John Byrne has this to say in the above article:
The basic premise was that Charles Xavier had faced Lucifer, and the dead bolt fell on him -- the thing that crippled him. Only this time it killed him, so there was never a Charles Xavier. It was Magneto who formed together the first band of the X-Men, which were not called the X-Men, they were the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They were Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Beast, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, with somewhat different names. Cyclops was still Cyclops, the Angel was Arch Angel, and carries a flaming sword. Iceman had a different name, I can't remember it now. Marvel Girl became Psyke. Beast was still the Beast, and obviously Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch still had the same names. The story was essentially that with that particular team forming the Brotherhoof of Evil Mutants, Magneto beats everyone. He destroys the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, in their earliest stages. In order to destroy the Fantastic Four, they team up with Doctor Doom. Doctor Doom then turns on them (this is an earlier form of Doctor Doom, the one about issue #10 of the F.F.). He turns on them and Magneto magnetically, simply crushes the Doctor's chest plate. "So much for you fella!"John Byrne's website forum:
Then, all the other super heroes are either imprisoned or destroyed. Those who are not killed are imprisoned on Asteroid M, and Magneto rules the world! We show that it's not all bad a place, really. Homo Sapiens are not the top dogs anymore -- the world is ruled by Homo Superior. And everything is going along real cool and neat, until one day, along comes the Silver Surfer, followed immediately by Galactus. And in this case, since the Thing was killed in the destruction of the Fantastic Four, there is no Alicia to soften the heart of the Surfer, so the Surfer doesn't turn on Galactus, so Galactus eats the world.
Of course, Asteroid M with all these superheroes on it, which is in orbit, goes drifting off into space, with Spider-Man, and Daredevil, and all the other survivors.
Drifting thru the Gallery this morning, I came to this piece and realized there may be a basic flaw in my execution of this concept. As seen in Wanda and Pietro, NONE of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, excepting Magneto himself, wore masks.
Cyclops doesn't have a whole lot of choice about the visor, of course, but I wonder --- should Jean and Hank be bare faced? Warren sort of is. . .
This is such a neat idea and a cool commission. I'm imagining Magneto told Beast he gave him those claws so he'd be more dangerous, but truly he just wanted to make sure the brilliant Dr. McCoy had some metal on him that could be controlled... just in case.
Something I don't think has ever been "addressed" official is the fact that Hank was a dumb lunkhead when introduced in X-MEN 1, and didn't become a "bookworm" until the third issue. When I was originally concocting my plot for this WHAT IF? I wondered briefly if the Beast's increase in intelligence was something Xavier had engineered, without telling anybody. That would have made quite a difference in how this "alternate timeline" played out, no?
…Jean looks pretty evil.
I know it would not have been "historically accurate", but I was REALLY wishing I could redesign Jean's costume. What "worked" for me 30+ years ago just looks.... well, not good, today.
It was most interesting to gaze back in time, to when those sketchbook drawings were done. I don't remember the exact year -- not sure if I was actually assigned to the X-Book yet (tho the crappy anatomy suggests not), but this was most definitely before several hundred tons of nonsense got shoveled into the characters' back stories. Most definitely the unapologetically EVIL Magneto here, for instance. Not a "freedom fighter", unless it's strictly his OWN freedom he's fighting for.
The basic story was simple enough. The accident that crippled Xavier in the "real" timeline KILLED him in this one, so our kids were on their own when Magneto found them, and, pretending to be on the straight and narrow, lured them into his clutches. Then, as the debris suggests, having "turned" the team he unleashed them on the FF and Avengers, and WON. And this happened before FF 13, so that fateful meeting on the Moon did not take place, and watching the Earth turn into a mutant dictatorship, the Watcher sort of lost interest, and eventually left to seek other worlds to observe.
Which means he wasn't around when, on the last page, the SIlver Surfer shows up. . .