Uncanny X-Men (4th series) #14

Issue Date: 
November 2016
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Greg Land & David Curiel (cover artists), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mark Paniccia (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

At the Hellfire Club, Psylocke learns from the sleeper mutant that they liberated that the sleepers are going to attack an anti-mutant rally in Washington and slaughter people by the thousands, but she can't determine who has given this order. She doesn't want to keep pushing the sleeper, fearing that her probing might kill him. Psylocke leaves, planning to go to Washington to stop the attack. Tension arises between Monet and Briar Raleigh when Monet offers to probe the mutant's mind, and while she begins her telepathic mission, Magneto visits Psylocke, who tells him that if he is willing to let humans die while trying to track who is responsible for weaponizing the sleeper mutants, then that isn't what she signed up for. Magneto tells Psylocke to do what she must, and that he will do the same, before Monet reveals she knows who they are looking for. Magneto soon arrives at the Someday Corporation in Nevada, where he confronts Exodus, who has reduced Mystique to a cowering state. Exodus tells his old leader that this reunion is long overdue, and that he thinks the pending extinction of their people has educated Magneto better than Exodus ever could have. Magneto warns Exodus to release Mystique and the sleeper mutants,but Exodus refuses, and claims that in the face of extinction, mutants are legion, which is what Magneto wanted all along. The two men then start to battle, while in Washington, the anti-mutant protestors are under attack from the sleeper mutants. A Blackbird arrives, and the X-Men, Shaw and Black Tom engage the mutants in battle. Magneto and Exodus's battle is heated, until Magneto eventually knocks Exodus in the head with his helmet, severing Exodus's control over the sleeper mutants, who are confused and scared. Psylocke tells the others that they can't just let the mutants wander off. Later at the Hellfire Club, Mystique appears to be recovering, while Psylocke informs Magneto that she is ending her involvement with his team. She bids goodbye to everyone, and tellls Magneto that the sleepers need help. Later still, Magneto, Monet and Sabretooth have taken the sleepers to Xorn's temple in Tibet, where they will be safe from harm. Xorn tells Magneto that he is sorry Psylocke has gone, and Magneto recalls the telepathic warning Psylocke gave him as she left the Hellfire Club – that she is going to be watching him, and that if he steps out of line, she will kill him, while watching as Exodus, who is in a sleeper state, is placed in a room within the temple as a fail-safe.

Full Summary: 

The Hellfire Club, New York City, where Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock is connected to the mind of the weaponized sleeper mutant, Bu Jun. 'I... I know what the sleepers are going to do...' Betsy reports. '... and attack of an anti-mutant rally in Washington... they're going to slaughter people by the thousands...' she reveals. 'On whose orders?' Magneto asks. Betsy looks annoyed as she tells Magneto that Bu Jun's mind if full of psychic booby traps to protect that information – and if she keeps pushing, it will kill him. 'We need to know' Magneto declares. 'No. No. You want to know!' Betsy replies, before pointing out that right now they have everything they need – they can stop the attack and stop a damned tragedy. Betsy starts to walk out of the lab and declares that she isn't going to murder this man in order to point Magneto towards another enemy – not when they know exactly where they are needed.

'I know you like her... but I don't think she's that much of a team player, Erik' Briar Raleigh smirks at Magneto. Sebastian Shaw supposes that Ms Braddock is right – they know where the sleepers will be striking, so they know enough. Monet St Croix asks Shaw if he hasn't figured it out – whatever intel they dig up is never going to be enough – not for Magneto, not for the cause. She remarks that if they don't find out who is pulling the strings, they are just twiddling their thumbs until the next attack. 'Good thing you've got me around' Monet smiles. 'No offense, Monet, but when it comes to telepathy, you're in over your head' Briar declares, adding that Psylocke couldn't uncover the truth. 'How do you expect -' Briar begins, before Monet scowls and interrupts: 'First of all, I don't like you, “Briar” not nearly enough for you to address me by my first name. Second of all, don't ever think you're in a good position to tell me that I'm in over my head'.

'Monet -' Magneto begins. 'Whatever. I can do this, Magneto' Monet assures him as she steps over to the table where Bu Jun is strapped. Monet remarks that Psylocke was tiptoeing through his head, but the neural pathways have been primed. 'And where she was trying to be careful – I don't mind being a bull in a china shop' Monet smirks. Magneto looks at Monet but remains silent, so Monet tells him not to act so surprised. She informs him that she will do what needs to be done to accomplish the mission. 'Just let me work... while you tend to your errant X-Man'.

Shortly, Magneto finds Betsy sipping tea in another room. Betsy informs him that she is going to finish this cup of tea – something to soothe her nerves after dealing with his stubbornness, and then she is leaving to stop the sleeper attack – with or without the rest of the X-Men. Betsy tells Magneto that, unlike him, she is not willing to let countless other mutants die. 'You're willing to let humans die... while trying to track the head of the snake' Betsy adds, before telling Magneto that this is not what she signed up for – it hasn't been for some time. Magneto tells Elizabeth to go and confront the sleepers, and to take the X-Men and the Hellfire Club with her. 'Do what you must. I will do the same' he adds.

Just then, Monet enters the room and asks Magneto if she can have a word. 'It's done' Monet announces, blood trickling from her nose. 'I know who we're looking for' she reveals.

The Someday Corporation Research Facility in Sierra, Nevada, Magneto strides down a corridor, a determined look on his face, he suddenly uses his power to rip part of the facility away. Doors open and he steps into another room, where a voice calls out 'Welcome, Magneto...my Lord'. It is Magneto's former Acolyte, Exodus, who sits on a chair, while Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique is huddled at his feet. 'Bennet Du Paris. Exodus. We should talk' Magneto declares. 'Yes, of course. We've been orbiting around one another for so long now. We've been striving to reach the same goals. This chat is long overdue' Exodus smiles. Magneto looks down at Mystique, and Exodus tells him that his little emissary has proven quite interesting to him, remarking that she is naturally resistant to psychic intrusion. 'Changing...I'm collapsing in upon myself...twisting...' Mystique babbles, while Exodus points out that she has proved a challenge. 'But you knew she was sent by me, did you not? Why put her though such torment? A punishment?' Magneto asks. 'Or are you still trying to teach me some sort of lesson?' he enquires.

'A lesson, my Lord? For you? Never' Exodus replies, remarking that he thinks of the passing of time, the ebb and flow of the mutantkind's wellbeing, the pending extinction of their people, has educated Magneto better than he could have ever dreamed. 'Let her go' Magneto declares. 'Hm. Or perhaps I've misjudged you after all' Exodus wonders, before Magneto asks Exodus if he has the Someday mutants, the sleepers, under his control as well. 'Post-telepathic suggestions for the most part, with a nudge here and there' Exodus explains. 'Release them' Magneto orders. 'Release them all' he warns Exodus as energy starts to crackle around him. 'So... a lesson after all' Exodus smirks, before raising a force field around himself as Magneto blasts energy at his former ally. 'All mt efforts... everything I've accomplished...have been for you!' Exodus announces. When Magneto stops blasting Exodus, he finds himself blasted back in kind, as Exodus fires beams from his eyes, which strike Magneto. 'I built an army for you! Now – even in the face of extinction – we are legion! This is what you wanted!' Exodus shouts.

But Magneto uses his control over metal to raise scrap metal and other metal objects in the room and fires them towards Exodus, knocking him backwards. 'You know nothing about what I am' Magneto declares. 'I know my Lord... that you didn't come here to fight me. You came to welcome me into your service once more' Exodus grins. He reminds Magneto that the world at large believes that mutantkind is doomed, and they rejoice. 'Our numbers dwindle. We fall to the very air we breathe...and our enemies see this as an opportunity. Waiting for our death rattle is not enough for them. They see us scattered and demoralized and weak...and they hope to hasten us on the way to our ending'. Exodus wants those who hate and fear them to see them just once more, the retribution their hate has wrought, and why they should fear mutantkind. An army – an army striking out against their enemies.

As Exodus makes his speech, the weaponized sleeper mutants have arrived in Washington DC where they are attacking the anti-mutant rally protestors. The mutants are relentless in their attack. Signs with slogans like 'Human Rights! Not Mutant Rights!” fall to the ground, covered in human blood. The Blackbird descends from above and Psylocke, Monet, Victor “Sabretooth” Creed, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel, Sebastian Shaw and Black Tom Cassidy engage the weaponized mutants.

Exodus flies towards Magneto and tells him that, one way or another, the sleepers would have been turned into weapons – for them or against them. 'Someday was changing them!' he exclaims. 'With me, they remained pure! Pure mutants! As I knew you would have desired!' Exodus shouts. Manipulating some scrap metal into a large armor around his arm and hand, “Pure mutants”? He quotes Exodus. 'Listen to yourself!' he exclaims, using his armored hand, he punches Exodus in the face and declares that he would never condone this psychic tampering. Exodus falls back, but steadies himself: 'And yet you found me. You must have dabbled in “psychic tampering” to get here' Exodus remarks, before asking how fares the mutant who divulged his location. Magneto is knocked back and his helmet falls off as Exodus strikes him with energy. 'You said it yourself, Magneto. Many times. There is no such thing as a mutant bystander. I am only honoring your words'.

Magneto gets back on his feet and releases a magnetic surge, claiming that he never forced anyone to fight. 'No. And how does your army compare to the one i've raised for you?' Exodus asks as he fires some energy, which clashes against Magneto's magnetic surge. 'You have leveraged every favor at your disposal... made alliances with former enemies...blackmailed pawns...played spymaster...and you still have but a handful of soldiers at your side'. 'At this moment, my “handful of soldiers” is crushing your vast army. Free will is on my side. Conviction versus conscription' Magneto replies, magnetically lifts his helmet towards Exodus, who boasts that he could make Magneto come around to his way of thinking. 'Without your helmet, you're exposed. It might take time, but your defenses wouldn't last against -' Exodus begins, interrupted as Magneto uses his power to tear up part of the floor around them, knocking Exodus back.

'Do you know what your problem is, Exodus? Your devotion has turned to fanatacism' Magneto points out, adding that in his fanatacism, he crafted some perverted vision of his agenda. 'I look at you... look at what you've done...and I realize I have no use for you' Magneto annnounces as he slams his helmet into Exodus's face, taking him out.

With Exodus knocked out, the sleeper mutants in Washington DC suddenly get confused. 'My head!' one of them screams. 'What is this?' another asks. 'I...I don't want to be here' a woman screams.

Magneto tells Exodus that it disgusts him, because he can see his hand in it. His helmet strikes Exodus again and admits that he can see how Exodus's devotion to him might have led him down this path. 'But blind followers are only good for one thing – sacrifice' Magneto points out.

In Washington DC, one of the sleeper mutants who finds himself with Sabretooth's arm around his neck gets confused: 'Where am I? What is this? Please! Please let me go!' he pleads. Sabretooth points out that something has happened to the sleepers – they are losing their will to fight.

Exodus drops to his knees: 'My Lord...you'll see...there will be losses...you'll need pawns...' he calls out. 'Perhaps. But not a pawn who sees himself as a king' Magneto responds. Mystique wakes and as she recovers she informs Magneto that Exodus's hold is broken, his concentration is shattered. 'But don't stop on my account' she adds. 'Hit him...hit him...again' she asks Magneto as she gets to her feet.

The X-Men and Hellfire Club members gather together and watch as the sleeper mutants stop fighting. Shaw remarks that whatever Magneto did, it worked, as the mutants are now free. 'Yes, but we can't just let them wander off...not this time' Psylocke declares.

Later, back at the Hellfire Club, 'It's over' Psylocke announces. 'Yes, Elizabeth. The hold Exodus had over the sleepers has been severed' Magneto confirms, adding that they are free of his influence, and that the combined efforts of the X-Men and Hellfire Club prevented significant loss of both mutant and human life. 'No. I mean this is over. My involvement with your team. I'm done' Betsy declares. Magneto falls silent as Betsy adds that she thinks the writing has been on the wall for some time. Shaw, Mystique, Black Tom, Monet and Sabretooth all listen as Betsy speaks to Magneto, who replies 'Very well, Elizabeth. As you've said, we both knew this was coming'. He turns his back to Betsy, who frowns.

'If this means there's an opening in the X-Men -' Black Tom Cassidy begins, stroking his moustache. 'Don't bank on it, pal' Sabretooth quickly tells him. Betsy gives Magnet one last look, before bidding everyone goodbye. But before she vanishes, Betsy stands in a doorway and tells Magneto that the sleepers need help, not marching orders. 'Don't worry, Elizabeth. They will be protected... and offered the seclusion they desired' Magneto responds.

Later still, in Tibet, the Blackbird has landed by a temple, where Monet and Sabretooth are assisting the sleeper mutants carry boxes and supplies as Magneto asks Shen Xorn if he can watch over them, even though there are so many. Xorn responds by telling Magneto that he believes so, and admits that he was growing lonely, anyway. 'But you will be able to provide essential provisions, yes?' Xorn asks. Magneto assures Xorn that the Hellfire Club has funding aplenty for these charitable endeavors. Xorn informs Magneto that he is sorry to hear Ms Braddock will no longer be working at his side. 'I feel she was a good influence' Xorn comments. 'She kept you in check' he points out. 'In check?' Magneto asks. 'Oh, come now. You know it is the truth. That's one of the many reasons you admired her so' Xorn replies.

As she leaves the Hellfire Club, Betsy telepathically tells Magneto that she believed in what he was doing, she wants him to know that. 'I thought mutantkind needed someone like you. I still do. But I didn't expect all the secrets' she adds. 'A psychic never does' Magneto replies.

Xorn remarks that he is curious, and reminds Magneto that he told him once that he did not believe in a mutant refuge. 'But is that not what you are creating here?' Xorn asks. 'Perhaps...at least to some degree. But I made a promise...or a concession...to a friend' Magneto reveals.

Flashback :
Betsy and Magneto's silent looks continue as Betsy warns Magneto that she is not going far, and that she is going to be watching him – and watching out for him. 'A guardian angel?' Magneto asks. 'An avenging one' Betsy replies.

Entering the temple, Magneto points out that a refuge in a sanctuary, mutants might start to feel safe – that must never be the case. 'Because one day, Xorn, they may very well be forced to fight' Magneto announces. 'Is that not what you saved them from? Is that not a failure?' Xorn asks. 'It is the bulwark against which complancency breaks' Magneto responds. 'And so my temple becomes your arsenal' Xorn remarks as he opens a large set of doors. In that room, a stasis chamber containing Exodus has been placed. 'Another failure?' Xorn asks. 'No, Xorn. A fail-safe' Magneto explains as he looks at his former Acolyte.

Flashback :
As she steps through the door, Betsy tells Magneto that she is no longer going to offer him counsel and is not going to try and reason with him. 'But if I think you're going down a path from which mutantkind cannot return...' her telepathic voice begins, while she speaks to him, telling him that the sleepers need help, not marching orders. 'Don't worry, Elizabeth' Magneto replies, as Betsy gives him one final telepathic message: '...I'll kill you'.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Magneto, M II, Psylocke, Sabretooth (all X-Men)
Shen Xorn
Black Tom Cassidy, Briar Raleigh, Sebastian Shaw (all Hellfire Club Inner Circle)


Bu Jun
Unnamed weaponized mutants
Anti-mutant protestors

Written By: