Warning: Spoilers for Magneto (2023) #2 ahead!Ultron may be one of the deadliest threats that Marvel’s heroes have ever had to face, but it turns out the X-Men may have had access to anti-Ultron technology the entire time. As the technopathic mutant Warlock discovers when he tries to interface with Cerebro, the nature of the device makes it completely immune to technological takeover, making the device safe from Marvel’s greatest mechanical menace.
J.M. DeMatteis, Todd Nauck, and Rachelle Rosenberg’s Magneto (2023) #2 sees the classic 1982 team of New Mutants scrambling to track down Magneto’s whereabouts after he is kidnapped by the mysterious Irae. Although they are able to gain access to the Cerebro room, the team is hesitant to use the device due to the potential strain it can place on all but the strongest minds. While they bicker, Warlock attempts to use his techno-organic nature to merge with Cerebro and interface with it from within.
This attempt is unsuccessful, and Warlock is violently ejected from the device. After he has recovered, he claims he knows why he failed: “Cerebro requires a human mind for activation!“
The Power of Marvel’s Techno-Organic Virus
Repelling Warlock is no small feat: he is a member of a Marvel species known as the Technarchy, a techno-organic species capable of assimilating almost any form of energy or matter into techno-organic forms like themselves. This “techno-organic virus” is the same kind that X-Men hero Cable suffers from, necessitating him to be sent into the future as a baby in Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, and Chris Claremont’s X-Factor (1986) #68 – implying that the virus survives and is a major technological affliction of the far future. Even in the present, the Technarchy is a force that consumes and assimilates entire planets.
Ultron is often held to be the pinnacle of Earth’s technology, menacing the Marvel Universe throughout its timeline (such as in David Pepose, Carlos Magno, and Espen Grundetjern’s Savage Avengers (2022), where Ultron rules a dystopic future) – yet Cerebro presents a kind of technology that not even the hyper-advanced Technarcy can penetrate. Ultron may be capable of simulating a human mind – even infecting and possessing a human host – but Ultron’s mind itself will never be human, barring him from interfacing with Cerebro on the psychic level it demands. This leaves the X-Men with a key piece of technology that Ultron can not interface with – technology that, through the hands of mutant smiths like Forge, could be converted into weapons that Ultron can’t sabotage.
Scientists like Hank Pym and Tony Stark have long been bedeviled by Ultron’s ability to override their systems (and their very bodies), but if they had thought to turn to the X-Men, the mutants’ Cerebro technology might have been able to turn the tide against their mechanical foe. Ultron may be one of Marvel’s greatest villains, but the X-Men have an ace up their sleeve – and should Ultron ever start making trouble again, they’ll need to step up as Marvel’s first line of defense.
Magneto (2023) #2 is now available from Marvel Comics.