X-Men (2nd series) #111

Issue Date: 
April 2001
Story Title: 
Prelude to Destruction - Tick, Tick, Tick...

Scott Lobdell (Plot), Leinil Francis Yu (Art), Mark Morales (Inks), Liquid! (Colors), Comicraft (Letters), Pete Franco (Assistant Editor), Mark Powers (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

The world watches a live news report from Trish Tilby, reporting live from Genosha, which has prepared to launch a genetic war against humanity. Due to the recent cure for the Legacy Virus, Magneto now has a powerful army, ready to fight with him. Trish explains the history of Genosha and how it was founded on the enslavement of mutates. In response to Magneto’s threats, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers are standing ready to fight Magneto if necessary. Trish then reveals that the Genoshan freedom fighter, Quicksilver, was found weeks ago, aimlessly wandering on a ship in Russia. Magneto then responds to an interview and explains to the world that he will no longer watch as mutants are slowly killed off and will remove humans if necessary, if they do no surrender. Magneto then departs and retrieves his rallying symbol for his troops. What the world does not know, however, is that the symbol is Charles Xavier!

Full Summary: 

Trish Tilby, a reporter for BNBS News, reports live from a top a bridge in the island nation of Genosha, the small nation that has become a spark for the flames of genetic war. As massive war blimps pass in the background, Trish assures her viewers that this is not some cheap “sweeps week” garbage. For years, many people have lived in fear of mutants. In just a few mere moments, she will be showing the world a nation of mutants united behind the sacred cause of bringing a world to her knees. After thanking those who are watching, Trish tells her viewers that experts in global affairs believe that this is a deathwatch on the human race.

The camera pans out to take in the view below Trish, which is a massive army of mutants and mutates alike, all dressed in the same blue and red uniforms issued in Magneto’s army. Several Genoshan guards even stand behind Trish as she speaks. Trish announces that what is shown is only a glimpse and estimates say that there are tens of thousands assembled. All have gathered here in Magda Square, since as early as sunrise. There are, however, no protests or chants. There is only an eerie calm surrounding the area. It seems that they are waiting for their sovereign to arrive to give them a word; they are waiting for Magneto! Many world leaders believe that the war will start very soon and that there is nothing that humanity can do about it. The long waiting war between genetic cousins is soon to start and the odds do not favor Homo sapiens.

Trish asks how the nightmare began, but answers her own question. History has shown that the genetic mutations they are most familiar with started as early as two decades ago. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Genosha rose to prominence and showed to the potential for destruction that the conflict had to offer.

Genosha was called a ‘green and pleasant land;’ a land not torn by apartheid and, to the world, it seemed to represent racial tolerance. Unfortunately, Genosha was founded on a lie. The entire infrastructure of Genosha was based on the enslavement of an entire race; specifically, mutates, who were genetically engineered slaves whose abilities were used for the ruling class. When the truth was revealed, civil war started and the two races sought dominance. Guerrilla warfare and genetic cleansing were the tactics used, but neither side was able to even claim a moral victory. It was not until the outlaw mutant group known as the X-Men came into the fray that mutates saw they could live peacefully with humans. Ironically, it was a mutate named Jenny Ransome who was able to lead a coalition of mutates and humans to form an interim government that let both sides share the land. Though they did not earn respect, mutates had earned freedom.

Freedom, however, was ephemeral for mutates. Before freedom could be enjoyed, the Legacy Virus struck, which was a deadly disease that only affected mutants. Soon after the virus spread, the Genoshan hospitals were filled with dying and dead mutates. The government was slow in funding research for finding a cure, which drove the point to all mutates that, even though they were victorious in their revolt, they would always be second class citizens at best.

The government was soon forced to quarantine the hospitals, which after each passing day seemed more like death camps. The handful of mutates left unaffected by the Virus protested on the streets on the behalf of their fellow countrymen. On a television interview shortly after the quarantine, Genoshan Public Health Minister Jared Barthmounte told everyone that the government is doing everything in its power to help the unfortunate souls. However, their resources are limited, as well as their understanding of the mutate population. He thinks that they should pray for them. After this clip, the camera goes back to Trish, who continues the history lesson. The mutates needed a champion. They got much worse.

The world only knows his as Magneto. Ever since his first attack at Cape Citadel, Magneto has used his powers to separate man from mutant. When he first came to Genosha months ago, he almost seemed at peace or as if he found his true calling. However, any hope that he changed his conviction that mutants should dominate humans was shattered when he imposed his severe restriction on human civil liberties in Genosha. Soon, the humans began to flee. Shortly later, rebellion began. Magneto ended the attack quickly, toppling a mountain on his enemies. The Red Cross estimated that ten thousand died.

Trish stands upon a pile of rubble, including some cars. She tells her audience that, in the past few weeks, the devastation and loss of life has increased, which represents the future that Magneto has for mankind. Long gone is the Magneto who decided to stand trial for his war crimes. Gone is the man who even once fought along side the X-Men. Now he is a man who will not stop until the human race is gone. In a moment, she will be speaking to Magneto to get an understanding of why he is doing this and why now. But first, continues Trish, what does the rest of the world think?

Video plays and shows the noon speech that S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Sharon Carter, gave after an emergency session at the United Nations. At the podium, Sharon looks straight into the camera and announces that S.H.I.E.L.D. will take no action against Genosha at this time; she puts an emphasis on at this time. Magneto has yet to make a move against his neighbors and, if and when he does, S.H.I.E.L.D. will assess the threat to any nations at risk. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the S.H.I.E.L.D. charter that will allow them to launch a pre-emptive strike without having the organization assume responsibility for genetic war. However, Magneto should be made clear that S.H.I.E.L.D. is prepared to do everything to defend the world.

Before switching to another video feed, Trish explains that the sudden increase in the number of soldiers in Magneto’s army came from the recent cure for the Legacy Virus. Information as to the origin of the cure is unknown; however, BNBC has spoken with Dr. Henry McCoy. The next video feed comes up with Beast in his lab. Hank looks up from his microscope and explains that no one has stepped forward to claim credit for the cure, though there is evidence linking the cure to Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who is one of a handful of humans afflicted by the disease. Apparently, she was closer to the cure than anyone could have imagined and it was believed she worked around the clock, even until her unfortunate death. As best as Hank can deduce, the cure was released in the atmosphere, which caused a worldwide remission. It is likely that the cure came at the life of a mutant catalyst, who would have to have been self-sacrificing and noble. Given that information, Hank believes that he speaks on behalf of everyone when he says that Magneto should be condemned for sullying the cure to make war and he should consider the ramifications.

BNBC has also caught up with Captain America, to learn what the Avengers are doing about this. In an interview with Simon Westphal in New York, Captain America explains that the Avengers cannot charge into a sovereign nation against a recognized leader without doing more harm than good, though they do oppose Magneto and everything he does. Due to this, they must momentarily listen to the United Nations Security Council. However, the Avengers will be monitoring this situation carefully and will be ready to respond.

Trish introduces the next video feed from Tel Aviv, where security measures have been increased. BNBC has spoken with Israeli agent, Sabra, on her opinion. As a training exercise goes on behind her, Sabra explains that it is clear to her at least that Magneto is the monster that he despises. There are factions who believed that the rumored son of Israel has brought shame to his countrymen. Factions believe that he should be dealt with once and for all. “Okay, maybe not factions,” admits Sabra, “But certainly individuals…like me.”

The next video feed comes up and Trish explains that, at the United Nations General Assembly this morning, the Genoshan Ambassador Johanna Cargill threw down the gauntlet on Magneto’s behalf. At the podium, Cargill explains that Magneto is capable of compassion. Any country willing to accept his rule will be allowed limited autonomy to the extent that it does not interfere with his vision for the future of both races. All terms are non-negotiable. The camera returns to Trish, who explains that Ambassador Cargill has been in private session with Washington lawmakers ever since and could not be reached for further comment.

The next feed comes up depicted a ship at harbor, which is probably, according to Trish, the strangest element in this story so far. Several weeks ago, the mutant known as Quicksilver, as shown on the screen with a beard being carried off the ship, was found on the Russian frigate, Botski’s Dream. Up until then, S.H.I.E.L.D. thought that he was a freedom fighter in Genosha, fighting against his father’s rule. How he came to wander mindlessly three thousand miles away is a mystery. Doctors, however, say that Quicksilver is making full recovery and will soon rejoin the Avengers.

At the Xavier Institute for High Learning, Professor Charles Xavier sits alone in his room in the dark, allowing only the television screen to cast light. Xavier sees the video segment on Quicksilver and is horrified over the revelation. Charles then realizes that this has to end. Magneto has to end. On television, Trish announces that it is time to start the exclusive interview with Magneto.

The camera switches to another one in front of Magneto sitting in his throne, his helmet off and placed nearby. Magneto begins to speak and tells the world that he only agreed to speak so that the world can accept the inevitable and come to the same conclusion that he came to years ago. This is the only way to end the conflict between man and mutant without further bloodshed on either side – as long as humans give up, of course. It is not a mantle he accepts lightly, however. History shows that this is not a perfect world and is not known for racial intolerance. Look what humans have done to their own kind. Millions of Native Americans were driven from their land and decimated by foreigners. Millions of Africans were bought and sold in the ‘land of the free.’ Six million humans died in the Holocaust; their only crime was that they were different. While humans believe that incidents like that are behind them, the truth is that it will happen again and again. No matter what causes the fight, the result is the same. He will not allow death to befall mutants. If he needs to remove humanity from the field to do so, then so be it. Despite the fact that the media wants to the world to think that he has started this fight, he has not. However, he is going to end it.

The camera returns back to Trish, who reveals that Magneto has called for a rally in Magda Square tomorrow. Experts believe that Magneto has left to procure a symbol to rally his troops around – a symbol of war. What the symbol may be is anyone’s guess. So what should they conclude from all of this? If humanity acknowledges to Magneto that mutants are the next stage in evolution and are better than them, then why are they about to commit the same crimes and the same mistakes? You can call it genocide or ethnic cleansing but, in the end, it is murder. Is this the best Magneto has to offer? Is this the best they have to offer each other? If that is true, then maybe we haven’t evolved as much as Magneto thinks that we have. Maybe the world really is on the eve of destruction. Maybe they deserve to. Reporting from Genosha, Trish signs off.

However, Charles Xavier does not bear witness to the end of Trish’s report, for he is no longer in his room. Instead, light from outside lights up the room from where a wall used to be. The light reveals the destroyed and trashed room and that Xavier’s hover chair is empty. The one thing that Xavier does know that the world does not know, however, is that Magneto has now just claimed is rallying symbol and is en route to Genosha, a nation now ready for the day of destruction!

Characters Involved: 

Trish Tilby
Charles Xavier


On Various Video Feeds:
Beast (X-Men)
Captain America, Quicksilver (Avengers)
Jared Barthmounte (Former Genoshan Minister of Public Health)
Joanna Cargill (Genoshan Ambassador and Acolyte)
Sabra (Israeli Mossad)
Sharon Carter (Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Simon Westphal (BNBC reporter)

Story Notes: 

This is the prelude to Eve of Destruction and continues into Uncanny X-Men #392.

Moira died in X-Men (2nd Series) #108 and Colossus sacrificed himself to release the cure in Uncanny X-Men #390.

Cargill’s “private sessions in Washington” are shown in Uncanny X-Men #392, the first part of Eve of Destruction.

Quicksilver returns to the Avengers in Avengers (3rd Series) #38.

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