…For What I Have Done
Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), John Romita, Jr, Jae Lee, Chris Sprouse, Brandon Peterson, & Paul Smith (pencilers), Dan Green, Dan Panosian, Terry Austin, Tom Palmer, & Keith Williams (inkers), Mike Thomas (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer)
Exodus reveals Fabian Cortez’s role in Magneto’s “death” to the Acolytes. The Acolytes follow Exodus to Avalon while Cortez is left to be a victim of “someone else’s legacy.” During Illyana’s funeral service, Magneto and the Acolytes appear. Magneto punishes Senyaka for the Acolytes’ attack on the hospice, while saying that he would have approved of the action if only he had been asked permission. Bishop absorbs the magnetic power being used to hold the X-Men and blasts Magneto. The X-Men try to charge him up with more energy. When Magneto reappears, Avalon is glowing, preparing for an attack on Westchester County. When Bishop attacks again, Colossus strikes him from behind, siding with Magneto. Desperate, Xavier takes over Magneto’s mind and uses his powers to send Avalon back into orbit.
This issue has a cardstock hologram cover.
Magneto is referred to as “Eric Lehnsherr” for the first time. Even though Xavier has always referred to him as “Magnus” in flashbacks, he suddenly starts calling him “Eric” now. Years later, “Eric Lehnsherr” was revealed to be a false identity, but Marvel seems to have forgotten that.
In a flashback, Magneto is seen running with the body of his daughter, Anya. Previous stories establish that she was burned alive in a fire, but she certainly doesn’t look burned in this issue.
Fabian Cortez being a victim of “someone else’s legacy” is presumably a reference to the Legacy Virus.
This is a comic I can remember actively hating for years. Looking back on it, I can almost see how someone divorced from X-Men continuity might enjoy it, but in terms of building upon existing characterization and giving characters legitimate motivations, it fails miserably. I started buying Uncanny X-Men in 1988, so I missed most of the “reformed Magneto” era. The Magneto I remembered was from the later Claremont issues, an occasional ally who wanted to do the right thing but was constantly being pushed in the wrong direction. I think the only comic I had read featuring Magneto as an X-Man was the final issue of the Fantastic Four vs. X-Men miniseries. The scene where Magneto laments that no one can accept the fact that he’s changed really stuck with me as a kid. Reed Richards shaking hands with Magneto at the end was one of my favorite moments in comics at that point. Reading this issue, with a psychotic Magneto who crashes a little girl’s funeral, advocates a hospice slaughter, kills one of his followers, and then tries to destroy an entire town…let’s just say it didn’t go over very well. Magneto doesn’t exist as a character at this point; he exists solely to be the villain in an overpriced company-mandated crossover. There’s some lip service paid to Claremont’s reformation of the character, but it just seems like a weak attempt to add depth to a one-dimensional villain.
Colossus finally joins Magneto, after months of build-up. The titles have done a good job of establishing Colossus’ anguish over the loss of his family, but siding with Magneto still doesn’t make a lot of sense. Colossus’ sister died of a virus created by an evil mutant. Why join another one? Why would the actions of an evil mutant cause Colossus to doubt Xavier’s dream, when the X-Men were created to fight these villains in the first place? If anything, this would strengthen his resolve to fight people like Stryfe. In order for Colossus to logically side with Magneto, he should have a motivation to side with him against humans. It’s true that his parents were murdered by the Russian government, but even then, this wasn’t done as an attack against mutants (actually, why it was done was never clear). Colossus has a reason to be upset in these issues, and perhaps to leave the team to grieve, but not to join someone planning to wipe out the human race. If Colossus had a specific reason to hate humans (his sister killed in an anti-mutant riot or something), that could work. If Colossus had grown closer to Magneto over a period of time and begun to understand his point of view, this might have worked. But Colossus joining Magneto after he crashes his sister’s funeral and tries to kill an entire city doesn’t work at all. It’s the type of cheap shock value that would characterize much of the ‘90s.
In an attempt to tie the two storylines together, Magneto uses Stryfe’s Legacy Virus as a justification for killing humans. His nonsensical explanation is that mutants wouldn’t be fighting against one another if humans weren’t out to kill them. Think about this…mutants are fighting each other because a separate group wants them dead. Wouldn’t this lead mutants to unite together against humans? I take it Magneto is one of those people who didn’t like the ending of Watchmen. If Magneto is going to justify anything to attack humans, wouldn’t the government’s revival of the Sentinel project be a better excuse?
There’s some attempt to mark this as an anniversary issue, rather than just another chapter in a crossover. All of the X-teams assemble for Illyana’s funeral, giving cameos to former members and other characters from the spinoffs. Former artist Paul Smith returns to draw a few pages, although it’s hard to recognize his style. Storm and Kitty Pryde have a scene reminiscent of the one they shared after Storm’s mohawk makeover. Oddly enough, John Romita, Jr. drew the original issue, but Chris Sprouse draws the homage scene while Romita draws most of the other pages. Most of the artwork is fine, but nothing can save this story.