For months the world thought him gone. The madman known as Magneto, master of magnetism, was no longer a threat. Instead, amnesiac and mysteriously de-aged, Erik Magnus Lehnsherr now called himself Joseph, and was a reforming X-Man. However, there were those among the X-Men and the international community that had reservations; even the thought of once being Magneto nagged on Joseph’s conscience. To that end, he left with the Israeli Mossad agent Sabra on a quest to discover the truth about his origins. Months have passed since then and the climate in the world has changed. Professor Charles Xavier, now reunited with a different team of X-Men than he left behind, must pick up the torch again and lead his team to creating a peaceful co-existence between man and mutant. However, a storm is on the horizon, one that threatens to destroy the very fabric of the planet. The Acolytes are shattered, broken into two splinter factions, with still more dissent among each group’s ranks. A mysterious woman has emerged, whose role in the war between man and mutant dates back to the creation of Magneto’s first Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. A robotic ambassador has arrived at the United Nations, with a most shocking and dire request. However, at the base of this storm lies a man responsible for all these players on the field: Magneto! The true master of magnetism is back, and he is on the verge of causing a global disaster in order to obtain his goal of a land where mutants can live in peace. What is the true origin of the man known as Joseph? What is his connection to Magneto? Who is the mysterious woman with a deadly grudge against Magnus? What madness drives the methods of mutant expert Dr. Alda Huxley? However, it may not matter if the X-Men figure out these mysteries in time, for they are starting out two steps behind right out of the gate, and defeat is perhaps inevitable. When the dust settles, will the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning be a plausible option for mutants, or will Magneto offer something that Xavier never could?
- Colossus, Gambit, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
- Joseph (former X-Man)
- Cargill, Kamal, Katu, Mellencamp, Scanner, Neophyte, Unuscione, Vindaloo, Amelia Voght (all Acolytes)
- Barnacle, Fabian Cortez, Harlan Kleinstock, Sven Kleinstock, Projector, Rem-Ram, Senyaka, Spoor, Static II (all renegade Acolytes)
- Astra IV
- Dr. Alda Huxley
- Dr. Hamal
- Gabrielle Haller
- General Winston
- Russian Ambassador Grigorev
- Secretary-General of the United Nations
- Various United Nations delegates and security guards
- Trish Tilby
Uncanny X-Men #366-367, X-Men: Magneto War, X-Men (2nd series) #86-87
- After he unleashed an electromagnetic pulse across the planet and ripped out Wolverine’s adamantium, Magneto found himself facing a desperate Charles Xavier, who was left with no other choice but to mind-wipe the madman. [X-Men (2nd series) #25]
- The mindless Magneto was taken to Avalon by his Acolytes, but the appearance of Holocaust caused the evacuation and destruction of the station. Magneto’s mindless body was among the missing. [X-Men (2nd series) #43] Months later, an amnesiac de-aged mutant resembling Magneto emerged, calling himself Joseph. [Uncanny X-Men #327]
- Magneto secretly returned, his mind restored, and orchestrated an attack against the X-Men, particularly Gambit. The entire time, the X-Men were unaware that their jailor was actually Magneto. [Uncanny X-Men #350]
- Quicksilver, reeling over the loss of his wife and sister, was unable to cope with the knowledge that Joseph could be his father, and the two parted ways before any peace could have been made. [Uncanny X-Men #338, X-Men (2nd series) #57]
- Sabra and Gabrielle Haller went on a quest to locate Magneto, along the way discovering that Erik Lehnsherr was just a forged alias for Magnus, as well as proof that Magneto had returned. Sabra’s hunt took her to the Xavier Institute, where she found Joseph and informed him that his background was dubious at best. The two then took off without any notice to the X-Men to discover Joseph’s origins. [X-Men (2nd series) #73]
- After months of absence, the missing Professor Charles Xavier was found and brought back home to the Institute. [Hunt for Xavier crossover]
- Endless Civil War reigns in Genosha, as mutates continue to rise up against their human oppressors.
The X-Men are attacked while asleep at their home by a group of Acolytes, led by Fabian Cortez. Rem-Ram, influences the dreams of Xavier, and uses him to influence the minds of the other X-Men. Xavier, however, awakens from his dream as it spirals out of control, and alerts his students to the presence of the Acolytes. The X-Men engage their foes in battle, and the battle is evenly matched until Cortez demands that Rem-Ram use his powers on a conscious Xavier. Despite protests from Rem-Ram, Cortez super-charges the boy’s powers, nearly killing him. Xavier and the X-Men help Rem-Ram and put his needs over their own, which is not gone unnoticed by the other Acolytes, who cease hostilities.
As Cortez runs away, the Acolytes asks Xavier for refuge, but Xavier refuses and sends the Acolytes away, citing that he has failed in reforming villains in the recent past and no longer has the compassion and energy. The rejected Acolytes leave, but Xavier reveals his true intentions to his X-Men. From what he gleaned from the minds of the Acolytes, it seems that they believe that Magneto has returned and had come to the mansion to discover if the rumors were true. A schism has been created among the Acolytes and Cortez came for answers. Xavier plans on having the X-Men track the Acolytes, and hope that they lead the X-Men to Magneto – whether it is Joseph, Magnus or a combination of the two.
Meanwhile, Joseph finds himself in Israel undergoing rigorous screenings and tests to figure out his origin. During his stay, he is approached by Quicksilver, and the two men finally make amends about their sordid history. With their past behind them, Quicksilver leaves, and soon after Joseph and Sabra learn the results of Joseph’s tests: he is an exact duplicate of Magneto – however, his entire genome is a forgery!
Joseph takes time alone to himself to think about what all this information means, but he is attacked by a mysterious woman and taken back to her secret lair. There, the woman introduces herself as Astra, Joseph’s “mother.” The woman reveals to Joseph that she was once an original member of Magneto’s original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but troubles between her and Magnus led to a bitter end in their relationship and she left the Brotherhood before their first public appearance. Since then, she has been plotting the downfall of Magnus.
After the fall of Avalon, Astra found Magneto’s body and, using her advanced alien technology, created an exact bio-duplicate for her own reasons. This clone, Joseph, was younger and lacked the self-imposed power limitations that Magneto had, but that greater access to power meant he would burn out quickly. However, to make a perfect copy, Astra was forced to salvage Magneto’s mind. When Magneto awoke, Astra sent Joseph to kill him while she scoured space and time for more parts to her mysterious plot. While away, a desperate Magneto realized he could allow Joseph to represent him in public while he hid and put together his own plans. After causing a strong head injury unto Joseph, Magneto escaped while Joseph fell amnesiac in Central America. He was later found, and thought to have been the late Magneto, somehow de-aged. However, despite him going off-track after that, Astra informs Joseph that he still has much work to do. Magneto is unleashing another strike and, if they defeat him, humanity will thank her and be putty in her hands.
In the Netherlands, the most loyal of Acolytes respond to Magneto’s call. Once organized, Magneto sends Amelia Voght off on a special mission to protect Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch from the upcoming war. Meanwhile, Magneto’s other Acolytes launch a series of attacks on genetic laboratories, with a trail leading north. No longer needing to stalk Cortez’s group, the X-Men trail the Acolytes to the Arctic Circle. However, the team is unaware that Magneto has sent his robotic servant, Ferris, to the United Nations, demanding that they cede to him land for which he can build a home to mutants. To ensure that he United Nations complies, Magneto, hooked up to amplifiers in his Polar Tower, unleashes an electromagnetic storm upon the world, crippling all electrical equipment as far south as Central America. The X-Men’s jet crash-lands; leaving them stranded in the Arctic, while the protected Acolytes hover overhead to make sure the X-Men do not interfere.
The United Nations calls in Dr. Alda Huxley, an expert on mutant-human relations in Genosha, to help solve the issue. Huxley, however, is happy to hear that Magneto has returned, as she has her own schemes. Before Huxley can arrive to the United Nations, however, the Russians launch a nuclear strike on the Polar Tower, against the advice of Gabrielle Haller. Magneto is able to repel the nuclear missiles before they reach the Polar Tower, but they still detonate and the X-Men are caught in the shockwave. Using his telepathy, Xavier secretly forces Cargill to use the Acolyte shields to protect the X-Men. As the Acolytes bicker amongst themselves whether they should let the X-Men die or not, Xavier enters their minds and influences them into attacking. The Acolytes do attack, and the X-Men are evenly matched, but are able to take down the team. With the Acolytes all out of the jet as planned, the X-Men board it and race off to the Polar Tower.
At the Polar Tower, Magneto finds that the nuclear strike has had a negative impact. The disturbance has caused great damage to the magnetosphere, which Magneto concentrates heavily to keep together. However, Astra arrives, using her control over Joseph’s DNA to force him in aiding her. She damages Magneto’s amplifiers, causing him to lose control over the magnetic storm. Magneto has no other choice but to absorb some of the energy but, before he can strike Astra, he is attacked by Joseph. The X-Men arrive and split into teams. While Nightcrawler takes down Astra, Rogue, Wolverine,
Gambit, Shadowcat and Marrow take on Magneto, though Wolverine is out for revenge. With Astra out, Joseph is back in control and, with the aid of Colossus, Storm and Xavier, he repairs the magnetosphere. However, he is tempted to become one with the magnetosphere, as he can do much more good than as a man. Realizing that the magnetic storm unleashed and the damaged amplifiers still are a danger, Joseph allows himself to become one with the magnetosphere, taking the Polar Tower with him.
With Joseph dead, Astra flees. Without the Polar Tower to super-charge him, Magneto confronts the X-Men, but Dr. Huxley and the United Nations arrive. Despite being fully aware that Magneto cannot back up his threats without his Polar Tower, the mysterious Huxley still cedes over to him the country of Genosha, which is his to rule! Wolverine moves to kill Magneto, but Xavier is forced to put Logan to sleep. Bitterly defeated, the X-Men leave. With the war over, Magneto stands in charge of Genosha, but he suddenly realizes that the battle has had a heavy toll on him, as his powers seem to be waning.
- Magneto becomes the ruler of Genosha, with his rise to power detailed in Magneto Rex #1-3. His waning power comes to be crucial during The Twelve crossover. Eventually, Genosha will become a thriving, populous land with up to 16 million mutant citizens.
- Tensions rise between Wolverine and Xavier, over their different methods in approaching the Magneto problem.
- Astra’s grudge against Magneto and her connection to Nightcrawler are never fully explained, as it is implied during The Twelve crossover that Apocalypse kills her.
- The two groups of Acolytes eventually re-unite into one force.
- To help in the aftermath, Cyclops and Phoenix leave their sabbatical early.
- Quicksilver arrives in Genosha, and accepts a Cabinet position to help oversee his father.