A sporadic transmission lights up television sets across the United States. An image of a distressed Trish Tilby fills the screen and she tells her audience that the technicians are doing their best to keep them on air. She is reporting what could signal the end of human civilization as they know it. Magneto has unleashed an electromagnetic shockwave from the Arctic regions. This has resulted in the disruption of the Earth’s magnetosphere, which is affecting all electrical systems from toasters to NATO communications. It seems this blackout has stretched as far south as Central America and Central Africa, and is gradually spreading. Unlike previous altercations, this attack is unprovoked.
Reports are coming in that Russians have released a nuclear strike on Magneto’s base, but that only exacerbated the situation. Sources from inside the United Nations General Assembly indicate that Magneto has sent an ambassador to negotiate terms of surrender. It is unknown was the terms are and if they will be met. Magneto has had a long history of attacks against the human race in the name of self-defense for mutantkind, starting years ago with an attack at Cape Citadel.
Suddenly, the transmission is lost, and television sets across the United States go dark with static.
Magneto, the man who holds the world’s fate in his hands, struggles for his own life! Magneto unleashes an immense wave of magnetic energy against his opponent, who also responds with the same fury. Magnus thinks to himself how easy it would be to let go. He could abandon his self-imposed restraints and become part of the magnetic storm that is calling out to him. However, to do that would mean the end of the Earth. To give up his mission would also mean to let the techno-biological clone of him win.
Magneto fights against Joseph, who is younger and more powerful. However, he has less control over his abilities than Magneto. Nearby, Joseph’s puppeteer, Astra, gleefully watches. She will control the planet if Magneto loses. She is the vengeful former member of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Astra’s goals include getting revenge on the man she hates the most, and then forcing her creation to dominate every living being on the planet. She would have liked it if Joseph kills Magneto long ago when she first created him, but this scenario works out better. Now that Magneto has struck out against the world unprovoked, not only is Joseph seeing the unlimited potential of his power, but the world will thank her for foiling that “evil Magneto’s horrific plans.” She will rule them. They will practically ask to be led to slaughter.
The X-Men, aboard the Acolyte’s jet, streak towards the Polar Tower, which is enveloped in magnetic energy that streaks upwards into the atmosphere, where it spreads out across the globe. Marrow asks her teammates if they all realize that they are going to get themselves killed.
Storm tells Marrow that he only other option is not trying. I know, says the scared Marrow, the X-Men don’t quit even if it means suicide! Professor Xavier doesn’t need his telepathy to realize that his students fear that this will be there last battle.
Xavier looks out to the bottom of the polar tower and sees Magneto and Joseph battle. He tells his students that neither man can properly handle the energies unleashed. Magneto has the will, but not the power. Joseph has the power, but not the will. They will both be consumed! However, Xavier senses a greater problem. He then uses his telepathy to realize that Astra is there. It has been a long time, but not long enough.
Wolverine pops out his claws and asks Xavier if he knows her. Of her, replies Xavier They have never met. Wolverine tells Xavier to worry about Astra. He will take down Magneto. Charles tells Wolverine that he knows Magnus hurt him, but he cannot act out with rash acts of vengeance. They will split into three groups. One to keep Joseph and Magneto apart, and the other to keep Astra away from them both!
Nightcrawler tells the Professor that they are in the eye of the storm. With the energies in an equilibrium, he can teleport safely. Strategy, asks Xavier. Nightcrawler volunteers to take Astra out, and teleports out.
Below, Nightcrawler surprised Astra, and tells her that he cannot allow a lady to be in a place that puts her in jeopardy. He then teleports Astra away, a great distance away from the battle. Astra smiles and turns to Nightcrawler. Speaking in German, she tells Kurt that he grew up as handsome as she expected him to. Nightcrawler is shocked, but Astra then tells him that she is sorry she has to remove such a pretty head from a splendid body. She then ionizes her gauntlet and swings at him, but Nightcrawler dodges the attack. He then slams his palm into her face, sending her flying back.
Nearby, the jet lands and the X-Men head out. Rogue takes Wolverine and Gambit and flies towards Magneto. Worried, Gambit tells Rogue that he knows that look in her eye. She is going to do something reckless. Just goes to show how little he knows her, says Rogue, as she suddenly drops both men and speeds off towards Magneto alone. So much for the plan, says Wolverine.
Rogue tackles Magneto away from Joseph, and tells him that it is she. He has to stop this madness. Joseph is a good man, and so is Magnus. They need to talk this out. Magneto raises his face out of the snow, and much to Rogue’s surprise, his entire face is burning and seething with magnetic energy! The demonic looking Magnus tells Rogue that he is sorry, more than she can ever know. However, the time for talking is long past. He then slams Rogue away, with surprising strength.
Wolverine attacks Magneto and tells him that, if he is going to flex his windpipes, then he is glad Magneto is saying something Logan wants to hear. Magneto barely escapes a fatal attack, but then gets the upper hand and slams Wolverine into the ground. His hatred is nothing to Magnus. Gambit throws a series of cards at Magnus and asks him what a mutant like him is on Magneto’s “Mutants-That-Matter” list.
Magneto slams Gambit away with ease, and doesn’t even look at the Cajun when he does so. Gambit is a traitor to his own kind. He is not even worthy of attention. As Shadowcat and Marrow join the battle, Wolverine asks Magneto what does matter. Ruling the world, or getting rid of the mirror image that reminds him of what he could have become if he had the guts to?
Nearby, Xavier, Storm, and Colossus come to Joseph’s aid. They find Joseph at the base of the ruined amplifying equipment, which is out of control and has left the electro-magnetic storm unchecked. Colossus asks the Professor what Joseph is doing. Xavier tells Piotr that it is as he hoped. With Astra’s influence over Joseph gone, he is attempting to fix the damage done to the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Xavier approaches Joseph, who is happy to see that the Professor is alive and safe. How has this happened? Xavier tells Joseph that they will talk about it later. They must work together now. Together, asks Joseph. Yes, together – Xavier and he. Xavier realizes that Joseph is losing his sense of self and is becoming one with the electromagnetic spectrum. Xavier knows he has to become a telepathic anchor for his humanity. Storm asks Charles if he can handle it. No choice, says Xavier. However, while he keeps Joseph’s mind together, she and Colossus must keep his body together!
Colossus armors up and immediately acts as a lightning rod for the energies at play. Storm uses her powers to channel the energy back into Joseph’s body. It is more than he can control, however. All the molecules in Joseph’s body would dissipate into the four corners of the Earth, had it not been for Xavier keeping Joseph’s mind focused.
A scream rips, but slowly and surely the torn fabrics of the planet’s atmosphere begin to stitch themselves back together!
Nearby, Magneto has had enough and slams Wolverine away. This senseless fighting only serves to prevent their kind from advancing. Angry, Marrow tells Magneto that she doesn’t recall him helping the Morlocks “advance” out of the tunnels. Magneto deflects Marrow’s bones and knocks her away. His hesitance to aid the Morlocks has been a long source of shame for him. That will be soon addressed though, when –
Suddenly, Gambit interrupts Magneto and uses his charged cards to disrupt the snow beneath Magneto. Shadowcat grabs a shaft of ice and leaps towards the fallen Magneto. She tells Magnus that he says he is tired of the fight, but he is the one who keeps on instigating it. A flawed analysis, says Magneto. Did she think she could solidify a piece of ice through him? He then disperses the ice into hydrogen and oxygen, and then uses the water molecules of the shaft to conduct an electrostatic charge, zapping Shadowcat.
Wolverine grabs Shadowcat and throws her away. He then slashes Magneto’s helmet, vowing to make sure he doesn’t have to fight them anymore.
Back at the amplifier, Charles tells Joseph to hold on just a little longer. Joseph tells Xavier that he can feel the magnetosphere coming back together but –
Xavier tells Joseph not to give in to the power he wields. Joseph tells Xavier that he never realized the majesty of it all. I know, says Xavier. It is a world from which when you enter you can never return.
Would that be so bad, asks Joseph. It would be an end to his struggles. No more questions as to why he exists. He would become apart of the greater whole, a thread woven into the fabric of an immense, unseen tapestry. He could help the planet form there and nurture Xavier’s dream, in far greater ways than he could while walking the Earth.
Xavier knows the temptation. He has felt it himself when he walks the astral plane that connects every psyche on Earth. He then starts to feel Joseph’s mind slowly slip away.
The United Nations:
A technician is overjoyed that the telemetry systems are back on-line. Satellite images start coming in. They must show this to Dr. Huxley!
A man runs to Huxley’s office with a printout and shows her that the damage to the magnetosphere is being repaired. All reports indicate that Magneto cannot back up his claims now. That is an unexpected development, says Huxley, as she takes the papers. The man says that perhaps the general assembly no longer needs to vote about her plan to placate Magneto after all. Wouldn’t that be…wonderful, says Huxley, as the man leaves, with a dubious look on his face.
Huxley looks at the location of Magneto on the printout, and then opens her lighter. She burns the evidence of Magneto’s failure to control them, and then leaves.
Nightcrawler returns with the defeated Astra and asks if he missed much. Gambit tells him that they have given their best shot. Nightcrawler tells Gambit that the fact that most of them are still standing gives credit to their fortitude. Or our stupidity, mutters the Cajun.
Nightcrawler teleports behind Magneto, takes off his helmet and bashes him in the back of the head. Wolverine then slashes his claws across the right side of Magneto’s face. Rogue then puts Magnus in a chocker hold. Wolverine goes in for the kill, much against Rogue’s protests.
Nearby, Xavier asks Joseph if he can still hear him. When he gets no reply, Xavier tells him to abandon this tactic, no matter how noble. There must be another way. Joseph is too young to die. I might be forced to disagree, says Joseph.
Joseph looks at Xavier, except his burned out body has aged considerably! Joseph tells Xavier that Astra gave him limitless power, but to reach those limits has taken a heavy toll on him. The organic matter she replicated to make him is decaying. He is burning out. Stop this now then, pleads Storm. Xavier tells Joseph that he has done more than is expected of him. I wish that was true, says Joseph.
He then tells the X-Men that they must leave the tower immediately. Though the magnetosphere is repaired, the mechanisms Magneto used to amplify and focus his powers are unstable. Joseph uses his powers to blow everyone away. He tells Xavier that this is for the best. All of his short life he has searched for purpose, and knowing that he has stopped Magneto and saving all of them have given his life value. He thanks the X-Men for all that they have done for him. He hopes that the relationship he and Charles have forged during their brief time together has shown him the way to the future!
Joseph cries tears of joy as he absorbs and coalesce all the remaining electromagnetic energy in the area. The powers converge upon the amplifier and the tower, until there is nothing more than a blinding light that discharges straight into the atmosphere! When the light subsides, the only thing left is steam as the tower and Joseph are both gone, now apart of the Earth’s magnetosphere forevermore!
Joseph’s last words will haunt Xavier for month’s to come: “You are each but half of a whole. Only by working together will mutants and humans ever be as one.”
The two groups of X-Men unite, and Rogue asks about Joseph. Xavier reveals that Joseph has sacrificed himself so that others may live.
The recovered Astra hears this and tells the X-Men that they have ruined years – okay months – okay weeks! – of hard work. They corrupted her pet and ruined her fun! She won’t regret this. Astra opens a portal and slips through it. Nightcrawler charges after her, as he wants an explanation of how she knew him when he was younger, but he is not fast enough.
Wolverine spots Magneto emerging from the steam. Logan tries charging him, but Storm and Xavier stop him. Wolverine wishes to end this once and for all, but Xavier approaches Magnus, who no longer seethes with magnetic energy.
This choice is yours, says Xavier. As it was on Avalon, asks Magneto, when Xavier stole his mind. A parry to your thrust to a human parry to a mutant thrust, explains Xavier. It is an endless, useless cycle. So, ask both men.
Xavier explains that Magneto has committed acts of terrorism. He has broken international law. He must be taken into custody and tried in a court. Magneto explains that the courts are presided by humans who serve laws he refuses to recognize. He will leave now. He will regroup. And he will do this all over again. There is nothing the X-Men can do, short of killing him.
That would be my cue, screams Wolverine as he leaps at Magneto.
Rogue stops Wolverine, and tells him that he cannot kill Magneto. Wolverine asks if it is because that isn’t part of the X-Men’s code. Maybe how they are working isn’t cutting it. Gambit looks at Rogue and wonders to himself it is more than a code of honor driving her.
Suddenly, a United Nations ship lands, and Magneto realizes that they have come to arrest him. He then spots his ambassador Ferris with the ship. Perhaps not, says Magneto. That can only mean one thing.
Dr. Alda Huxley and United Nations officers exit the ship. Alda introduces herself, and explains that she has been empowered to discuss the terms for a permanent cessation of hostilities between them. The proposal is sufficient. He is officially ceded sovereignty over land for which he will be solely responsible. If he turns it into heaven or hell, the choice is his. He is allowed this land so long as he never again launches a preliminary strike against duly recognized nations and abides by certain security restrictions. Genosha is his to rule!
The X-Men are horrified, and Wolverine tells Huxley that she has given Magneto exactly what he wants. The UN guards raise their guns towards the X-Men to silence them. Huxley hands Magneto the papers and asks if this is acceptable.
Wolverine says that they are not. Charles tells Wolverine to calm down, but Wolverine’s rage boils out, so Xavier puts his friend to sleep. Wolverine falls, and Xavier explains to the other X-Men that Logan left him no other choice. They have always held that murder is not the answer. He prays that is still true.
Xavier speaks out loud and tells everyone to remain calm. The decisions of the United Nations, as questionable as they are, are within their right to make. It is over now – perhaps forevermore.
The X-Men turn to leave back to their stolen jet, and Xavier thinks to himself that his entire life has been spent trying to bring mutants and humans together. Now, his oldest friend and greatest enemy has found a means to keep them apart. Xavier has offered mutants a house, but was it ever a home. How can his school provide the sanctuary that an entire country can. His dream is on the precipice of becoming a nightmare. A war was fought this day and the human race doesn’t know it just lost. What can Xavier do about it?
The United Nations convoy leaves as well, leaving Magneto and Ferris alone in the snowy Arctic. Ferris tells Magneto that while the plan wasn’t executed to perfection, his plan did achieve the desired results.
Magneto looks down at his helmet on the ground and puts out his arm to lift it up with his powers. However, the helmet doesn’t move, much to Magneto’s dismay. Ferris picks up the helmet and asks Magnus if he is exhausted… or if there is a problem.
Now will be an ill-advised time for either, says Magneto. After decades of ceaseless struggle, his goal has been achieved. Now, his work is just beginning.