Ultimate X-Men #33

Issue Date: 
July 2003
Story Title: 
Return of the King - part 7

Mark Millar (story), Adam Kubert (pencils), Danny Miki (inks), Dave Stewart (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Dolly Setton (assistant editor), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (assistant editor), C.B. Cebulski (associate editor), Brian Smith (associate editor), Ralf Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Professor Xavier visits Magneto in his cell at the Triskelion trying to rehabilitate him. In the meantime, Cyclops tracks down Wolverine in the wilderness of Canada, asking him to rejoin the X-Men and telling him they have found out something about his past.

Full Summary: 


A writer describes how Magneto is being held prisoner in a plastic cage in the bowels of the Ultimates’ headquarters, the Triskelion. He is a bogeyman, stripped of all potency as long as all his visitors followed a golden rule: no metal objects. Until one day, one of the cleaning staff was so stupid as to lie about the steel pin in his leg. Magneto uses it to kill everybody in the room and free himself. Next, he skewers and slices Captain America (during his lunch hour) for some of his threats against Magneto earlier. The writer gleefully describes how Magneto murders the other Ultimates before turning his attention to the wide world outside. Majestically, he strides through the streets, turning every metal object into a weapon against humanity. Within a day, Magneto has levelled everything, sparing only a terrified America, frightened into obedience. Xavier and his X-Men apologize, admitting that he was right all along, while Magneto presides over his perfect little world in what used to be the White House.


Magneto sits in a large, see-through plastic prison suspended in the air, equipped only with the most necessary objects, none of them metal, of course. In his hands, he holds the letter with the story, scribbled in childish handwriting, addressed “to the Master.” A plexiglas tunnel is attached to the prison and Charles Xavier is wheeled in. Some guards respectfully inform Magneto over intercom that he has a visitor. If he’d like them to send him away, like the others, he need just say the word. Magneto looks up at the surveillance camera, telling them to let Xavier in. Unlike the others, he tends to be interesting on occasion.

A guard wheels Xavier – in a specially manufactured plastic wheelchair – in and the leaves. “Here we are again, Erik,” Xavier states. Magneto, keeping his back turned to him and his eyes glued on his fan mail, repeats coolly, “Yes, Charles. Here we are again.”
Xavier notices the mail, stating that Erik is certainly getting a lot of fan mail from those charitable Homo sapiens. Heartening that even a genocidal super-terrorist receives the occasional note of comfort as he faces his darkest hour. Taking off his reading glasses, Magneto points out that these are more than warm wishes. He’s got everything from anti-human fiction to marriage proposals. They say that the amount of attention one receives in jail is in direct proportion to the crimes one committed. What kind of species celebrates an attack on their own body, he rants and adds bitterly that Charles must be very proud to have helped them against him.

He never said that humanity was perfect, Xavier replies calmly, just that they deserved their chance to live. Putting on his glasses again, Magneto replies coolly that this is where he and Charles will always remain poles apart. Xavier changes the subject trying to make some small talk inquiring how they are treating Erik. Magneto bitterly replies that he’d be living like a pig if he had committed fraud. But a death toll in the thousands and the system treats you like royalty. With black humor, he adds that, allegedly, the Hulk is being kept in another of these holding cells. He hasn’t seen him so far, but he hopes they might exchange Christmas cards this year. Xaviert tells him with genuine emotion that he is sorry it came to this. Not as sorry as he is, Magneto shoots back.

A snowy wilderness somewhere in Canada:

Wolverine, dressed in leathers and furs, attacks a wild grizzly. Suddenly, a voice interrupts the fight, remarking dryly that there is a perfectly good restaurant fifteen miles down the road. “What do you want, Cyclops?” Wolverine asks after having finished the grizzly. Is he back for a rematch? He proceeds to tear into the raw meat with his teeth. Looking at the spectacle in front of him, Cyclops points out that what went on between them before wasn’t exactly a fight. More like Cyclops cutting loose with his optic blast and Wolverine going down like a ninepin. So, Wolverine asks, is he saying that he’d have deserved to get a few licks in before hitting the deck? Cyclops reminds Wolverine of what he did, trying to kill him in order to have a chance with Jean, and asks whether Logan thinks that he deserved what he got there. Only every cut and bruise, his former teammate snarls. But what does Scott want here anyway? Isn’t enough to have kicked him off the team? Does he really have to track him down after all these months and reopen those wounds? That’s not why he’s here, Cyclops states and surprisingly adds that he wants to apologize.

Magneto’s cell:

Magneto needles Charles that he has now completely sold out, but to him that was always obvious. He prefers to think of it as a compromise, Charles replies patiently. Magneto points out that he’s signed up his children to an organization which was hunting them down only a few months ago. A tad hypocritical, no? What’s the difference between Xavier’s institute and Weapon X now anyway? More comfortable sleeping arrangements? The old school tie?

Xavier accuses him of being facetious. No, Magneto replies. He’s telling him as his oldest friend that he has made the most terrible miscalculation. He appreciates that Xavier is trying to infiltrate their most prized inner sanctum, but he has taken the game too far this time. Charles will never change them.

Coldy addressing Magneto as “Mister Lensherr,” Charles reminds him that they are not alone here, before this conversation gets any more frank. Magneto looks up at the surveillance camera and surprisingly apologizes. Xavier returns to their discussion, claiming that he is willing to accept a human board of supervisors for his next stage of mutant integration. It’s a small price to pay for an end to hostilities and Fury assured him that the school would have first refusal over any mutants they arrested. He prefers the idea of mutual coexistence. And he’s talking to the president about equal rights in the workplace and at least one positive mutant character in a number of popular television shows.

Finally getting up and looking at Xavier, Magneto gently mocks him: if human evolution had been placed in his hands, they’d still all be swimming in the sea, eh? What does Xavier really want here, anyway? Gloating never seemed to be his style…

He’s here, because he’s a utopian, Xavier explains. He wants to set the world to rights and won’t be satisfied until his old best friend is rehabilitated with the rest of his followers. He can read Erik’s mind and knows how unhappy he really is. And, what’s more, he knows the source of his unhappiness is his estrangement from his children. They’re both waiting outside, he states surprisingly and Quicksilver in particular is eager to make amends. Should he invite them in? Magneto is flustered for the first time. He protests that he regards Scarlet With and Quicksilver as the most treacherous little toads that ever walked the Earth. Their only decent contribution to the world was almost killing their feeble-minded mother during childbirth. Oh, Xavier replies. So Erik regards them as weak human-loving traitors for fraternizing with the Ultimates? That’s precisely why he cannot bear to see them, Magneto agrees. And this has nothing to do with the fact that the twins remind him of that passionate affair he had with their ordinary, human mother, Charles asks with a smirk.

Magneto gives him a cold look and asks him to go. Xavier insists that an interspecies romance isn’t anything to be ashamed of and doesn’t make him less of a mutant. Isabelle was a beautiful, intelligent woman and he’d be surprised if a little part of Erik didn’t still love her. Well, he’d be surprised, Magneto continues his old spiel, because those monkeys don’t even smell right and its their biological instinct to replace them. He calls out for a guard. With a smile, Charles reminds him that his biological instincts used to be quite different in those days.


Wolverine incredulously asks Cyclops why he should want to apologize to him. What has he to be sorry about? Acting like a caveman instead of the leader of a post-human cell, the X-Men’s leader replies. The Professor’s whole idea is to have his X-Men take his pacifist ideals out into the world and teach everyone that they don’t have to play by the old rules. But what’s the first thing he does when someone crosses him? He goes all alpha male and kicks the crap out of him. Sounds logical to him, Wolverine states dryly. But what did it accomplish, Scott asks. Driving the most dangerous mutant back into isolation? That’s the way Wolverine was before they met him. All that progress shot to hell, just so Cyclops could look tough in front of his friends. So what is he saying, Wolverine asks. He’s saying, Cyclops replies, that Wolverine should come back to the school and finish his rehabilitation. Is he nuts or just trying to score brownie points with Xavier, Wolverine scoffs, as he turns away. Ok, a little pacifist thinking is going to pull up his average, Cyclops admits, but he genuinely believes that alienating Wolverine now is bound to mean trouble for the future. He doesn’t want them to end up like Xavier and Magneto.

The others would be sleeping with knives under their pillows if he moved back in, Wolverine states, still not convinced. They’ve been doing that ever since Wolverine moved into the mansion in the first place, Cyclops replies. Besides, they took a vote on the matter and it was unanimous.

Wolverine still refuses, insisting he is not like the others. The folks at Weapon X wiped all that nice human stuff out of his mind. He’s just good for killing. He’s too screwed up to be an X-Man. That’s precisely why he should come back, Cyclops insists. But, he adds, he wanted to talk about something else with him. The promise the Professor made Wolverine when he said he’d do his best to help him find out more about jus past. He pulls out a wedding ring and hands it to Wolverine. Logan curiously stares at the inscription reading “To James with all my love”.

It’s his wedding ring, Cyclops explains. SHIELD is already cross-referencing that name with World War Two intel they received from Captain America. He doesn’t want to build Wolverine’s hopes up, but this looks like their best chance of finding out who he was before those psychopaths got their hands on him Wolverine shakes his head. This is nuts. Who was he married to? Only one way to find out, Cyclops replies and calls in the X-Wing.

Magneto’s prison:

His back turned again, Magneto asks the guard to remove Xavier. He has become a profound irritation. Unfazed, Xavier tells him that he has hit a nerve and that they can work together on these emotions and ideas in the coming months. He sees such goodness in Erik’s heart and believes, with a little guidance, he could be capable of something spectacular. Oh, and what makes him think he’s even going to look up from his correspondence next time Charles graces him with his presence, Magneto inquires. Yes, all that scintillating Homo sapiens conversation should be enough for anyone, Xavier sarcastically agrees. Excellent point, Magneto admits. Besides, they will have to talk if Xavier is gong to represent Magneto at his upcoming trial, Xavier adds. Did he know that they’re trying to find a committee to discuss a foolproof way of executing Magneto? Erik states that he feels flattered. Yes, he thought so, Xavier replies and tells him au revoir.

Before he’s wheeled out, Magneto asks him, seemingly disinterested, whether Quicksilver ever recovered from that injuries Magneto gave him. Actually, he made excellent recovery, Charles replies. His accelerated system had him back n his feet inside a few months. Why does he ask? No reason, Magneto replies curtly. Xavier smiles. He waits at the door surrounded by two guards, while Captain America enters, cracking whether Magneto has been in the neighborhood long. Annoyed, Magneto tells him that wasn’t funny the first three hundred times. Xavier addresses the guards (whose name tags read Mark Millar and Adam Kubert), thanking them for their assistance, telling them he trusts they’ll forget that little outburst from Magneto earlier. It was quite unhelpful and not at all worth remembering. As they can imagine, it’s already been erased from the tapes-. The door closes.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Professor Xavier, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Captain America

Guards (among them Mark Millar and Adam Kubert)

Story Notes: 

Captain America already pointed out in the Ultimate War limited series that he recognized Wolverine as “James Howlett,” having served with him during World War II.

Magneto attacked the Ultimates headquarters and shot Quicksilver in the kneecaps for selling out to the humans in Ultimate War #2.

In the Marvel Universe proper, Magneto’s wife and the mother of the twins was a gypsy woman named Magda. However, later he was shown to have some feelings for a beautiful scientist named Isabelle, who was murdered by an enemy shortly after (Classic X-Men #19)

Issue Information: 
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