Ultimate X-Men #61

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
Magnetic North: part 1

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Stuart Immonen (pencils), Wade Von Grawbadger (inks), Paul Mounts (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Drew Peacock (production), John Barber (assistant editor), Nicole Wiley (assistant editors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine is back at Xavier’s, and he and Charles have a chat about what happened to Deathstrike, and Logan’s past with Nick Fury. Meanwhile, some of the X-Men are busy fighting a simulation of Magneto in the Danger Room, and have the hardest time defeating him. The training is disturbed by an angry Kitty, who breaks up with Bobby after discovering he has been e-mailing with Rogue and telling her he still has feelings for her. At the same time, somewhere else, Lorna Dane welcomes new student, Roberto DaCosta, at Emma Frost’s academy. The tour gets disturbed by Northstar, who warns them of a fire downtown. He, Polaris and Havok move over to the scene, while Emma continues the tour with Bobby. However, once arrived, things go badly. Lorna loses control of her powers, and a lot of firemen get hurt in the process. Alex has to use his powers on Lorna in order to get her to calm down. Later, Nick Fury gets informed about the situation, and he and his partner Dugan wonder what to do about it, as the only cell that can hold Lorna is occupied. And deep under the Triskelion, Magneto finishes his game of chess, and has a checkmate.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine sits in Xavier’s office. His cat, Mystique, roars at Logan. Logan threatens Xavier to control his cat, or else he’ll do it for him. Xavier calls Mystique to him, and it goes to sit on his lap. Logan wants to know what kind of a name “Mystique” is anyway, for a cat. Xavier becomes sad, and remembers he used to date a woman with that name. Logan smiles, joking and wants to know if that woman was a stripper. Logan jokes that, for a guy sitting in a wheel chair, Xavier does get around, remembering he used to go out with Moira MacTaggert and Emma Frost as well.

Xavier changes the subject, as they’re not there to discuss his past. He wants to know what happened to Deathstrike, the woman Logan and Storm faced in Alberta. Logan corrects that he didn’t kill Yuri, if that’s what Xavier means. Xavier didn’t, but explains he already has been brought up to date by Nick Fury, who told him that Wolverine had Deathstrike brought into SHIELD custody, and that she’s now trapped in a holding cell deep within the Triskelion. He thanks Logan for that.

Logan appreciates being allowed back at the school, but tells Xavier he doesn’t need to give him a “gold star” every time he did something good. Xavier adds that Fury violated a longstanding extradition treaty with the Canadians and risked demotion in order to answer Logan’s call for help, and only told Xavier that it was simply his time to turn the favor. Logan wants to know what Fury meant by that. Logan hesitates and, with a serious look on his face, answers that isn’t a door Xavier wants to re-open.

Meanwhile at the school’s game room, Kitty disturbs the quality time between Angel and Dazzler. She’s furious, and demands to know where Bobby is. Dazzler angrily responds that Iceman’s downstairs, but wants to know why. Kitty wants to rip his heart out of his chest, and phases through the floor. Warren thinks they best go check that out, but Alison has other ideas, remembering that love is a battlefield.

At the same time in the Danger Room, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Iceman are fighting a simulation of Magneto, fighting in the city. And they aren’t doing so well. Storm defends that they need to pull together, or else humanity’s a stain under Magneto’s boot! Kurt teleports besides Ororo, and doesn’t like having to fight a simulation of Magneto for the tenth time this month. Storm corrects that this is also the tenth time Magneto has defeated them. She explains to Kurt that he wasn’t around the last time they faced Magneto, so he needs to know what he’s capable of.

Colossus defends that the last time they faced Magneto, it was he who defeated the master of magnetism, and thinks he can do the same with a mere simulation. Storm remembers that Magneto is a tactical genius, and that they can’t possible know all of his moves, so they need to be ready. Iceman is with Kurt, and thinks that Magneto is cooler in reality, and that they need to fight guys who can really bring trouble to them. Kitty phases through the Danger Room walls, and shouts at Bobby that she can give him a fight if he wants one. She demands to know why Iceman has been e-mailing with Rogue!

Kurt smiles, and Storm ends the simulation. Colossus asks Bobby if he knows where Rogue is. He denies that, but explains that Rogue sends him short messages while on the road, but she never tells him where she is. Bobby goes down to Kitty, and wants to know what she has been doing in his account. Kitty becomes sad, defending that she didn’t do that, but that Bobby accidentally CC’ed to her! Kitty reads a print of a mail from Bobby, in which he asks “Rouge” when she is coming back, as he still has feelings for her.

Bobby rips the printout out of Kitty’s hands, not wanting her to read on. Kitty doesn’t understand, as he told her that he wanted to make things work between them. Iceman tells her to knock it off, as he’s only trying to make things clear between him and Rogue. This makes Kitty even angrier, thinking that Bobby is only using her until Rogue gets back. She punches Bobby in his stomach, telling him that it’s over between them.

From the Control Room, Cyclops shouts at Bobby and Kitty not to fight each other. Jean calms Scott down, and asks him to let them blow of some steam, as Bobby and Kitty are still kids. Scott knows that, but they are driving him insane, as Kitty and Bobby are fighting each day: one moment, they’re at each other’s throat, the next, they’re making out at the attic! Jean asks Scott to understand, and to remember how difficult it was to hold a relationship at that age. Scott gets silent. Jean wants to know if Scott has been dating other girls before her. “Only one,” he sadly nods.

Meanwhile in Chicago, Illinois, Lorna Dane introduces herself to a new, handsome student. Lorna welcomes him at the Academy of Tomorrow, one of the best magnet schools in the school. And Lorna knows a thing or two about magnets. Roberto introduces himself, and explains that somebody mailed him a plane ticket to an open house but, when looking around, Bobby thinks that there’s been a mistake, as his grades suck. Lorna mentions that grades aren’t everything. Headmaster Frost sent her an article from the Star that wrote about Bobby, and she knows he’s a star. Alex walks up on them, and jokingly tells Bobby not to get any ideas, as Lorna is already his girl!

Lorna introduces the two gentlemen to another, and explains to Bobby that it was Alex who convinced her to contact him in the first place. They shake hands, and Alex suggests that he gives Bobby a tour around the school. They walk around, and Bobby recognizes a kid nearby, and asks Alex who that it. Alex explains that the boy’s name is Doug Ramsey, a junior there. Bobby can’t believe that the all-time Jeopardy champion of a game show is a mutant.

Emma walks over to them, correcting that Douglas is gifted. She explains that, at her school, people don’t judge people at what they are of what they can do or how good their grades are, which goes the same for Bobby. Emma introduces her to Bobby, and mentions she was truly impressed by that neighborhood watch Bobby formed back in Harlem. Bobby gets a serious look on his face, explaining that somebody has got to take care of the community while the X-Men are too busy fighting all over the world in their private jets.

Emma corrects that her school isn’t anything like Xavier’s. Her students aren’t soldiers, but ambassadors, charged with tearing down walls between mankind and mutants through education. And, Alex mocks, unlike with the X-Men, their class president isn’t an uptight control freak. Lorna jokes that Alex can’t seem to stop thinking about Scott for two seconds. Suddenly, someone shouts at Emma to get her attention.

It’s Jean-Paul Beaubier! Emma calms the speedster down, correcting that they don’t need him re-opening his old war wounds. Jean-Paul apologizes, but explains that, while preparing their cafeteria food, he noticed a five-alarm over at Cabrini-Green! Alex and Lorna follow Jean-Paul, ordering him to lead the way while he and Lorna will follow in Emma’s car. Emma corrects Alex that they can’t interfere, unless the Fire Marshall specifically asks them to. Bobby powers up and wants to tag along. Emma explains he can’t yet, as only students who’ve passed their Advanced Leadership Workshop are allowed to participate in off-campus community service missions. Bobby brags that he can help with his powers. Emma touches his shoulder, and calmly notices that Bobby is a bright boy, who has a lot to learn. They head towards the academy together.

Some time later, Havok, Lorna and Jean-Paul arrive in costume at the crime scene, where a huge building has caught fire. One of the firemen recognizes them, and isn’t thrilled to see the freaks, but another calms him down, realizing they can use all the help they can get. Alex gets out of the car, and asks for an explanation. The crew leader explains that the structure has been cleared. They only know that someone pulled the alarm ten minutes before the blaze started.

Havok suspects they are dealing with arson. He orders Northstar to run across the area, and search for any suspicious people trying to flee of the scene. Jean-Paul does as told, and leaves. Alex orders Polaris that he wants her reinforcing the building’s steel underframe, as the last thing they need is the building falling down on people’s heads. Lorna does as told, and powers up. But, something goes wrong. Their car suddenly flies up in the air! Alex panics, and asks Lorna what she’s doing, but she isn’t doing anything! She feels that the electromagnetic fields are all… wrong! The car lands among the firemen, and kills one of them!

Suddenly, the firemen’s car flies up in the air as well! Lorna freaks out, still claiming it’s not her doing this. Alex begs her to calm down. Lorna can’t, and begs Alex to help her, as she can’t control this. The fire wagon breaks apart, and its many pieces hit the firemen’s faces, knocking them out. Lorna begs Alex to make it stop, even kill her if he has to! Alex powers up. He quietly apologizes, and hits Lorna with his powers! Lorna falls down, and her powers fade away. Alex promises her that everything’s going to be okay. Northstar arrives back on the scene and wants to know what happened. Alex takes the unconscious Lorna in his arms, and cries. He shouts at Jean-Paul to go get Emma, right now!

Meanwhile, 20,000 feet above Genosha, Nick Fury sits in his plane and gets a priority transmission from SHIELD Commander Dugan. Dugan reports that they’ve got a Mutant Ops situation, and informs Fury about Lorna’s case. Dugan adds that she’s unconscious now, but that there is no guarantee she won’t start killing again. Luckily, Dugan mentions, they own the one prison cell that can hold her. Fury wants to know why he’s being bothered then. Dugan remembers Fury that said cage is one of a kind, and at the moment… occupied. Fury realizes the situation, and starts to think.

Meanwhile, deep beneath the Triskelion, Magneto finishes his game of chess. “Check.”

Characters Involved: 

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

Mystique (Xavier’s cat)

Emma Frost, Havok, Northstar, Polaris, Roberto DaCosta

Dum-Dum Dugan, Nick Fury (both SHIELD operatives)


firemen including Denny & bystanders (all unnamed)

various other students at Emma’s academy (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

First full appearance of Lorna Dane. She was first briefly shown as one of the candidates for the president’s new mutant team in Ultimate X-Men #43, but never made it because of her similar magnetic powers to Magneto, who had attacked the president earlier. During the presentation, Emma mentioned to the president that he couldn’t get Alex, who did make it to the team, without Lorna. Apparently, afterwards Emma managed to convince Alex to join the team anyway, somehow, but it’s unclear what effect that had on their relationship, if any.

This issue is part of Marvel’s “Ultimate Starts Month,” which is supposed to bring new story arcs and in introduce new characters in other Ultimate titles, meant to bring in new readers.

It’s finally revealed that Xavier’s cat actually is a cat, named Mystique, and he used to date a woman by that name. That has been a riddle going on for a while now, as of Ultimate X-Men #1. It’s unclear if she really is a stripper like Wolverine suspects, or if it’s actually Raven Darkholme Xavier is talking about, Mystique’s real name. That is possible, as Mystique has been shown as an X-Men spy in the Wizard edition of Ultimate X-Men ½, but Marvel later cut her idea before the series started, not thinking it was a good idea. Moira as Xavier’s former lover, ex-wife actually, has been established in later issues as of Ultimate X-Men #18.

This issue kind of uses most of the old Ultimate X-Men related characters again, even by a brief mentioning or with an actual appearance.

Emma Frost and Roberto DaCosta do not use any codenames in this issue yet. In the 616 universe, Emma’s codename used to be the White Queen and Roberto has the codename of Sunspot. It’s still unclear if their group-name is “the Hellions,” as hinted in Ultimate X-Men #46. Both Jean-Paul and Lorna use their codenames for the very first time here.

Emma has first been introduced in Ultimate X-Men #42, and was later on revealed as an old girlfriend of Xavier. Jean-Paul was revealed in Ultimate X-Men #46, in which it was already established that he was gay and refused to join the X-Men.

Bobby was seen as a member of a neighborhood watch when the madman Sinister stalked the neighborhood, in search of mutant victims, as seen in Ultimate X-Men #48. It was also mentioned that Skin was part of the watch, but never confirmed.

Wolverine and Storm faced Deathstrike in the last two issues of Ultimate X-Men. He had left the X-Men in Ultimate X-Men #53, after Rogue had hurt his feelings and Logan felt he couldn’t be trusted. Storm followed Logan, as she had strong, romantic feelings for him. The arrest of Deathstrike by SHIELD happened off-panel. He and Storm returned to the X-Men after the battle.

Wolverine’s and Nick Fury’s past has first been touched upon in Ultimate X-Men #11, and it was revealed that Logan saved Fury’s life during the war. Fury apparently repaid Logan by helping him bring down the Weapon X Program and freeing the X-Men and some other mutants but, apparently, there’s more behind it.

Rogue left the X-Men in Ultimate X-Men #53. She wanted to explore her relationship with Gambit, who she could kiss after receiving a special costume from Fenris, which made her able. She broke up with Bobby after she saw him and Kitty kissing in Ultimate X-Men #50. She left with Gambit after Fenris was defeated and hasn’t been seen since, not by the fans nor by any of the X-Men. Bobby started a relationship with Kitty after they won from Spiral and Mojo’s TV show, as shown at the end of Ultimate X-Men #57.

“Rouge” means “Red” in the French language, which Bobby truly misspells as Rogue’s name.

Doug Ramsey was mentioned as jeopardy champ in Mojo's television show in Ultimate X-Men #56. At this point, it's unclear how he and Emma met and how she convinced Doug to join her academy, as it apparently all happened off-panel.

Magneto was last defeated by the X-Men, specifically Colossus, in Ultimate X-Men #32. SHIELD arrested him and put him in the plastic prison in Ultimate X-Men #33, and he has been there ever since. Magneto did try to escape off-panel, revealed in Ultimate Six #4-5, when Norman Osborn and his crew escaped from the Triskelion, and cut the power of in order to do so. Luckily, the SHIELD agents managed to restore the power soon afterwards, but almost had to suffocate Magneto in order to calm him down and bring him back to his cell.

Nightcrawler really wasn’t present in the last battle against Magneto himself, but was helping out taking down his Sentinels together with Xavier, Jean, Rogue and lots of other mutants.

Genosha has earlier been mentioned to exist in Ultimate X-Men #54, nearby the African cost and the island Krakoa. Both islands have a long-time history with the 616 X-Men.

“Love is a Battlefield” is a song of Pat Benatar.

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