X-Men: Magneto War #1

Issue Date: 
March 1999
Story Title: 
The Magneto War: Savior Complex

Alan Davis (Story), Fabian Nicieza (Script), Lee Weeks (Pencils), Dan Green (Inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (Letters), Marie Javins and Monica Kubina (Colors), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Fabian Cortez leads a group of Acolytes to Xavier’s Institute to learn a secret that only Xavier can answer. The newest Acolyte, Rem-Ram, uses his powers to sneak into Xavier’s head and begins to nudge the man’s dreams towards thinking of Magneto. Eventually, the strain is too much for Xavier, so Rem-Ram links to the minds of Rogue, Gambit and Wolverine and pits them against Magneto, while Xavier watches in hopes that this will prompt some reaction. However, a vicious nightmare in Wolverine’s mind wakes up Xavier, who immediately senses the Acolytes on the school grounds. The X-Men attack, but find themselves taken by surprise by the two new Acolytes, Barnacle and Static. Eventually, the X-Men defeat the Acolytes, though Cortez amplifies Rem-Ram’s powers too much to learn the secret from Xavier, almost killing Rem-Ram. When Xavier and Rogue save Rem-Ram, the Acolytes see this and ask for asylum in the mansion, while Cortez runs away defeated. Xavier turns down the Acolytes and, after they leave, he explains that, while in Rem-Ram’s head, he learned that the Acolytes learned that Magneto returned and wished to know if Joseph was Magneto or not. He sent away the Acolytes so they can follow them on their quest to find Magneto, so the X-Men can learn as well if the master of magnetism is back. Meanwhile, Magneto gathers Amelia Voght and his other loyal Acolytes, to whom he promises action soon. However, he sends Amelia on a special mission to safeguard Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch from the upcoming inferno.

Full Summary: 

A house is not always a home, and the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning is a testament to that. The original stones for the mansion were taken from Breakstone Lake; generations upon generations of Xaviers were raised in the halls of the building. Then, Charles Xavier turned the place into a school for very gifted youngsters, with a student body of mutants. These students were X-Men who fight for the dream of peaceful co-existence between man and mutant. The fight became a war and the students his soldiers. One day, Xavier woke up and saw a general in his reflection and shattered the mirror to bits. The X-Men have been picking up the pieces since and Xavier has recently returned to the mansion. However, he does not feel as if he has returned home, and right now he seeks comfort in the night in his dreams.

In Xavier’s dream it is a beautiful day in New York City. In a park, the Beast entertains some children, while Magik gives some flowers to a police man. Iceman, Angel, Cannonball and the Human Torch fly over Xavier, who stands by his two most special students: Scott and Jean Grey-Summers. Xavier comments on how beautiful the day is, to which Scott replies that everyday is, thanks to Xavier. Xavier tells his two students that he could never have succeeded without them, and Jean replies that they would have been alone in the world without guidance if not for him. Xavier settles the argument and states that together they turned the planet into paradise. No serpent will ever tempt them from the Garden of Eden that they have created.

Suddenly, an explosion from behind the group shatters the serenity. A group of rampaging humans with signs and make-shift Molotov cocktails scream death to mutants. Horrified, Xavier asks the ignorant group what they are doing. This prejudice ended ages ago. Why would they want to undo all that was accomplished? A man throws Xavier out of his hover chair and tells him that it is all a lie. They then set the whole area ablaze, leaving a helpless Xavier to beg that things will not revert back to the old ways.

Suddenly, Wolverine and the X-Men arrive and Logan states that the X-Men won’t let things go bad to the old ways. Xavier, who is picked up by Colossus, is amazed at how fast his X-Men gathered. Storm tells him that, whenever he and the world need them, they will be there. Gambit then asks if they can knock some sense into the protestors, to which Xavier replies no and that violence is not their way.

Suddenly, a powerful voice calls them all fools and blasts the protestors away with a magnetic blast. Magneto descends and tells Xavier that, once again, he is leading his flock to the slaughter. How often does the man need to be shown that paradise cannot be built on straw and good wishes? It must be forged with might and force. Xavier retorts with his own question, asking how many times Magneto must fail before he realizes that he cannot beat people into submission. As the Acolytes arrive and attack the protestors, Magneto tells Xavier that humans fear that which they do not understand, and that which is superior. Xavier tells Magneto that he holds the same prejudices as humans, and that his X-Men will stop him like they always have. Magneto is not so sure, however, and wonders if the X-Men would rather join his cause.

As the X-Men battle the Acolytes, Xavier tells Magneto that mutants are not oppressed. They are misunderstood, mostly due to actions by Magneto and people like him. Angry, Magneto calls Xavier a hypocrite and tells him that he hides behind a façade of humanity, while Magneto is in the forefront of the battle. Xavier demands that all mutants take the hard road, while he refuses to walk with them. While he dreams, the rest of them deal with reality. For too long he has agonized over what he knew in his mind and what he felt in his heart. For too long he has allowed Xavier’s dream for peace deter his own. This ends now. Magneto then sends a blast that knocks away the X-Men.

Xavier unleashes a telepathic assault on Magneto, who is surprised at the power, but adds that Charles has tried this before and the outcome nearly destroyed them both. Does he have the courage to risk this again? Months ago, to save the life of Wolverine, Xavier sold his soul. He later witnessed the consequences of his actions at the hands of Onslaught, the wrath of human authorities, the loss of his freedom and the tainting of his dream. How far will he go to stop Magneto now?

In his bed, Xavier continues to dream and mutters for Magneto to stop.

Outside, things are amiss. Among the trees is the Acolyte known as Fabian Cortez, who stands beside Rem-Ram, the newest Acolyte, who can alter the dreams of those asleep. Rem-Ram leaves Xavier’s mind and Cortez asks the young man if he needs a power boost. Re-Ram declines and explains that Xavier’s dreamsong was strong and he could not control it, only direct it. He then decides to go look for someone else to harass. Cortez, frustrated, asks if Rem-Ram cannot target individuals with his dream-scans, but the other man tells him to give him a break, as all of this is new to him. Meanwhile, the other Acolytes sneak through the darkness towards the mansion.

Sleeping within the mansion is Rogue, whose dreams are so passionate that Rem-Ram must gasp for air. While Xavier’s dream was full of hope and frustration, Rogue’s is of a hungry need for love. Rogue, in a balcony, looks down upon a group of couples all courting, dancing and touching. These are all things she cannot do. A telepathic image of Xavier arrives behind Rogue and reminds her that, with the X-Men, she at least as a chance for a better life. Rogue becomes sad and tells the Professor that he said those words when she arrived, but is her life better? She still cannot touch and everything from telepathic scans and bio-probes has been useless. Xavier begins to tell Rogue that they will find a solution, but another voice calls the girl’s name.

Rogue now finds herself in a park with Magneto, who tells her that they need to talk. Rogue is surprised that Joseph has reverted back to Magneto. Magneto tells her that Joseph was a whisper of what he was. Yet, the man is a shout of what he refused to hear. Joseph knew his feelings for Rogue and made them clear. She cannot deny that there was once a chance for love for them. The two sit on a bench and Rogue tells Magneto that there was a time for love between them but, after everything he has done, there cannot possibly be a love anymore.

Magneto tells Rogue that the way of life he leads will soon be over. If his plan succeeds, they will have a true haven from the strife of humanity’s prejudice. He will need someone by his side and he wants her. Magneto then pulls out an engagement ring and puts it on Rogue’s finger, who is at first afraid to make skin to skin contact, but finds that nothing happens when she touches Magneto. Rogue finds that she is now wearing the outfit she once wore in the Savage Land when she was with Magneto. Rogue is confused as to how they could touch, as before she had troubles in the Savage Land with Zaladane. Magneto looks at Rogue and thinks of how she is like him. How many obstacles must be in her way before she reaches happiness? How long will she keep on looking back for excuses to stop moving forward? They shared things no one else has and they should be together.

Rogue cannot get over Magneto’s past, but he tells her that it was to bring peace to mutant kind. Some of his actions he regrets, some he rationalized, but all were necessary. However, they will soon be part of his yesterday. Suddenly, Xavier arrives and tells Rogue not to trust Magneto and to say no. The two come close to kiss when suddenly Gambit arrives and tells Rogue to stay away from the snake as he will say any lie. Magneto notes the hypocrisy of Gambit’s statement. Who knows more about secrets and lies than a thief? Gambit tells Magneto that he doesn’t pretend to be anything more or less than what he is. He is no mass murderer unlike Magneto. Magneto snaps back that the Morlocks would surely disagree.

Gambit is surprised that Magneto knows. Magneto admits that he knows of Gambit’s involvement with the Marauders and how he unwillingly unleashed them among the Morlocks. All mutants should know of a Judas in their midst. Gambit attacks Magneto, who throws Rogue to the side and shields himself with his powers. Magneto reminds Gambit that his powers are futile against him. Rem-Ram begins to feel Rogue’s fear as the two men battle, but he also feels delight and exhilaration over the fact that they are fighting over her.

Rem-Ram slips out of Rogue’s mind and tells Cortez that he can link with Xavier again, as he has calmed down a bit. However, he does not want to agitate the Professor, as it might uncover them. Cortez reminds Rem-Ram that they need to lull the X-Men while the others retrieve what they need. Rem-Ram should use Xavier’s telepathy to occupy the others, but he should not enter Xavier’s dreams anymore.

Rem-Ram links to Wolverine and is immediately overcome by the heightened senses. In Wolverine’s dream, he unleashes his rage against the Acolytes, while Xavier watches in horror. Wolverine, with his adamantium skeleton, relishes over the feel of it, as he had almost forgotten how it felt to have the metal on his bones. Xavier then spots Magneto behind Wolverine, but Wolverine is too caught up in battle to notice the master of magnetism. Magneto uses his powers to lift Wolverine up and then rips the adamantium out of his body, just like last time. Magneto drops Wolverine and wonders if he is more animal than man without his adamantium crutch. Is he trapped between both states, successful at neither? Wolverine lunges at Magneto and tells him that it was true at one point, but no longer.

As his bone claws snap against Magneto, Wolverine tells him that he traveled a long, hard road since that day his adamantium was ripped out, but he got where he needed to go. He is both man and animal. He will always be and he knows how to balance the two. Does Magneto think Wolverine liked the metal? By cutting him to pieces, Magneto made him whole. Magneto then asks if he can rectify the mistake. If he can bend adamantium, then he can break Wolverine’s bones. In demonstration, Magneto breaks all the bones in Wolverine’s body, leaving him a motionless mess on the ground. Xavier screams in horror.

Outside, Rem-Ram is having difficulty. Cortez asks him what is wrong, and learns that linking the X-Men to Xavier was a mistake. He can’t help them in their dreams, only in his own, and even then he can only do so by reliving a nightmare. The strain is a bit much for Rem-Ram.

In Xavier’s dream, Magneto carries Wolverine’s body and asks him his role in this folly. Xavier, now wearing the mechanical suit he wore the last time he battled Magneto, swears to end this now, as Magneto has killed hundreds today that Xavier could have prevented. He has had enough… Magneto will never kill again!

With that said, Xavier mind wipes Magneto, leaving his old friend and foe on the ground, in a vegetative state. Xavier, more rational, is in shock over how he could have done this again. Why must things always end like this? Why can’t they find common ground? Much to Xavier’s surprise, the not-so-defeated Magneto awakens and, with an evil grin, he tells Xavier that he is a fool and that is why they can never find a common ground. Xavier is horrified by this and confused. Suddenly, he wakes up in bed, alert and clearly aware that everything is wrong.

Outside, Rem-Ram yells that Xavier is awake.

Xavier sits up in bed and telepathically awakens his X-Men, explaining that they are under attack by the Acolytes. He counts eight of them: Cortez, the Kleinstock Brothers, Senayaka, Spoor, Projector and three new recruits, named Rem-Ram, Static and Barnacle. Xavier then uses his powers to mentally attack Rem-Ram and Cortez who are overwhelmed. Cortez, though, musters enough strength to call back the other Acolytes, who have been trying to enter the mansion unnoticed. The X-Men, most of who are dressed in their pajamas, rush out and Nightcrawler asks if the Kleinstock Brothers count as one entity, despite there being two of them. He then asks Storm for orders. The weather goddess simply tells him to hit the Acolytes hard and often, much to the glee of Wolverine.

South of Beersheba, Israel, is a military bunker that is now the home of the former X-Man known as Joseph. From the moment he woke in a South American jungle, the word home has been meaningless to him. Now he sits in his research lab, a prisoner of his uncertainty. He came to Israel to learn who he really was, but the Israeli files on Magneto are conflicted and he has no memory of any of the events depicted. He has committed many acts of violence in the past. How can Joseph be both shining knight and the dragon in this story?

Joseph stands in front of his mirror and stares at himself. Suddenly, Quicksilver arrives at his side and tells Joseph that what stares back can be frightening. He of all knows this. Joseph is surprised to see Quicksilver and asks him how he eluded security to get here? Quicksilver boasts that no security available can stop him from getting where he wants to go. As for why he is here, he has spent recent weeks trying to regain semblance in his life. Joseph asks if his existence tips the scales, to which Pietro replies that he is his son, but he is now older than “Magneto.” Their relationship has never been a familial one. The X-Men told him that Joseph had parted with Sabra without even a goodbye. Finding Sabra was easy, as she is very public. He hopes Joseph does not mind.

Joseph is overcome with shame and is glad Pietro came, especially how they left things last time they spoke. He is unsure of how to deal with his son, since he is unsure of himself. Quicksilver explains that he was once the founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and then later a proud Avenger. After his recent association with the Knights of Wundagore, he realized that he has been spending his life trying to “deal with myself.” He is here to deal with Joseph. His discovery of his relationship to Magneto was difficult, especially since they wasted so much time when he was younger not knowing one another.

Joseph apologizes, then thinks of how funny it sounds for him to say that when he does not even remember being a bad father. Pietro tells Joseph that it is the thought that counts. As he reluctantly will admit, usually Joseph’s thoughts are nice. He is a good man. He is the man they all wishes his father had been. Joseph thanks Pietro and they shake hands. Pietro tells Joseph that if he ever needs him that he can just call. He will be there quickly. Pietro then leaves Joseph, who realizes that he may not know who he was or is, but he is closer to what he will become.

At the mansion, the X-Men are in a heated battle with the Acolytes. Wolverine takes time from fighting Spoor to wonder out loud why they are all even fighting. Gambit wonders why everyone must complicate things. They should follow his lead. He then attacks Cortez with some of his charged cards. However, his attack does not even reach Cortez, who is protected by a force field. Gambit is confused, as he does not know the Acolyte who is protecting Cortez. Storm flies overhead and notices that the woman can emanate a force-field. The woman, Static, blasts Storm with her powers and tells her that she can disrupt neurosynaptic impulses, meaning she can cut off powers.

As Storm and Rogue both find themselves victims of Static, Marrow tries to help them, but is intercepted by Cortez, whom the girl recognizes as the one who can amplify powers. Cortez confirms this and states that Marrow is the one with the out of control bone growths. He then amplifies Marrow’s powers, causing her bones to grow rapidly and randomly. “And I thought she couldn’t get any more repulsive…” mutters Cortez.

Infuriated, the freed Storm threatens to hurt Cortez if Marrow is harmed, but Cortez is one step ahead of the wind rider and sends Barnacle after her, as she is claustrophobic. Barnacle, who hisses like a snake, tackles Storm mid-air and secrets his liquids, which start to harden Storm’s skin. Barnacle tells Storm that he can harden the moisture in her skin and turn it into a carapace shell.

Shadowcat phases out of the mansion with Xavier, who sends her to help Storm. Shadowcat interrupts Xavier and tells her that she knows what he wants her to do and that they have been training with him long enough not to have everything spelled out for them. Cortez sees Xavier and tells Static to scramble his powers. Shadowcat tries to phase Storm out of the shell, but finds that Barnacle can still turn her into a shell. She still has moisture in her phased state, though it is harder for Barnacle to transform her.

Nightcrawler arrives and tells Kitty that he loves to play Errol Flynn to her Alexis Smith. Barnacle recognizes the names from the movie “Gentleman Jim,” which surprises Nightcrawler who wouldn’t think that Barnacle was a movie buff. This makes what he wants to do harder, which is too teleport Barnacle’s head off if he does not free the ladies. Scared, Barnacle surrenders, though adds that not even Flynn would threaten to take someone’s head off. Nightcrawler admits that he would not either, but threatening is another story. He then punches Barnacle.

Shadowcat rushes to Marrow and tells her that she is going to phase her through her bone cage. Marrow is not certain if even Kitty can do that, but Shadowcat is able to phase Marrow through her protrusions with ease. Marrow supposes she should be glad that Kitty doesn’t have the stones to be nasty, but Kitty tells her not to bet her life on it. Marrow, impressed, is happy that the rose has thorns too.

Angry, Storm tells the Acolytes that they have danced long enough. They chose to start this fight for no reason, so she will end it. She then blasts Barnacle and Senayaka with lightning. Cortez realizes that he is losing and desperately tries to learn the answers they need. Cortez has Static scramble Xavier’s powers, as he is the only one who can give those answers. Rem-Ram will then enter Xavier’s mind while his shields are down. Concerned, Rem-Ram reminds Cortez that he cannot enter a mind while the person is conscious. Angry, Cortez amplifies Rem-Ram’s powers and tells him that he can but was always scared of the pain. Cortez is sorry to say that the pain will be greater with the power boost.

Rem-Ram collapses to the ground and screams in pain and Cortez amplifies his powers. Xavier, who is busy warding off Static, asks Rogue to aid Rem-Ram. As Rogue rushes to Rem-Ram, Cortez tells the man that he has failed them and Magneto. Rogue throws Cortez away and sees that he is his usual supportive self. It is a wonder anyone follows him nowadays. Xavier tends to the Acolyte and begins to realign the boy’s injured synaptic systems. He then tells the other Acolytes to look on and to see the difference between his way and Magneto’s.

Cortez watches from a distance, as his Acolytes finally realize the truth. He had come to learn if Joseph and Magneto were really the same being, but he has learned a totally different truth. If he is not strong enough to be Magneto or smart enough to be Xavier, then what is he? Cortez runs into the forest, plagued by these questions.

Rem-Ram regains conscious and apologizes to the Professor. Barnacle approaches Xavier and tells him that they all apologize and ask for forgiveness and asylum. Tired and annoyed, Xavier asks if they finally choose the Institute now. He is sorry, but he cannot accept them. He tried that approach with Sabretooth and failed. He no longer has compassion to forgive their actions or the energy to teach it to others.

Rejected, the Acolytes leave the mansion grounds, with nowhere else to go.

Shocked, Rogue asks Xavier how he could turn them down. Has the whole Onslaught incident really changed him this much? He once gave her and Wolverine refuge. Xavier understands Rogue’s concern, but explains that, when he was mind-linked with Rem-Ram, he learned their goal, which was to find Magneto. Wolverine asks Xavier if he is referring to Joseph, the real one, or both? Xavier is unsure, but Cortez seems to believe that Magneto has returned.

As a result, a schism has formed in the ranks of the Acolytes, regarding what this means for them. Cortez took his followers to the mansion. He wanted them to leave so the X-Men could track them and discover whether their suspicions about Magneto are correct or not. Wolverine asks Xavier what they should do if it’s true. Xavier tells him that they will pray, and fight for their dream as always.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the man in question known as Magneto meets with his most loyal Acolytes and thanks them for coming. Amelia Voght, with a hint of sarcasm, thanks Magneto for gracing them with his guidance. Magneto asks Amelia if they were not past that kind of sarcasm. He then asks her to walk with him as they must talk. She has done well to separate the best Acolytes from Cortez.

Amelia explains that the ones who followed her came because they felt it was their best chance to serve him. Magneto tells her that they will get that chance, and that the day is nearing. However, he has a special task for Amelia, who immediately agrees, without even learning of what the task is. Magneto explains that a fire is coming that will consume the planet. He once lost his daughter, Anya, to a fire, but he will not let his children die again like that. He asks Amelia to look after his children, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, and asks that they be spared when he is forced to burn the blight of humanity off the face of the planet!

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Gambit, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (X-Men)

Joseph (former X-Man)

Quicksilver (former Avenger and X-Factor)

Barnacle, Fabian Cortez, Kleinstock Brothers, Projector, Rem-Ram, Senayaka, Spoor, Static (renegade Acolytes)


Frenzy, Kamal, Kath, Mellencamp, Neophyte, Scanner, Unuscione, Vindaloo, Amelia Voght (loyal Acolytes)

Story Notes: 

This is the prelude to the Magneto War crossover, which saw its beginnings in X-Men (2nd Series) #85.

Magneto ripped out Wolverine’s adamantium during the Fatal Attractions crossover in X-Men (2nd Series) #25. Xavier then mind-wiped Magneto, which inadvertently created Onslaught, as seen in the Onslaught crossover.

Rogue and Magneto had a brief romance in Uncanny X-Men #275

Gambit’s part in the Mutant Massacre was revealed in Uncanny X-Men #350. His trial was secretly held by Magneto, who not only was disgusted that a mutant would do this to his fellow innocents, but also to sow disarray among the X-Men, who believed him to actually be their teammate Joseph.

Joseph awakened in the jungle in Uncanny X-Men #327 and met Rogue in X-Men Unlimited (1st Series) #11. He joined the X-Men during the Onslaught crossover, had a moment with Quicksilver in X-Men (2nd Series) #58, and eventually left the team with Sabra in X-Men (2nd Series) #73, after learning that he may not be Magneto after all.

Errol Flynn and Alexis Smith are Hollywood actors who starred in the 1942 film “Gentleman Jim.”

One could imagine that this story takes place right after X-Men (2nd Series) #85, as in that issue Magneto openly attacks a human in Los Angeles, which would most likely make headlines, though in this one-shot the X-Men are still uncertain about Magneto’s status. Perhaps they went to bed soon after their last mission and didn’t watch the news?

Issue Information: 

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