Cloaked from earthly detection, Asteroid M floats in a geosynchronous orbit. Its placid appearance belies the planet-shattering power it contains. Most deadly of all is the twisted being who is its master... a mutant whose overriding goal is the absolute subjugation of humanity by Homo-Sapiens Superior – a mutant whose hatred and ambition can only be encompassed in one world-devouring name – Magneto! The powerful mutant stands in an observation control room aboard his floating asteroid battle station, and sees a meteor, moments from impact with his home, and realizes that even here he is under assault. 'But not even this force of nature will be allowed to interrupt my meditations' Magneto thinks to himself, and he fires a weapon from the asteroid's defenses, which shatters the meteor into dozens of smaller pieces. 'Let these glowing fragments serve notice on those who dwell below...that none may interfere with the Master of Magnetism'. He boasts that to thwart his will is to invite oblivion.
One of the flaming fragments falls rapidly towards the planet Earth, right over the Westchester County mansion of Professor Charles Xavier, location of his “School for Gifted Youngsters”. The school is drenched in the darkness of night, and sitting in a dark office, Charles suddenly turns to the window as he sees a burst of light outside. He looks up to the sky and sees that it appears to be a shooting star, a fragment of the cosmic come calling on mother Earth. He wonders what diverted it from its endless flight, to skirt Graymalkin Lane before impact – simple gravity or something else. 'Penny for your thoughts, Professor?' someone calls out. Charles turns to the door and replies 'One day you'll scan them, should your powers continue to develop' the Professor replies, before asking Jean Grey what he can do for her this evening. Jean informs the Professor that federal agents have apparently closed down the Sentinel-producing factory that was housed in the old auto-plant, and adds that she hopes they will never see those things again.
Professor Xavier's hover chair moves him into the corridor, and Jean stands behind him, near the front door, adding that the mastermind behind it is still a mystery. Charles replies that it is a well-guarded secret, but that his government contacts inform him that the President shut down the program when it seemed to be getting out of control. He adds that there is stil the matter of the Beast's incarceration, having been caught by the Sentinels as the X-Men broke into the Mutant Affairs Department to erase the computer files of all listed mutants. Jean notices a scratching sound coming from the front door, and tells the Professor to stay behind him while she opens it. And as Jean pulls the front door back, she looks on in horror as someone falls to the floor. 'It's a man! At least it appears to be!' Jean gasps. The Professor notices that the man is injured and declares that they must tend to him. The man is clad in yellow and brown, and seems to roar.
Meanwhile, at a federal detention center in upstate New York, Henry McCoy a.k.a. The Beast sits on the floor of his barren cell, and thinks that this is how it all goes down – imprisoned like an animal. 'Would that F. Lee Bailey were available for the defense' the Beast laments, before he hears the wall rumbling, and wonders if it is an eleventh hour rescue. He leans back and covers his face as the wall is exploded inwards, revealing the costumed Magneto, who addresses the Beast and proclaims that he has come for him. 'Oh my stars and garters' the Beast thinks to himself. Magneto tells the Beast to come and that they must hurry, as it is unseemly for a mutant to be so caged by humans. 'Understand, McCoy, humans see us as a cancer that will grow and overwhelm them! They know that as our numbers grow, they will be supplanted – replaced by Homo Sapiens Superior!' Magneto declares. 'Nice speech. Have you considered public office?' the Beast replies, before telling Magneto that his solitude is appreciated, but that he shall await his due – his day in court. 'Even mutants are entitled, you know' the Beast adds.
'Court? You seek justice from human law? It was that which gave us mutant registration – and that which exists to oppose us' Magneto remarks, reminding the Beast that human law killed his friend. 'Yes. But to rebel without concern for the future of all is folly, your way is flawed, Magneto' the Beast responds, when suddenly, several guards rush into the Beast's cell with their weapons at the ready. 'He's trying to bust out with another mutie!' one of the guards shouts. 'Cover the hole with fire! Don't let 'em out!' the other exclaims. Magneto grits his teeth, annoyed, he mutters 'Fools. Listen to the sound of human justice and see how one proud of his heritage responds!' Magneto turns to the guards and declares 'Behold!' as he uses his control over metal to rip the guards' guns apart with ease. Magneto then takes flight out of the gaping hole in the cell, and tells the Beast that he reminds him of another mutant he knew long ago, a great man who was also a fool. 'Beware the choice you have made this day, Beast. You have chosen a path that will lead to your inevitable extinction' Magneto calls out as he departs into the night. The Beast hangs his head, 'Words, uttered by a madman. I wonder... or a prophet?' the Beast thinks to himself.
A week passes in reflection, then, the Beast has his first day in court, sitting in the witness box, the judge informs him that this is a cail hearing to determine what, if at all, his bail should be set at, pending indictment. The judge asks the Beast if he has any questions in that regard, and staring right ahead, the Beast replies that he does not. 'Then we'll hear from your defense laywer, Mr Hodge' the judge declares. As Cameron Hodge approaches the bench, he informs the judge that his client is charged with a simple felony and that denial of bail would be cruel and unusual. Sitting in the courtroom audience are Wolverine a.k.a. Logan and Scott “Cyclops” Summers. Logan turns to Scott and asks him how he likes his handiwork. 'Ya like seeing him this way?' he asks. Scott shushes Logan and tells him that this isn't the time, as they are just here to observe. Cameron Hodge paces the floor and points out that it would be more a reflection of Henry McCoy's mutant status than that of his alleged crime. 'Now, Mr Hodge, you know this court harbors no prejudice. Any insinuation to the contrary will not be tolerated' the judge declares, to which the prosecutor tells the judge that as a representative of the people he must speak.
The prosecutor steps forward and, pointing at the Beast, announces that he is alleged to have taken part in the break in at a federal facility, that he acted violently when attempts at apprehension were made, so this man belongs behind bars, not out amongst decent folks. The judge points out that a compelling case has just been made for bail denial, and asks Mr Hodge if he has any response. Hodge tells the judge that, with respect, this is a bail hearing, not a trial, and that his client reacted as anyone would under such frightening circumstances. 'How so?' the prosecutor responds. Hodge explains that his client struck back in self-defense as he has had to do his entire life against a world that has been hostile to him and his kind. 'Let us not forget the disappearance of eleventh mutants – all recent registrants with the Department of Mutant Affairs' Hodge adds. 'Your honor, this is ridiculous. Mr Hodge is attempting to justify his client's criminal actions with a slanderous attack on a program designed to help mutants!' the prosecutor exclaims. The judge leans forward and tells the prosecutor that his concern is noted, before announcing that at this time they will hear from Mr McCoy himself, and allow him to state why he believes bail should be granted.
The Beast thanks the judge, and states that Mr Hodge has done a fine job of representing him, but asks what can any human truly know of a mutant's existence – the pain and torment. 'Inside this beast-like exterior, there beats the heart of a man...a man who longs only to be accepted by his fellows. I am one of you – appearances to the contrary. Look into these eyes and know me for what I am' the Beast asks. He adds that no one could have said it better than the immortal bard: “If you prick us, do we not bleed...?” he quotes, to which a protestor in the court suddenly shouts 'Never mind Shakespeare, hairy! You're going to the slammer!' and another cries out 'No bail! No bail!' Wolverine points back at the protestors, 'Those are the people we want to fit in with. They're our “brothers”, Cyke' he whispers to Cyclops. The judge calls for order, and announces that it is his judgment in view of the violence of both the original offense and last week's attempted escape, that this defendant would pose a danger to the community if released. 'Bail denied' the judge declares, before informing Mr Hodge that they are adjourned, and instructing that the prisoner be taken back into custody. Wolverine and Cyclops watch the Beast as he is led away, and Wolverine quietly tells Cyclops that he will show them what danger to the community is. Cyclops tells Wolverine to forget it, and points out that they have done what they came to do, and now it is time to report back.
Later, in the X-Mansion's War Room, Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Jubilee and Professor X are watching media footage on a monitor, and Cyclops reports that according to the news, another mutant attempted to break Hank out of the detention center, and apparently Hank remained while the other mutant fled. 'Nuts! We should'a been there, Professor. I would'a driven the getaway car!' Jubilee exclaims. 'Nice to see one of us with some spunk, ain't it, summers?' Wolverine mutters, to which the Professor tells him that is uncalled for, before reporting that he has confirmed the identity of the Beast's would-be rescuer, and reveals that it is an old friend. 'An old friend, Professor? Who?' Jean enquires. Charles explains that their paths have crossed many times, that he was a man he once knew as Magnus, and that he now calls himself Magneto. 'I hoped never to see his like again' Xavier adds. He tells the others that their views on the mutant place in this world are so divergent as to be irreconcilable. 'He believes our destiny is to tread mankind beneath our feet' Charles reveals, adding that Magneto believes Homo Sapiens Superior is to dominate humanity, not live in harmony with it. He reminds the X-Men that he has spent his life in conflict with such a repellent view.
Charles tells the X-Men that, clandestinely, in the past, Magnus has attacked power stations, defense factories et cetera in the twisted hope he could cause civil war between man and mutant, but he failed, and now he has returned apparently more brazen than before. 'Our task is to use every resource available to see Magnus's defeat' Charles announces. 'He's toast!' Jubilee exclaims. The Professor assures Jubilee that the sentinment is noted, before suggesting they look in on their sedated guest. He informs the others that he came injured to the mansion, and he took him in, adding that his condition seems to have stabilized. When an image of the mystery guuest appears on a monitor, Wolveirne exclaims 'Sabretooth!', before popping his claws and going into a rage, 'I'll kill you!' Wolverine shouts, while Jean, Cyclops and Jubilee look on in shock. 'Somebody get tis guy a valium!' Jubilee calls out, while Cyclops grabs Wolverine's arm and tells him to calm down, asking what the problem is, as their guest is harmless and sedated. A beeping sound alerts Cyclops to the fact that Cerebro's warning signal is going off. 'Kill you. Kill you' Wolverine utters. Cyclops announces that from what he can see of the screen, the location is Florida. 'All right! I'll get the suntain oil!' Jubilee exclaims. Upon closer examination, Cyclops reports that the signal is going off because of activity at Sector Thirty-Seven, the Flemington Missile Base alert. Cyclops instructs Jubilee to tell the Professor that they are warming up the Blackbird and punching in the coordinates. 'Aye, aye, Captain!' Jubilee replies.
Meanwhile, at the threatened base, silos mysteriously open, and their lethal occupants rise, poised for their fatal flight. Inside a control room, scientists rush about their business, while a general holds a telephone up. 'Kramer! Commence the emergency aboty sequence! Those babies are armed and ready for action!' one scientist calls out. Another exclaims that they can't explain it, that this isn't able to happen without the launch codes being authenticated. He adds that it is as if some outside force just took over all the equipment, bypassing the normal procedure and starting the launch sequence. 'Right now our job is to stop those missiles from flying. We're on the verge of World War Three if we don't!' the general exclaims, before barking down the phone 'Get me General Powell of the Joint Chiefs of Staff immediately! We have a nuclear emergency here!'
At Mach 3 in the Blackbird, the X-Men reach the site of the havoc. 'An SR-71? Must be some top-secret operative the brass sent in to handle this mess!' a soldier on the ground remarks to himself as the Blackbird lands. 'Let's hear it, soldier. What's happening? We're the bottom line people' Wolverine remarks to the soldier as he, Cyclops and Ororo “Storm” Munroe emerge from the jet. 'See for yourselves. These are Mirvid Minute Man Threes launching of their own accord' the soldier reports, adding that all warheads are nuclear-tipped, with five megatons a piece. 'My God! They're hundreds of feet up already! Storm – can you -?' Cyclops gasps as they all look at the nuclear warheads in the sky overhead. Storm takes flight, 'Yes, Cyclops! With the fate of the world at stake – the lives of men and mutant alike – I can!' Storm boasts as she soars after the warheads. She thinks to herself that if she ever proves worthy of Professor Xavier's calling it is now, for humanity must finally know what benefit mutants can be in dire circumstances. Cyclops suddenly opens fire with an optic blast, and Wolverine asks 'What gives, Summers? This is Storm's ballgame. Afraid of losing the glory?' he mocks.
Cyclops points out that Storm can't get them all, so he has to make a stab at slowing them down. But the missiles are farther away than Cyclops anticipated, and he is straining his power as never before. However, he does strike the back of one of the missiles. Storm flies after the remaining missiles and decides that she must cluster them together, creating a massive cyclonic wind to force them closer, and away from their land-based targets. Storm's plan works, and as she flies over them, unleashes the lightning which is hers to command, striking the missiles and disrupting the guidance computers which are the warheads' nerve centers with concentrated pulses, sending the weapons harmlessly into the sea where they can be better disarmed, the land with a large splash. Storm flies back to the base, where Cyclops asks the soldier 'You said a costumed man was seen here?' The soldier replies that there was, and that hhe was dressed in some kinda crazy red threads, real colorful like them. 'Maybe it was a coincidence, but as soon as he showed up, things went nuts. He had a weird helmet – a cape, too' the soldier adds, while Wolverine thinks to himself that this fits the Professor's description of that Magneto character. The soldier then asks them what outfit they are with, as they are dressed up like that other loony, so how does he know they are not in cahoots somehow. Cyclops explains that they are special paramilitary operatives, and that man they saw before was a renegade from their group who they have been sent to track down and undo his mischief. He adds that these costumes are for ID purposes. 'Okay, well, check' the soldier responds, while Wolverine thinks to himself 'Fast thinking, Cyke'.
In space, aboard Asteroid M, Magneto stares into the stars, 'Those naive children, Charles must have sent them, they're well-trained and resourceful – and doomed if they block my path' he decides, thinking that even if those missiles failed to explode, his presence, and those of Xavier's charges, will create further anti-mutant suspicion – drawing the world closer to the war from which Homo Sapiens Superior will emerge from the rubble to rule, as is their destiny. Magneto tells himself that there is a dawning of a new age, and that never again will their kind hide in the shadows, fearful of mankind's reprisals. 'Now, we become the warmongers and aggressors – hands into fists, and the name Magneto shall be heralded in the coming millennium of mutant dominance.
Back at the X-Mansion, The Professor, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue, Jubilee and Remy “Gambit” LeBeau are gathered in the War Room, as Cyclops announces that those missiles had been rerouted to strike Washington, and the description given of a man seen just prior to the incident sounded exactly like the one that the Professor gave them of Magneto. The Professor tells the X-Men that they all did splendidly, and he is quite pleased, but that this is the worst news possible. Charles remarks that Magnus is dangerous beyond belief, and if he acts openly, the world could be plunged into armageddon and only they may prevent that. 'Heavy stuff. But before I get too depressed, what happened to the sick dude you and Jean helped out?' Jubilee asks. The Professor tells Jubilee that he is pleased she asked and adds that if Wolverine can restrain himself, he will direct Sabretooth's hover chair into this room. A hover chair with restraints is keeping Sabretooth in check, and it flies into the room. Charles tells him that it is good to see him looking better, and that there is much mystery about him. The Professor adds that Wolverine claims to know Sabretooth, and that the association was obviously unpleasant. He asks Sabretooth to shed some light on that. 'No problem' Sabretooth replies, declaring that he and Logan are old pals, but they had their little misunderstandings, nothing big though. 'Right. He just wasted some friends of mine for no reason... and I misunderstood' Wolverine snarls as he leans over Sabretooth. 'Yeah, that's all there is to it, you creep' Wolverine mutters, placing his fist on Sabretooth, who tells him to watch the threads.
Wolverine turns and starts to leave the room, 'Long as you're gonna keep company with that lowlife, I'm splitting. You don't know what yer getting yerselves into' Wolverine tells his teammates. 'Logan, come back' Cyclops calls after him, but Wolverine tells him to stow it. 'Why can't I ever get through to him?' Cyclops asks. Gambit points out that Wolverine keeps the world at arm's length, to which Cyclops states that it is his job to find a way it. 'Let it go' Gambit suggests. Jubilee tells everyone to check out Mister Sideburns. 'Wolvie takes a powder and he takes a snooze. Boring!' she exclaims, looking at Sabretooth, while Gambit remarks 'Ah, the life of the X-Men, cherie – who can deny its glamour'. 'Professor, you're worried' Jean points out, and Charles acknowledges that he is, adding that he senses Magnus is biding his time, waiting for the next opportunity to strike, and that there is little they can do in the interim.
Meanwhile, at a chemical plant in the dead of night, 'Don't complain. At least you got a job in this recession, buddy' one of the plant workers remarks to another. 'Yeah, but it's all routine. Day in day out' the other responds. Suddenly, one of the pipes bursts, and chemicals spill out into the plant. 'What's going on?' one of the workers asks, rushing away from the chemicals. More of the tanks and pipes holding the chemicals suddenly burst, and dangerous liquids flow out in waves. 'Flee, mortals!' a voice exclaims, as Magneto appears, hovering over the pool of waste, where a hand reaches up through the mess. 'Flee from your soon-to-be leader!' Magneto declares. 'Cower in the shadows – cringe in the corners as your world topples – subject to my will...the will of Magneto!' Surrounded by a force field, Magneto uses his power to break open pipes running throughout the plant, spilling more chemicals. 'All that is metallic on this planet, from element to alloy is under my control. With such power as this, what goal is beyond my gaze – what enemy is beyond my reach?' Magneto asks. He continues to toss his power about, 'Master of Chaos! Master of Magnetism! And master of the coming age of Homo Sapiens Superior! All this am I!' Magneto boasts.
Magneto wonders where is the force on this pitiful globe which can oppose him? Where are those who will challenge him? Suddenly, a brick is thrown at Magneto's force field, 'Just look ovah yoah lil ol' shoulder, shugah!' Rogue calls out, as she, Storm and Cyclops appear. 'Peek-a-boo! We just knew y'all would be here. A little bird called Cerebro told us!' Rogue exclaims. 'You have killed innocents, murderer! And for those deeds – and others – you shall answer to the X-Men!' Storm declares, while Cyclops points out that Magneto is pretty tough when he is slaughtering unarmed workers. 'But we don't git in that category, Magneto – and we're taking you down!' Cyclops shouts, firing an optic blast towards Magneto, who blocks it with a force field. 'Your mutant ability is to channel intense beams of light through your eyes. Potentially devastating – save that a magnetically-induced force field renders it useless!' Magneto exclaims, before announcing that he awaits their next mode of attack. 'Surely Charles has taught you alternative strategies' Magneto remarks, while gas clouds suddenly swirl around Cyclops from one of the smashed vats, and he starts to feel dizzy.
'Scott! What's that bullet-headed bozo do to yuh?' Rogue calls out. Scott clutches as his chest and gasps under the rising gas. He tells Rogue that he is going under and not to worry about him. 'Bah! A frontal assault against such a superior adversary? Are you bereft of your senses? It is sinful trhat such as you are of my breed!' Magneto declares as he knocks Storm and Rogue back into a brick wall, where they collapse into rubble and waste below. Magneto grins and hovers over the fallen X-Men, 'Such is the face of the future! My enemies ground beneath my heel...utter destruction the mark of my passing!' Magneto declares, boasting that truly is a new age upon them, and soon all nations great and small shall know of his coming and bow in servitude to the unrivaled power of the Master of Magnetism – Magneto!