X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

Issue Date: 
October 2021
Story Title: 
Dial M for Wanda
Staff: 

Leah Williams (writer), Lucas Werneck (artist), Edgar Delgado (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Tom Muller (design), Artgerm; Mark Brooks; Greg Capullo & Chris Sotomayor (Hidden Gem); David Finch & Frank D'Armata; Peach Momoko; Todd Nauck & Rachelle Rosenberg (Headshot); John Romita Jr & Jason Keith; Elizabeth Torque (Variant Cover Artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Shannon Andrews Ballesteros & Lauren Amaro (assistant editors), Jake Thomas (editor), Jordan D White (senior editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

 

Brief Description: 

Several members of the X-Men and X-Force are working with Northstar, Daken and Prestige of X-Factor to investigate the murder of the Scarlet Witch. Prestige is able to use her chronoskimming abilities to replay events of the struggle, but can never see who the killer is. Northstar is frustrated that X-Factor is being “supervised” on this assignment, while he and Daken capably put pieces together surrounding Wanda's murder. Prodigy and Eye-Boy are also supervised while they examine Wanda's body, they discover more clue about what happened to her that night. Both groups soon ascertain that Wanda was restrained by something inorganic – something metallic. Daken realizes that Wanda must have known her killer, and Northstar is of the view that the killer was fond of Wanda. Eye-Boy accidentally reveals that the spectrum of his powers has increased and can see enchantment now, noting that Wanda has magic in her blood, which the Beast finds fascinating. Polaris and other members of the X-Men are present when Cecilia Reyes determines that Wanda's cause of death was strangulation by means of supernatural magnetization. The Quiet Council meets to discuss the Scarlet Witch's death, and Mystique provokes Magneto, asking him if he has something to hide when Professor X reveals that X-Factor is closing in on the prime suspect. The Council then casts a vote to determine whether the Scarlet Witch – a non-mutant – should be resurrected. The majority vote against that suggestion, with only Magneto, Nightcrawler and Kate Pryde supportive of the idea. Magneto lashes out at Xavier, until Nightcrawler and Kate stop him. Magneto leaves the meeting and discovers that young mutants on Krakoa are partying, celebrating the death of the pretender. Magneto is then confronted by several members of the X-Men and X-Factor, as well as Wolverine. He refuses to follow Northstar's request to come with them. At the Boneyard, Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier finds the Scarlet Witch's son, Speed, looking at the table where his mother's body was laid – but is now covered by some strange vines. He also reveals that he hasn't been able to get in touch with his brother who is in deep space. Captain America, Iron Man, the Wasp and the Vision meet at the Krakoan Gate in Manhattan at the request of Xavier, who walks through the gate and announces that he has terrible news to tell them. Magneto battles the members of X-Factor and the X-Men who  had come to arrest him. Polaris attempts to capture her father but is distracted when he tells her that she is unhinged and inconsistent, and some metal spikes that Magneto is tossing around wound her. Polaris fights back, telling Magneto that all of his efforts to break her into someone he wants her to be had failed, and only made her stronger. Cyclops is able to fire an optic blast that knocks Magneto's helmet off, and Quicksilver arrives, punching Magneto repeatedly, until Northstar pulls him away. Magneto is wounded and is taken to the healing gardens, while Quicksilver is upset, and talks about how his sister was unwell and needed compassion, and how he failed to protect her. In the Healing Gardens, Magneto is in a stable condition but comatose. Jean Grey attempts to enter his mind, but it is full of grief. At the Green Lagoon, Quicksilver finds Blob, Mastermind and the Toad and they toast to simpler times. Toad seems particularly upset about the Scarlet Witch's death, while Quicksilver hopes his sister is finally at peace. However, somewhere else, the Scarlet Witch's soul thrives, confronted by a vision of her killer.

Full Summary: 

'What have you got?' Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar, leader of X-Factor Investigations asks his teammate, Daken, who sniffs some bushes on Krakoa. 'This is where the struggle started' Daken announces as he turns back to Northstar. Northstar looks over at Rachel Summers a.k.a. Prestige, another of his teammates, and asks her if she can chronoskim to verify. 'Yeah' Rachel replies, and psychic energy begins to glow around her as she begins to use her chronoskimming abilities to see into the past. 'That is...if it's all right with our X-Men and X-Force babysitters, of course' Northstar snaps as X-Force's Logan a.k.a. Wolverine and Neena Thurman a.k.a. Domino stand nearby, alongside the X-Men's Laura Kinney a.k.a. Wolverine and Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch. 'Tch' Logan mutters as he crosses his arms, while Rachel's warwolf pup, Amazing Baby, looks up at her as she begins to levitate above the ground.

Domino assures Northstar that they are here to help, and reminds him that X-Force was working event security for the Hellfire Gala the night the Scarlet Witch died. 'X-Force was “working” “event” “security” “here” for the Hellfire Gala while a woman was murdered here' Northstar replies angrily as he looks over at Domino, before pointing out that investigating deaths is what X-Factor does. 'Mind removing that stick from yer butt, bub?' Logan asks. 'The stick stays' Northstar snaps, before Rachel telepathically tells everyone to be quiet. 'I need the ride-alongs to stay quiet. I have enough chronology to muck out as it is without your “helping” adding even more $#%& on top of what I have to dig out first' Rachel declares. Everyone falls quiet, and Rachel tells them that is better.

Northstar then instructs Daken to continue tracking from the first struggle. 'All right, from here then...' Daken begins while Rachel's chronoskimming enables her to see Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch running through the bushes from her assailant. '... here. She fought free. Started to run' Daken continues as he traces Wanda's scent. 'How far?' Northstar asks him. Daken reports that she managed two or three running steps east before being grabbed again, this time from behind. 'Then another struggle?' Rachel asks. 'Yeah – got a bead on her event sequence now?' Daken asks as he looks behind some other bushes. Rachel announces that she can just barely see Wanda, but that there is still way too much temporal residue muddying up the view between her and actually seeing who has got her, though.

Daken suggests that they keep going, and alerts everyone to a big gap in the leaves, indicating that she was dragged backwards. 'Forced outta sight. That's how the grass got torn up here?' Laura asks, pointing at the ground. She was kicking and digging her heels in' Daken tells his sister. 'Wanted to make things harder for her attacker' Logan suggests. 'Good for her' Northstar remarks, before calling out to Rachel, who, upon seeing Wanda's feet kicking about in the bushes and digging into the ground, reports that she can confirm that is what happened. Daken looks over at Northstar and asks 'What's up? You look...well, like yourself, but somehow more so than usual'. Northstar suggests that none of this adds up, and asks everyone how one gets the jump on a sorcerer who controls all reality. 'What kind of monster would it take to bring her down at all, let alone like this? She's the Scarlet Witch!'

'Obvious signs of a struggle' Sage comments as she stands in the Boneyard's corpse gardens, looking down at a table where Wanda Maximoff's body has been set down. Sage's X-Force teammate Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast is with her, as are Dr Cecilia Reyes, Josh Foley a.k.a. Elixir of the Five, and two more of X-Factor Investigations – Trevor Hawkins a.k.a. Eye-Boy and David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy, who exclaims 'We know. Eye-Boy and I extensively catalogued them in the pathology report already'. The Beast assures Prodigy that X-Force is just here to review X-Factor's findings. 'You don't mind, do you?' the Beast asks. 'I kinda do' Prodigy replies as he keeps his attention on his tablet, where looks at the screen. 'Since when are forensic autopsies a spectator sport?' Prodigy asks, looking up to the observation booth that looks down into the Healing Gardens, where Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, Jean Grey and Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris can all be seen, along with the rest of the Five – Hope, Egg, Tempus and Proteus.

Polaris, now with the X-Men, waves at her former X-Factor teammates, as Cyclops asks if they can please keep this rolling. 'Go a a lot faster if y'all stopped interrupting it' Prodigy mutters. The Beast notes that Wanda's gloves her torn, and that there is blood under her nails, likely to be the attacker's. 'No, that's her blood' Eye-Boy suddenly declares. Eye-Boy walks around Wanda's body as he remarks 'This stuff here? Under her nails? Same stuff as... um, all the rest here'.

'I smell her blood... starting here. Only hers' Daken tells the others.

'She was – she was -' Eye-Boy begins, struggling to get his words out.

'She was dragged backwards by the neck. One arm booked around her throat, and the attacker's other hand was shoving hard against the back of her head – like this Daken explains, demonstrating with his own hands. 'She wouldn’t have -' someone begins to say.

'She couldn't breathe. The tissue damage right here? That's what that means. So she was using both hands, to, um, like – to.... pull at -' Eye-Boy tries to explain, while Prodigy comes to his assistance, explaining that Wanda was fighting so hard to remove the airflow obstruction crushing her windpipe that her fingernails ripped back andshe began bleeding from her nail beds. 'Yeah' Eye-Boy agrees, thanking David, he reports that Wanda was clawing at the murder weapon, not her attacker, because there is no biological trace evidence that isn't hers.

Logan asks Daken what else he smells. 'You're missing something' he tells his son. 'There's something inorganic' Daken reports. Rachel then sees in her chronoskimming something has bound Wanda's hands behind her back, but there is no one doing it. 'So it's either magic, or -' Rachel begins.

'Metallic' Polaris utters, going  wide-eyed with shock.

Daken alerts the others to a blood pattern on the ground, explaining that it shows where Wanda's hands were bound, just like Rachel said. Northstar suggests that might explain why Wanda wasn't using her magic to defend herself, but now how the murderer was able to get so close to her in the first place. 'Because they knew her. Someone close to her – someone she maybe even trusts' Daken replies. 'Someone she trusts... who was wearing a white cape?' Rachel telepathically asks her teammates. 'You say you saw someone in a white cape here? Where the body was found?' Daken asks. Rachel telepathically tells him that she sees them walking directly away from Wanda's dead body. 'She  died of strangulation. You see any of that?' Daken asks. Rachel tells him that she doesn't, but that she is betting pathology will corroborate that a strange hands-free type of metal killed her – the same kind she also saw being used to cuff her – so this is definitely their guy.

Northstar hovers in the air as he reminds everyone that he saw exactly the way Wanda was laid here that night – so deliberately – and tells them that this was not an act of rage or a crime of passion. He adds that, at the time, he thought it was just because they had heard people approaching and left in a rush, but now he wonders if they wanted to make sure her body was found quickly. 'There were no marks on her face. Indicating the killer was... fond of Wanda. Paternal, even' Northstar adds.

Back in the Boneyard, Cecilia leans over Wanda's body and tells the others that they will notice a bruising pattern o nher wrists, indicating her hands were bound. 'Bound behind her back, actually – we figured that out when I x-rayed her injuries' Eye-Boy explains. 'He's right, Hank' Sage tells the Beast. The Beast looks at Eye-Boy and declares that Sage is a forensics expert with biokinetic genetic sight, and asks him how it is that he can “see”, for example, all of the blood on Wanda's body belonging to her. 'Oh, uh, well, for one thing – I can see enchantment. Wanda has a lot of magic in her blood' Eye-Boy explains. 'Remarkable' the Beast utters. 'Thanks!' Eye-Boy replies, adding 'I also have microscopic and x-ray visions, can see gamam, UV, electromag -' Eye-Boy says, before Prodigy cuts him off, pulling up the x-rays Eye-Boy pulled on his tablet.

'You can see stress fractures on Wanda's ulnar bone and soft tissue damage around her rotator cuff from repeated strain' Prodigy remarks, adding that Dr Reyes and Elixir can verify. Cecilia agrees and reports that the atrophy she can sense puts this happening at about sixty seconds before her death at 2:56 AM. 'Which, um...well, after Eye-Boy reviewed the inorganic particulates found in the soft tissue damage on her throat...we determined cause of death was... strangulation by means of supernatural magnetization' Cecilia announces. Polaris, who has been listening to all of this, frowns, before turning to Cyclops and Jean and asks them to give her a head start.

Elsewhere on Krakoa, within the Grove, where the Quiet Council is currently meeting. 'FOOLS!' Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto shouts as he hurls his chair across the Grove. At least make an attempt to comport yourself with decorum, Magneto' Bennet du Paris a.k.a. Exodus suggests as he telekinetically grabs the chair before it does any damage to the Grove. 'Look. She's human, she's hated and she's dead' Nathaniel Essex a.k.a. Mr Sinister points out as he looks at his gloved hand. Magneto turns to Sinister, who adds 'Why are we even bothering to debate the matter?' Magneto grabs Sinister by his throat and looks down at him as he stands over him. 'Because you're all willfully making a choice to endanger the Krakoan experiment' Magneto replies, adding that he finds the offense especially egregious when it is otherwise so easily corrected.

'Erik' Professor Charles Xavier calls out, calmly resting his head on his hands. Magneto lets Sinister' go as he turns to Xavier, who points out that Magneto is somewhat correct on one score – they do have a choice to resurrect the Scarlet Witch. Xavier adds that this is an entirely unique choice, at that – one not afforded to any other, seeing as Wanda and Pietro are the sole non-mutants to deceive Cerebro long enough for there to be actual backups. 'Very, very old backups, but...yes, they are there' Xavier confirms. Xavier suggests to the rest of the Council that if they find the subject at hand too difficult to discuss, then they will simply proceed straight to the vote and no longer entertain Magneto's debate tactics. 'You will get nowhere with pageantry and threats in here' Xavier warns Magneto. Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique tells Magneto that he seems very interested in the Scarlet Witch's resurrection. 'One might begin to suspect you have ulterior motives' Mystique adds. Xavier informs the Council that he has been told X-Factor is closing in on their prime suspect as they speak. 'Are they, now?' Mystique asks. She smirks wickedly as she remarks that it is interesting only one person has noticeably evaded X-Factor's investigation attempts at every turn – and here he is, aggressively campaigning for the victim's resurrection. 'Why is that, Erik? Covering your tracks?' Mystique suggests.

Xavier tells Mystique that is enough, and states that X-Factor's forensic pathology unit is concluding Wanda's autopsy at this very moment with the X-Men in attendance. 'What?' Magneto asks. Xavier explains that it is a transparency measure, and that the autopsy is being conducted in the X-Factor corpse gardens where there is an operating theater. 'You allowed multiple potential suspects with supernatural abilities to remain present at the time of her autopsy? Have you all lost your minds?' Magneto exclaims. He raises his voice as he points out that someone could be tampering with the evidence. 'Sounds like a convenient excuse for whoever finds themselves accused' Emma Frost suggests casually as she sits next to her fellow Hellfire Club associates Kate Pryde and Sebastian Shaw. 'ENOUGH!' Charles Xavier declares as he stands up and leans across the table in front of him.

Xavier then gets to the point and asks if there is anyone in favor of a non-mutant resurrection for the Scarlet Witch. 'Oh, Kate. Really?' Emma mutters as she sees Kate Pryde raise her hand. 'Look, all I know is Krakoan resurrection is inexact. It's art, not science' Kate replies, suggesting that they have no right to deny resurrection privileges from someone when they have every means of providing it, and nothing to lose by doing so. 'We'd be losing a world free of Wanda...' Emma points out. Xavier looks around and sees that only Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler has also raised his hand. 'Very well. Three votes in favor' Xavier points out, taking into account Magneto's vote. 'And those opposed?' Charles asks. Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm, Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Mystique, Exodus and Sinister all raise their hands.

'Then it's settled' Xavier begins, announcing that the Scarlet Witch's closest friends and Avengers associates will be immediately informed of her murder, and that they are taking the appropriate actions to seek justice on her behalf, and when they may come and collect her remains. Xavier maintains his emotionless position as he tells Magneto that he is sorry for his loss, but that they cannot resurrect the Scarlet Witch. 'You...can. You just simply refuse' Magneto responds. He starts to walk towards Xavier, and raises a hand as he tells the rest of the Council that they are all choosing to suddenly honor the same arbitrary limitations they have long since abandoned for themselves. Xavier suddenly appears to be in pain as Magneto begins to crush his head, covered by the Cerebro helmet.

'STOP!' Nightcrawler exclaims as he teleports towards Xavier, as blood trickles from Xavier's nose. Kate rushes over to Magneto and phases her hand into his head, warning him to stand down, or else she will peel the brain stem right out of his spinal cord like a Twizzler. Xavier gasps for breath as he removes his Cerebro helmet. Kate pulls her intangible hand from Magneto's head as Magneto tells the others that this is a choice they all are making – and that it is the wrong one. 'Then... that is still our mistake to make' Xavier replies.

Nightcrawler teleports away, while Xavier stands and faces Magneto, telling him that this behavior is beneath him. Lightning crackles around Storm as she reminds Magneto that he is not the most powerful mutant in the room anymore. 'Look at you, mired in your methods of force like a tired old fighting dog' Mystique declares. 'Bludgeoning a path toward whatever it is you want that now you've lost sight of the fact that not all will be amenable to you bullying' Mystique adds.

Bullying” Magneto quotes. 'Another hopelessly antediluvian human concept. Although I suppose even an anthill appears massive to the piteously small' Magneto snarls. He boasts that he carved himself out of torture to stand tall upon the ruins of his subjugation. 'I made a choice' he declares as he turns and starts to leave the Grove, the other Council members watching him leave. 'Let's see how well time will test yours' Magneto calls back to them.

Magneto makes his way out into a large open space on Krakoa where a celebration is underway. 'To the death of the pretender!' someone shouts, while others scream and shout in agreement. Magneto says nothing as he passes several happy young mutants gathered around a bonfire. Suddenly, Northstar flies in front of Magneto, blocking him from walking any further. 'What is the meaning of this?' Magneto asks when he looks past Northstar and sees Cyclops, Jean Grey, Polaris, both Wolverines, Daken, Synch and Rachel Summers gathered. 'Ah, I see. You think I killed Wanda' Magneto snarls. 'You need to come with us now, Erik' Northstar states. Magneto scowls and replies 'No' as he hovers in the air and shards of scrap metal begin to float around him.

Meanwhile, at the Boneyard, home of X-Factor. Northstar's husband, Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier is about to climb the staircase that runs through the center of the building when he sees Tommy Shepherd a.k.a. Speed in the corpse garden, standing over the table where his mother, the Scarlet Witch, was laid. Kyle calls out to Tommy and enters the corpse garden. 'Hey, Kyle. I couldn't leave her all alone' Tommy explains. Kyle tells Tommy that he doesn't think he should be in here all alone. 'No, I mean – look at her body' Tommy replies. Kyle gasps as he looks down at the table, and finds it completely covered in plant matter, and the Scarlet Witch's body cannot be seen. 'I... I don't know... she's in there... somewhere' Tommy utters. Tommy reveals that he called his brother, but that there has been some sort of space emergency so he hasn't been able to get in touch with him. 'Oh god -' Kyle utters as he gives Tommy a hug. 'Billy gets magic stuff. He would know what this is' Tommy adds, before revealing that he doesn't think Billy knows their mom is dead.

At the Krakoan Gate in Manhattan, Captain America, Iron Man and the Wasp have gathered near the gate, which is covered in beautiful flowers. 'Pretty. Sort of. What do you think it means?' Iron Man asks. The Wasp tells him that she doesn't know, but that it is giving her the willies. Captain America frowns as he asks the Vision why he called them and told him to meet him here. The Vision appears and announces that this is the precipitously rare everbloom blossom, impossible to grow in low altitude, tropical climates. 'This isn't native to Krakoa, I take it' the Wasp replies. 'So...you gathered us because you're...excited to show us an endangered plant?' Iron Man asks. The Vision frowns as he reveals that he summoned them because this is Wanda's favorite flower, and that he has been told she never returned from the Hellfire Gala. 'By whom?' one of the others asks. Suddenly, the Krakoan gate opens, and Xavier steps through. 'Me' he declares, before thanking “Vision and friends” for meeting him. He remarks that he wanted to tell them in person, as he is afraid he has some bad news. A moment later, the Vision keels over, and Captain America helps him stand, while the Wasp covers her face in shock at the news Xavier reveals to them.

Back at the Grove, Laura and Logan both leap towards Magneto, but he manages to keep them at bay, holding them back by using his control over metal against their adamantium skeletons. 'You never learn' Magneto tells Wolverine, while more and more shards of metal swirl around him. 'Nah, I just never gave a $%^& what you did to me' Logan replies, before motioning to Synch and Daken who rush up behind Magneto while Wolverine occupies his attention. 'Now them on the other hand -' Logan begins, as Daken leaps at Magneto and shoves his claws through Magneto's back. Magneto screams in pain, while Daken leans into him and tells him that there is an adamantium inside him to manipulate. 'Kids these days, eh' Wolverine grins as he looks up from the ground. But, an instant later, it's Daken who screams in agony, as Mangeto uses his powers to hurl dozens of metal shards into his back. 'I don't require metal inside you in order to make you suffer – there's more than enough metallic ore in Krakoa's soil for that!' Magneto announces, before he shakes Daken off of him.

The metal flying around Magneto suddenly closes in on him, and he assumes that a power-leech is using his powers against him. 'Synch, is it? Show yourself!' Magneto shouts as he resists the attack, and diverts the dozens of shards of metal backwards towards the mutants nearby. 'Everyone – take cover!' Jean calls out as she throws a telekinetic shield around herself, Cyclops, Rachel, Northstar and Synch, while outside, Logan covers Laura with his own body to protect her, several metal shards plunging into his back as he does so. Magneto shakes his fist, 'Arrgh! Let me finish them!' he exclaims as he tells Synch that if he is going to borrow his powers to wield against him, then to come out and fight him like a man. 'Okay' Polaris responds as she appears in front of her father, several beams of magnetic energy flickering around her. Magneto tells his daughter to cease this foolishness, to which Polaris asks him if that is what he told Wanda.

Magneto and Polaris' powers clash, as Magneto reminds his daughter that she once asked him how he would describe her personality, and assumed that he had no answer, when actually, he was merely biting his tongue. 'I now believe it was an error on my part to spare your feelings at the cost of your grasp on reality' Magneto announces. Polaris listens, as her father tells her that if she were to ask him again he would tell her the truth – that she so desperately lacks an understanding of – that she is unhinged and inconsistent at best. This distracts Lorna, who loses her concentration over her powers which are blocking the metal shards her father hurls at her. She screams as one of them slices her right arm, while Jean Grey quickly throws a shield up around Lorna to protect her from other shards, and Cyclops fires an optic blast which destroys one of the metal blades.

Jean goes over to Polaris and helps her, while the others all gather around them. 'How many women is it now you once claimed to love who all perished during your brief window of affection and attention?' Polaris asks, telling her father that he leaves a trail of dead wives and dead daughters behind in his wake, and that breaking people down to make them more biddable has always been his modus operandi. Tears stream down her face as Polaris reminds her father that he tried to break her, too – tried to rearrange the pieces of her into his perfect daughter. 'But you failed. Your efforts backfired and you only made me stronger!' Polaris exclaims as she unleashes a wave of magnetic energy, while the others all rush towards Magneto. Synch joins up with Polaris' powers as Polaris asks Magneto if this is what happened to Wanda – if his efforts at making her more biddable to his machinations failed, so he cleaned up after himself. 'YOU KILLED HER?' Polaris screams.

'GET DOWN!' Cyclops shouts at everyone as he unleashes a powerful optic blast at Magneto – but suddenly, someone – or something – speeds past him and grabs Magneto, whose helmet drops to the ground with a thud. 'What? Where did he go?' Cyclops asks as he picks up Magneto's helmet. The others gather around, while up above, something quickly punches Magneto repeatedly, hard and fast – it's Wanda's brother, Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver. 'STOP!' Northstar shouts as he flies up and grabs Quicksilver, pulling him away from Magneto. Quicksilver looks furious, but Northstar grabs his fists and tells him that is enough. They drop to the ground, where Magneto's unmoving body has  fallen. 'I ALWAYS KNEW IT WOULD BE YOU, MAGNETO! I ALWAYS KNEW IT WOULD BE YOU WHO KILLED HER! JUST LIKE YOU ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT DOING!' Quicksilver shouts, while Northstar holds him back from speeding over to the motionless Magneto.

The others arrive, and Jean goes to Magneto's side as she tells Rachel to help her get Magneto to the Healing Gardens. 'SHE WAS ONLY EVER BROKEN IN YOUR EYES, MAGNETO!' Quicksilver shouts as Northstar grabs him and flies him up into the air. 'But she was...she was just unwell!' Quicksilver utters. Pietro remarks that his sister was just a very sick woman, that she just needed help – some %$^&*!%* compassion for once. 'Pietro... I know. I know' Northstar replies as he hugs Quciksilver, hovering high above the ground. 'It's my job to protect her...and I failed...how could I fail?' Pietro asks.

Later, inside the Healing Gardens, Jean, Logan and Cyclops stand around Magneto's body, which is encased in a protective shield. Jean tells Scott and Logan that Dr Reyes said Healer or Elixir would be able to wake Magneto up whenever X-Factor returns for questioning, but that he is stable for now. 'Comatose, you mean' Wolverine remarks, adding that Quicksilver was a heartbeat away from killing him, out of his mind with rage and grief. Jean points out that it is a good thing Northstar intervened, or Charles would have another Maximoff murder incident to inform the Avengers. Logan asks Jean if she can’t just take a peak under the hood to find Magneto killing Wanda. 'Why delay the inevitable?' he asks. 'That depends' Jean replies. 'On?' Scott asks. 'On what his subconscious is up to, because right now that'd be what's at the forefront of his mind, and the mind's a lawless place. I'd need Emma's help' Jean explains. Cyclops tells her that he is sure that can be arranged. But Jean delves into Magneto's mind anyway, and sees him surrounded by death while he screams 'NOOOOOOOOO'. 'No, it can't. A nightmare can't confess' Jean utters.

Meanwhile, at the Green Lagoon, where the Blob and Anole are cleaning glasses behind the bar. The Green Lagoon is relatively empty, save for Mastermind and Toad, who sit at the bar, several drinks in front of him. Quicksilver soon walks up and joins them, sitting next to Toad. Gale-force pain slams into you with a shocking blast. Loss levels you. You were not prepared. After a time, you begin to right yourself. I am healing, you may think. I am moving on. Quicksilver signals to the Blob for a drink. 'To simpler times' Mastermind remarks, raising a glass. His former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants teammates – Toad, Blob and Quicksilver – all look over to him. 'The good ol' days...' Toad's voice trails off, before the four men take a drink.

'This isn't right? How could this happen?' Toad exclaims, slamming his glass on the bar. 'It's not FAIR!' the Toad shouts as he hurls his glass across the bar. 'No! Stop breaking my glassware, Toad! Get out!' the Blob declares as he sees the Toad pick up another glass and prepare to throw it. Anole puts a stop to that by extending his tongue and wrapping it around Toad's wrist. Toad sobs as he wanders off, while Quicksilver holds up his glass and takes a sip. 'To Wanda' he utters, before tears fall down his face as he adds 'May her weary, troubled soul... finally be at peace'.

But then comes a moment in which you unexpectedly recall all that has been lost. And with this, in bursts a bitterly efficient new wind. One that slices cleanly through all the fresh protective layers you'd managed to build back up around your healing heart. It carves open the promise of a scar and leaves you gasping for air in one cold, swooping gust. It levels you again. You may have to repeat this process several more  times before realizing that you simply must stay down. This is just how your life will be from now on. You have no choice but to permanently accommodate the hurting wind because there is no evading the pain. It never leaves you. But you become more adept at managing it. Eventually, your grief becomes background ache. Then, the wind knifes and bites through the nothingness you left standing in its path as it blows. Hurting, yet harmless. A lonely wind left howling its pain throughout all the blackened empty spaces where a love once tended to used to live. Whistling through the haunted ruins of you. 'My winds howl in the millions. I am the Scarlet Witch' Wanda Maximoff thinks to herself as Wanda Maximoff opens her eyes, and finds herself floating in a nothingness.

Wanda looks at herself – her costume is white, but begins to turn red and pink as blood seeps through. She looks shocked as she looks up and sees a cloaked figure holding a blade, which they pull out of Wanda's chest and vanish. Wanda clutches her wound as she thinks to herself that she is intimately acquainted with grief. Every single person I have ever harmed – I grieved for them all. I ache for what has been lost. What I have caused. A tempest of anguish. 'Ha... see you... next round' Wanda calls out to her murderer. The blood flowing from Wanda's wound turns into petals, which flow around her as she begins to grieve for herself – because she was killed. The petals form beautiful flowers, as Wanda thinks to herself 'I died, and yet... I know that I am now dead'.

 

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Polaris, Synch, Wolverine III (all X-Men)

Daken, Eye-Boy, Northstar, Prestige, Prodigy IV (all X-Factor)

Speed

Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier

Amazing Baby

Beast, Domino, Sage, Wolverine (all X-Force)

Exodus, Emma Frost, Magneto, Mr Sinister, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Kate Pryde, Sebastian Shaw, Storm, Professor X (all Quiet Council)

Egg, Elixir, Hope, Proteus, Tempus (all the Five)

Cecilia Reyes

Anole

Blob, Mastermind, Toad

 

Scarlet Witch

Quicksilver

 

Captain America, Iron Man, Vision, Wasp

 

in Wanda's memories:

Scarlet Witch

 

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Story Notes: 

This issue takes place after the “Hellfire Gala” event, specifically SWORD (2nd series) #6, when the Scarlet Witch arrives at the Gala, and X-Factor (4th series) #10, where the Scarlet Witch's body is discovered.

The title, “Dial M for Wanda” is a play on the title of the stageplay and later film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, “Dial M for Murder”. The stageplay and film are based on the works of Frederick Knott.

Eye-Boy's powers were developed further over the course of X-Factor (4th series) so much so that Northstar issued a directive that Eye-Boy's new powers were not to be alerted to anyone else outside of X-Factor Investigations, hence why Beast is so interested in Eye-Boy's abilities.

The Scarlet Witch and Magneto were believed to be mutants (and Magneto's children) until Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7, when it was discovered they were neither mutants nor Magneto's biological children. Uncanny Avengers (2nd series) #1-5 further explored this, revealing that the twins' powers are the results of experimentation by the High Evolutionary.

Wiccan is currently in space, tied up with the events of the “Last Annihilation”.

Polaris asked Magneto how he would describe her personality, to which he gave no response, in X-Factor (4th series) #1.

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