Magneto has the Worthingtons locked upstairs in one of the rooms. He considers for a split second whether Iceman, the youngest and most in-experienced X-Men will be a threat to his plans, but quickly dismisses the thought.
At the hospital, the doctor administers a new drug and it appears to be working on Iceman.
Meanwhile in the metal sphere in the air, Xavier regains consciousness and awakens his X-Men. They access the situation to figure out how to escape from their floating prison in the sky.
Back at the Institute, Magneto has plans to create an entire army of mutants. Since the Worthingtons birthed a mutant, he intends to “analy[s]e their body cells, and duplicate them”.
In the metal sphere, Xavier’s mental probes have alerted him to the capture of the Worthingtons. Iceman remains the only key to saving them and the Worthingtons from Magneto. Xavier carefully instructs Iceman to leave the hospital. In the mean time, Marvel Girl has managed to stop the ascent of the balloon. Xavier proceeds to probe Magneto to learn of his escape from the “Stranger”. Magneto had escaped the planet he had been trapped on by the “Stranger” by using an old spacecraft that he had found.
Iceman returns to the Institute. He observes as Magneto creates his army of mutants in Xavier’s laboratory. Seeing that Magneto is preoccupied, Iceman sneaks in and interrupts the process by creating an “ice barrier between [the Worthingtons] and [Magneto’s] body cell selector”. Magneto finds Iceman and starts attacking. Quick thinking has allowed Iceman to evade Magneto. The two mutants take the fight outside. Iceman plans to trap Magneto within an ice tunnel but in turn trapped himself within it as well.
Monitoring Iceman’s progress, Xavier urges his X-Men to hurry up and take the balloon down. Cyclops makes a hole in the balloon to release the gas, prompting their descent. Marvel Girl uses her telekinesis to stead their descent. They arrive to help Iceman. Xavier had already alerted the “Stranger” of Magneto’s escape. The “Stranger” chases after Magneto who had taken off.
The X-Men rush inside to destroy Magneto’s mutant army. The Worthingtons awaken from their slumber and are invited to dinner with the students by Xavier.
Previous: Uncanny X-Men (Vol 1) #17
(X-Men: The Early Years #17 is a reprint of Uncanny X-Men (Vol 1) #17 and #18.)