Today, we check out Dark Avengers #7, The Amazing Spider-Man #599, Deadpool #12, Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #2, and Blast to the Past with The New Mutants # 75. Enjoy and spread the word!
As always, you can easily check up on past articles of Super Reads. If you're reading this on The Outhouse, you'll see a link titled "Super Reads" under the "Features" button on the top of the page. Click on it and you can check out what happened in every issue dealing with Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and War of Kings (because I obviously have an addiction). If my directions are confusing, click here to catch up or remember back on all 59 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.
There's a Utopia happening right under Norman Osborn's little beady eyes. Will he find it in time?
Dark Avengers #7
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Luke Ross
In DA/UXM: Utopia, Simon Trask comes to San Francisco with his Humanity Now! movement to promote Proposition X, a mutant breeding act. Since San Francisco is the home of every mutant ever (outside of, say, X-Factor), this is just a riot waiting to happen and it only takes a few pages for that to start up. Cyclops and Emma Frost meet with the mayor and start working on quelling the riots as the whole thing attracts the attention of America's Top Cop, Norman Osborn. X-Man fights X-Man in the street of San Francisco. The Dark Avengers and HAMMER intervene and things still don't calm down. Emma Frost goes to Norman Osborn and finds out about "The Plan." It's the beginning of the Dark X-Men as Iron Patriot addresses the public with Professor Charles Xavier... while another Professor X is talking to the previously captured Beast in prison.
In Uncanny X-Men #513, Cyclops runs away from the authorities, the Dark Avengers help to clean the streets of San Francisco, Beast chats it up with the real Xavier before being trotted out to the Omega Machine which is being run by Dark Beast from the Age of Apocalypse, Norman Osborn introduces Emma to the Dark X-Men, we all learn that Dark Xavier is Mystique, Namor joins Emma's Dark X-Men team, Simon Trask begins infecting people with a techno-organic virus, Cyclops orders his X-Men to watch a lot of TV, Hellion leads a lot of people who should know better (and some who don't) into a riot/demonstration at Union Square, and the Dark X-Men get to some arresting.
In this issue, Beast starts to feel the effects of the Omega Machine while the Dark X-Men battle some mutant protesters at Union Square. Cyclops holds a meeting with Norman Osborn where he demands that America's Top Cop surrender before things start going badly for him. The Dark Avengers get bored of being guest stars in their own book and start a little ruckus with the Dark X-Men. Osborn and Dark Beast give Emma Frost a tour of the facilities (making sure not to let on that they have Charles Xavier and Beast as their prisoners). Finally, Simon Trask's infected army get their orders to destroy all mutants.
Hank McCoy has had better days. With the Omega Machine up and running, Beast has been an unwilling test subject to the procedure. At this point, he's losing massive clumps of blue fur and his fingernails are coming off. Charles Xavier is trying to help him deal with this but Beast still isn't certain he's speaking to the real Xavier. All he knows is he's in massive amounts of pain, losing bits of himself, and a voice in his head is calling itself Professor X. Best to be cautious.
Outside Beast's cell, Norman Osborn isn't pleased. He was told that the Omega Machine would safely and painlessly remove a mutant's powers and this doesn't look painless. Dark Beast is the mutant behind the Omega Machine and tries explaining that the machine is a work in progress and will require tweaking to get it to where it needs to be. The two trade barbs back and forth with Osborn getting in the last word: fix the machine or be subject to it.
Osborn storms off and meets up with the Sentry in his suite. Sentry is looking at the events happening in San Francisco and isn't pleased. Everything seems to be falling apart. Norman tells the crazy hero that that's not what's happening. Ozzy's got it all worked out. Sentry just needs to trust in how everything is gonna play. It's all going to work.
At Union Square, the Dark X-Men are handling their first assignment. Hellion and a bunch of other not-so-smart mutants decided that the best way to deal with a curfew was to defy it and burn things. Now, they've got to deal with the Dark X-Men. As far as first missions go, this one's a cake walk. The rioting mutants aren't really a team and everyone's fighting by themselves. The X-Men split up and take everyone out individually. There's only one moment where things go off the rails and that's when Dark Wolverine nearly guts Avalanche. Emma Frost steps in and blocks the attack with her diamond form. We also get that moment where Namor headbutts Sunspot that was mentioned in last week's Dark X-Men: The Beginning. Blink and you'll miss it.
As the Dark X-Men mop up that fight scene, we turn our attention to HAMMER's base of operations in San Francisco: Alcatraz. Cyclops flies on down to have a meeting with Norman Osborn. Cyclops has a jet pack. I'm a bit jealous. HAMMER Agents are all training their guns on the leader of the X-Men as Scott gives them a million dollar smile and asks to see Norman. The Iron Patriot strides through his troops and offers Cyke a handshake... which is denied.
Frustrated, Norman tells Scott that it's not to late to just end all this. All they need to do is have a couple press conferences and that'll be the end. Scott isn't here to wave a white flag, though. He's here to offer terms for Osborn's surrender. Yes, really.
Cyclops knows that the riots are under control and, now, he wants HAMMER out of his city. He doesn't care if Norman gets all the credit and says that HAMMER did all the work. After all, Osborn did. He just wants them out now. This doesn't go down well with Ozzy. He starts yelling at the first X-Man and tells the mutant that he doesn't see much leadership capabilities in him. This has been a trainwreck from day one in Osborn's eyes. Cyclops takes off in his super-cool jetpack claiming to have tried... even though it looked a hell of a lot more like provoking. Norman swears that he's going to love seeing the stuck up mutie buried. Cyclops has just made his list even though he hasn't really made that list yet.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Dark Avengers finally get a cameo appearance. In their own book. Don't you hate it when X-Men take over your title? Hawkeye sure does. The Avengers are just sitting this whole thing out and watching the highlights on television. They came all the way to the West Coast and they're spending their time in the hotel room. Lester wants to be doing stuff and he's been ordered on the sidelines. The only Avenger having any fun is Wolverine and that just makes everyone jealous. Hawkeye's gained the support of Ares just as the Dark X-Men return from their mission of beating up violent mutant protesters.
Dark Wolverine gets a nice kick in on the captured Hellion before getting chewed out by Emma Frost. Iron Patriot flies down to settle everyone down but Emma is not pleased with this. She is not about mutants being cruelly or unusually tortured even if they did break a couple of laws and start a few fires. There are rules and she isn't seeing them followed. I mean, is that headgear legal?
Norman asks her what it would take to convince her that this project was on the up and up and she demands to see the facilities and make sure that no one is being tortured. It takes Norman a moment to agree. We've already seen that the Omega Machine is sort of a painful process. That probably hasn't been fixed during this issue. Still, it's either this or lose her support. Emma leaves with Norman and Dark Beast.
Which leads the two Dark teams to face off. Hawkeye is bored and looking for a fight. Daken has had to curb his violent tendencies and is looking to spill blood. It doesn't take much time for Avenger and X-Man to come to blows.
Emma is getting a tour of the Mutant Containment Facilities. Norman and Dark Beast are telling her that the mutants have been treated with the Omega Machine which retards their mutant powers and gives them mild flu-like symptoms while doing no permanent harm. Without the Omega Machine, the rioters would have to be shipped off to a super-powered containment facility like the Raft. There are still issues, like the flu symptoms, that are being worked on. Kinks that need to be worked out. Still, it's on the up and up.
To prove them wrong, we have Charles Xavier. He's able to hear everything going on but, since he's been hooked up to the Omega Machine, his psychic powers are severly lowered. He's still able to communicate to Emma but, since she's in her diamond form, she's not able to psychically speak back. Xavier tells her that the Beast is dying and that she should ask about Hank. When she does, Norman denies that they even have McCoy, claiming that it's possible that the SFPD picked him up.
Xavier directs her to his cell. Dark Beast claims that it's empty and being used for storage and, wouldn't you know, Emma looks in to see a bunch of tech equipment. Xavier assures her that she's looking right at him as Norman sweats just a bit. Emma speaks to Xavier but it seems like she's speaking to Norman and Dark Beast. She tells Charles that everything's going to work out. Just wait.
Simon Trask has been pretty busy at St. Francis Hospital. He's recruited many hospital staffers and a few people who happened to be around, infecting them with what looked like a techno-organic virus. He gives his speech about how terrible mutants are and how they effect normal people's way of life. Trask then sends his BioSentinels down into the cities to kill as many mutants as they can.
The Amazing Spider-Man #599
Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciler: Stephen Segovia, Marco Checchetto, Paulo Siqueira, & Amilton Santos
Last issue, Harry learned about the American Son project, Spidey survived being shot in the face, Norman's had trouble getting Peter's mask off and employed Bullseye for the task, we learned that Lily's kid is obviously not Harry's (it's Norman's), Spidey escaped but doesn't get very far, and the guy coming to his rescue is none other than American Son: Harry Osborn.
In this issue, Harry dukes it out with Norman while Peter nearly collapses in the background. Harry boots daddy from Avengers Tower and then turns off his optical equipment so that he doesn't learn that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. The fight continues on the ground with Spider-Man and Menace interfering every so often. Harry eventually gains the upper hand but Peter talks him out of killing the elder Osborn. Peter recovers from his incredible injuries at a hospital and gets his Aunt and Jay to visit him while Harry gets prescribed drugs to get over taking the American Son compound. Norah Winters learns that messing with Norman Osborn is hazardous to your health and Norman happily deals with the fact that he has (another) son on the way.
Right now, Peter Parker is scrambling around the floor with his mask hanging by shreds as Harry Osborn and his pop, Norman, duke it on in full armor. You can guess what's gonna happen.
Peter and Harry have just attended their first frat party and are the worst for the experience. Harry got into a fight. Daddy issues. Norman had visited early and couldn't talk up Peter Parker enough. Harry needed to punch someone and this frat party gave him an excuse for it not to be Peter. Harry knows that his dad would have rather had Peter for a kid but, more than that, Harry really wishes Peter was his brother. Peter's cool with it. From now on, the two are brothers. They probably cut their hands and shake on it off panel.
Back at the current slug out between Osborns, Norman isn't even that worried about his son beating him up. After all, Harry's this hippy kid more worried about others' feeling than fighting. Turns out you can be more than one thing and, when properly motivated, you can beat the hell out of your dad. The rest of Peter's spider-mask disintegrates as he wishes Harry wouldn't have gotten involved. Harry's not just wearing a suit of armor. The American Son Project also involved using a modified version of the Super Soldier Compound. There might not be any turning back for the young Osborn.
Norman's next tactic is to try using Spider-Man to unite him and his son. Harry already gave Spidey to the elder Ozzy after finding the web-slinger running around in restricted areas of the Tower. Harry already regrets it, though. His only reason for joining up with Norman was so that he could work on a plan to get Lily and her unborn baby out of Norman's clutches. This was before he realized that the baby wasn't his and that Lily was there willingly. Now, it's totally on. Harry uses his power shield and blasts Iron Patriot out of Avengers Tower.
Lily, as Menace, has been trying to break in on this fight for a while now. She sees Norman falling from the Tower and makes to follow.
This leaves Peter and Harry alone in the room. Peter's unmaskes and tries apologizing for all of this. He just wanted to make sure that Harry didn't fall into Norman's hands again. Peter didn't want his best friend to be alone when facing his dad. Harry doesn't care. He's turned off his sensors so he doesn't know who Spider-Man is. He still hates the wall-crawler. This was just evening the score between the two and getting some payback on his pops. The American Son tells Spidey to go home. There's nothing he can do to affect what happens next.
In another section of the Tower, Norah Winters is getting the hell out. She's got lots of info on Norman and his American Son project and it's time to go home and write all about it. Maybe bury the former Green Goblin but good. She gives her unwitting ally (that security guard dude) a kiss on the cheek goodbye and runs from the Tower, certain that everything is awesome. Forever.
Iron Patriot has landed. Menace has followed and is more than a little worried that her big reveal to Harry last issue (about the baby not being his) would upset Norman. Osborn is only amused. Lily just sped things up is all. He orders his Avengers to cordon off the area and puts a media black out in effect. This battle is private.
Harry arrives and the fight is on again. More interesting than the slug out is Norman's banter. All he's ever wanted is a son to be proud of. Harry's never been that to him and he's had trouble having another kid (but had fun trying!). Who knows if his children with Gwen Stacy will ever be brought up again? I know most people wish they wouldn't. ;) Anyway, Menace came along and it seemed like the opportunity Norman was looking for. They were both Goblin Juiced up and stuff so they tried for a kid. Voila. It's a new heir for the Osborn Legacy. Harry is no longer relevant.
That means he's expendable.
Norman closes in on Harry, smashes his helmet and hold him in the air by the throat. Norman disavows Harry's son status which probably doesn't hurt anyone's feelings here. It's just one of those moments where Norman gives himself the right to kill his kid.
Which is put on hold by Spider-Man. Peter is on his last legs here but has put together a makeshift mask and come back into the fight to save Harry's life. Menace carries Parker off while shouting "Family only!" which is just a bit funny. Norman just told Harry that they aren't family anymore and Peter is the only family Harry really has.
Harry's got his second wind in him and is now free to express his outrage over Norman's declaration of not having a son. These two were never that close. Norman always had other things that were more important than his relationship to his child. This is a lot of pent up anger that's finally finding release. Lily sees her man falling under the onslaught of the American Son and, throwing Spidey off, tries returning to the battle. Spidey is way past done here. This story arc has seen him getting beat down in spectacular fashion. Still, he's not going to let his last moments be getting taken down by the imitation Goblin. He fires off a web line and makes sure that it takes Menace out of the battle.
Harry's rally takes him all the way to the finish line. He tears off Norman's faceplate and knocks him to the ground. All that's left is the killing blow. Peter remembers Logan's advice from the first chapter of this arc. Basically, Wolverine advised to end Norman's life if the chance ever came up. It just came up.
And Peter, being Peter, can't do it. He can't let Harry do it either. He walks up to the American Son using strength he really doesn't have and talks the younger Osborn out of it. He does this by telling Harry that Norman would totally know how to kill him. Killing Iron Patriot would finally make Harry the son Norman always wanted. It would also be throwing away everything Harry's built. Norman responds that what Harry's built isn't much and it's failing all the same. Still, this is Harry's decision. Hope he makes the right one.
We all know Norman's not gonna die here. Dark Reign goes on well after this story. Osborn is obviously a part of that. Harry strips off his armor and takes off. He, thankfully, keeps the pants. You get arrested if you're stripping through Central Park. Anyway, it's a cool scene. Harry bests his dad and walks out from that shadow. Forever? Probably not. For now? Yeah.
The aftermath is four parts long. The first part involves Peter checking himself into the Columbia University Medical Center as a hit and run. He's taken a beating like he's rarely taken before and this one requires some medical attention. Aunt May and Jay Jameson are there to support Peter and to pay those pesky medical bills. Harry's sent flowers over but hasn't shown up.
That's because he's got problems of his own. He just took a load of "compounds" to beat up his daddy and save Spider-Man. Now, his body's rejecting those compounds and the process is painful. His doctor prescribes 80 milligrams of Osycontin. More drugs. Harry pauses to consider as we switch scenes once more.
Norah Winters has a heck of a story to write. American Son? That'll probably bury Norman. Maybe. It's got a chance at least. She's on her cell with Ben Urich when she receives an e-mail showing her security guard friend getting tortured for giving her a free pass around Avengers Tower. The voice over is Norman, warning against doing anything. Norah tells Urich that it might be better to let this story breath a bit before releasing it. She's scared and I don't blame her.
Finally, we have Norman and Lily. Lily is going to give Ozzy the son he always wanted. Harry is dead to him. I'm betting so it the Grey Goblin. Norman gives his kid a speech about how spiders suck and how the world will belong to him and his only son. To Norman's delight, the baby kicks at his voice.
I wonder if this kid will age as quickly as the last two...
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Paco Medina
Last issue, Bullseye/Hawkeye called into a talk radio therapist to discuss how much he loved his job and hated his boss while waiting for Deadpool to come back to life after shooting him through the head with an arrow (which was still lodged in there). Deadpool eventually regained consciousness and fought it out with one of Hawkeye's henchmen and then, later, with Hawkeye after putting on a meat suit. In the end, Hawkeye was stabbed through the chest by a meat hook.
This issue, we begin with a flashback to Wade and Lester's childhood where they burned down a school together. Norman greets a just waking Hawkeye in a local hospital after a failed attempt to kill Deadpool. Later on, Hawkeye comes up with a plan to do nothing in response to Deadpool's plan to bait them into a trap. Deadpool gets bored and decides to take the fight to Norman. It's a battle on the highways as Deadpool comes out looking completely awesome and Hawkeye gets run over. Twice. Hawkeye ends up paying Wade off so that he doesn't get all killed up by a chainsaw attack. Deadpool just needs to lay low until Norman's eventual fall. Wade gets bored and shoots himself in the face.
This flashback probably never actually happened. Maybe. It's possible. A young Bullseye meets up with his teacher after wetting himself. The teacher tells him that she'll have to call his dad up and tell him what kind of kid he's raising. A young Deadpool shows up (in his mask) and taunts his teacher until Bullseye shoots her. The two then lock the doors to the school and burn it to the ground. You know, typical childhood memories. Probably a fever dream.
Hawkeye wakes up in a civilian hospital and is told it's amazing that he's alive. That meat hook would have killed him until he was dead had it just inched a bit more to the left. Some would call that a surgical strike. Norman Osborn is waiting for him to wake up and quickly orders the attending doctor off for... debriefing. There are probably psychics involved in that.
Norman isn't happy. Bullseye has failed and done it miserably. This Deadpool guy just won't die. At least not permanently. Moreso, this is all a game to Wade. After nearly killing Hawkeye, he sent him off to a hospital to get fixed up for round two. Norman is upset that this is the service he's getting for his hard earned dollar but Hawkeye is quick to point out that the assassin isn't in it for the money. Lester doesn't spend it, he just accumulates it. This gig is all about the kicks. Norman tells Bullseye it's impressive to get beaten up for kicks. No, seriously, get this thing done, Hawkeye.
At a Avengers Tower, Hawkeye is fixed up in three days. Osborn then goes over what intelligence they've accumulated in that time. Deadpool's made several appearances at a taco truck in New Jersey which leads Norman to believe that the merc is hanging out in a nearby abandoned hangar. Bullseye tells him it's a trap and that Wade is trying to bait them. The answer to that is to do absolutely nothing. It'll drive Wade nuts and will make him come to them.
And that's pretty much how it works out. DP's got this whole intricate plan laid out but it's not coming to fruition fast enough. Wade gets incredibly bored of waiting and winds up driving off to find Hawkeye.
And Hawkeye is waiting for him. With the rocket launcher. The rocket comes flying at DP's monster truck and then does this.
Which even Hawkeye thinks is pretty badass.
Unfortunately, with all the staring at the awesome, Hawkeye doesn't notice the car that crashes into him from the opposite direction. The driver gets out to check on the Avenger only to get choked... possibly to death. This does Hawkeye no good because, during all of this, Deadpool has continued driving down the road in his monster truck and has just driven over Bullseye's legs.
That's ok, though. Deadpool will cut him out with his trusty chainsaw. Quick flashbacks fly through Hawkeye's head of himself as a kid, Norman telling him how much DP is pwning him, and how much money he has to offer a certain merc for sparing his life. Which is what he does. Hawkeye tells Wade that Norman's willing to pay him off as long as he disappears for a while. I mean, Norman can't stay in charge forever, right?
After mentioning that Norman's next step is to bring out the Sentry, Deadpool agrees to take the bribe and get outta Dodge for a while. Deadpool and Hawkeye share a laugh over the whole "arrow-through-the-head" bit and the meat suit before Wade hits the road to obscurity.
Deadpool spends the next month watching lots and lots of tv on his huge mega screen number while gaining a lot of weight. After a while, he gets bored and shoots himself in the head.
Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #2
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Gianluca Gugliotta
Last issue, Mr. Negative turned down a deal for his criminal empire to be brought under the control of the hood which is leading to a super powered gang war in China Town. The not-so-Secret Origin of Martin Li is told where we learn that he was brought to America as an illegal imigrant on a cargo steamer. In the present, Spidey swings in to save Martin Li only to be turned by Mr. Negative into a force for evil and stuff.
In this issue, Negative Spidey takes down the Hood's super thugs with gusto. Mr. Negative sends Hammerhead out on a mission of great urgency. Betty Brant is meeting with Martin Li's wife who lives in near poverty and has her own take on the Secret Origin of Martin Li. Norman has an unannounced meeting with Hammerhead. Mr. Negative hides some evidence in a fake mound and heads off to fight it out with the Hood. Negative Spidey has beaten all of Hood's super thugs and then finds Betty Brant to pummel.
Negative Spidey is fighting on Mr. Negative's side and he's kicking butt all over Chinatown. You'll see from his caption boxes that his view of history is colored towards the dark side of the force. He still wants to destroy crime but, now, it's because they took his uncle from him instead of his overactive sense of responsibility. Now, these criminals definitely aren't the creme of the crop. They're, at best, c-listers. One and all. Spidey is still taking them out with a vengeance.
This goes on for a few pages where Spidey is just handing out beat downs.
In another part of Mr. Negative's fortress, our title character is in conference with Hammerhead. H is impressed that Spidey is fighting for them but knows that his involvement hasn't ended the fight. Still, it gives them time to enact a plan. Negative gives Hammerhead a cylinder to give to a particular person. Hammerhead is startled by the man destined to receive the cylinder but orders are orders. He races out of Chinatown on a most important mission. HAMMER is unable to even slow him down.
Betty Brant is still meeting with Yana Li, Martin Li's wife who happens to live much closer to the poverty line. Right now, there's a blackout happening throughout the neighborhood and crazy fighting going on in the streets. Brant recommends they hit lower ground and follows Yana to the basement. This all leads to a some scenes where Betty is reminded that her dead husband is... well, dead. Betty uses this as an opening to ask Mrs. Li more about her husband.
Martin Li owned a zipper factory in Fushou City. They weren't doing so well in China so one of them went to the United States. Her. She went to Empire STate University. She stayed on after school but didn't like it. She decided to come home and told Martin not to make the trip. Martin thought she was cheating on him and made the trip anyway. She describes the journey over for Martin. He paid Snakeheads (human smugglers) to bring him over but the journey was nothing close to pleasant. Betty interjects that the entire snakehead operation from Fujian Province to New York has been taken over by Mr. Negative and everyone responsible for the Golden Mountain cargo steamer tragedy has been killed.
Betty pushed her luck too far. Mrs. Li has decided that's enough story for today. She blows out her candle and escapes in the darkness, leaving Betty Brant stumbling after her in a room with no light.
At the UN Building, a brilliantly staged PR event where Norman Osborn reads a book to well choreographed children is taking place. It's interrupted when Hammerhead smashes through a wall in an attempt to get a one on one meeting with the HAMMER Director. UN Security isn't going to be able to handle Hammerhead so Norman armors up and takes the gangster on a trip skyward.
In the skies, Hammerhead makes his demands from Mr. Negative. Call off the Hood and send HAMMER home. Norman isn't impressed. Mr. Negative stole some Oscorp stuff a couple weeks earlier. He hasn't made friends with the former Green Goblin. Plus, it's not like there's a secret Cabal connecting the Hood and Osborn. Hammerhead stops Norman there. Negative knows what's what. Osborn has the power to end this and he'll do it, too. After all, he has something to gain from it.
Back at his compound, Mr. Negative is storing something in a safe on his grounds. The safe quickly slips into the ground to look like a simple mound on his estate lawn. Negative walks towards the action to find a victorious Spider-Man has beaten back all of the Hood's goons. Pretty violently, too. Running down the street is Yana Li and she's being followed by Betty Brant. Yana screams that she hasn't told the reporter anything but Negative knows that Brant is coming quite close to uncovering everything. He sics Negative Spider-Man on her.
Mr. Negative watches as Betty runs away from a very evil version of Spider-Man. He's not alone for long. The Hood makes an appearance to end this thing. Since everyone is out of minions to do the dirty work, it's time for the leaders to decide things. Hood versus Negative! One issue away.
The New Mutants #75
Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: John Byrne
It is very hard to get good back issues for the White Queen. She's usually a back ground character in any story, playing a tiny role in many Hellfire Club stories without making a direct impact on the proceedings. This appearance is much like that but you've got to catch up every once in a while.
At this point and time, the Marvel Universe is dealing with lots of fallout from the Inferno event... what will become known as Goblin Night. During Inferno, Magneto ran around in a newer version of his classic costume and made deals with N'astirh along with other members of the Hellfire Club. That would include Emma Frost. Emma was playing a dangerous role of pitting Magneto against Sebastian Shaw and that all comes to fruition in this very issue.
Another important X-bit related to Inferno is that the X-Mansion, current home to the New Mutants, was smashed to bits in a battle involving Mr. Sinister, the Marauders, X-Factor, and the X-Men. It was good times. This leaves the New Mutants without a home and, soon, without a headmaster. The New Mutants saw Magneto making deals with demons to sit out the battle for New York. They know that Magnus has, again, returned to the dark side. That's about the only involvement they'll get in this issue as they spend most of it in a giant metal ball.
They do get to run around in the wreckage of the X-Mansion for a couple pages and even unbury Sabretooth from the rubble. Sabretooth, for his part, makes a swipe at Sunspot, gets clobbered by Cannonball, and then dies for a while. The New Mutants wonder if there are any other surprises buried in the destroyed mansion but the biggest surprise comes from the skies. Magneto and the Hellfire Club Inner Circle have arrived.
Sunspot declares the New Mutants' intentions of never rejoining Magneto's school by lifting up a well sized bit of wrckage and throwing it at Magnus. Since it's made of metal, Magneto quickly deflects it and then lets the Hellfire Club Inner Circle play with his students. Shaw knocks Sunspot to the ground. Cannonball tries to back up his best friend only to run into a metal shield erected by Selene. Mirage gives Selene a taste of her greatest fear (which is being a zombie) but is mind blasted by Emma Frost. Magneto has had enough of his student acting up and, before Warlock can attack Ms. Frost, he gathers up the New Mutants in a big metal hamster ball where they will spend the rest of the issue as bystanders to the action.
This issue was penciled by John Byrne but it is far from his finest work ever. Maybe it's the inker or the fact that he wasn't into the story. It's some basic work. Some nice panels here and there but kind of a sad effort by one of the industry greats. It does show a John Byrne favorite, though: evil Magneto. The guy had been turning back to the side of evil for quite a while but this issue nearly completes that, coloring all past events with a new paintbrush where Magnus claims he's been acting a certain way to gain a broad degree of support for his future plans. Later on, Claremont would return Magneto to a more simpathetic status but, here and now, we get a dark turn for the Master of Magnetism.
Magnus recognizes most of the New Mutants but there's one person who is a mystery to him. The young blonde girl. That's Illyana. She was deaged at the end of the New Mutants' Inferno arc. This means that Magneto has lost possibly the most powerful member of the New Mutants. The New Mutants tell Magnus her story and, for a moment, it looks like they've actually reached their headmaster.
But moments pass. Sebastian Shaw is quick to point out that Magneto's powerbase is gone. The X-Men are all dead. Illyana is gone. The New Mutants are leaving. Magneto has nothing to offer the Inner Circle. Shaw throws down a lot of accurate accusations before throwing the first blow. It's fighting time.
It is just sad that someone like Shaw could even give Magneto pause. This isn't weakened Mags. This is fully powered up on his way back to the darkside Magneto. You'd think the battle would last two panels. Shaw's no slouch, of course, but this is freaking Magneto. Why it isn't over with in moments is boggling. At one point, Sebastian whips out some polarity inverser with sends Magneto flying away from him. Shaw has had some prep time, of course. Still. Freaking. Magneto. Two panels. Tops.
During the battle, Magneto reveals his twist on current events. Sort of what I wrote above. Every action Magneto has taken was done for a specific purpose in his grand scheme of mutant rights. The New Mutants are listening and they are losing their last shred of respect for their former headmaster. Basically, he's very anti-human all over again. He abandoned the X-Men when they went to Dallas to save human lives. Mags was hoping to use them in the coming conflict but they had already been tainted by Xavier's pro-human stance. So they died.
For Magneto, it's all about mutants. For Shaw, it's all about money. He could give a damn about the fate of his "people." He looks at things with the eye of a businessman. Current mutant events like Genosha are mentioned and it's interesting to note that Magneto would later rule that land as a haven for mutants. It's gone now but it's legacy lives on. Just a little at least.
Magneto looks like he's on the ropes but uses his control over magnetism to overwhelm Shaw's power to absorb kinetic energy. Magneto emerges with a nearly unconscious Shaw in tow. His last accusation towards the Black King is the most damning. Shaw Industries is financing the creation of Sentinels. Mutant hunting robots. Shaw has an answer of course. They give him government contracts and good technological research to make other advancements for the Hellfire Club.
But the fight is over. Now, it's time to kick out a king. Will they vote off Magneto, the White King, or will Shaw, the Black King, be shown the door. Emma Frost finally gets some panel time here. She sides with Magneto. This isn't a move that surprises readers. Emma has been moving closer to Mags' camp for quite a few issues and she's no longer got any real loyalty to Shaw. She also notes that some other Hellfire members were recently killed off by Nimrod who was probably as close as you'll get to an advanced Sentinel. That's two votes for Magneto and one vote for Shaw with the crucial vote coming down on Selene.
Emma is able to sway Selene to their side by offering her a free hand in her "Amazon holdings." This is the heavily hinted at bit that should explain off the very convoluted truth behind Nova Roma. It will hurt your brain, so I'll let you Google it instead of trying to explain it out here. Just remember that Selene's got a hand in the past and future of Nova Roma, Magma's home in the Amazon. It's enough to get her to vote on ousting Sebastian Shaw.
Shaw shouts at them all for being idiots. They've sided with the bigot against him. The Hellfire Club will no longer have the support of Shaw Industries and will fall into lameness soon enough. The former Black King leaves in a huff, power walking his way off panel.
Now... what to do with the New Mutants? They swear that they will never join Magneto. Should they die now or later? Magnus believes that, in the future, they may make a different decision when it's the end war between mutants and humans. He frees them from their hamster ball and lets them go.
Magneto and Emma plot together. The New Mutants picked up on all that talk of Selene's "Amazon holdings." They'll head down there eventually and, with their help, will weaken Selene. That will leave Emma and Magnus alone to plot the future of the Hellfire Club.
That's all I have for now. Woo! Next time, a huge week of comics!
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?