SAGE: Page 3 of 4

Publication Date: 25th Sep 2020
Written By: Peter Luzifer, Ruth and Monolith.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Dean Clayton.


The team had a bad start. At the first stop on their quest, they found themselves in conflict with the local Spanish authorities and the mysterious Vargas cut through the X-Men’s ranks, killing Psylocke and seriously injuring the Beast. Hank was only saved when Sage jumpstarted his latent healing abilities. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #1-3]

The quest for the diaries was interrupted time and again, like when the team went to Australia to aid their friend Gambit, who was accused of murder. While there, the X-Men also had to face off against Sebastian Shaw, who had learned about Tessa’s status as a double-agent and wanted to make her pay for this betrayal. Sebastian used his new associate, Lady Mastermind, to draw Sage into an illusion, which was meant to slowly divorce her from Xavier’s cause and lead her back to Shaw’s. The other X-Men beat Shaw and Lady Mastermind in the physical world but Sage remained comatose, trapped in the hallucination, until a new friend of the team, Lifeguard, reached out to her. Sage drew her into her mind and mentally switched places with her, enabling her to beat Mastermind’s influence, though in the process she made an enemy of Lifeguard, who felt used. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #7-9]

Shortly afterwards, Earth was under attack by the other-dimensional Kahn and his troops, some of whom had kidnapped Lifeguard and Gambit. In order to reach and rescue them, the team needed a fast way to teleport. Sage had sensed Davis Cameron's latent potential for teleportation and, with his sister’s life at stake, the young man didn’t hesitate to accept Sage’s offer of jumpstarting him. During the following battles with the invasion troops, Sage also offered to stabilize Lifeguard’s fluid genome, but the woman refused, angry at what Sage had done to her brother. The X-Men being overwhelmed by sheer numbers, Sage agreed to also help Rogue access all her genetic potential – all the powers she’d ever absorbed, making her in effect a one-woman-army, before she eventually overtaxed her abilities and burned them out.

The invasion taking place in Madripoor, the X-Men had also temporarily allied with the Viper, the island’s ruling crimelord, only to be betrayed by her as she literally stabbed Storm in the back. After the particularly grueling battle against Kahn and his troops was finally won, Sage confronted and humiliated Viper about her behavior, making a lifelong enemy in the process. More bitter than the Viper’s betrayal, though, was the realization that she had failed. Briefly having accessed the late Destiny’s powers, Rogue had realized that the diaries were a trap – their prophecies self-sustaining in such a way that, by trying to prevent the predicted events, one would ensure them to happen. Tessa felt that, as it was her job to see things others would not, she should have realized this before, but she had been too caught up in decrypting the diaries, rather than the concept behind them. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #10-17]

With their primary goal rendered moot, this adjunct team of X-Men dissolved, with many members leaving to pursue personal quests or just to take time off from "super-heroing." Bishop and Sage split their time between looking after Storm, as she recuperated from injuries received in Madripoor, and taking some personal downtime. For Tessa, it was the first time off-duty in years and Bishop tried to get her to open up a bit, which turned into an easy-going friendship. [X-Treme X-Men X-Posé #1-2]

Together, they started performing freelance police work in cases involving mutant activity. One of these cases centered around Jeffrey Garret, a new student at Xavier’s school, who seemed to be the prime suspect in a murder investigation. During the investigation, Sage quickly realized that Elias Bogan was involved and told Bishop how dangerous Bogan was and that he was probably after Emma Frost. Sage and Bishop tried to save the boy as well as several other students. Due to the possessed Jeffrey and Bogan’s slave telepath, however, they found themselves prisoners in the Danger Room, where the events that led to Jeffrey’s murder of Bogan’s servants were being re-enacted. Had the sequence continued as planned, they would have all died in there but, due to the coordinated effort of Storm and Emma Frost, they were saved. Afterwards, Sage had a talk with Xavier, making it rather clear that she blamed him for some of the hardship in her life and that she’d rather follow Storm than him. The X-Treme X-Men then left, thinking it more important to improve human-mutant relations, rather than further isolate mutants by hiding them at Xavier’s school. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #20-23]

A few months and several adventures later, while staying in Valle Soleada, California, the team was forced to confront Bogan again. Almost killing Sage, he let the others in on her shameful secret: how she had murdered and mutilated those bandits when she was a child. The X-Men were not impressed, as many of them had a spotted past themselves. Instead, they reached out to Sage, who finally was able to admit that she couldn’t do everything alone and needed the X-Men’s help in defeating Bogan. In a concert effort between Rogue, Bishop, Kitty Pryde and Sage, they freed Bogan’s mystery telepath, who turned out to be Rachel Summers. Sage intended to risk her life to find Bogan, who once more had gotten away, but Rogue talked her out of being a martyr. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #40-44]

Shortly afterwards, the team learned of a mutant terrorist attack on New York, during which major parts of the city and Xavier’s mansion had been destroyed. Naturally, they returned home to help rebuild but, right before they departed, Rogue came to Sage with an unusual request – she wanted her to jumpstart Gambit, whose powers had burned out back during Kahn's invasion. Sage knew that a certain adrenaline level was needed, so she used an image inducer to disguise herself as Rogue and staged a seduction, taking Gambit by surprise. Then, she used her power on him, successfully reactivating his own. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #46]

After Xavier’s school was rebuilt, the X-Men were re-organized by the new headmasters, Cyclops and Emma Frost, the Professor himself having left for Genosha. Sage remained with Storm’s team, now called the X.S.E. (X-Treme Sanctions Executive), who were an international government-approved strikeforce, with full authority on mutant situations all over the globe. Tessa had also taken it upon herself to operate a giant computer system in the mansion's carriage house. She used it not only to monitor her teammates’ activities but also to analyze and review data from all over the world and determine those spots where the X-Men should get involved. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #444]

Sage’s cyberpathy turned out to be a liability, however, when the X-Men fought the robotic superhero-killing horror called the Fury. The creature employed one pair of the special sunglasses Storm’s team used to stay in contact with Sage to literally infect Sage with nanobots and take over her mind, making her in effect an extension of the Fury. Sage put most of the others in the mansion to sleep, thanks to her control of the computer systems. She turned out to be a genuine threat to the few X-Men left awake, until they managed to damage the nannites, allowing Sage to shake off the Fury’s control. Once they joined the rest of the X-Men still fighting the Fury, Sage came up with the plan to get rid of the Fury, by combining their powers to create a miniature black hole effect. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #445-447]

Soon after, the Viper turned up with a vengeance for her humiliation in Madripoor, and she had the X-Men taken to Arcade’s Murderworld for a deadly game of cat and mouse. While it seemed that she had succeeded in killing Sage, it turned out that Wolverine had recognized the Viper soon enough to pull a switch and had been covering for Sage, disguising himself with an image inducer. One problem remained, though -- while her team was busy dealing with a nuclear bomb left behind by the villain, Sage secretly pursued the Viper and learned that she had been offered to participate in a renewed Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club around Sebastian Shaw. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #448-449] Shaw offered his Tessa the opportunity to return to his side in the Inner Circle, and Sage ultimately decided to accept the offer. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #450-451]

Shaw intended to claim the role of Lord Imperial now that Elias Bogan was out of the picture, and Sage arranged for Roberto DaCosta of X-Force to be nominated as the Black King in Sebastian's place. Along with Courtney Ross (White Queen) and Viper (Warrior White Princess), this new Hellfire Club ostensibly wished to reform their image, working to help mutantkind around the globe much as Charles Xavier did. Despite Tessa and Roberto's word, Storm and the X-Men were less than trusting of Shaw and his ilk when they learned of the arrangement. Bishop in particular was concerned that Sage was playing a game beyond her control. They shouldn't have worried. Donald Pierce, the former White Bishop and rival of Shaw, attacked the X-Men and the Club after learning of the revival. Sage had anticipated from the start the scenario that soon played out, leaving Sebastian injured in his fight with Pierce and Roberto perfectly positioned to ascend to Lord Imperial in his place. With one calculated risk, the X-Men and their allies now controlled the Hellfire Club. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #452-454]