X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #11

Issue Date: 
June 1996
Story Title: 

Scott Lobdell (plot), Terry Kauagh (script), Epting, Miller (pencils), Sellers / Milgrom / Koblish / Candelario (inks), Matt Webb (colors), Starkings / Comiccraft (letters), Malibu (enhancement), Kelly Coruese (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief), Gerard Calabrese (president), Stan Lee (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Coming home from a day of work at the café, Rogue is startled by her landlord’s tear-filled eyes and disheveled appearance. Melody explains to Rogue about her recent run in with a group calling themselves Humanity’s Last Stand and how, out of fear, she told them about her and her mutant powers. Just then, Melody’s house is rocked by an explosion. The attacking Maulers subdue Rogue, taking her to a nearby Humanity’s Last Stand compound. Underneath the compound, Rogue overhears Bastion discussing the disposal of her and the eradication of the human compound that surrounds them. He is going to kill her and the humans, so he can blame her on their deaths. Thankfully, a guard was actually a mutant in disguise. This mutant breaks Rogue free and scares Bastion away. Rogue is startled to realize that this young mutant is none other than a “supposed” amnesic Magneto. Magneto has taken to calling himself Joseph, as he seems to not remember anything about his past other than the past three months. The two mutants decide to pool their resources and leave their confinement to save the members of the Humanity’s Last Stand that are only minutes away from being slaughtered by their own kin. After a brief battle, Joseph and Rogue stand as the victors. Their victory is, however, cut short as the people of the compound demand the two of them to leave. Complying with their demands, both mutants leave the area. After getting into another brief confrontation, Rogue and Joseph head to Melody’s house to pick up Rogue’s car and head off to find the X-Men.

Full Summary: 

A woman named Melody Watkins and her son, Stevie, stare at a door with a poster that reads Humanity's Last Stand. Melody Watkins grew up in this area, Pine Bluff, South Carolina. She went to grammar school two blocks away, her first paycheck was received nearby in Langley's Hardware, married Lucas in the judge’s chambers around the corner, but now she is here to do one thing – protect her son!

Melody walks through the door of Humanity’s Last Stand, against her better judgment; she has come to tell them about a mutant. A man named Tom Hurdler sits at a desk, discussing with an unseen person about a certain makeup cream that is supposed to hide one's appearance. Tom threatens the person over the phone that if he/she continues marketing the product in their community, they will be hearing from him again!

Stevie and Melody hear the conversation that Mr. Hurdler is having over the phone and Stevie cries out in question, momma? Melody tells Stevie not to worry that this was a bad idea from the start. Hurdler, seeing the two walking in, approaches them, introducing himself. Melody introduces herself and, with that said, Tom Hurdler leads them to his desk, offering Melody coffee. After Melody thanks him for the coffee, Tom asks Melody what he can do for them today?

She tells him that she has seen Humanity’s Last Stand’s infomercials on television for the past few months and she hears what they say about reporting suspected mutants. Tom tells her that they believe it is the only way humans can be safe against the next wave of inherent changes. Tom asks Melody if he can assume she shares the same concerns? Melody states, “Yes... I mean, no.” Melody goes on to say that she is no threat to them personally, but there is someone she thinks the Humanity's Last Stand needs to know about.

At a restaurant called Hollywood Café, the mutant X-Man known as Rogue has taken a job as a hostess. Rogue seats a couple with three children. After seating the family, she explains to them that they have the best view in the house. The wife tells Rogue that it seems her husband agrees. Her husband's name is Mike, a man who seems intent to stare at their hostess, a little too much for his wife's liking. Mike tells Rogue that it seems she is familiar some how. Mike’s wife elbows him in the side, stating in his dreams. Mike, stargazing at Rogue states, “That could be it.”

Just then, one of his daughters speaks up, stating that she too recognizes her maybe as a fashion model? Suddenly, a waiter approaches Rogue, flexing his biceps. He tells the others that, if Rogue is a model, he is the almighty “Ahnold.” Rogue laughs at the jest, thinking to herself about how he has impeccable timing. Later that night, the same waiter escorts Rogue to her car. Rogue states she cannot tell him how many nights she is asked the same question. The waiter tells Rogue that he does not understand why she is a waitress, as she is too pretty. The man enters his truck telling Rogue that he will see her tomorrow.

Rogue thinks on her way home about how many tourists she comes face-to-face with, but it is still better than facing mutant terrorists and tyrants again and again. While pondering the day’s events, Rogue notices some road construction workers that have been hard at work for the past four nights, but yet have accomplished nothing. Rogue looks into her rearview mirror, as if contemplating the mystery.

Getting to where she is staying the night, Rogue steps out of her beat up ‘72 Volkswagen Beetle, thinking that this is what life is all about: a house in the suburbs and a two car garage. Rogue tries waving at Stevie, the son of the woman she rents from, but when he does not wave back Rogue thinks about how strange he is acting. In the apartment above the garage, where Rogue has rented as her living quarters, the woman named Melody Watkins awaits her arrival.

Melody asks Rogue not to turn on the lights. She sits on Rogue's bed, crying, grasping a hold of the few tissues left in her tissue box. She tells Rogue about how, a week ago, she had contacted some people. Rogue's eyes widen as she questions; what people? Tears flow down Melody's face, as she explains that she contacted Humanity’s Last Stand.

Nearby, Maulers approach the Watkins’ house. Melody tries to explain her ignorance in approaching them. She explains that she feared the Legacy Virus, because she had heard it was attacking humans now, as well as mutants. Rogue tells Melody that she knows how she is filling, because no matter what they do trouble always comes full circle.

As the words leave Rogue’s mouth, Maulers blast a hole through the Watkins’ apartment’s outer wall. The first Mauler exclaims to his extraction squad command that he has gained access to the quarry; the arrest is underway. Rogue in anger flies at the Mauler, exclaiming that she does not care whose authority he stands for. Spouting angry words, Rogue blasts the Maulers into the nearby ground. As Rogue attacks Mauler No. 2, Mauler No. 3 radios back to command that Mauler No. 1 is down. A silent command is issued and Mauler No. 3 is now sanctioned for Lethal Persuasion! The Mauler plunges towards Rogue. As he approaches Rogue, she reaches for a nearby bicycle, sending the approaching Mauler into the nearby garage door.

Melody screams for them to stop, because her son, Stevie, is still in the house. Just then, a man named Bastion steps out of the house, with a tear filled Stevie in front of him. Bastion introduces himself, telling Rogue that she will come with him peacefully. Stevie cries out for his mother! Melody explains to Bastion that Stevie is just an innocent boy; he was not supposed to be a part in any of this. Rogue tells Melody that she is willing to surrender in exchange for Stevie’s safety. Bastion holds a gun up to Melody's chest and asks Rogue what she is willing to do to protect Stevie's mother? A blast is fired from the gun and Rogue jumps quickly to intercept the blast. Rogue lies unconscious on the ground, while Bastion hovers above her. He states, that he is not sure what softball she is used to playing but he does not do the compromising thing.

In a community, safely sheltered from the unpredictable perils of the world, the members of Humanity’s Last Stand sleeps a justified sleep in their very own secure shadow of society. A man named Simon Trask tells Bastion that, after their last encounter with the X-Men, he cannot afford another fight so Rogue has to go. Mr. Trask explains that Rogue's presence threatens their entire movement. Bastion tells Mr. Trask that he will keep his concerns in mind.

Bastion next turns his attention to Rogue, telling her that she can stop pretending to be unconscious. She tells him that she would love to shake his hand or give the group a hearty hug, but thanks to the Omnium shackles she cannot. Surrounding Bastion and Mr. Trask are Maulers and members of Humanity’s Last Stand’s elite guard. Bastion tells Trask that he would explain why Rogue is there, but Mr. Trask's security clearance is not high enough. Trask tells Bastion that it is fine by him, because the Humanity’s Last Stand has maintained “Maximum Deniability” from the outset of this operation. He leaves the room, telling his “partner” that the TRASK name carries substantial authority and resources of its own.

Bastion comments to Rogue about the dilemma he faces, because several nations of the world have agreed to charge his Department with the responsibility for curing the mutant disease, but he lacks the popular support here in the states to get the job done. Rogue exclaims that she is crying on the inside where it counts, but he needs to get to the point already.

In Bastion's minds eye, he sees the Humanity’s Last Stand’s village burning in flames and its people dead. He tells her that the complex will be slaughtered by a mutant, which should bolster the anti-mutant hysteria to a fever pitch. She tells him that he is even crazier than he looks if he thinks she would ever stoop to murdering innocent people, no matter what they do to her. He tells her that he knows she probably wouldn't but if a mutant body just happened to be found among the ashes…

With that said, a nearby guard cocks his gun, telling Bastion to repeat his sentence one more time, because he knows he's not talking about touching the compound with all of his friends still insi… Bastion pulls out a gun and shoots the guard! Bastion exclaims that they are all martyrs and, if anyone else wants to take up their own reservations, they can do so with his Maulers! A nearby guard calls Bastion a murderer, exclaiming that if need be he would take it up with the devil himself to stop Bastion's bloodshed.

Suddenly the Maulers’ armor constricts on itself as a magnetic glow emanates from the guards body. Bastion shocked, asks, “WHO?” Bastion does not wait for answers; he heads for a nearby door, as he realizes that their mystery guest must be another mutant. The Omnium shackles, which once held Rogue in place, begin to melt away as Rogue thinks to herself that their mystery mutant must have command over metal.

The mutant has taken off his helmet revealing long, white hair. He introduces himself as Joseph asking Rogue to allow him to… Before Joseph can finish his words Rogue assails him with punches, calling him a monster. Joseph exclaims that Rogue does not know what she is doing. Rogue hurls her body at the fallen man screaming that he is Magneto! Rogue states that she does not know how he was able to escape his rightful place in Hell and how he is able to look twenty years younger, but a snake can shed its skin.

Rogue asks Magneto what he has gotten them into. Joseph grits his teeth explaining that he does not know who Magneto is. Rogue hits the magnetically shielded Joseph telling him that, that was the wrong answer. Rogue begins to berate Joseph, hitting him repeatedly in anger. Having had enough Joseph command's nearby coils to trap Rogue against a nearby wall. He tells her that his curiosity has led him down all things mutant but when he happened upon a tent revival up north, the recruitment drive was for Humanity's Last Stand. He explains that he took advantage of the misguided humans in the hopes that they would provide him with information on the X-Men. He explains that Rogue's arrival and Bastion's intentions against her forced his hand a little earlier than planned. Joseph exclaims that he and she can settle their differences later, but for now they must stop the massacre of hundreds of innocent people.

Rogue snaps one of the chains that restraints her foot, kicking Joseph in the face. Joseph lands against a nearby wall cracking it with his skull. Rogue offers a hand of truce towards Joseph, telling him that if he is lying that he is better at it then he used to be. Joseph smiles, thanking Rogue, he thinks.

The troopers in their ebon armor guide the little village of people working for the Humanity’s Last Stand to their slaughter. The young man named Tom Hurdler looks back at the people of his village and wonders if this is truly their own last stand? Tom does not appreciate the irony, as Joseph and Rogue race to their rescue. One of the Maulers calls out to the others that an Omega threat is fast approaching.

The Maulers begin blasting with their guns. Rogue takes out two of them, stating that better Maulers than them have tried and failed already. Joseph hovers in midair, as he states how easy it is to control the metal in the Mauler’s bullets. Joseph's eyes gaze upon the humans below him. He is shocked to see that they are not afraid of the Maulers, but it is him that they are truly afraid of. The humans below whisper and then scream the name of Magneto. Rogue thinks to herself how this fight is going to easy and how this Bastion character must have access to more sophisticated technology.

With that said, Joseph screams for Rogue to move, as she is getting closer to a nearby bunker. Out of the Bunker comes a huge Tank. Rogue, in anger, flies towards the Super Tank, destroying it. She asks Joseph how he knew about it? Joseph exclaims how simple his deduction was, because if he were going to ensnare an enemy that is precisely what he would have done!

Bastion, observing the fight from a nearby airplane, thinks to himself about how Magneto's involvement was unexpected, but how he may be able to turn this around to his advantage. He begins to realize that, once the world knows that one of the most deadly mutant terrorists in history has come back from the dead, the world will have no choice but to allow him the opportunity to save mankind from the mutant plague.

Joseph, landing near Rogue and amidst a pile of unconscious Maulers, hears Rogue's words of how they done well. In anger, Joseph explains that he will not share her joy in the violence they generated today. Rogue calms the man down, saying that she is only happy with the end result.

Startled by a noise, Joseph and Rogue turn to see the people of the village armed and threatening. Thomas Hurdler stands at the forefront, exclaiming how Joseph and Rogue have trespassed on their property. Rogue asks them if they did not notice that it was them who saved them from the Maulers? Tom tells her that that is the only reason they will not be leaving in pieces – the only reason! Tom tells them that, one day, mankind will cleanse the Earth of the mutant disease and Humanity’s Last Stand will be…

Joseph does not let him finish. He states that Humanity’s Last Stand will have long settled at the bottom of their vaunted gene pool. A magnetic aura encases Joseph's body as he floats in midair asking them if they think they can ever manage power against power with him or others like him? Joseph turns Tom Hurdler's gun into nothing but slag. Tom does not seem frightened, as he tells Joseph that a man will go to considerable lengths to defend his home, his family and his very world. Joseph exclaims that he is welcome to his world, a world where people discriminate friend from foe by nothing more than a random accident birth.

Rogue and Joseph fly away. As the two of them leave, Joseph states “If we can't learn to live together…” “We will surely die apart,” Rogue states, as she finishes Joseph's statement.

Rogue and Joseph land away from the villagers. She questions why they are now quoting Professor Xavier? Joseph sits on a nearby rock, stating that he has heard her mention the name of Professor X and Magneto, but he does not know who they are. He has no memory of anything except for the past three months. He goes on to ask Rogue who he truly is. Rogue tells him that she would rather not tell him now, because she does not know how he would react if he knew the truth. She tells him that she does have friends and they can help him.

Joseph asks her if she is talking about the X-Men. He tells her that a good woman by the name of Sister Maria insisted that the students of Xavier might point him in the right direction towards the answers he seeks. Rogue tells him that the safest way to explain who he was is to say that he was a man that “felt more than most. Pain, most of all.” She goes on to say that maybe some of them do get second chances.

Suddenly, a helicopter appears in the sky, blasting them with a missile. Rogue and Joseph stand to meet their predator. The two mutants fly near to the helicopter, as Rogue states that they will have to keep fighting Humanity’s Last Stand till they finally convince Trask to stop! Trask tells his pilots that the mutants’ fates were sealed the second Bastion set his sights on them. He goes on to say, to his pilots, that they must shoot to kill. Two missiles are shot from the helicopter.

Rogue tells Joseph to get behind her, as she can only intercept one of them. Joseph tells her that there is no need to worry, as he magnetically catches the missiles. Joseph and Trask stare into one another eyes, realizing that they have one thing in common, and that is, their fear of change. Rogue tells Joseph that, he if he uses those missiles to kill Trask, then he is no better than Trask. It is not worth the cost of his soul.

In the cockpit of the helicopter, Trask is startled by a large boom and a blinding light. One of the pilots states that it seems the mutants took themselves out in a nuclear suicide. Trask tells them that it is wishful thinking, because mutants, he has discovered, prove very difficult to kill. As the helicopter flies away, Trask tells his pilots that they have their work cut out for them.

Back at the home of Melody Watkins, Joseph and Rogue land nearby her ‘72 Beetle. Joseph asks Rogue why anyone would want to defend a world that hates and fears them? Joseph and Rogue get into her car. Joseph questions why they would ride inside a vehicle when they have such glorious God-given powers. Rogue explains that he needs be careful about what he thinks, because, if he keeps thinking like that, he will turn into the person he once was, but now hates.

Before they leave, Melody Watkins and her son, Stevie, approach them. Melody asks for her forgiveness and Rogue accepts her apology. Stevie approaches the car door. He tells Rogue that he knows about her touch, but he wants her to know that if he could hug her, he would. Tears freely flow from Rogue's face, as she backs out of the driveway. She tells Joseph that is why they do it, for the innocents that have not been taught to hate yet. She tells him that they are the only hope for tomorrow and peace.

Characters Involved: 



Humanity’s Last Stand Workers and Enforcers

Melody Watkins

Mike and other Citizens of Pine Bluff, South Carolina

Stevie Watkins

Tom Hurdler


Maulers and other operatives (Operation: Zero Tolerance)

Simon Trask

Story Notes: 

Simon Trask, first appeared in Uncanny X-Men Annual ’95, referred to by his surname only. His first name was revealed in Punisher volume 3 #15.

Joseph ran across the H. L. S. in X-Men (1st series) #52.

Sister Maria advised Joseph in Uncanny X-Men #327.

Issue Information: 
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