Magneto’s Reflections (AN: Takes place shortly after issue 21)
Is it really possible for a man to be completely imprisoned? Even if he isn’t strong, can his spirit ever be snuffed out? How low can one man fall before he is so lost that he is rendered completely impotent? It would be a useful measure for anyone enduring the loss of their freedom. To me, it’s useless because I’m no ordinary man. I’m better than that. I’m stronger and not just by sheer will either. My strength is a cold, hard fact forged in the fires of evolution. As such, no human prison will ever contain me.
Erik Lensherr’s world had shrunk mightily in a short amount of time. Where he once had the ability to soar over the lands like a god among men and manipulate his surroundings with power that made lesser beings cower, he was no restricted to a small room no bigger than a garage. There were no windows or doors or anything of the sort. Every fixture was made of glass and plastic. Illuminating the area was bland array of fluorescent lights. Except there wasn’t much to illuminate. In this chamber there was nothing besides a table, a bed, and a case of books. There were no electronics of any kind. That was somewhat redundant because there was also a dampening field rendering the master of magnetism powerless.
It was a special room constructed specifically to contain him. His old friend, Charles Xavier, actually helped construct it. Forged in the bowls of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he was locked in the deepest recesses of the world’s most notorious prison. To the outside world he was a terrorist guilty of war crimes. To him these crimes were a joke. He led an uprising against a tyrannical system that was corrupted by race too ignorant to understand it’s place in the evolutionary ladder. He confronted a madman who committed heinous atrocities against his brethren. If those were crimes to these people he considered it a badge of honor.
The efforts of these simians is laughable. Do they really think that throwing me in a plastic prison cell will stop the course of evolution? These primates are doomed to extinction and deep down they all know it. They see mutants like me and they see their replacements for the dominant species of this world. They know it’s going to happen. This is how nature works. As the world changes, life adapts and those that fail to do so are destined for extinction. The human race has had a good run, but they’ve been going downhill for far too long. It’s time for a new species to take over. They can do everything they want to delay it. They’ll never change their fate.
I’ve seen what happens to humans who descend into this evolutionary abyss. They don’t just fail to evolve. They actually devolve, becoming more ignorant and resentful of anybody who they can lump together as a scapegoat. The act of one group oppressing another is among the oldest and most outdated forms of human barbarism. The saddest part is that some are foolish enough to believe that civilization has helped them progress. My life is living proof that such a notion is utterly false.
I was born into the darkest corners of humanity’s savage nature. My family was Jewish and by whatever cruel manifestation of misfortune, I grew up in central Europe during one of the worst periods in anti-Semitism. This was a time when the Nazi party was on the rise and Jews were being blamed for everything bad that was happening in the world. If there was an economic crises, a natural disaster, or an epidemic the cause was always the same. It was because of the Jews.
Because of this savage bigotry, the only place my family could live in any semblance of peace was a decaying Ghetto in Poland. At the time most of the Jews felt the only means of dealing with this growing tide of hatred was to flee. Every day it seemed someone would disappear for America or some other far-away locale. There was pressure on my father to do the same because he actually saved money and procured wealth through years of dedicated labor.
But running wasn’t in his repertoire. My father was a fighter. He fought in World War I and was dishonorably discharged for fighting more than just the enemy. He was not one to stand idly by while others tried to take from him that which was rightfully his. He taught me and my older sister to be the same. He believed in tough love, teaching us to fight back when we were denied what was rightfully ours. I always fought hardest and he singled me out as being especially strong. He was stern with one hand and loving with another, teaching me lessons in strength and dignity. All the while he never let anyone hold him back. He stood his ground and fought back, even when an entire army came to confront him.
Eventually, he had to face such an army…the Nazi army no less. I was so young, but I’ll never forget the day the troops reached our ghetto. The sheer savagery of these men can never be understated. It was like they were exterminators and we were the rats. They treated men, women, and children with the same care they would a fly. I saw them butcher, rape, and torture. I saw them rip the unborn babies from the wombs of pregnant women and with a smile no less. Everyone in my family was petrified, but not my father. Even in face of such horrors, he grit his teeth and fought back. He didn’t have a gun because nobody let Jews own guns back then. So he used a knife and a wooden stick to kill three heavily armed Nazi soldiers. He would have killed plenty more had they not gotten in a lucky shot that mortally wounded him.
I can still see the look on my father’s face when he entered his final moments. A Nazi soldier callously slit his throat while gutting him with a bayoneted rifle. It was a horrible way to die, but my father’s look of defiance never waned. He even managed to spit blood in their face with his final breath. For every boy unfortunate enough to see their father die, this was the way you want to see him go…fighting till the bitter end. I did not shed tears. I tried to fight back myself, but being so young and weak those sick Nazis just hit me over the head with the butt of their guns. I wasn’t worth killing for them…not yet.
Before they got to punishing me, they thought it would be fitting if they had their way with the rest of my family. They made me watch in my woozy state as they raped my mother and my older sister. They were slow and methodical, making sure to torture them horribly before they finally ended their lives. I could remember every gruesome detail, but it would be useless to dwell on because even through these horrors I did not falter. My father raised me to be stronger than that. I only lowered my head in sorrow when the horrors had ended. My family was dead and there was nothing I could do about it.
They could have killed me for good measure, but they didn’t. They felt I hadn’t suffered enough so they sent me away to a concentration camp. I’m sure if those soldiers were alive today, they would regret not killing me. They thought sending a boy to grow up in a concentration camp would break me. They thought it would crush my spirits and reduce me to a meek, worthless Jew. They were dead wrong.
The horrors of a Nazi concentration camp are well documented by history, but few can ever understand what it was like to grow up in them. The horrors that would scar most people for life were a daily occurrence. I saw enough rape, torture, and death to fill a hundred lifetimes. In seeing these horrors, my only purpose at that point was to survive. I had to be strong. At a young age I came to grasp the value of strength. I learned each and every day how only the strong survived and how the weak withered. I also saw how the Nazis themselves, as barbaric as they may have been, were still every bit as weak as the people they were oppressing. It sent a message that I received loud and clear. I was not going to be weak. I would be aided in this endeavor by the forces of evolution.
The day the concentration camp was liberated, I proved my strength. Everyone else was terrified. They all thought that the presence of the allies would prompt the Nazis to move ahead with their so-called Final Solution. They were going to exterminate us before we had a chance to be liberated. Time and history was simply not on their side. The Allies came and the Nazis cowardly tried to save their own skins. Some of them used young boys like me as human shields. At one point I was staring down the guns of the Nazis and the guns of the Allies. It would have been an ironically cruel way to go. That’s when I got my first state of my evolutionary destiny.
I let out what had to be the loudest cry of defiance that any Jewish boy had ever uttered. In a moment frozen in time, I felt this power well up inside me and with it I was able to literally reach out and tap forces I didn’t even understand. I would later find out that those forces were that of magnetism. Such a force was capable of great power and I was able to wield it as if it were another limb. Those ignorant Nazis didn’t know what hit them. It must have seemed like God himself was turning against him. Their weapons were forcibly ripped from their hands and twisted into scrap metal. Then the barb wire from the gates was torn asunder and in an act of swift mercy, they were maimed where they stood.
I don’t think anybody understood what they saw. In the chaos of the moment, they probably chalked it up to delirium. Only I knew what had happened. While I was confused at the time, I was also empowered. On that day when I walked out of that Nazi concentration camp, Erik Lensherr died and Magneto was born.
The master of magnetism gazed without pity or fear towards the cameras watching his every move. Since his chambers were sealed off, there were no guards either. He was completely cut off. The only time he ever saw another human being was when they brought him his food. That didn’t bother him in the slightest. That only meant he didn’t have to contend with their pestilent presence.
The only difficulty he encountered was how to pass the time. No windows and no clocks meant that he had very little with which to occupy himself. Besides books, he had to make his own entertainment. One of the few amenities they did give him was a chess board made of glass. He always had it set at the lone table that was next to his bed. For hours on end he would play games against himself, putting together complex strategies and moves. It didn’t just keep him sane. It kept his mind sharp.
For the past two days he had been in the midst of an epic game. Over half the pieces from each side were gone and every move was critical. He had been staring at the board for hours, contemplating what he would do next. He spent all this time setting up his pieces so that he would be in prime position to win. It was very much akin to how his life after the concentration camp unfolded.
Armed with a new power and purpose, I set out to put myself in a position for greatness. The greatest challenge for me was the limitations of the world around me. There was so much weakness both amongst my fellow Jews and amongst the Nazis and Allies. If I was to gain my strength I could not do so in such a world. I needed a place that was every bit as unique as I was. I found it in small little region of the Balkans known as Wundagore.
The wonders of this region are too great for words. What I experienced there simply defies explanation. But it was there where I learned the full extent of my power and the coming tide that I now call homo superior. I’ve yet to share the details of what happened in Wundagore with even my most trusted associates. I doubt I ever will. I want that time of my life to be my little secret. That way what happened after I left remains more pertinent.
I was in my early twenties when I returned to the real world. I saw that little had changed with human affairs. It was pitiful, yet unsurprising. If I was to grow, I needed to work my way up. Thankfully, my family’s wealth was kept safe over the years in a Swiss bank account and I was able to use those funds to rebuild my life. I entered Oxford and demonstrated my genius IQ to hoards of surprised primates who were often intimidated by my presence. They didn’t know I was a mutant and I wanted to keep it that way…at least for the time being.
I immersed myself in the study of biology, genetics, history, and society. For years I toiled, making a prominent name for myself in all fields. I became an early authority on mutation. At the time the mutant population was still isolated and just beginning to emerge. Many other issues such as the Cold War and social uprisings throughout the Western world squelched any chance of mutants becoming their own force. I knew it would not stay that way so my plan was to make sure I had all the knowledge and skills for when the time came.
Eventually, my tenure at Oxford ended when the school simply failed to provide me with any more meaningful knowledge. I was offered a high level teaching position at the school, one that could have led me to a stable and comfortable life for the rest of my days. But I didn’t want that. My destiny as a mutant was taking me elsewhere. I just didn’t know which direction I should go. So for the next few decades, I tried to go in every direction.
It is here where I also have many secrets. My travels were extensive and I’m not just talking about exotic locations far from any civilization. These travels had a purpose. I wanted to learn about war and conflict. I wanted to get to the very heart of what drove the atrocities that lead to events like the holocaust. I visited war zones in South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. There I watched the same story unfold, just with different characters. Groups of humans were merely oppressing other groups of humans for reasons that were utterly arbitrary. Sometimes it was their religion, sometimes it was their ethnicity, and sometimes it was their political affiliation. It was like watching a bad movie again and again.
I yearned for more guidance. I ended up traveling to some more exotic places…some of which weren’t technically on any map per se. It’s only in these unique places that I dare not even think about where I finally started making sense of what I was seeing. Human beings, like all life, are at the mercy of their evolution. As a social species, humans create groups to survive and when other groups try to do the same then there are only two options: cooperation or confrontation. I wasn’t sure how that would apply for me as a mutant, but then I was reminded that mutants still evolved from humans. Some of those tendencies were sure to carry over. The conflict in me at this time was what drove these two forces. I thought I understood, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
This became a very conflicted part of my life. It was during this time I started struggling with the idea that if mutants were still human in their nature, then how would we escape these flaws? And if confrontation between these two groups was inevitable, then what path would they choose? Would it be confrontation or cooperation?
The master of magnetism finally made a move on the chess board. It was a simple move that didn’t require him to take any pieces from the other side. He just moved his rook two squares to the left. It seemed so simple for a move he had been contemplating for hours, but it was those simple details that always fascinated him. It was only from these small details that the big picture could emerge.
Such was the case of his determination to answer the questions that arose from his travels. There was a time in his life when he could have walked a very different path. Had he gone that route he may not be in this confined cell. He may be somewhere else doing something entirely different with his powers. It was interesting to contemplate even if it was meaningless. As far as Magneto was concerned, what led him here began with a chance meeting between him and a very important man.
When my travels finally ended, the world was going through yet another change. The social upheavals had sputtered a bit and the mutant population was on the rise. Media coverage was starting to grow and people all over were taking notice. One whose voice stood out among all others was an up and coming graduate student at Princeton named Charles Xavier.
While I was traveling, Charles picked up my mantel as an authority on mutation and did so with uncanny dedication. It seemed inevitable that our paths would cross and I’m glad they did. Charles was probably the first real friend I had in decades. I could talk to him for hours about the nature of mutation and how it has impacted history both in terms of evolution and civilization. It helped that he was a mutant as well. He could relate to me as an equal, something I had not experienced in a long time. It was…comforting. It gave me a new perspective on the questions I struggled with.
For a time I helped Charles with his research. Our work would later become the backbone for humanity’s admittedly rudimentary understanding of mutants. This would be the bedrock from which the modern mutant conflict would emerge, but Charles and I did not thrust ourselves into it at first. We were still men of science trying to make sense of the world. I felt that if I brought Charles with me on my travels, perhaps I could pick up on the details I had missed.
Charles, to his credit, was very open-minded to learning a new perspective. He had lived too comfortable a life in his upper-class upbringing and needed to take in the harsher side of life. Once again, I traveled. This time I had a companion. The years seemed to go by much faster because we were always busy, taking in conflicts from emerging war zones in places like Israel, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe. While neither of us realized it at the time, the seeds of our eventual divide were sewn.
I noticed when we saw the atrocities of war, Charles wouldn’t react nearly as strongly as I did. I always pointed these acts out as a manifestation of humanity’s natural barbarism. Charles simply didn’t see it that way. He interpreted these grizzly affairs as a tragedy, one that resulted from fear and a lack of understanding. He would always talk more about the potential for peace rather than note the futility of human conflict. He always saw hope in every situation. We got into a few debates at times, but it was never of the heated kind. We simply respected each other too much and I had other reasons to be reasonable.
It was during this period of travel that something remarkable happened…something I never anticipated from the moment I began my journey. I fell in love. It may be hard for these foolish humans to picture, but it’s true. I do have the ability to love and do so with such devotion that no one would dare question my capacity for heart. But not just any woman could capture my heart. She had to be special and Magda Maximoff certainly fit into that category.
Magda was not a mutant, but she wasn’t a mere human either. She was a somewhat obscure mystic who traveled throughout Eastern Europe, granting charms, casting spells, and telling fortunes to those in need of hope. She was quite popular among those afflicted by the horrors of war. Her mystical talents could undo some of the physical scars while soothing the mental scars. When our paths crossed, it was like she reached those festering wounds I had been harboring since I was a child. She saw in me a man who was his own mystical manifestation. I enchanted her the same way she enchanted me.
For a time she gave me hope that the destiny of the mutant race would not be forged in conflict alone. There was room for connection. There was room for love. She quickly joined me and Charles on our ventures and our love only grew. On a trip to Northern Ireland, I took her as my bride in a small little ceremony we held privately with Charles being our chief witness. It seemed like true happiness was finally coming my way. The answers I had been seeking were tantalizingly close. My world only got brighter when I learned that Magda was pregnant. Then came the fateful trip that destroyed it all.
The hardened demeanor of Erik Lensherr faltered. He clenched his fists while his face tensed with unbridled anger and pain. Were it not for the power dampening fields, every scrap of metal within a mile would have shaken. Yet that was only a fraction of his rage.
Few could ever understand what it was like to have everything they held dear shattered in the blink of an eye. He heard so many stories about loss and hardship. Some were legitimately horrible while others were a joke. There were people in this world who made epic tragedies out of the loss of a pet. This was an insult to true loss…the kind that utterly destroyed any promise of peace. More than any other event, such loss proved that humanity was beyond redemption.
It happened in the Balkans of all places. It was a time of escalating civil war between rival ethnic clans. Charles and I were there to survey the displaced refugees. We were also commissioned to do an assessment of other at-risk areas for further conflict. It was a pretty brutal campaign. The two factions were well-armed and embittered by centuries of hostilities. There was no logic behind such a conflict. It was like so many others I had seen. It wasn’t until I finally paid the true price of such a conflict that the answers I had been looking for finally struck me.
It all happened early in the day when Charles, Magda, and I were in what we thought was a safe town. We were making preparations to go back into the war zone. I was talking to Magda about flying back to Switzerland to be with her sister, Marya Maximoff. The twins were expected to arrive at any day and I didn’t want her to be in harms way when the time came. Before I could even voice those concerns, that harm found us.
Out of nowhere the whole area was shelled by a well-armed squad of ethnic militia. They then came storming into the village, yelling in a fit of rage that reminded me all too much of the Nazi invasion of my former home. It all happened so fast. Shot, killed, and maimed everyone in their path. The cries of the innocent still haunt my memories to this day, but none rang louder than that of my terrified wife.
At first I urged Charles to use his powers with mine so we can fight back this onslaught. For whatever reason, he seemed conflicted. This was the pre-hero Charles and combat simply did not resonate with him. That hesitation proved fatal though because a shell blew up right next to the small house we were staying in. I don’t remember a whole lot of what happened after that. I only remember being knocked to the ground and rendered helpless while soldiers stormed the area. As soon as they saw Magda, they did not hesitate the same way Charles had. They took one look at her and started beating her relentlessly. Since she was pregnant, shooting her seemed to be too quick. They needed to draw it out…to make her suffer for daring to carry the hopes of another generation.
As I witnessed these horrors, all inclinations to understand such barbarism went out the proverbial door. The time for understanding was over. If this was how the human race was going to conduct itself, so be it. My only task now was to protect the ones I cared most about from such atrocity. I summoned more magnetic power than I had ever managed up to that point in my life. With it, I turned the weapons of the soldiers against them and used it to maim them in the same way they had probably maimed countless others. Only I didn’t stop there.
Flushed with anger and disgust, I rose up from the rubble and exacted my judgment on the rest of the soldiers. I took every piece of metal around me and formed a storm of shards with which I reigned down a terrible vengeance upon them. I looked down on them without mercy as these shards ripped the very flesh from their bones. Now it was their turn to cry out in agony. All their power and hatred was rendered completely meaningless in and instant. Now they were the victims and they showed that they were just as weak as the ones they were seeking to oppress.
While this was happening, Charles had emerged and was horrified by what I was doing. He tried to stop me, but I could not. These humans had sealed their fate. They revealed to me the truth I had been seeking. Humanity was never going to escape it’s brutal nature. It was always going to claim more victims. It didn’t matter how innocent or pure those victims were. There was no escape and like my father before me, I would not let it stand. I would fight back with the power I had been granted that set me apart from these primates. With it, I killed every last one of those soldiers and didn’t feel an ounce of remorse in doing so.
When it was over, nearly everyone in the village was dead. But none of that mattered to me anymore. All that mattered was saving Magda. I ignored completely the concerns Charles voiced and rushed to get my wife and unborn children to a hospital. But I was too late. Magda would not make it. She would never even awake from her unconscious state to say goodbye or hold the children she bore. It would have been infinitely worse had Wanda and Pietro not made it, but by whatever miracle they were spared. The doctors delivered them via cesarean section mere hours before Magda passed away. With her death, any semblance of admiration or pity I had for the human race died as well.
The rage still burning within him, Magneto made another move on the chess board. He took a knight from the other side of the board and used it to take an opposing pawn. It was an appropriate summation of what he came to believe about humanity and the constant struggle between the weak and the strong.
For decades of his life he struggled to understand the depths of human conflict. He sought vindication and absolution from the horrors he experienced as a child. Could there truly be progress? Could the evolution of mutation be the key? It seemed like a philosophical struggle with intellectual obstacles. That was before the truth was revealed to him in the beaten and battered body of his wife. The time for curiosity ended that fateful day. For each moment that followed, it would be another step towards war.
In wake of my loss I severed my ties with Charles. He tried to reach out to me, but I could tell he was still disgusted by what I did. I also saw in him the same weakness I once had. His hesitation to use his powers when the moment called for it was a clear sign to me that he was weak. He no longer had anything to offer.
As soon as Magda was laid to rest, I took my infant children to Switzerland where Madga’s distraught sister, Marya, was waiting for them. She agreed to help me look after the twins while I put together the next phase in my life. Now that I had answers to the questions that had been plaguing me, the next logical step was to formulate a plan. What was going to do now that I had realized the futility of humanity? How was I going to make it right? I was blessed with this vast power. It would be irresponsible if not criminal of me to not use it.
I went through a bit of a reflective period while I struggled with this step. I divided my time between making sense of my new destiny and spending time with my infant children. Everything I did from that point forward was for them. I refused to let them come of age in the same corrupt world that I had endured. I was going to change it. I just didn’t know where to begin.
Once I set Marya up with a stable home in Switzerland with the twins, I went off on a new journey. This time the goal wasn’t knowledge. This time the goal was preparation. My focus would be on the growing mutant population. I concluded that if humanity could not rise above it’s barbaric nature, then the only avenue for genuine change was evolution. It is impossible for any species to escape their basic instinct without the forces of natural selection to guide them. However, I was not certain that the mutant race had evolved enough to separate themselves from humanity. I needed to be sure that I wasn’t wasting my time. I had to find out before I put my next plan into motion.
More years passed by while I sought these answers. During that time I sought out mutant communities all over the world. By this time the growing awareness of mutation had triggered a full fledged social issue. I watched in secret as mutants protested and thrust themselves into the public eye. I saw an uprising in India where mutants protested policies that automatically labeled them as untouchable. I saw protests in Africa to condemn laws that called for public executions of mutants because they were believed to be possessed by evil spirits. I saw a full fledged revolt in South America from mutants who had taken refuge in the jungle, trying to exact their revenge on the small towns and villages that exiled them.
This was all well and good, but I wasn’t seeing anything different than what I saw from other humans who had faced oppression. I had yet to see a sign that they had evolved beyond their basic homo sapien instincts. But I kept looking. I had a gut feeling something would happen that would point me in the right direction. My patience eventually paid off in a profound way. Ironically enough, it happened on a little island called Genosha.
Magneto made another move on the chess board, using an opposing pawn to take a bishop. It was a rare move in chess, a lowly piece such as a pawn taking a piece that was by many measures far more powerful. Yet it was not impossible. It just required the right situation and the right conditions. The master of magnetism almost smiled when he thought about how this symbolized that fateful moment when he realized the true power of the mutant race. It was a moment that set him on a course that would eventually end with him in a prison cell.
Genosha had always held a certain fascination with me. It was a tiny island surrounded by ocean, yet somehow this small nation was the sight of many wars. Over the centuries, there have been many epic conflicts for control over this island. That says nothing about the ominous mythology surrounding the lands. It is said they are cursed while being blessed at the same time. Whenever a power enters this land, they come out with strange stories and exotic new technologies (relatively speaking) to wield. It was a fascinating mystery that created a cycle of conflict that seemed destined to go on forever.
However, it wasn’t the conflict that captivated me. It was the unusually high mutant population that always seemed to emerge on this island. Over the centuries kings and tyrants have tried to expel all mutants from the island, seeing them as a threat or part of the curse. But no matter how draconian their methods, they never succeeded. Mutants kept coming back. By the time I returned for a visit, they had re-emerged after being nearly snuffed out by a brutal communist regime. That regime had since toppled and was replaced by a military dictatorship dominated by a displaced African warlord. He thought he could assert control over the island and his first order of business was to get the mutants of the island under his thumb. Only this time, the mutant population would not go quietly.
Among them a charismatic if not slightly deranged leader emerged. I never learned his name, but his fellow mutants called him Zealot. He was a mutant with the power to manipulate Earth and soil. He was anything but dangerous on the surface, but his charisma rallied the mutants who did not have the stomach for another purged. I watched and even assisted at times as they organized themselves into a full fledged resistance. They managed to consolidate their powers and formulate a daring plan that would end this brutal reign quickly and efficiently.
It started with half the mutant population forming a fortress and publicly taunting the warlord. They went so far as to declare themselves a new nation, separating their part of the island from the main Genoshan authority. The warlord foolishly took the bait. He sent the brunt of his army to attack the fortress and take them all down. In doing so he left his palace in the capital city very vulnerable. It provided Zealot and a powerful contingent of hand-picked mutants the perfect opportunity to strike the warlord right on his throne. They had a short window with which to operate and they used it wisely.
The conflict lasted mere hours. While the warlord’s army just began shelling the fortress, Zealot and his team infiltrated the palace and neutralized the elite guard. There were remarkably few casualties. Zealot cared more about making a point than exacting his vengeance on this warlord. When he finally cornered the warlord in his throne room, I expected the same result I had seen from every conflict of this nature. The warlord certainly seemed to expect it too. He was terrified at the prospect of what he would face. I expected the mutants he was leading to carry out the same barbaric cruelty I had seen from so many others. But that didn’t happen.
Rather than bludgeon the man to death, they had him order his army to stand down. Then they marched him into the streets of the capital, had him stand up on a podium, and publicly ordered him to admit he was inferior to the people he was trying to oppress and that he would leave the island with his army forever. The warlord hesitated, his pride keeping him from being so pathetic. But he did as he was told and Zealot made sure he stayed true to his word.
Within a week, the warlord fled the country and never returned. For a time Genosha was at peace and mutants were once again free from another purge. They could have seized control of the country if they wanted, but Zealot was not a visionary nor was he all that competent. That didn’t matter though. He proved something very important to me. He proved that he and the mutants that followed him could resist the primitive instincts that their predecessors were utter slaves to. The mere fact he was of questionable mental capacity only speaks volumes for the strength of the mutant instinct. This new race was more than just a fortuitous off-shoot of the human species. It was a true manifestation of evolution, capable of becoming so much more as a species.
That answered my question. That showed me the path I must follow in confronting this corrupt human order. With a growing mutant population, the stage was set for a new dominant species to take over. The human order was never going to progress. The only way for peace to reign supreme was for mutants to rise up and wash away this tyrannical order. Since humanity seemed to be doing everything in it’s power to hold mutants back, I took it upon myself to fight back.
Magneto’s moves on the chess board became more instinctive. He no longer thought as hard before making each move. His brain was entirely focused, processing every potential angle within seconds rather than dwelling endlessly. He kept moving the pieces in and around the board, never taking any pieces. It was all about setting up the final push for victory. This was the focus that guided him in his new vision for the mutant race.
I did not waste a moment with this new plan. I returned to Switzerland and spent time with my children, telling them about where our lives were going to go from here. They were mere teenagers at the time and had not realized the truths I had discovered. So while I laid the seeds for my plan, I had them travel to the same war torn areas I ventured to so they could see first hand the futility of the human race. I made sure Marya properly protected them so that when we reunited, they would be ready to follow me.
While they were learning the harsh lessons of humanity, I was setting up shop on a rocky island that was rich in iron. It was just off the coast of New England and I planned for this to be my front for the this coming revolution. As I did this I made sure that every public record of my life was completely destroyed. I purposefully removed all traces and connections to the life I previously lived. I burned my passport, redistributed my bank accounts to anonymous names, and even had myself declared dead in certain areas so that I had no ties to any nation or government. I was to be my own man, completely set apart from the human order.
I was excited at the prospect of uniting the mutant race. I thought it would be easy because mutants by now were a hot-button issue. Governments all over the world were seeking new containment strategies and the public wasn’t getting any less hostile to mutant activities. Unfortunately, this trend was balked by the sudden re-appearance of my old friend Charles Xavier.
I had heard he was afflicted with cancer. For a time I thought he was dead. Apparently, cancer wasn’t enough to take Charles out of the fight. He was apparently inspired by our travels as well, albeit in the opposite fashion. He didn’t seem interested in overthrowing this corrupt human order. He seemed more interested in keeping mutants integrated with this sick system of oppression. To do this he gathered a handful of young, eager mutants and turned them into masked vigilantes. At first I thought it was a pathetic attempt to win support. It turned out to be anything but pathetic because it worked.
The X-men as he called them were heralded as heroes, cut from the same cloth as other costumed heroes. This was a dangerous development for my cause. The X-men became the public face of a new mutant agenda. There was no uprising or revolt in Xavier’s tactics. He believed in foolish dreams that heroics would make people accept our kind. This forced me to re-evaluate my strategy. I couldn’t just start preaching to despondent mutant populations and expect them to follow me. Not when they had champions in the X-men to look up to.
Thus began my plan for the Brotherhood of Mutants. If Xavier was going to use a team, then so was I. At this point my children had completed their travels and were ready to fight beside me against the corrupt human order. I also enlisted the help of a skilled mercenary and spy named Raven Darkholme, who would provide me with the intelligence I needed to make my move.
Over the next few years we conducted small operations, attacking individuals and groups who were militant in their anti-mutant agenda. We also gathered materials and resources with which to organize our revolution. This included advanced electronics, weapons, and communications equipment. Along the way we clashed numerous times with Xavier’s X-men. I tried to keep those confrontations to a minimum, but Charles insisted on being pestilent. At one point he was such a hindrance I had to resort to extreme measures. I had Mystique locate Xavier’s estranged nephew, Cain Marko. He had since gained tremendous power and called himself Juggernaut. As much as I respected Charles, I could not allow him to doom our species.
The conflict that ensued later came to be known as the Great Unmaking. Mystique and I coordinated to unleash Juggernaut in downtown New York City. This would provide optimum media coverage for the X-men’s failure and Brotherhood’s rise. It turned out to be something entirely different. I once again grossly underestimated Charles and his X-men. They fought valiantly in the streets of New York, gaining worldwide attention as they engaged in an epic battle with Juggernaut. Entire blocks were leveled and many people were hurt, but the X-men played their hero role nicely. They saved lives as well as stood their ground. Juggernaut still battered and bruised them, but they managed to overcome his near invincibility. Charles, now bound to a wheelchair, joined in the battle to deliver the final blow. He used his psychic powers to take down his nephew. In doing so he won the battle and set the stage for a new phase in his X-men.
Before the entire world and a curious public, he had most of his X-men take off their masks in front of the news cameras. They stood up in the center of Time Square and said their real names, declaring themselves to be mutants and proud of it. They proclaimed that they were out to use their powers for good. They were ready to serve mankind and foster peace between humans and mutants. It was an amazing spectacle and one that would make my task far more difficult.
Magneto stopped his seemingly chaotic moves with the pieces on the chess board. It seemed he had gotten ahead of himself yet again. The situation he was working towards had not turned out as he had planned. Now he had to stop and re-evaluate his strategy. Just as he had done with the Brotherhood, an unexpected obstacle had hindered his progress. Yet he never lost focus. He refused to give up on his goal.
It was a bittersweet moment. Charles finally showed me that he was every bit as dedicated as I was. I could no longer look at him as week. I could not help but grant him my respect. I just could not let him get in my way.
I wanted to continue my plan to unite mutant kind against our oppressors. I wanted Charles to be an ally, not an enemy. I gave him plenty of opportunities. I even organized an elaborate ploy with Weapon X to show him just how savage human beings could be. Yet that still wasn’t enough. I had to establish my Brotherhood, build up our forces, and lead the uprising with the full knowledge that Charles Xavier and the X-men would be waiting on the other side. It would all take place where my vision had begun…Genosha.
It was the perfect place for mutants to establish a front against the human race. In the years proceeding Zealot’s revolt, the island nation plunged back into chaos again and was overtaken by an obscure yet ruthless dictator (as if there are any other kind). Once again, fear was used to rally humanity against a common foe. Just as the Nazis did to the Jews, Cameron Hodge and the powers that thought like him used mutants as a scapegoat. This was the new threat to humanity. This was who they were going to oppress. Only this time, there was one key factor they could not account for…evolution.
Mutants by their own nature are more evolved than humans. They are the rightful heirs to this planet and there is nothing humanity can do about it. Hodge was ready to launch an all out war for his own selfish gain. I refused to let this be another holocaust and rallied all the mutants I could find in an uprising against his forces. I took thugs, outcasts, and the impoverished from mutant communities all over the world. With my Brotherhood leading the way, we were poised to overthrow Hodge and take over his precious sentinels. The ultimate plan was to let him go through the trouble of developing the mysterious Genoshan technology and then usurping it so that mutants would have the ultimate edge. Overnight, we would become the most powerful nation on Earth and mutants would be dominant and humans would be hated and feared. It would have worked too were it not for Charles Xavier.
More anger consumed the master of magnetism. He made another move on the chess board, callously bumping one of the knights with a bishop. It put one side in position to take down the king. It seemed like a winning movie, just as his uprising had been on Genosha. But like the game of chess, victory could never be premature. Overconfidence was the greatest enemy of those who wielded power. It was an enemy he struggled with on more than one occasion and he paid the price for it.
I once again underestimated Charles Xavier. I don’t know if he and his X-men are that skilled or just plain lucky. All I know is my mutant forces had Hodge’s army with their backs against the wall. Even after he deployed the sentinel’s high-powered energy weapons, we still had the advantage. I had the benefit of good intelligence. Mystique had been spying on Genosha for quite some time and she knew exactly how to disrupt the communications network that guided the sentinels. With my powers, I could turn the tide in an instant. That’s when Charles made his move.
He and the X-men managed to rout Hodge from his hiding place and get him to stand down. They also managed to strike a deal with my own daughter, getting her to cease hostilities as well. Somehow they even managed to hack the sentinels and shut them down. Then that pet they call Wolverine robbed me of my destiny. Everything came falling down like a house of cards. My plan failed, but at the same time the mutant race had not lost.
While I was taken in like a common criminal, Cameron Hodge and his tyrannical regime was overthrown. The mutants of my uprising had nowhere to go and since the humans on the island were so battered by Hodge’s tyranny, they chose to leave. Now the island is in a precarious state. The mutants dominate it, but not with true authority. Militaries from all over the world occupy this tiny island and there’s no clear future for it or the mutants. That in turn gives me hope.
It may seem strange seeing as how I’m locked in a cell in one of the most secure prisons on the planet, but it’s true. There is still hope that my vision for a mutant dominated world will come to pass. My children are still out there. They have their share of authority on the affairs of Genosha (at least Wanda does). They may not stir revolution, but they will keep the embers warm until I can make my next move. Right now they need only keep the world balanced. The humans cannot be given a reason to spark a war against our brethren. In this instance Charles is doing me a favor because I know he and his X-men won’t let that happen. That’s all for the best because it gives me time to work out the backup plan I’ve had in the works since before the uprising even began.
Another smile crept across the old holocaust survivor’s face as he made another move, this time putting pressure on the opposing king. The game was almost over. He could feel it. All the pieces were in place. It was only a matter of moving them in the right way to complete the final task.
Humanity is going to learn the hard way that they cannot stop evolution. Sooner or later, homo sapiens will have to yield to homo superior. We are the future. We are the next stage in the unfolding story of life. It’s going to happen sooner or later so it might as well be sooner.
The pieces are already falling into place. I may have underestimated Charles, but he and all those who dare to oppose me continue to overestimate their worth. I may be confident and a tad arrogant, but I’m no fool. I never leave anything to chance. My children will see to it…including Lorna. She is an unexpected piece, but one that will contribute in her own unique way. She may not have entered this world under the same pretense as Wanda and Pietro, but she is still my daughter and she is still a vestige of homo superior.
She and all the mutant children coming of age will be there to witness the final act of this evolutionary struggle. Before I draw my last breath, I will see to it that my people never endure another holocaust. The humans will fall. The mutants will rise. And nobody…not Charles Xavier…not the X-men…and not even the collaborative militaries of the world shall stand in my way. Our time will eventually come. Prison or no prison, the evolution of mutant kind will continue. Like a game of chess, the time to strike will soon arrive. And when it does, I will be ready.
Still smiling intently, the master of magnetism made a final move with his rook. With it, the game was over. The opposing king had fallen. One side lost while the other stood victorious. This was how the conflict between humans and mutants would unfold. There could be no draw. One side had to prevail while the other had to submit. This was what nature had ordained. Those that tried to resist were doomed to fail.
Even in a plastic prison, Erik Lensherr remained as poised and confident as he had since the day he began this journey. He had gone from a victim of the holocaust to the key to his peoples’ salvation. His uprising may have failed, but his ultimate dream never faded for an instant. He was going to eventually succeed. That much he was confident of. Every one of his enemies, including his old friend Charles Xavier, would have to submit. If they were in a chess match they would have already lost their key pieces. Magneto still had his and it was only a matter of time before he used them to their full effect.
“Checkmate,” he said as used the rook to knock over the opposing king, “Soon, my mutant brethren…soon.”
End of Supreme Reflections Volume 1
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