Ultimate X-Men #53

Issue Date: 
January 2005
Story Title: 
Cry Wolf - conclusion

Brian k. Vaughan (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Danny Miki (inker), Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris Eliopolous (lettering), Justin Ponsor (colors), Nick Lowe & John Barber (assistant editors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Special thanks to C.B. Cebulski

Brief Description: 

In the lobby of the Empire State Building, Wolverine begins attacking Gambit in spite of Rogue’s protests, while their teammates are closing in on the building in their X-Wing. Ignoring Cyclops’ orders, Iceman makes Nightcrawler teleport the two of them into the penthouse and face the von Struckers. They are eventually joined by their teammates and the von Struckers admit that Rogue is in the lobby. Rogue, in the meantime, has had enough and starts threatening Wolverine with a gun. After what he has done to Gambit, she calls him an animal. Storm joins them just in time to witness Wolverine’s decision to leave the X-Men. She gives Rogue a piece of her mind and runs to join him. Gambit asks Rogue to accompany him. He proves that he isn’t afraid of her power, as he kisses her. Rogue tells him her real name is Marian and decides to take him up on his offer, leaving behind a heartbroken Iceman.

Full Summary: 

The X-jet flies towards Manhattan. Cyclops nervously asks Jean Grey if she is sure about this and she assures him that she and Charles managed to pinpoint four mutant signatures inside the Empire State Building. Rogue, Gambit and two unknowns. Since when did she start calling the professor “Charles?”

Cyclops continues the conversation telepathically. Shushing him that it isn’t the time, Jean continues to explain that Xavier cross-referenced the unknowns with Cerebro’s files and believes they may be a couple of Trump wannabes named von Strucker. Angel recognizes the name. Andrea and Andreas von Strucker are mutants? He explains that they used to come to some of his parents’ charity functions. Two creepy European Billionaires who run a global investment firm called Fenris. Nobody knows if they are married or siblings.

Kitty makes disgusted gagging sounds, while Dazzler complains that gag was tired when the White Stripes pulled it. Colossus wonders if the von Struckers are pulling the strings or are more kidnapping victims. Bobby doesn’t care. While they are wasting time debating, his girlfriend is probably getting tortured. Girlfriend?`Colossus scoffs. They were going out for like two minutes… Jean and Scott tell the others to relax. They are there.

Inside the Empire State Building, Rogue gulps, for Wolverine has arrived. Misreading the situation, he is out for Gambit’s blood. Gambit’s eyes start glowing, as he threatens that he’ll light the rest of Wolverine’s skeleton up like a Mardi Gras float, should Wolverine attack him with his claws. Wolverine retracts his claws, scoffing that he doesn’t even need hands to beat Gambit. He jumps at the younger man and head-butts him. Ignoring Rogue’s protests, he brutally hits and kicks Gambit.

Upstairs, in the penthouse, the von Struckers are trying to contact their guards. Andrea tells Andreas to calm down. They will find other mutants. Grabbing Andrea by the throat Andreas icily informs her that the “white trash girl” laid her filthy hands on him. This is no longer business. It’s absolutely bloody persona! He lashes out with their powers - a flash that’s seen by Dazzler in the X-Wing.

Cyclops orders Angel to gather some intel; see if there are hostages. Bobby protests. They should just ram the X-Wing through the window. Cyclops points out that, if they try this, SHIELD satellites will blow them out of the air. The plan is for Jean to telepathically cloak them to civilians so they can land outside the first floor and …

Bobby ignores him and orders Nightcrawler to teleport him inside. Nightcrawler hesitates, pointing out he needs a better sightline. Bobby tells him to do it or he will freeze his pointy ears off. Kurt complies and Bobby tells Scott to eat brimstone. With a grin Dazzler reveals that she is beginning to like that kid. Can they please not tell the Professor about this, Cyclops moans.

Nightcrawler and Iceman reappear inside the von Stuckers’ penthouse and Iceman angrily demands to know where Rogue is. In response, the von Struckers blast them away. Andreas identifies them as X-Men and Andrea remarks with a smirk that he is Rogue’s playmate, isn’t he? The one who likes kissing other girls? Whatever, Bobby replies, as he lets loose an ice-barrage. The von Struckers create a shield. Andreas mockingly remarks that perhaps he’d like to work for them. Andrea refuses. If there is one thing she cannot tolerate within employees, it is lack of loyalty.

Downstairs Gambit rasps out please … mercy… Merci? Logan asks, deliberately misunderstanding. That’s how his kind say thank you right? You’re welcome, he adds, as he again brutally hits Gambit’s face. Is that worse than getting half your face blown off, he asks as he grabs Gambit by the shirt. Getting punched with a fistful of unbreakable bones? Too bad he doesn’t have unbreakable tendons, Gambit replies and kicks Logan’s knee. Logan just bends it back, unsheathes his claws and moves toward Gambit, telling him the next sound he will hear will be the sound of his severed head hitting the… That’s enough! Rogue interrupts him as she trains a gun on him. Unless he wants to give that healing factor a real workout!

Outside, Angel flies Colossus in his human form towards the building. Nervously, he asks the more experienced Russian if he thinks this is a good idea. No, Colossus answers laconically, but it is Cyclops’ idea and that makes it good enough for him. His other build is too heavy to carry, so they have to time this right. On the count of three, Angel releases him and in his armored form Colossus crashes through the penthouse’s windows.

He grabs the von Struckers and demands they return Rogue. Andreas claims that he and his partner just arrived a minute ago. They were at a leukemia fundraiser all night. He means two of the most convincing shapeshifters on their staff were, Jean Grey, surrounded by flames, corrects him calmly. Their psychic barrier is a little less effective now that the hunk over there put a great hole in it.

Andreas threatens them with their lawyer. Not interested Jean tells them thy just want their friend. Andrea claims she is not sure to whom they are referring, but they might consider checking out the lobby. Last he heard, that despicable criminal Gambit was seen there, Andreas adds.

Downstairs, Wolverine has momentarily stopped hitting Gambit and remarks that Kitty had told him Rogue was down with the NRA, but he hadn’t believed her. Where did she get the piece? From one of the heavily armed jerks Gambit helped her take down, she replies sharply. He is not the bad guy here. Wolverine reminds her that he nearly offed a whole Ferris wheel on Coney island. Gambit points out that he never would have done that, if he hadn’t been assured the X-Men could save everybody. Besides, Rogue adds, can anyone in their room say they haven’t been pushed into doing something awful by evil people? The question is whether one wants to atone. Wolverine angrily begins that he doesn’t know what weird Stockholm Syndrome spell he has got her under, but –

Rogue cuts him off. His little lectures might impress Storm, but they never fooled her. She has heard stories about him at Weapon X and from Magneto. She knows what he is really like, how little he has changed… and he has no right to judge. As she walks closer to Gambit and looks at him tenderly, she informs Logan that he is an animal.

Storm joins them, wondering why Logan looks so dejected. She explains that she lost him six blocks ago and -

Wolverine curtly tells her it is over. The kid’s right. He has never belonged with the X-Men and never will. Ororo protests and he tells her to get out of his face as he strides off. He isn’t her boyfriend. He doesn’t even like her.

Rogue urges Storm to go after him. She will be all right here. She is not all right, Ororo shouts angrily. She is an ungrateful little brat. Where does the girl Storm had to beg not to execute Sinister get off being so self-righteous with anyone? That man loves Rogue like he is her brother!

With those words, Storm flies off, leaving Rogue to wonder. Gambit begins apologizing for his role in the mess. Rogue tells him to forget it but he should go, too. The rest of her crew probably isn’t too far behind. Why doesn’t she come with him, he suggests, as they both step out of the lobby into the rain. She admits that she likes him but tells him not to push his luck. She hasn’t forgotten how they met. He admits that the circumstances weren’t the best but they are like those couples that get together after surviving the same plane crash. No one else understands what they’ve been through. Rogue stutters that she needs some time alone. So does he, he replies, calling her Rogue. They could be alone together.

Out of the blue, she tells him her Christian name is Marian… like Robin Hood’s girl. He’ll let her be whoever she wants to be, Gambit states. He has more in common with her than her friend back there. She has seen his past. No matter what he has done, his heart’s always been in the right place. Those memories have already faded away, she points out. Then he’ll give her more, he offers. She warns him of her touch. Calling her Marian, Remy assures her that he is not like other men. He can take the pain.

They kiss and a disbelieving Iceman asks Rogue? The other X-Men have arrived. Rogue coolly remarks that Bobby now knows what it feels like. Dazzler state that Gambit has to be like twice her age. That is hot. Cyclops sternly remarks that they are here to take Rogue home. Rogue tells him to thank the Professor but she is leaving the Institute. Jean tells Rogue they are her family now. She’s had lots of families, Rogue shouts, and all they’ve ever done is hurt each other. It’s time she tried something different. What’s different about running off with another manipulative piece of garbage, Iceman asks bitterly.

Rogue just tells all of them that she appreciates their coming after her, but she’d appreciate it more if they gave her a little space. She takes Gambit’s arm and they walks way.

Kitty tries to reach out to Bobby, who shoves her away. Jean and Scott share a silent meaningful look and Dazzler utters a sarcastic, Yay, team as they all stand in the rain, dejected.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Andrea and Andreas von Strucker (Fenris)

Via telepathy:

Professor Xavier

Story Notes: 

Donald Trump is a controversial self-made millionaire.

White Stripes – a Detroit band – when they debuted in ’99 they claimed to be brother and sister while rumor had it that they were ex-husband and wife.

The NRA is the National Rifle Association, the famous – or infamous to some – organization of gun supporters.

Stockholm Syndrome – describes the behavior of kidnap victims who, over time, become sympathetic to their captors. The name derives from a 1973 hostage incident in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of six days of captivity in a bank, several kidnap victims actually resisted rescue attempts, and afterwards refused to testify against their captors.

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