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Mark Waid (writer), Mike Deodato (art), Tom Palmer (inker), Bill Oakley (letters), John Kalisz (colors), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief), Mark Waid and Scott Lobdell (uncredited, Onslaught co-plotters)
Gambit accompanies Captain America, Thor, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision and Teen Tony Stark on a mission to find Magneto, as there is some suspicion that he is behind Xavier's transformation into the deadly Onslaught. The Scarlet Witch is troubled by memories of Magneto and the control that he used to have over her. She is concerned about the possible confrontation with him, but Quicksilver promises to protect his sister. Meanwhile, Magneto – or Joseph as he is now called – and Rogue are in Virginia, where they have stopped at a garage for repairs on their car. Rogue sees something special in Joseph and is doing everything she can to protect him from his former life. So when the Avengers and Gambit arrive, she is naturally very concerned. Quicksilver leaps into action and speeds towards Joseph, striking him with a punch. Gambit and Rogue are surprised to see each other, and as the Vision confronts Joseph for his past crimes, Rogue flies into the Vision, pushing him skyward. Thor and Gambit go after them, as Rogue tries to explain to them that Joseph is not involved in Onslaught. Teen Tony is knocked through the hull of an anchored ship, causing something to stir in the Scarlet Witch. Joseph lashes out at Quicksilver and Captain America next, before trapping Wanda in a magnetic hold. She concentrates hard and breaks free. Joseph apologizes to her, and Wanda realizes that he is not the monster Magneto was. Quicksilver rushes towards, ready to shove some splintered beam into him – but Wanda creates a hex that causes water to burst up through the pier they are standing on, knocking both Quicksilver and Joseph aside, preventing them both from harming each other. Wanda assures Quicksilver that she is not the frightened girl who once needed her brother to rescue her, and suggests that they both put the past behind them. Rogue and Joseph agree to accompany the Avengers and Gambit back to New York to find out once and for all if Joseph has any ties to Onslaught, but Gambit doesn't like what he sees brewing between Rogue and Joseph.
Avengers Mansion, where Remy “Gambit” LeBeau of the X-Men stands before an elevator where six of Earth's Mightiest Heroes wait for him. 'No t'anks, Mon ami. Looking a little crowded. I'll make my own way to the roof' Gambit tells them. Captain America informs Gambit that there are new rules – they no longer leave from the roof. He adds that there is room for one more, but that the clock is ticking.
Gambit thinks that he is out of his element, and he is not thrilled about it. He is not used to dealing with full-fledged super heroes... but if anyone can help him in his appointed mission – they can. They are Thor. Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver. Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch. The Vision. Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America and a teenage Tony “Iron Man” Stark. Together, they are the Avengers.
They spend the elevator ride to the basement in silence, before rushing to the Qujnjet when they reach the hangar bay. Once aboard the Quinjet, Captain America takes the console. Less than an hour ago, they found the X-Men beaten – nearly destroyed – by their mentor, Charles Xavier, who is now the all-powerful Onslaught. 'So everyone's clear on the mission?' Cap asks. 'There's some suspicion that Magneto might somehow be behind Xavier's transformation – so it's up to us to find Magneto – and bring him in!' He asks if everybody is ready, and the Scarlet Witch hangs her head.
Gambit is surprised at how quick the Quinjet zooms down a short tube, and asks why the door is still closed. Cap tells him to relax, and explains that the new Quinjet has not had a full shakedown cruise yet, but he trusts Iron Man's launch design. 'Thanks' Tony replies, sitting next to Cap. He adds that he is very excited by it, and remarks that everyone agreed that the noise pollution alone from the roof departure was unbearable, so with that in mind, he reconfigured the NASA code-seven specs for space-station shuttles, fitted an afterburn recoil to the maximize thrust, coated the titanium tracks with a near-frictionless gel polymer. 'How does the door work?' Cap asks, interrupting Tony.
'Whoops' Tony utters, flicking a switch on the console, the computer states that the hatch sensors are engaged, and an instant later, the sleek Quinjet speeds out of the hangar bay, across a small airstrip over water, and into the air. “Whoops?” a surprised Gambit asks, looking at Iron Man. 'Sorry. Got carried away' Iron Man replies, before asking if they know exactly where they are going yet.
Cap reports that they have a general idea, and that Hank has started pinning down the specifics. Dr Hank Pym a.k.a. Giant Man appears on a monitor, and announces that he has started and finished. 'I think I have him' Hank adds. In his lab, Hank sits before a large computer system and various monitors, and tells Cap that according to the X-Men's Cerebro, their mutant tracking device, and an amazing piece of work, a genetic sensor way ahead of anything in his lab – 'Hank? I've already had enough techno-babble for one day' Cap interrupts his teammate. 'Ah, well, Cerebro's been baffled by Magneto in the past, so we can't count on it to zero in' Hank continues, stating that in combing the world for errant electro-magnetic activity, he has found a series of spikes in South Carolina that seem to match Magneto's energy signature.
Giant Man informs Cap that he has set the computers to relay co-ordinates directly to the Quinjet, as he has to get moving. He looks over to his teammates Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. the Black Widow, Clint “Hawkeye” Barton and the Inhuman called Crystal, who are standing with Bishop and Bobby “Iceman” Drake from the X-Men, and reports that they are on their way to Four Freedoms Plaza to look in on Franklin Richards, as apparently Onslaught seems very interested in the boy. 'Over and out' Hank ends the transmission.
Back in the Quinjet, the Vision turns to Quicksilver and states that he finds himself confused. 'My limited exposure to Charles Xavier led me to conclude that he was a decent man' the Vision remarks. Quicksilver tells the Vision thatv Xavier is, and that as he and Wanda are mutants, they know Xavier better than any Avenger, as they have benefitted from his nobility time and time again. Quicksilver delcares that if their father is somehow behind this sinister transgression, if Magneto is controlling Xavier's uncharacteristic actions from afar, then that explains much. Gambit turns around in his chair and asks the Scarlet Witch if Magneto likes to control mutants. 'What was it like being part of his Brotherhood all them years ago?' Gambit enquires. 'Foul. Degrading' Wanda replies.
Flashback images, narrated by Wanda in the present:
Wanda explains that it is true Magneto took Quicksilver and her under his wing, even before they knew they were related, but they were not particularly well-cared for in his dark, dank castle, and Mastermind and Toad, in particular, were unpleasant companions. But of course Magneto would often put them in their place, less to protect her than to establish his own dominance. Wanda states that Magneto's notions of kindness and benevolence were repulsive, and whenever she wavered in her loyalty for a heartbeat, whenever she toyed with the notion of leaving his service he would find a way to hold on to her – tightly, even using his mutant power against her.
Wanda remarks that considerable time has passed since then, and she has grown stronger and come to terms with much of what once frightened her. 'But never have I been more terrified than at the feet of a man who could kill me with a thought – around him, I was fragile, vulnerable. I cannot be certain... that I will not be again'.
The men all look concerned, 'Forgive us, Wanda – but we are not used to hearing you speak in such a manner' the Vision tells his ex-wife, adding that even he has never heard her refer to those early days like that. Turned away from her teammates, Wanda tells the Vision that it is not his concern. Quicksilver goes over to his sister and tells her that he will not let Magneto hurt her. 'Pietro, no. you and I – we're not like that anymore -' Wanda utters. Quicksilver tells Wanda to hush. 'I will protect you... always'.
Meanwhile, in Norfolk, Virginia, at a garage, a mechanic exclaims 'I sure hope you two youn'uns ain't in any kinda hurry!' as he checks out the car that Rogue and Joseph have been traveling in. He tells them that he can't fix the problem without getting the car up on the lift for a proper look underneath, and the lift control has broken. 'I can't see no way'a getting' this car up in th' air!' the mechanic declares.
Rogue and Joseph look at each other, before Rogue goes over to the control box and opens it up: 'These them li'l ol' controls you was speakin' about? Why, they don't look t'be all that broken...' Rogue declares. 'How – don't open that – don't touch the – Ma'am!' the mechanic exclaims as he rushes over to Rogue. Joseph smiles, as he uses his magnetic powers to raise the car up on the lift, while the mechanic tells Rogue that she doesn't want to mess up her pretty li'l nails. 'Why don't y'all leave all that complicated mechanical work to the pros. He turns to the car, raised up on the lift, and looks perplexed. 'Why, lookathere. Reckon I musta jiggered the right doodad after all' Rogue remarks, before coldly telling the mechanic that they will be back in an hour.
'Nicely played' Joseph tells Rogue as they leave the garage. 'How are your nails, “darlin”?' he mocks. 'Who cares? Let's find some lunch at the shipyard. I'm buying' Rogue replies, before telling Joseph that he does come in handy.
She is trying hard not to flirt – and failing miserably. Rogue is a former member of the X-Men, who recently left the team to establish her own life, only to have it invaded by Joseph. She once knew him as Magneto, before he crossed her path de-aged and amnesiac. He remembers nothing of his former life as one of the most dangerous criminals in recorded history. She would like to keep it that way. They walk down the sidewalk together. Rogue sees a special something in this man – a charm she has known in only one other, hence the road trip. She is taking Joseph to the X-Men in the hope of hiding him, keeping him from the past. It is a dangerous game. After all, Magneto still bubbles somewhere inside him. She knows she's handling a live grenade, and if he learns too much about the past too quickly, gthat just may pull the pin. Rogue has to keep her guard up, which is why they have been travelling by car. Incognito. The objective – keep a low profile.
Suddenly though, a gust of wind sweeps up around them, caused by the descent of a certain Quinjet, which looms ominously over them. Their shield their eyes and look up at the aircraft, where promptly the Avengers and Gambit exit, 'There he is! Younger somehow...but I'd know him anywhere!' Quicksilver calls out. The Scarlet Witch looks shocked, while Captain America tells Quicksilver to take it easy. 'There may be innocents around, in danger – so watch out! Pietro!' Cap calls out, but Quicksilver speeds ahead and slams his fist into Joseph's face: 'Tell him that!' Quicksilver shouts.
Quicksilver has grabbed Joseph by the collar of his shirt and raises his fist overhead: 'He'll have no more innocents under his thrall! I swear this with all my -' Quicksilver begins, until a wide-eyed Rogue calls out to him. 'Rogue?' Quicksilver asks. 'Rogue!?' Gambit exclaims, in shock. 'Remy...?' Rogue utters, looking over to Gambit. 'You monster! You dare claim another one?' Quicksilver snaps at Joseph, while Cap rushes over to him and tells him to calm down. 'Down, yes...but not out!' Quicksilver replies as he suddenly runs swiftly around and around Joseph, 'Perhaps a choking votex -' Quicksilver begins, before Rogue shouts 'Leave him alone! Y'all don't know what y'r messing with!'
'Enough, Pietro!' the Vision tells his teammate, who stops running. The Vision looks at Joseph, who struggles to stand up, and asks Rogue 'What, then, are we missing, Rogue? Is this not Erik Magnus Lensherr – self-proclaimed rightful ruler of the mutant race -' but Rogue urgently interrupts him, 'You don't understand! Y'r playing with fire! Don't say anything!' Rogue shouts, while the Vision continues: '- and in the eyes of many the world over – the most ruthless, most sadistic, most heinous -', but Rogue interrupts him once again, flying into the Vision, she pushes him upwards into the air, 'SHUT UP!' she screams. 'Rogue? Odin's blood! What madness has seized her?' the shirtless Thor asks as he takes flight. Running along the dock where the battle has moved to, Gambit calls out 'My question exactly... though I think we got a silver-haired clue! Follow her!'
Tony and the Scarlet Witch gather around Joseph, 'Huh. He's definitely younger than I figured him to be. Lot of that going around...' Tony jokes. The teen inside the Iron Man armor is relatively inexperienced, and, like the rest of the Avengers, keenly aware of the incalculable might Magneto commands. Instinctively, he reaches forward to lift the dazed figure to his feet, his hesitancy betrays a paranoia even stronger than in others: 'Iron Man, look out!' Wanda shouts. The palms of the helping hands iris open, repulsor rays spark into readiness – the implied threat is acknowledged, and Joseph grits his teeth as he is flung backwards – through the hull of a large ship docked nearby, and out the other side. Eyes wide, something stirs inside Wanda – coldly.
Nearby, Gambit tries to make sense of the senseless. Once upon a time he trusted Rogue more than he'd ever trusted anyone. At this moment, and for more than one reason, he can't imagine why that was. The Vision and Thor hover around Rogue, who warns them that Joseph could explode, and that they don't understand the damage they could be doing just by being here. The Vision states that it is damage they have come to contain, and adds that he wonders how many other minds Magneto is controlling. 'Yours, perhaps?' he asks Rogue. Rogue is puzzled by the question, she allows Thor to move perilously close, but with a blow that could shatter diamonds, she slams her fist into Thor's face. 'What are y'all talking about? He ain't controlling anything!' Rogue shouts. She makes Thor blink, and rubbing his face, he smiles at her: 'A blow worthy of a Frost Giant! I am impressed' Thor tells her. 'Y'think? Then be ready, 'cause I'm about t'get downright amazing on your big Norse -' Rogue starts to reply, before Gambit shouts 'STOP!' and throws several kinetically-charged playing cards between Rogue, Thor and the Vision. Gambit tells Rogue that he will gamble on her telling the truth, and asks her to tell them what is going on with Magneto.
Too much, all at once. With one hand, Joseph repels the Iron in Quicksilver's blood, sending Pietro flying up into the air. With the other, Joseph creates a field around Captain America's shield, turning it into a invulnerable bludgeon, which Joseph directs to slam into Cap's face, knocking the hero backwards. With both hands, the Scarlet Witch conjures a hex – too late, though. The memory, and the fear, wrap around Wanda even faster than any cocoon. The terror of remembrance knifes through her as Joseph grabs her in a magnetic field. She has suffered abuse at his hands so many times. No – not her. Another Wanda. One younger, fragile and vulnerable. One who had not yet found the strength to face her fears – and fight to break free of them.
Gritting her teeth, Wanda concentrates hard, then falls from the magnetic field. Joseph walks over to her, apologizing: 'I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... are you all right?' he asks. Looking up at him, Wanda replies 'Your voice... your manner... you're not him'.
Up above, Rogue flies with Gambit back to the dock, with Thor and the Vision at her side. '...so like I was saying, he ain't the Magneto y'all know...and I'm trying to keep him that way! Y'see? Despite what he mighta done in the past – he's not a monster!' Rogue exclaims.
Wanda can see that now, as Joseph extends a hand out to her. There is a mercy in his eyes that cuts through her suspicions. This is not the Magneto she feared. Unfortunately, her brother doesn't know that, and Quicksilver speeds across the dock towards them, a jagged piece of wood in his hand, the wide-eyed Wanda doesn't have to do anything. She can let her brother protect her the way he always has, and take away her fears as he always will. Joseph continues to hold his hand out, as Quicksilver gets closer and closer – then, suddenly, a spout of water bursts up through the dock, knocking Joseph and Quicksilver into the air and in opposite directions. When they land, Quicksilver looks up and coughs. 'The pier...shattered? But that's impossible!' Joseph exclaims. 'No... merely probable' Wanda responds, adding that is her speciality. Wanda steps between the men, but Pietro tells her to stay back. 'I will -' he starts to say. 'No, Pietro. You will not. I am in control here' Wanda declares, adding that for once and for all, he is no longer the frightened girl who needs her impetuous brother to rescue her. 'Nor is he the tyrant under whom we have both sufered' Wanda announces. She tells Quicksilver that perhaps today they can both put the past behind them.
'...and that's the story. The X-Men tried to contain Professor Xavier...and could not' Captain America finishes telling Rogue, who replies 'And you thought Magneto – Joseph – had something to do with it?' Cap tells her that they think he may have had everything to do with it, but can't be sure until they get him back to New York. As Wanda, Quicksilver and the Vision return to the Quinjet, Joseph tells Captain America that he doesn't comprehend much of what is going on, but he would like to be of help if he can, as it does seem he has some responsibility in all of this. He then apologizes to Magneto for overreacting. 'Eh, Quicksilver. Whaddaya gonna do, huh?' Iron Man replies.
Gambit looks over to Rogue and asks her if she is okay, still her own woman. 'Always have been, Remy. But then, you know that' Rogue replies. 'Yeah. I do' Gambit tells her. Joseph leads Rogue into the Quinjet. 'Then let us go. We have a world to save... together' Joseph announces, and inside the Quinjet, Wanda and Quicksilver sit behind Rogue and Joseph, while Gambit looks over at Rogue.
Black Widow, Captain America, Crystal, Giant Man, Hawkeye, Iron Man V, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision, Wasp (Avengers)Bishop , Gambit, Iceman, Rogue (X-Men)
in flashbacksMagneto, Mastermind, Scarlet Witch, Toad, (Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)
This issue is part of the Onslaught crossover, Phase 1. The story continues directly from here to X-Men (2nd series) #55 and Fantastic Four (1st series) #415.
Though the Avengers found the X-Men beaten off-panel, they announced that they were going to Xavier’s to investigate in Onslaught: X-Men, after Nate Grey asked for their help at the end of last issue.
Joseph first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #327 and met Rogue in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #11.
Iron Man finds similarity to Joseph in that Iron Man is also a younger version of himself: Iron Man III is a 19-year-old past incarnation of Tony Stark which came to the future to stop his adult self after Iron Man I went crazy and started killing people thanks to brainwashing by Kang. (Avengers – the Crossing)
Rogue and Joseph met in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #11.
This issue is followed by Fantastic Four (1st series) #415 and X-Men (2nd series) #55, before Avengers (1st series) #402 takes place.