been around two million years ago they’d probably have sided with the primates against the dawn of humanity. He scares away Kitty, who’s been trying to sabotage the machine. He’s quite away of her sabotage, Magneto states, just as he is aware of those air force jets approaching.

That said, Forge’s machine will only manage one final act of power-amplification but he’s already decided where it will create the most havoc… What is he doing, Cyclops demands. Destabilizing the core of a nuclear reactor a little north of Miami, Magneto replies. No matter what happens now, the East Coast of America has just been given her death sentence…

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor X, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Unnamed SHIELD agents


Medical personnel in Magneto’s citadel

Blob, Forge, Sabretooth and unnamed mutants (all Brotherhood of Mutants)

Story Notes: 

Magneto’s children, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, have decided to work with the Ultimates, as can be seen from Ultimates #8 onwards.

The US government sent Sentinels against Magneto’s Brotherhood in the Savage Land in the first storyarc. [Ultimate X-Men #1-6]

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