Ultimate X-Men #31

Issue Date: 
May 2003
Story Title: 
Return of the King - part 5

Mark Millar (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler/breakdowns), Danny Miki (inker/finishes), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Dave Stewart (colorist), Dolly Setton/Stephanie Moore/Nick Lowe (assistant editors), Brian Smith/C.B. Cebulski (associate editors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

A power plant in Florida explodes at the whim of Magneto. He is pleased with his last-second attack and turns his attentions on the X-Men, who lie defeated before him. He starts on Wolverine, putting him through some excruciating pain. This causes a surge of anger to flow through Colossus and he is able to withstand Magneto’s hold against him. He takes Magneto out and the hold on the rest of the X-Men disappears. They all take turns attacking Mags until he’s unable to fight anymore. He tries to kill them all by magnetically bringing a nearby Stealth Bomber right on top of them. Jean, however, manages to erect some telekinetic shields, which protect them all. Meanwhile, in Florida, the Professor, Nightcrawler and Rogue help evacuate the people around the meltdown. Nightcrawler is put in charge of evacuation, while Rogue helps with the radiation containment. The Professor needs more help and contacts his X-Men in the Arctic Circle. Cyclops isn’t sure what they can do since they’re so far away. Suddenly, Jean overwhelmed by the Phoenix-force takes to the air like a comet. She’s in Florida in no time and actually lifts up the ground all around the plant. The Professor’s in complete shock. Back at Magneto’s base, Wolverine tries to apologize for leaving Cyclops for dead. Cyclops doesn’t really care for his apology.

Full Summary: 

Rainbow Falls Generating Plant, Miami:

A huge mushroom cloud replaces what once was one of Miami’s power plants. Everything at ground zero is decimated.

Magneto’s Lair, the Arctic Circle:

With the X-Men down for the count, Magneto gloats about his last-ditch effort to get back at the humans. He lets them know that before Kitty could shut down the machine that was amplifying his powers, he was able to create a nuclear meltdown in Miami. He boasts about giving the U.S. its very own Chernobyl.

A Squadron of Stealth Bombers comes into view and they start dropping bombs on Magneto’s base. Unfortunately for them his magnetic shield deflects the brunt of their attack. Magneto puts his focus back on the X-Men. He wants them all dead.

He starts off with Wolverine because of his adamantium-laced skeleton. He magnetically lifts him in the air and threatens to remove the metal clean off his bones. Kitty yells out for Magneto to stop, but he’s not deterred. He reminds her of what an animal Wolverine really is. He asks Kitty if she has any idea of how many people he’s killed in the past. Wolverine snarls, "...I killed one less guy than I shoulda, dirt-bag..." Magneto lifts his arm into the air and stretches Wolverine’s body into a painful position.

Nearby, Colossus strains against Magneto’s hold. He tries with all his might to get up off the ground.
Magneto further berates Wolverine, calling him an idiot and a traitor. He left the Brotherhood so he could be with Jean Grey and even left Cyclops to die just so he could be with her. He calls Wolvie a fool and tightens the strain on him. Wolverine cries out in agony once more.

Colossus is crawling on the ground, inching closer and closer to the master of magnetism. Magneto notices this and laughs. After all, what chance does someone whose body is composed of organic steel have against him? Magneto does a double-take as he realizes that Colossus is actually resisting his power. Piotr manages to pick himself up from the ground. A wide-eyed Magneto stands there hurling insults, confused by what’s happening. Colossus rears up and delivers a powerful right-handed jab to Mags’ midsection. He then brings around his left for a devastating head shot.

During Colossus’ attack, Magneto’s hold on the other X-Men dissipates. Wolverine falls to the ground and the other X-Men look up in shock as their teammate pummels their most feared enemy.
The reason behind Colossus’ rage is made apparent when he tells Magneto that nobody lays a hand on Wolverine. He gives him a good ol’ right-handed uppercut that sends Mags flying backwards in a heap.

Rainbow Falls, Generating Plant (three minutes after impact):

People are panicking as the blast flies forward. Professor Xavier, Nightcrawler, Rogue and some others (presumably former Brotherhood members) come to the rescue, riding on the backs of Sentinels. The Professor mindlinks with everyone in the area and updates them on the situation. He puts Nightcrawler in charge of evacuation and Rogue in charge of containing the damage from the nuclear reactor. ‘Crawler starts porting out everyone he can find.

Back at Magneto’s lair, Cyclops issues out an attack command, and the X-Men follow suit. Jean’s attack comes first as she blasts Magneto up in the air. Iceman is next and ices Magneto up into a wall. Cyclops follows with an optic blast and tells Storm to keep the wind flow on him. He wants to keep Mags off his feet until Jean is ready. Cyke tells Magneto that it’s over and that Jean is going to create him a new personality.

Magneto lies at the base of his tower, crumpled and defeated. He tells the X-Men about a movie he once saw that reminded him of this very situation. The movie was called "The Thing from another World."

Up above, one of the Stealth Bombers loses control. The pilot ejects, while the front of the plane takes on a bluish magnetic hue.

Mags continues his story about the movie. In it, the creature is surrounded by humans and knows it has no chance of escaping. He asks them if they realize what he’s getting at. Jean tells him no and he tells them that the movie taught him that it’s better to die than to finish your life in a cage.

The runaway Stealth Bomber continues its course straight into Magneto’s citadel. It crashes through the glass shell and blows up everything inside. Some of Magneto’s people stand around in shock as they watch the place go up in flames.

Inside, however, Jean erected two telekinetic shields to protect them from the blast. Beast and Magneto occupy one of the shields. The rest of the X-Men smile as Hank prepares to kick some magnetic butt. They’re interrupted by a telepathic call from the Professor. He tells them that things are getting out of hand in Florida and that they need help containing the reactor.

At ground zero, Nightcrawler continues to teleport people to safety. Rogue uses some telekinetic powers she’s absorbed to keep the radiation contained with the help of other psychics. The Professor asks her how much longer she can hold on. She tells him five to ten minutes. He tells her not to worry and increases her abilities by a factor of nine. He then tells Cyclops that he needs someone else down there. Cyclops acknowledges the Professor’s message, but has no idea how to get anyone over there. They’re thousands of miles away from Florida.

Storm suggests that Nightcrawler port her over there and she could possibly contain it in a cyclone. Cyclops tells her that Nightcrawler can only teleport a maximum of two miles. Iceman suggests he could try freezing the entire place. He’s not sure if he could do it, but it’s worth a shot. Cyclops reiterates the fact that Nightcrawler can only port two miles at a time. Their main problem right now is finding a way to get there in time.

Jean feels woozy, then mumbles "Oh no… Not again…" as she gets a sudden surge of power. She realizes what it is just before it takes over. Like a comet, she takes off in the sky. The rest of the X-Men are left to wonder what has just happened.

Back in Miami, Jean comes soaring in. She slams directly into the ground. Charles telepathically lets everyone know that the comet was one of his students, and that said student is their best chance of survival for the moment. Suddenly, the ground around the reactor rises up into the air. Charles Xavier is shocked beyond belief. Jean Grey managed to lift several square miles of earth directly off the ground.

Back in the Arctic, the X-Men stand in silence as Wolverine and Cyclops come face to face. Wolverine says, "Well, Cyclops. I’m guessing an apology on my part ain’t exactly gonna cut it here, huh?" With one hand on his new ruby quartz shades, Cyclops responds, "You know something, Wolverine? I figure you’re right..."

Characters Involved: 

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

Rogue and other former Brotherhood members


Story Notes: 

On April 25th -26th, 1986 the World's worst nuclear power accident occurred at Chernobyl in the former USSR (now Ukraine) 80 miles north of Kiev.

"The Thing from another World" is a low budget sci-fi horror thriller from 1951 about a group of people at ana rctic base haviing to fight for their lives against a blood-thirsty alien.
Colossus’ rage-induced attack on Magneto, further adds to the hints that Colossus has a crush on Wolverine.

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