X-Men (2nd series) #73

Issue Date: 
March 1998
Story Title: 
The Elements Within Us

Joe Kelly with Joe Casey (Writer), Jeff Johnson (Pencils), Dan Panosian (Inks), Richard Starkings & COMICRAFT (Letters), Steve Oliff (Colors), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Joseph confronts Maggott about what happened in Antarctica and asks how they met before. Maggott, however, is not sure what to say but, before he can respond, they are attacked by Sabra, who wants to kill Magneto. Sabra is about to kill Joseph, when Maggott stops her when he reveals that Magneto and Joseph are not the same person. Joseph is in disbelief at first but, after considering his mysterious origin, he agrees to go with Sabra to discover the truth. Maggott, though, is sworn to secrecy, as, if the real Magneto is watching the X-Men as they suspect, then they should not alert him. The X-Men receive a letter from Xavier, which raises Beast’s spirits, but not Wolverine’s. Beast starts a New Year’s Resolutions list, which most of the team writes on. Marrow returns to the mansion, but only to steal Cecilia’s medical books and bag. Cecilia gives chase, while using her powers in an aggressive way, though Marrow escapes. At the Hulkbuster base, Senator Kelly arrives to free Charles Xavier, but discovers that he is missing. In the Rio, Sebastian Shaw agrees to the proposition that the Wraith brought to him earlier. In Germany, the package sent to Storm hits a road bump, but several guardians ensure that the package continues its journey to New York. Meanwhile, it appears that the Salem Center murderer is not just killing, but is autopsying his or her victims.

Full Summary: 

Joseph stands in the dark and wonders why he is here. There are so many questions regarding his past, yet no answers. His place with the X-Men is uncertain, as well as his place with Rogue. Suddenly, a pillow hits Joseph on the head. Joseph catches the pillow, as Rogue, who sleeps in bed, tells him to get out. Joseph explains that she has been sleeping for fifteen hours and that it is one in the afternoon. He was worried. Rogue explains that she is sleeping in. After all that has happened in the year, most of it being bad, she would sleep the last day away. Still sleepy, Rogue adds that, though she is romantic at heart, if she ever catches him watching her sleep again she will snap his neck. “Happy New Year,” concludes Rogue.

Downstairs, Maggott, Cecilia Reyes, Wolverine and Storm are busy putting up wallpaper throughout the mansion. Annoyed, Maggott tells Eany and Meany to get out of the glue. Cecilia laughs and asks Maggott about what he said earlier about being the “mack daddy” of wallpaper. Wolverine tells Maggott and Cecilia to get back to work and then remarks that they should have hired someone to do this. Storm dampens some paper with a small cloud and asks Logan how they would have paid for the job. Should they sell his motorcycle? Wolverine responds by cutting a piece of wallpaper from the roll, his way of saying never mind.

Suddenly, Beast leaps from the stairs and tells everyone that the mail has arrived. Stuck in between all the overdue bills is a letter from Charles Xavier. Confused, Maggott asks if Charles is another X-Man. Sarcastically, Cecilia explains that Charles is the great Professor Charles Xavier, who founded the X-Men. This is his house and dream. Beast leaps all around the staircase and lands on a desk on the bottom. Wolverine tells Beast to get on with it. They don’t have all day to watch him play post office. Beast puts on his glasses and refuses to dignify that with a response. He clears his throat and reads the letter.

Xavier writes that he has found a moment in between his government work to write them. Wolverine laughs at the word work and recalls how the government hauled him off for crimes he didn’t commit. Storm calms Logan down and asks Beast to continue. Beast continues on with the letter, which hopes that the X-Men are in the highest of the holiday spirit. Cecilia mutters that she has been outed as a mutant and stripped of her internship. She is not in the holiday spirit. Xavier tells his students that he is proud of them and hopes to be reunited soon. He tells the X-Men to be strong at the end.

Joseph, who heard the letter, enters the room as Wolverine goes out for a beer. Beast tells Wolverine that he knows that this is hard, but the Professor would want them to be strong. Wolverine turns around and sends one bone claw right through the letter. Angry, Wolverine tells Beast that sometimes he doesn’t have a clue. He should read between the lines, or at least sniff them. He smells a sanitized cell, maybe a lab. The paper is so crisp that it has never seen the sun. The words are in grease pencil so the prisoner cannot use it as a weapon. There is more, says Logan, but Joseph takes the letter from him and explains that hidden in the words is the tenacity of the human spirit. Charles is willing to overcome this and if that escaped Wolverine the first time then maybe he should reread the letter. Sarcastically, Wolverine announces that Magneto has found religion. Joseph tells Wolverine that he did not find religion, only hope. Wolverine leaves the room, annoyed.

Deep within the former Hulkbuster base and former Operation: Zero Tolerance base is Senator Robert Kelly, who walks with a woman named Simone and several S.H.I.E.L.D. officers. Kelly is not 100% clear of what Simone just told him. No one knew of this base? Simone tells Kelly that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. shut the place down, they have been having people rip it apart from top to bottom. Bastion has secrets embedded within secrets, which means they cannot have the answers so soon. Kelly tells Simone that he is looking only for one thing. He gives her a clipboard with a picture of Charles Xavier on it. Kelly explains that he was caught up in Bastion’s idea of American justice. Kelly wants Xavier free…now.

The Rio de Janeiro is the location of this year’s end of the year Bacchus feast, held by none other than the Hellfire Club. Sebastian Shaw walks down some stairs as his assistant, Carmen, follows him. Carmen raises his voice to see if Shaw is listening to him. As Carmen goes down a list of preparations that have been taken care of for that evening’s party it becomes clear that Shaw is not listening. Shaw looks at the emblem given to him earlier by a mysterious being and tells Carmen that he is disinterested. He then orders Carmen to throw himself off a cliff for raising his voice and then dismisses him.

In the mansion, Maggott washes his hands in the bathroom and admires the fact that the dirt under his nails is from hard work and not from fighting robots or mutants. He asks Eany and Meany, who are at the window staring at the snow covered Salem Center, if they are ready to eat. Eany and Meany ignore Maggott, who gets annoyed because that is the second time they have done so. He goes to the window and tells the girls that there is nothing to see out there, unless of course Storm is giving herself a spring shower again.

Joseph comes in and Maggott asks if they are ready for another round of wallpaper. Joseph explains that they are on a break and that he came to talk to him alone. Maggott tells Joseph that he cannot, because he has to go feed the girls. Joseph stops him and tells him that he has been avoiding him since Antarctica. They cannot delay this any longer. Maggott pauses, but then asks if they can take this outside so he can kill two birds with one stone. Joseph agrees and the men head on out, with Eany and Meany close behind. None present, however, are aware of the cloaked woman standing outside the window.

At the morgue, Detective Graves asks the medical examiner, Myra, if she is allowed to smoke in here. Myra, who waves around a cigar, responds that it is illegal, but she makes her own rules around here. Besides, the smoke masks the smell of the dead. She offers a cigar to Graves, who declines the offer, for smoking kills. Myra tells Graves that they don’t kill as fast as whatever got to their two victims. Salem Center has been becoming deadly lately. This reminds her of a rabid dog attack in Albany, but the wounds didn’t look like what they have got.

Graves asks Myra to show him and she complies by pulling back the cloth over the dead bodies. Graves covers his mouth and nose and asks if an animal did this. Myra says that the first corpse indicates that, but the bite marks are not in any configuration that she knows of. However, she thinks that it was to throw them off the trail, because the second body as similar marks, but they form a pattern. Graves asks what the pattern looks like. Myra tells Graves that it is the same patterns she would leave after an internal examination. Whoever is killing these people are autopsying their victims.

At the Institute, Cecilia thinks about how creepy the mansion is being so empty. She is used to the action in the hospital, especially on New Year’s Eve. Of course she used to be spending her New Years in the E.R. with botched suicide attempts and the homeless. She recalls one year when she had a Salvation Army officer with a gaping chest wound. That is all over now. As she opens her bedroom door, Cecilia hopes that someone will get a paper cut throwing confetti into the air.

Marrow barges out and shoves Cecilia back. Cecilia’s force field goes off as Marrow runs down the hall. Cecilia wonders what Marrow was doing, but notices that the Morlock has stolen her books and doctor’s bag. Cecilia chases after Marrow and remembers how she disappeared after her run in with Wolverine. Sarcastically, Cecilia thinks of how she is honored that Marrow came back to steal her stuff.

Cecilia reaches the bottom of the stairs and tells Marrow to get her bony butt back here. She runs into Beast and tells him to get out of the way, as she uses her force field to bat him away. Beast falls to the ground and Cecilia thanks him for getting in her way, because now Marrow is gone. Cecilia announces that Marrow better not come back, but is sidetracked when she notices Beast fondling her arm. Beast corrects her and states that he is palpating. There is a big difference. Beast tells Cecilia that she used her once passive force field in an effective belligerent way. Cecilia realizes that she didn’t even notice and then realizes that it didn’t even hurt this time. Cecilia tells Beast that she wants to get off the topic of her body and asks what the paper on the wall is all about.

Beast tells Cecilia that he was inspired by the Professor’s letter, so considering the ambience around the mansion he thought it would be nice if they could all write down their New Year’s Resolutions. Cecilia reads the three resolutions Beast came up with, which are to eat fewer Twinkies, read more 15th century texts, and to cure the Legacy Virus. Cecilia wonders if Beast has set some unreasonable goals. Beast laughs and agrees that Twinkies are more enchanting than Mesmero. Cecilia tells Beast that she was referring to the last one about the Legacy Virus.

Beast tells her that he has not set himself up for a failure. The only thing left is to decide which month he will find the cure. He asks Cecilia if she would like to make a bet. At first, Cecilia is not sure if he is serious, but Beast assures her that he is. Cecilia pauses and tells him that she will make it easy on him. He has until December. Beast leaps away and thanks her. He tells her that there is a pen next to the board, in case she would like to write anything down.

Outside, Joseph levitates himself, Maggott, Eany and Meany into the air, to ensure isolation. Maggott comments on the nice view, but Joseph tells Maggott that he brought them up there to make sure that they weren’t disturbed. They have much to discuss. Eany and Meany leap into Maggott’s arms, as Maggott thinks about how everything they are going to talk about is going to be bad. Joseph begins by explaining that he used to be Magneto. Though he used to be independent, since his rebirth he has yearned to make connections with others. Due to his amnesia he finds himself unable to. He is unsure of his present and past. He wants to find something stable in his life. In Antarctica, Maggott called him friend, which is something not even his peers in the X-Men have called him. He could use a friend. Joseph asks Maggott how they met and what good thing did he do in the past to earn his respect. Maggott looks away and remembers that he is honor-bound to keep his secret. Joseph wasn’t the man he called “friend.” Maggott tells Joseph that it is a long story but, suddenly, Joseph is shot by three lasers in the back, which causes him to drop Maggott.

As he plummets to the ground, Maggott realizes that Joseph must have lost his grip on them when he got hit. However, who could hit him that hard? Maggott tells Eany and Meany to hold on, because this might hurt a little bit. Maggott lands on the ground and tells the mysterious figure in the sky that that round one goes to her but, now that he has turned blue and is all muscular, they all know what that means. The woman tells Maggott that, for his sake, it means that he now has enough common sense to walk away from all this mess. Maggott looks up to see Sabra holding the unconscious Joseph and asks who she is. Sabra introduces herself and explains that she has come to make sure Magneto has paid for his sins with his blood.

Two hours before midnight and Sebastian Shaw is still depressed in the Rio. Everyone lauds him for the amazing party, but the events are devoid of life for him. The guests are the wealthiest people in the world, but they are all worthless to him. He walks by Norman Osborn, who jokingly asks if this is the year that the Hellfire Club takes over the world. Nearby, Warren Worthington III finds his love, Psylocke, who asks him if he remembers Mr. Stark. Warren asks Betsy to join him in this dance, but Tony Starks holds Betsy’s hand and asks why she would do such a thing when they are having a chat. Warren steps in between the two and realizes that Stark has an iron will and a dead heart. Stark laughs and tells Warren not to get his feathers in a ruffle. Shaw is approached by Fitzroy, who tells him that they have Inner Circle business to discuss. Shaw scoffs and tells Fitzroy that, at the current rate that their little cabal is growing, they won’t exist this time next year. Fitzroy is confused, but Shaw tells him to have a crab cake before walking off.

At the school, Storm reads what Cecilia’s resolution was, which was to finish her residency and to get her life going again. As Storm ponders over what to write, Wolverine asks her if it isn’t as easy as she thought. Thinking of the future isn’t easy. Shocked at his presence, Storm asks if he must always enter a room without a sound, but then asks if he read the list so far. He read what he could of Cecilia’s horrible writing. He takes the pen and begins to write his resolution, so the Beast will get off his back.

Storm tells Wolverine that they need to talk about what happened in the Danger Room. She didn’t want it to end that way. Wolverine tells her not to worry; he is the one who messed up. Storm tells him that she pushed him into the confrontation. Wolverine corrects her and says that Marrow needed a teacher and he was the only one. She thought she knew what it was like to look death in the eye. Now she knows the real deal and it may save her life.

Confused, Storm asks Wolverine if she allowed Marrow to stab him as part of a lesson. Wolverine lights a cigar and says that maybe he did, or maybe he is doing good at rationalizing things. He will let her know when he figures it out. Storm reads what Logan wrote, which was to be the best there is at what he does, as soon as he figures out what that is.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, Germany, a worker in a post office picks up one last parcel and is happy that he can make it to Gunther’s New Year’s gathering. He reads the shipping address, which is to Ororo Munroe in Salem Center, but notices that there isn’t enough postage. He is surprised it even got here to Germany from Egypt, but throws it in the return pile. Suddenly, four African men in tribal clothing thrust a spear towards his neck, as a telepathic voice tells him that he would not delay the package if he were in his position. One of the men tells the postman that the mail must go through.

Back at the school, Maggott tells Sabra that he doesn’t care who she is. If she wanted to kill one of them she should have taken them both out. Sabra arrogantly wonders why as Maggott leaps at her. With one punch, she hits him in the gut and sends him to the ground. Maggott grabs her leg and tells her that his attack left her open for the real on. He then sends Eany and Meany to attack. Sabra kicks away the girls with her free leg and comments on how he sent insects to attack her. Maggott is shocked on how she defeated them with ease and asks what she is. Sabra tells him that it is not his business and that he should be running as far as possible now. Maggott asks if they can talk about his in a civilized fashion.

Sabra holds up Joseph and is about to punch him in the head, for sometimes justice must be dealt without mercy. However, for Magneto, a quick death is merciful. What she is about to do, she does for the world, her people and for Magnus’ soul. Maggot realizes that he cannot take Sabra down, but does he want to stop her? If she kills Joseph, then his secret will be safe and he can keep his life the way it is right now. Maggott then pauses and yells to Sabra that she is making a mistake. Joseph is not Magneto!

Back at the Zero Tolerance base, Kelly asks a technician if he is sure that this is Xavier’s cell. The man tells Kelly that it is, as far as they can tell, because they could barely decrypt Bastion’s files. Kelly does not care and orders that the door be opened. The man says that he is trying and also adds that maybe he should get his photographer down here, since this would make a great public relations moment. Disgusted, Kelly tells the man that he will pretend he didn’t hear that, for this is not a proud moment. It is only a reminder of how close they came to fascism and this is just an opportunity to set an innocent man free. The technician gets the door open and Kelly calls the Professor’s name as he enters, but to his horror the cell is empty.

In the Rio, Sebastian stands in an interior balcony and watches as his guests dance. He thinks to himself about how even the richest of them down there is nothing and they don’t even realize it. He alone has seen the truth. He has met men’s puppeteers and must decide if he should keep playing this game of if he should cut the strings loose and stand on his own as a man. He finishes his wine and pulls out the paper with the emblem. He calls out to the Wraith and tells him that he will accept. A ghastly shadowed figure appears behind Shaw and tells him that it was the proper and only choice. As the paper Shaw holds burns, the Wraith tells him that today his world ends and his life begins.

At the school, Sabra slaps Joseph awake and tells him to get to his feet. She explains that her energy quills will keep him groggy, but he can surely stand. Joseph glares at Sabra and demands an answer for the attack. Sabra introduces herself as Sabra of the Israeli Mossad, who is currently tracking down Magneto on her own accord. She wants to kill him for the recent murder of a man in Romania, among other murders. Joseph tells her that he did not kill anyone in Romania, but Sabra tells him that she knows. He is not Magneto. Joseph tells her that he is not that man anymore, but Maggott interrupts and tells him that she was being literal. He was never that man. Maggott knows that it is a lot to hear, but Joseph was never Magneto.

In Antarctica, Maggot had mistaken him for Magneto and called him friend. He meant it with his heart. He was surprised when Joseph was struck down by the real Magneto. Magneto swore him to secrecy and, since he did so much for Maggott, he had to agree. That is why he has been avoiding him since their return from Antarctica. Angry, Joseph calls Maggott a liar and states that he knows who he is. Sabra explains that she is unsure if she believes it either. However, now that doubt has been cast, shouldn’t they learn the truth before proceeding? Joseph explains that he knows who he is. Joseph thinks about his memory loss, his age regression and now this man killing in his name. He gets up and agrees that he must know the real truth. If Sabra can show him the way, then he will follow. Sabra realizes that Joseph is being sincere and agrees to help Joseph discover the truth. They will leave now.

Joseph tells Sabra that he cannot leave without saying goodbye to the X-Men. Sabra, however, explains that the X-Men cannot doubt his identity, or the real Magneto may be alerted. If he is not Magneto and the real one is keeping him alive this long, it must be for a purpose and, until they discover that purpose, the ruse must continue. Sabra then asks Maggott if he can keep this secret once again. Maggott is unsure, for he doesn’t want to make things worse.

Joseph asks Maggott how he can trust him. If he came here as part of some scheme devised by an enemy, then Joseph cannot leave him here. Maggott explains that though it is complicated, just because he knows Magneto doesn’t mean he is working for him. He is not here to hurt anyone. Joseph does not know why, but he believes Maggott. Joseph levitates into the air and threatens to kill Maggott if he hurts the X-Men. He then asks if he can tell Rogue that he did not leave in anger, if she asks. He must make sure that she knows it has nothing to do with her. Maggott promises and wishes him luck, as Joseph flies off.

Sabra once again reminds Maggott that no one must know what happened here. Maggott tells her that secrets are his stock, but asks why she listened to some kid when she came here to kill Magneto. Sabra begins to leave and tells Maggott that she had her own doubts about Joseph. He helped confirm them. However, she also knows a great deal about his past and that includes his relationship with Magneto. She flies off and calls Maggott by his name, Japheth, and tells him that she knows he wouldn’t hurt anyone. Shocked, Maggott asks how she knows his real name. Sabra wishes him good luck and hopes that they all find what they are looking for.

At midnight, Beast watches Dick Clark’s New Year’s Special alone, as the ball drops and the New Year begins. Beast sighs and decides that this is the last time he is going to try to throw a party with the X-Men. He heads on to bed and walks past the staircase. However, his Resolutions paper catches his eye. He smiles as he reads the Resolutions, including Storm’s resolution to learn from friends and reestablish her connection to Mother Earth and Maggott’s resolution to become an X-Man and to be free. Beast realizes that there is hope yet and then leaps up the stairs to go to bed.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Cecilia Reyes, Joseph, Maggott, Marrow, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (X-Men)

Sabra (Israeli Mossad)

Senator Kelly


Various S.H.I.E.L.D. workers and technicians

Sebastian Shaw


Fitzroy, Norman Osborn, Tony Stark, various guests at Hellfire Club


Detective Graves



Various African warriors

Story Notes: 

Xavier was taken by the government in Uncanny X-Men #337.

S.H.I.E.L.D. shut down the Hulkbuster base in Wolverine (2nd Series) #118 during the Operation: Zero Tolerance crossover.

Shaw was confronted by Wraith in X-Men (2nd Series) #71.

Maggott called Joseph “friend” in Uncanny X-Men #350. Maggott’s connection with Magneto is revealed in X-Men (2nd Series) #76.

Beast will cure the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men #390.

Issue Information: