|Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #368|| || |
Issue Date: April 1999
Story Title: Mansions in Heaven
Staff: Alan Davis & Adam Kubert (story & art), Joe Casey (script), Tim Townsend (inks), Liquid! (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s WA (letters), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)
Wolverine runs through Danger Room scenarios, each time trying to kill Magneto. Ororo changes the program’s parameters which allows Magneto to capture him, but he isn’t impressed and asks her to leave him alone. Charles Xavier, meanwhile, visits Dr. Huxley at the United Nations but his brief conversation doesn’t go well. He returns to the mansion. Magneto is with his robot, Ferris, watching footage of demonstrations outside the United Nations building. People are angry that they have granted him presidency of Genosha. He destroys his television when someone compares him to Adolf Hitler. The X-Men prepare for Joseph’s funeral, and Rogue in particular is taking his death hard. Kitty fails to persuade Wolverine to join them, but he is more intent on running through the program than attending the funeral of someone he never much liked anyway. Charles provides everyone with a mental glimpse of what Joseph was feeling when he died, and it moves not only them, but also Wolverine and Sister Maria de la Joya as far away as Brazil. After the funeral, the X-Men join Charles in the Danger Room as he tries to dissuade Wolverine from his current course of actions. As they chat, inexplicably, an alien appears and whisks them away to another dimension.
Wolverine sneaks across the rooftops of Genosha, silently, avoiding the spotlights that roam the darkest recesses and the soldiers that patrol the streets. Genosha has its problems, but the civil war doesn’t compare to the new problem sitting fat and happy in the citadel. He leaps over a high wall lined with razor wire and lands inside the citadel’s compound. Ever since Wolverine joined the X-Men, they’ve been dealing with the guy inside. Every time they put him down, he comes back for more. This time he’s going to do something about it.
Attack dogs run toward him, but they die a silent death. This goes way beyond anything personal, even though he hasn’t forgotten what the guy did to him; what he took from him. He set roots in Salem Center because he believed in the dream. What’s happening here poisons that dream. He may be the only one who cares enough about it to be there, but he’s used to going it alone. He looks through a window and notices three men playing cards and smoking. He sniffs the air, making sure that he’s inside. He enters via an open window quietly but is immediately hurled into the air by Magneto!
The villain entangles him in metals ripped from the room. Wolverine doesn’t mind so much. He just wants to see Magneto’s eyes, because if he can see his, then Magneto can see his own. That’s important to him. Wolverine is trapped in the mangled metal, but he doesn’t care about anything. He just wants to kill. Nothing else matters.
Ororo speaks to Wolverine through the public address system installed in the Danger Room. She informs him that his hyper-senses mean nothing if he cannot predict the security systems. He replies that she isn’t welcome, and asks her to vacate the premises. He’s busy, and doesn’t want anyone except Magneto in front of him. From the control booth, Ororo tells him that this is insane. He’s been at this for days, running through endless variations of the same scenario: infiltration of the Genoshan capital and attempted assassination of its new ruler, Magneto. She switches off the program, and Wolverine lands with a thump on the empty Danger Room floor. She changed the parameters of the program to illustrate a point.
Wolverine sits and sulks. Ororo asks if he’s killed Magneto yet. “Few times,” replies Logan. She asks what exactly he has accomplished in doing so. Magneto is still in power. The X-Men are his friends, and they share a common ideal. His actions are anathema to that. Logan asks her to save her speeches. He’s not in the mood. If the rest of them aren’t using the room to jump through Charlie’s hoops, he should be allowed a little exercise. Does she have a problem with that? Ororo departs without a word, and Wolverine begins the sequence once again, increasing the random probability factor by two hundred percent.
(the United Nations building, New York City)
Professor Xavier has turned up, hoping to speak with someone about Genosha. A personal assistant explains that everyone is in a meeting. “And what about her?” he asks. The assistant replies that she is anxious to see him, and asks Charles to follow her. She understands how strange this must be for him. Dr. Huxley’s new responsibilities here turned out to encompass his old job as consultant on genetic mutation. It’s been a bit of an adjustment. Everyone’s getting used to her being there. Of course, she adds, Dr. Huxley has been in Genosha for the past eighteen months, so she’s uniquely qualified to deal with the current crisis. “Right,” remarks Charles, rather suspiciously.
Charles is shown into Dr. Huxley’s office and she asks him to make himself comfortable. She pauses, and cheekily asks if he can tell what she’s thinking. Charles isn’t there to play games. He tells her that he’ll be brief. He’s not there to verbally spar with her, but she engineered the deal that put Magneto in a seat of world power. She gave him Genosha, which to him reeks of total insanity. Magneto is one of the most dangerous and powerful mutants alive. His goal is nothing less than world domination. To believe that he will settle for Genosha is lunacy. He asks Dr. Huxley what her game is, when the security of the entire planet is at stake.
Alda Huxley responds like a politician, by asking him a question of her own. What exactly was he doing in the Arctic with Magneto and the X-Men? She’s well aware of his reputation for sensitivity on the mutant issue, but from where she sits, either he was there as a prisoner or an ally. Does he care to clear that up for her? Charles remains silent, and Dr. Huxley says that she thought so. She asks to be excused, but she has to prepare for a return flight to Genosha. Charles tells her that this isn’t over. Alda agrees, and wishes him a nice day.
Magneto is seated aboard his craft with Ferris at the controls. He is watching television footage of protestors outside the U.N. building, complaining about the U.N. giving in to terrorist demands. Allen Leto isn’t happy. This isn’t the first time that ‘this freak’ has held the world hostage, he moans, but he never expected anything like this. He isn’t impressed that Magneto turned the lights off all over the world and the U.N. granted him a presidency. Wasn’t it bad enough over there already? The most powerful mutant in the world is now a world leader!
Another interviewee complains that she can’t sleep at night knowing there is a mutant terrorist nation across the ocean. She concludes her rant by comparing the giving of Genosha to Magneto with giving Germany back to Hitler. This infuriates Magneto, and he destroys his television set. Clenching his fists, he informs Ferris that they will never understand. Ferris replies that he will make them understand. Soon, they will all know the power he possesses. “Yes… of course they will,” he replies. “They say no man is an island. We shall see.”
Rogue is alone, sitting on a tree stump and remembering Joseph. He had allowed her to experience a kiss by momentarily suspending her powers. He was the only one who could do that. Now he is dead. Remy LeBeau watches her from the mansion’s window. He is all too aware of Joseph’s place in Rogue’s heart. Joseph’s death doesn’t change that one bit.
Storm informs those present for Joseph’s funeral of the scenario that brought about his sad demise. They were there at the epicenter of Magneto’s mad scheme to disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field. It succeeded but, had Joseph not been there, things would have turned out much worse. Jean replies that she and Scott were in Alaska when the lights went out. They left as soon as the news broke, but it was too late. Now Magneto has been set up in Genosha.
Ororo is moved how so many people have turned out for someone who they once believed to be their greatest enemy. That Joseph was a genetically-engineered clone of Magneto is insignificant. She wonders if those who were part of Charles Xavier’s original class might be thinking that all their sacrifices might have been in vain.
Marrow wants to get on with it. The smart clothes she wears itch. Kurt asks her to relax. They will wait for the professor, and only then can they proceed. Ororo reminds him that they’re waiting for one other, too.
Inside the Danger Room, Wolverine continues running through the Genosha scenario. Kitty phases inside and he instinctively slashes her with his claws. Fortunately, she is unharmed, but he is unapologetic, asking her to get out. Kitty informs him that he looks terrible and hasn’t slept. Charles wants everyone up at the mansion house. They need to stick together through this. With everything that’s happened, this is about more than a funeral. This is about all of them. She asks him what the deal is.
Logan replies by pointing out that he isn’t a hypocrite. He never much liked Joseph when he was alive, and he’s not going to start pretending now. The rest of them can have their little memorial. He’s taking out his twin. He leaps off the roof and continues his mission, leaving Kitty to return empty handed.
Charles arrives home and is informed that Logan won’t be joining them. Charles isn’t happy about that, but they’ll have to do this without him. His joy in seeing everyone again is tempered by the weight of the occasion. To many of them he has been a teacher. Often, in times like these, they look to him for guidance. He wishes he knew why their struggle has to have so many casualties but, as he doesn’t, he instead shares with them something much more precious. He asks them to open their minds to him, and then proceeds to remind them of Joseph’s brief but important existence.
Joseph came to the school to learn, and learn he did. He came to share their dream that mutants and humans can coexist in peace and harmony. He did this despite being haunted by the face staring back at him in the mirror - the face of everything they’ve stood to combat. In his final moments in the Arctic, Joseph finally stared down his mirror image and he did not blink. He triumphed. At that crucial moment, Charles peered inside his mind. His goal was to help him along, but it turned out he didn’t need it. What they feel now is what he felt then. What he knows now, they shall all know.
Meanwhile, Wolverine pauses the program. Charles’ influence is stretching far and wide, reminding everyone that Joseph’s short life is proof that the X-Men can make a difference. Enemies can become allies, and with hope, and courage, what once seemed impossible is within their reach. While Joseph may be gone, the dream he died for lives on.
Sister Maria de la Joya is in the fields with some of her children when she too senses Charles’ final gift. Tears well in her eyes as she recalls the brief time she spent in Joseph’s company.
After the funeral, Jean Grey contacts Wolverine in the Danger Room, and he asks what he can do for her. Jean thinks that maybe she should ask him. First Alex goes missing, and now this. Scott adds that they’re all angry about the outcome of Magneto’s ultimatum, but this isn’t the answer. Logan replies that it’s the only answer. The other X-Men enter the Danger Room, including Charles Xavier but excluding Rogue. Logan asks him to take it elsewhere, unless he’s back to exert some more of his special kinda ‘pressure.’
Charles replies that he hopes that in time Logan can understand what he did to him in the Arctic but, for now, he cannot condone this course of action. Logan tells him that he has his own point of view on this situation, and if they don’t see eye-to-eye, then he guesses they have a problem. He likens him to a broken record. How many times do they have to turn the other cheek before realizing it’s time to play by Magneto’s rules?
Before any further arguments can ensue, a strange green glow is created between them and a strange alien appears. “Gah!” it exclaims. “I… am arrived. Thank Bsal!” Before any of the X-Men can react, they are teleported away by the alien, and they emerge in another dimension. It’s a strange place with large monstrous creatures and other-worldly shapes and images all around them. The alien appears to have miscalculated his return. Ororo informs Xavier that she is attuned to the planet’s weather, and this isn’t it. Charles is well aware that, as impossible as it seems, they’re not on Earth anymore.
Colossus, Gambit, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Maggott, Phoenix III, Psylocke
Professor Charles Xavier
Dr. Alda Huxley and her secretary
Sister Maria de la Joya and pupils
Strange other-dimensional creatures
Allen Leto, fellow protestors and a reporter
Ejulp is Ditko with each letter moved one forward in the alphabet.
It isn’t explained exactly how Sister Maria can sense Joseph’s passing, though presumably Charles’ mental influence can somehow touch those who had contact with Joseph.
This story is continued in X-Men (2nd series) #88.
Issue Summary written by: Fantomex