X-Men ‘97 Hero Slaughters Thousands In Shocking Twist

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

x-men '97

The recent X-Men ‘97 episode “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 1” had a climactic moment where Magneto unleashed an EMP blast that encompassed the entire planet. The show mostly emphasizes how this blast disables the new breed of killer robots that have been hunting mutants around the world, which makes Wolverine’s statement that Magneto has declared war seem slightly odd. However, it makes perfect sense–the comics had a similar moment where Magneto unleashed a giant EMP and killed thousands, which would understandably make him an enemy of nations around the world.

Tolerance Is Extinction

Let’s start by reviewing how things went down with Magneto in this recent X-Men ‘97 episode. When the ep started, the mutant master of magnetism was Bastion’s prisoner, but Valerie Cooper felt guilty for her role in helping Bastion facilitate horrors like the attack on Genosha and freed Magneto. The mutant went to the North Pole and unleashed an EMP blast felt by the entire planet, and we see how this instantly disables the new Prime Sentinels that have been hunting mutants more efficiently than the originals ever could while disabling other electronics around the world.

Fatal Attractions

magneto x-men 97

As longtime comics nerds know, Magneto’s move in this X-Men ‘97 episode is one that comes straight from the comics. During the Fatal Attractions event (in X-Men #25, specifically), the UN initiates the Magneto Protocols which uses a network of satellites designed to prevent the villain’s powers from working on Earth. Things don’t exactly go according to plan, and Magneto reminds humanity of his strength by unleashing a worldwide EMP blast.

Magneto’s actions in this comic, unlike in X-Men ‘97, were purely retaliatory against humanity, meaning he wasn’t trying to stop a bunch of Prime Sentinels from hunting mutants. He just wanted to hurt as many humans as he could, and later on, Xavier tries to guess how many people died. Thanks to things like hospitals and airplanes losing power, Xavier believes that “many hundreds, perhaps thousands, have died.”

The Body Count Could Go Beyond Thousands

Again, the full extent of Magneto’s action hasn’t been explored in X-Men ‘97 (at least, not yet), but we have every reason to believe that Xavier was significantly underestimating the potential death toll. When these comics came out in 1993, the idea of planes just falling out of the sky and causing catastrophic damage was unthinkable outside of fiction. These days, we are sadly aware of how many people can die when a plane lands in an urban area, and every single plane in the air crashing at the time of Magneto’s EMP burst means a death toll very well into the thousands.

A New, Dark Record For Magneto

magneto x-men 97

It’s possible that the high number of human deaths caused by Magneto will be explored in the final two X-Men ‘97 episodes of the season. After all, this is a show that hasn’t shied away from taking its stories and characters to some very dark places (like Rogue doing her best to become a murderer). Because the last ep was pretty subtle about it, though, it’s important to emphasize how much of a return to villainy this is for Magneto as he caused death and destruction on a level never before seen in the universe of the show.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

magneto x-men '97

Incidentally, knowing how everything went down with Magneto during the Fatal Attractions event doesn’t mean we know how this X-Men ‘97 season will end. The show has turned the entire Marvel canon into a buffet of blended stories, and the combination of different comics storylines has created something that feels fresh and original. Now that Xavier has returned to Earth just in time for Magneto’s return to villainy, it will be interesting to see if the season ends with more heartbreak or embraces fierce optimism so central to the original comics.