X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #2

Issue Date: 
November 2021
Story Title: 
Welcome to Krakoa
Staff: 

Leah Williams (writer), Lucas Werneck (artist), Edgar Delgado (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Tom Muller (design), Valerio Schiti & Marcio Menyz (cover artists), David Baldeon; Stephanie Hans; Gerald Parel; Ivan Shavrin (Variant Cover Artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Shannon Andrews Ballesteros (assistant editor), Jake Thomas (editor), Jordan D White (senior editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In the Healing Gardens, Xavier and Hope have entered Magneto's mind in an attempt to find the truth about whether he killed the Scarlet Witch. However, Magneto's mind if formidable and doesn't give up too easily. Hope is uneasy about this task, especially as Xavier asked her to keep it secret from the rest of the Five. At that moment, Jean Grey, Wolverine and Cyclops are on hand to welcome Captain America, the Vision, Iron Man and the Wasp when they arrive on Krakoa to retrieve the Scarlet Witch's body. Cyclops offers them a tour, to which they accept. However, as the tour progresses, Polaris and Jean Grey become concerned about the Avengers discovering Arbor Magna and the Hatchery – thankfully, when they arrive there, Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos have disguised it as a beach where they are relaxing. Meanwhile, Northstar, Daken and Prestige continue their investigations into the death of the Scarlet Witch, and become concerned when they discover that the Cerebro helmet at the House of M is missing – and assume it is connected to Wanda's murder. Prestige chronoskims to ascertain who took it – and is shocked to learn that Magneto himself took it. Meanwhile, in another space or realm, the Scarlet Witch's body floats as she thinks about darkness – and of rebirth. Hope uses her powers to force Magneto out of his coma and warns him that they don't have time before Xavier returns – and that he must ensure the Avengers do not see Wanda's body. Members of the X-Men and the Avengers meet at the Boneyard, X-Factor's headquarters, where Quicksilver is waiting for them. Captain America has some kinds words to say, before Northstar consoles Quicksilver again. It's then that Magneto attacks the Boneyard, demanding that the Avengers be sent out to see him. Polaris leaves the Boneyard to confront her father, where she reveals to him that she built a sentient defensive structure as part of her thesis, and that she got a PhD. The other members of X-Factor, along with both Wolverines head off to protect Wanda's body, while Captain America, the Wasp, the Vision and Iron Man leave the Boneyard, and are easily defeated by an enraged Magneto – who then sets his rage on Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier who returned to the Boneyard at the worst time. Magneto threatens to harm Kyle unless the Avengers leave Krakoa, to which Northstar orders the Avengers to leave – he's not letting anything happen to Kyle. Captain America agrees to these terms and tells Magneto that Kyle is innocent. Magneto calls Kyle human, to which Northstar declares that Kyle is Krakoan. Magneto drops to his knees and proclaims that he killed the Scarlet Witch – but suddenly, the Scarlet Witch appears and announces that she disagrees. Mystique is watching from some trees nearby, as the Scarlet Witch tells everyone that she wants to put this business behind her and get back to normal – as she leaps into the Vision's arms.

Full Summary: 

Erik Lensherr a.k.a. Magneoto sits on a bed reading a book. He suddenly sighs and looks up over his glasses. 'Enjoy the view?' he asks. There is no response, so he gets off the bed, leaving his book behind, he walks out of the bedroom and down a corridor lined with sheer curtains that blow into the corridor in a light wind. 'Charles? I know you're here' Magneto calls out, frowning. There is still no response. 'You forget I have decades of experience when it comes to recognizing the grating presence of your telepathic needling' Magneto adds, before sighing once more. 'What game are you even playing at, Charles?' Magneto calls out. He asks if he is being surveilled alone in his own home in the hopes that he might just happen to confess to murder while talking aloud to himself? Suddenly, the landscape around him changes, and dozens of staircases leading in different directions can be seen.

'Sorry, it's my fault' Hope Summers tells Professor Charles Xavier as the two of them stand over Magneto's body in the Healing Gardens. Xavier tells Hope that it is all right, and explains that he should have warned her that Magneto is formidable at evading psychic inquiry even without his helmet. 'Well, I would resist being tortured too' Hope replies. 'This isn't -' Xavier begins, but Hope frowns as she interrupts him: 'Yes, it is'. Xavier sighs and explains to Hope that they are presenting Magneto's mind with different scenarios intended to make him feel at ease. 'Going out of our way to ensure his comfort is -' Xavier starts to say, before Hope interrupts him again: 'Tactical manipulation. To extract a confession'. Xavier frowns at Hope as he tells her that finding the truth isn't torture. But Hope suggests that it isn't “finding the truth” when gestait techniques are being used to force a confession. 'You had to know I wouldn't be happy about being asked to help with this at all, let alone that you expect me to keep it a secret from the rest of the Five' Hope adds. Xavier tells Hope that he knows, and that he is so sorry to have to involve her in such a sensitive matter, before suggesting they finish their unfortunate yet necessary work and be done with it. As they turn their attention back to Magneto, Hope asks 'Why not ask Jean? Or Emma?' to which Xavier informs her that they are busy with an urgent matter of diplomacy, as Krakoa receive s its first official guests today.

At that moment, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, Jean Grey and Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops look up to the sky as an Avengers Quinjet descends on their home. Several young mutants watch from nearby trees, as four long-serving Avengers emerge from the Quinjet – Captain America, Iron Man, the Wasp and the Vision. The two groups look at each other in silence for a time as leaves blow around them, before Jean crosses over to the Vision and hugs him, telling him that they are sorry for his loss. Cyclops then shakes Captain America's hand, before Jean hugs the Wasp. Cyclops tells Cap that since this is their first visit to Krakoa, they had hoped to give them a tour of the island and show them around before they retrieve Wanda's remains. 'Would that be okay?' Cyclops asks. 'Yes. That'd be nice' Cap responds.

The group pass from gate to gate as the senior Avengers are given their tour of the new mutant nation. Wolverine has left the tour, but Cyclops and Jean have been joined by their X-Men teammates Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, Laura Kinney a.k.a. Wolverine and Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch. As they pass under a body of water, Polaris' thoughts are projected to Jean: '$#%&! It's too late for a detour, and Hope isn't in the Hatchery right now to telepathically mask the place. Jean, you're going to have to erase their memories to protect the secret of resurrection' she suggests, while Synch points at something up ahead and explains to Captain America and the others that the goal was to give water-based mutants a habitat that allowed accessibility to Krakoan facilities. 'Follow this way, through the gate...' he begins, while Wolverine, at his side, frowns. As the Avengers pass through the gate, Jean telepathically tells Lorna that she isn't sure she is comfortable carrying out such a massive breach of diplomacy. 'Well, the alternative is a massive breach of Krakoan state secrets' Lorna replies. Jean tells her that there has to be another way.

But, as Lorna and Jean pass through the gate, Lorna realizes that it looks like someone else figured it out already. Iron Man can be seen smiling, while everyone else looks confused, as Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos appear before them, sunbathing on a beach. 'Hello, boys' Emma smiles as she walks over to Iron Man and Captain America. 'Afternoon, ma'am' Cap replies. 'Ugh' Emma mutters, to which Iron Man tells Frost to go easy on Cap, as “Ma'am” is the feminine honorific in the century he hails from. Unmasked, Iron Man – Tony Stark – leans into Emma and tells her that, from one modern business mogul to another, her tangible assets are looking very valuable at the moment. 'Exceptionally well developed' Tony adds.

Unimpressed, Emma asks the Cuckoos if they heard anything. 'No, mother' the Cuckoos respond in unison, while Emma and the Wasp kiss each other on the cheek. 'Good to see you, Janet' Emma tells the Wasp, who apologizes about Iron Man. 'He's feral. You know how it is'. 'I most certainly do know, Wasp, darling' Emma agrees, hands on hips, she stands with the Stepford Cuckoos. The other members of the Five – Egg, Elixir, Tempus and Proteus – can be seen standing to their side, as they're not really on a beach, but in Arbor Magna, which leads to the Hatchery. Emma telepathically tells Polaris not to worry, as the Avengers can't see or hear a thing of Arbor Magna behind them. 'They just think we're out here sunbathing' Emma assures her.

Elsewhere on Krakoa inside the House of M, Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar, Akihiro a.k.a. Daken and Rachel Summers a.k.a. Prestige stand around the cocoon-like matter that has surrounded itself around the Scarlet Witch's body. Northstar tells his X-Factor teammates that they have searched this place from top to bottom to find clues as to Magneto's movements in his home just before the Hellfire Gala, and asks what the anomaly is. 'The cradle's empty' Daken states. 'Correct. The missing Cerebro helmet has to be connected to Wanda's murder' Northstar replies. Rachel offers to chronoskim to see who stole the Cerebro unit from its cradle, while Daken remarks that he wonders if it was taken to keep Magneto from using it to force Wanda's resurrection through. Rachel watches the recent events play out before her and reports that Magneto took the Cerebro unit himself.

Here's what I've learned about magic.

Magic knows no master.

It belongs to neither gods nor man.

It is the in-between. The fraying edge between reality and unreality. A hidden string secretly linking all things that only the adroit may tug free.

It's a threshold crossed only be rote or by rites. A clandestine path choosing who among the ceaseless quests fumbling toward divinity are the truly worthy.

It is the moon's gentle glissando of tides and all the liminal pools of life it leaves behind – each one glimmering and small and infinitely lonely.

It is the place none can follow, and implication lurking behind worlds, the coil of rope before it cinches in purpose – to rescue or ruin.

There is magic even in the intent driving a dagger.

One may become adept in magic's navigation; but never in its dominion.

Because magic rules itself.

And mortality simply bears witness.

In some strange in-between real, the soul, or essence, or lifeforce of Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch floats. She thinks to herself that magic is lawless, that she coalesces into being from  the yearning clutches of eternity, drawing forth new form out of void, stardust and darkness. 'And then I run before the cloaked figure reappears and kills me once more. It isn't a normal death. I burst apart into fragments of life like vestigial confetti scattered across the astral realm. And then nothing. Darkness. Darkness... and then rebirth. Dakrkess, and then... I wake up'.

'Wake up' Hope Summers declares. 'We don't have much time before Xavier gets back' she tells Magneto as she stands over him. 'WAKE UP!' Hope shouts telepathically into Magneto's mind. Suddenly, Magneto gasps, and sits up. Hope tells him that it is time to go, and warns him that he needs to make sure the Avengers don't see Wanda's body. 'Do you understand?' she asks. 'Hope, what -' Magneto begins, confused. 'Do you understand? Do not let them see her body' Hope exclaims. Magneto confirms that he understands.

Shortly, in the Boneyard, home of X-Factor, where Captain America approaches Northstar and asks him how Kyle is, and if he is around. 'Captain America, you know my husband?' Northstar responds. Captain America informs Northstar that they met at the Hellfire Gala, and that Kyle made quite the impression. 'He's good at that' Northstar admits, before telling Cap that Kyle will be home from work later, and is sure he would love to say hello. Suddenly, Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver appears and calls out: 'Who knew such a brutal murder would bring so many different people together. One might even mistake this as a happy occasion at first glance'. Captain America looks at his former teammate and tells him that it is not the murder, but the grief bringing them together. 'It's the staggering loss of such an incredible, unforgettable woman that eclipses trivial little things like political differences' he explains. Pietro frowns, and then thanks Cap, and tells him he is sorry. Cap puts a hand on Pietro's shoulder and tells him not to be. 'I bet it would make her melt knowing that you are still protecting her, even when she’s no longer with us. That you are always going to be her protector, no matter what' Captain America points out.

Quicksilver turns away from Captain America and the others and covers his face with one of his hands. Northstar speeds over to him: 'Pietro, are you -' Northstar begins. 'Don't' Quicksilver tells him. 'Hugs can be productive, I hear. Sometimes people need hugs' Northstar smiles. '&#^* you' Pietro smiles back. 'Not that -' he begins, when suddenly, he screams as he finds himself slammed against a wall and restrained in metal bonds. Northstar narrowly avoids being trapped too, as a psionic blast knocks back the metal headed towards Northstar. 'Get out before he pins you. He's taking out the speedsters first!' Rachel calls out to her team leader, while she throws a telekinetic force field around herself and Daken and their fellow X-Factor teammates Aurora, Prodigy and Eye-Boy. 'Shields up, Mom!' Rachel tells Jean Grey, as they extend their force fields around Cyclops, Polaris, Wolverine, Synch, Captain America, Wasp, Vision and Iron Man.

Outside the Boneyard, Magneto hurls spiked metal towards the towering building and shouts 'Send the Avengers out, and no one gets hurt!'

'Are you kidding?' Wolverine complains as she finds herself holding Iron Man back. 'What? My suit's magnet-proof. I can take him' Iron Man boasts. 'We know you can. That's not the point' Wolverine explains. 'Then what the hell is?' Iron Man asks, suggesting that beating Magneto sure does seem to be in everyone's best interests at the moment. Jean Grey maintains the forcefield as best she can, while Captain America protects Eye-Boy from some rubble hurled towards them. 'Letting them protect us is the point, Tony. They don't want us to have to fight on their turf' Captain America explains. 'Ten minutes, Cyclops. I'll let you have ten minutes to sort it out yourselves before getting involved. That's it' Iron Man declares. 'Understood' Cyclops responds, adding that he thinks they will only need five. He touches his optic visor as he announces that he will make a new exit – but before he fires a powerful blast, Polaris puts a hand on his shoulder, asking him to wait. 'Let me' she suggests.

A moment later, Polaris has made a hole in the side of her former home and flies towards Magneto. 'So you chose to build the Boneyard with an entirely magnetized structure? What an indulgent design. 'Is this what you were doing instead of finally finishing your geophysics degree?' Magneto scowls. 'Well, since you mentioned it – I designed a sentient defensive structure for my doctoral thesis. Welcome' Polaris responds.

At that moment, Cyclops emerges from the Boneyard and fires an optic blast which slams into Magneto, knocking him out of the air. 'You got an A, right?' Northstar asks as he flies past his friend. 'No, but I got a PhD, so it's fine' Polaris responds. Magneto lashes out at the Boneyard, attacking it with his awesome powers. Inside, Prodigy receives a communication from Northstar, telling him to take point and go protect the science. 'X-Factor – to me! We're defending chain of custody!' Prodigy exclaims. Daken, Aurora, Prestige and Eye-Boy rush to his side as they make their way up the spiral staircase inside the Boneyard.

'What's the plan?' Eye-Boy asks as they are joined by Synch, Wolverine and the other Wolverine, Logan, who has arrived on scene. 'I believe it means we're making sure nothing compromises the investigation or destroys evidence. In case that is Magneto's goal' Aurora explains as the heroes stand ready for action.

'I know, I know – I said ten minutes, but I started feeling left out, so here we are' Iron Man declares as he, Captain America, the Vision and the Wasp race out of the Boneyard towards Magneto. 'You don't want to do this' Captain America frowns. 'But I do!' the Wasp remarks as she switches to her insect-sized form and smashes a fist into Magneto's face. Captain America hurls his shield towards Magneto, 'I'll be taking this, then' Magneto remarks as he uses his control over metal to slam the shield into Iron Man. He then releases some magnetic waves which mess with the Vision's synthezoid body and send him crashing into the ground. 'WHO'S NEXT?' Magneto booms. Suddenly, 'Hello? What is all this?' Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier asks as he arrives at the Boneyard through a Krakoan gate. 'KYLE, NO!' Northstar screams as metal sheets are hurled towards him, and Magneto traps Kyle inside a metal sheet which he wraps around hm.

 

'THE AVENGERS LEAVE KRAKOA, OR -' Magneto begins, hovering above everyone, his fist clenched, as Northstar speeds towards him and exclaims 'Fine. They'll leave. Now let go of my husband'. Northstar turns to the Avengers and points off into the distance. 'Get out' he tells them. 'Rude' the Wasp mutters. 'Get the $#%& out' Northstar tells them again. Jean flies up to Northstar and tells him to stay calm. 'Let's not. I would kill you all in an instant if that's all that was required to save Kyle. Shall we find out?' Northstar asks. Captain America looks up at Magneto and tells him to let Kyle go, as he is innocent and is not involved with this. 'He's human' Magneto replies. 'HE'S KRAKOAN' Northstar screams. 'Is this really what you want, Magneto? To harm your own people?' Captain America asks.

Magneto drops to the ground and places Kyle on the ground nearby. Northstar is at Kyle's side, while Magneto answers Captain America's question by telling him that is not what he wants – what he does want is for the Avengers to leave. 'May we ask why?' Captain America enquires, before asking if it has something to do with the reason why they are here. 'Are you trying to keep us from taking Wanda's body home?' Captain America asks. 'NONE OF YOU KNOW WHAT HOME MEANS FOR WANDA!' Magneto shouts angrily. 'I think I do, actually' Quicksilver remarks as he speeds towards Captain America. Magneto puts his hands together as if he was being hand-cuffed and exclaims 'Fine. It was me. I did it. I'm the one who killed her. And I wanted you to leave because I'm guilty of first-degree murder'. He asks Captain America to take him away before he changes his mind and decides to bring this place down to its knees after all. 'Welll? What are you waiting for? I MURDERED THE SCARLET WITCH!' Magneto booms.

Suddenly, a voice calls out 'I'm afraid I have to disagree. On several points, actually'. Magneto looks up and sees Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch hovering in the air above him, the sun glowing behind her.

Watching from the trees nearby is Raven Dakholme a.k.a. Mystique, who looks up at the Scarlet Witch and decides that this should be interesting.

The Scarlet Witch drops to the ground as the X-Men, X-Factor and Avengers all look towards her. 'Hello, everyone. I'm really moved that you all came to help me, but really, everything is all right. I just want to put all this behind me... and let things get back to normal' she calls out as she rushes over to the Vision, leaps into his arms and kisses him on the lips...

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Jean Grey, Polaris, Synch, Wolverine III (all X-Men)

Aurora, Daken, Eye-Boy, Northstar, Prestige, Prodigy IV (all X-Factor)

Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier

Emma Frost, Magneto, Mystique, Professor X (all Quiet Council)

Egg, Elixir, Hope, Proteus, Tempus (all the Five)

Wolverine

Stepford Cuckoos

 

Scarlet Witch

Quicksilver

Captain America, Iron Man, Vision, Wasp

Story Notes: 

Captain America and Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier met during the Hellfire Gala, as seen in X-Factor (4th series) #10.

Polaris built the Boneyard in X-Factor (4th series) #1.

The Scarlet Witch and Vision have been estranged for some years, with Wanda's most recent romantic relationship being with Doctor Voodoo. 

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