Ultimate X-Men Annual #1

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 
Ultimate Sacrifice

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Tom Raney (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Gina Going-Raney (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Omar Otieku (production), John Barber (assistant editor), Nicole Wiley (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men, minus Angel as his wings haven’t fully healed yet, are busy fighting Danger Room simulations of some villains Spider-Man managed to defeat in the past. While they fight, Xavier receives an urgent phone call from Nick Fury, who mentions that someone escaped from their custody and might attack the mansion, thanks to his former connection with Rogue. Xavier informs Fury that Rogue no longer is an X-Man, which upsets Fury, as he was never told. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, Rogue and Gambit manage to steal a valuable ruby from a Fenris casino. Afterwards, they spend some time in the big city, talking about Rogue’s bad past with her parents. Suddenly, they are under attack by none other than… the Juggernaut! He wants to have Rogue back for old times sake, and also because he is in love with her. During the battle, Gambit charges up the ruby they stole, which somehow gives Cain even more power than he had before. As the battle continues, Gambit throws some charged up playcards at a construction plate. It crashes on both Gambit and Juggernaut. Cain dies, and Gambit is almost breathless. Rogue gives her beloved a final kiss goodbye, and his powers and soul float inside her body. Three days later, Rogue contacts her ex-boyfriend Iceman at the school. She takes goodbye from him, after mentioning that she is scared. Rogue, while standing at a gas station, leaves, and now permanently has Gambit’s eyes and powers.

Full Summary: 

The X-Men are under attack by… the Green Goblin! The Goblin sarcastically congratulates the young mutants, as they have the “honor” of being killed by him. Unimpressed, the X-Men stare in front of them, and look at their other opponents: Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Electro and Kraven the Hunter. Wolverine knows that Xavier programs these Danger Room holograms they are presumed to train with, but he wants to know who writes their lousy dialogue.

Storm, while quickly dealing with Electro by using her thunderbolts, reveals that she writes it. And, she mocks, if Logan understood the first thing about writing, he would know what she was trying to accomplish. Nightcrawler defends that he likes the stylized dialogue, but fails to understand why they are fighting these creatures, as, sinister as they may be, these villains aren’t mutants. Jean explains that they are peacekeepers. They have to be ready to defend against anything, whether it’s human, mutant or whatever. Cyclops mentions that it was Kitty’s idea to practice against other threats from SHIELD’s database.

Iceman suspects that Kitty only came up with the idea so she could suck up to Spider-Man about having fought his enemies. Kitty doesn’t want to hear it. Plus, she hazes Bobby, it’s him who sneaks into the Danger Room at nights to go on simulated dates with… Iceman moves his ice-slide quickly towards Kitty’s direction, and angrily shouts at her not to even say her name. Colossus, while fighting Dr. Octopus, wonders if Kitty and Bobby are still together, or if they broke up again. Dazzler jokes that, since the two are sixteen years old, it changes by the hour.

Meanwhile, in the Control Room, Angel wonders and asks Xavier if he’s certain he can’t do anything to help his classmates. Xavier appreciates the offer, but he wants Warren to remain on the sidelines until his wings have finished healing. Xavier stops the discussion, as he receives a priority transmission from SHIELD. Xavier tells Warren that he’s excused, and the winged mutant departs.

A viewing screen with Nick Fury’s image opens. Fury’s afraid that there is some trouble, as an escape occurred. Xavier freaks out, fearing Fury’s talking about Magneto. Fury calms the man down, mentioning that the master of magnetism is still trapped in the Triskelion. Unfortunately, he is talking about one of the other savages who helped blew up the Brooklyn Bridge. They were transferring said person to a detention facility originally designed to contain the Hulk, but there was an incident en route.

Xavier wants to know if any of Fury’s men were hurt. Fury doesn’t see that as Xavier’s concern. What should be Xavier’s concern is the fact that one of his students turned state’s evidence against this psychopath. Xavier immediately realizes that Fury is talking about Rogue. Fury tells Xavier not to worry, as he’s sending a platoon of guards to the institute to provide additional security, just in case. Xavier sadly has to report to Nicholas that Rogue is no longer with the X-Men.

Fury becomes outraged. He remanded the girl to Xavier’s custody with the implicit understanding that Charles would act as her legal guardian! Xavier did, he concludes. But, Rogue chose to seek a different path recently, and he was not there to prevent her departure. Fury wants to know where Rogue is at this point. Sadly, Xavier has to confess that he has no idea.

Meanwhile, at the Fenris Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada…

Rogue manages to slip passed a lot of security laser beams, and is about to steal a very tiny, yet valuable ruby. She reports back to Gambit that the job will be done in two shakes. Remy, having defeated all of the guards, still is surprised that Rogue managed to get inside a vault with six million dollars. Rogue defends that there’s no need to be greedy, as she’s certain that after the Fantastic Four crashed their space shuttle on the Strip a few months back has hurt Fenris’ Vegas earnings enough already. Gambit warns Rogue that, she can take it from him being a former street performer, that it doesn’t matter if it’s David Blaine or Doctor Strange, “magic” isn’t nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Rogue manages to grab the ruby, and explains that, according to that flunky whose memory she absorbed back in Dallas, their former employers bought the ruby from an Irish arms dealer named Black Tom Cassidy. She has no idea what the ruby does but, if they are keeping it out of the Von Strucker’s hands, she knows that they are doing the world a favor. Gambit remembers that Fenris has got holdings in every country on the planet. It doesn’t matter how many jobs they pull, Remy fears that they will never be able to dismantle Fenris’ whole empire.

Gambit wants to know if Rogue is certain she wants her whole life being a never-ending string of heists. Of course Rogue wants that, as long as her Prince of Thieves is by her side, she doesn’t care. Gambit just sometimes feels guilty about stealing Rogue away from the X-Men. Rogue jokes that those kids are a lot of things, but definitely not “men.” All they do, she claims, is sit in their school and practice. Rogue thinks that, if she is ever going to make up for all the awful things she has done in her life, she needs to get out in the world and actually do something. She asks Remy to leave now, and slip into something less comfortable.

They leave and go put on their tuxedo and beautiful, red dress, and spend the evening walking through a casino. Remy wishes he could be there to see the look on their faces when Andrea and Andreas watch the tape of them walking out front door with their family jewels. He thinks that they should stick around and win a few hands of blackjack just to rub it in. Rogue doesn’t want to, as her family has had nothing but trouble when it comes to games of chance. Gambit asks if Rogue’s father was a gambling man. Rogue sadly has to confirm, at least he was, up until he lost their house. That’s also when she ran away the first time.

Gambit mentions that they can visit Rogue’s parents if she wants. Rogue thanks him, but she claims that the only family that matters to her now is Remy. She thinks that finding him was the luckiest day of her life. Rogue and Gambit suddenly stop, as they get hold in the middle of the street by none other than… the Juggernaut! He jokes that it has been a long time since he and Rogue last saw each other.

Rogue freaks out, fearing that Juggernaut is working for Fenris now. That obviously isn’t true, as Juggernaut doesn’t even know what “a Fenris” is. Gambit asks Marian if she knows this man. Juggernaut mentions that he and “Marian” used to be partners, until she stabbed the Brotherhood in the back and hooked up with the X-Men instead. Rogue mentions that she isn’t with the X-Men anymore. Gambit confirms that, as they are done running.

He charges up some playcards and throws them at the giant. The cards explode on the Juggernaut’s armor, but he is unharmed. He jokes that must have been the dumbest mutant power he has ever seen. He grabs Gambit by his clothes, and tosses him high up into the air! Luckily, some boxes below break his fall. Rogue warns Cain to stop it. Ignoring the threat, Juggernaut picks Rogue up and holds her tightly. She wants to know how Cain found her.

Juggernaut reveals that he busted his old helmet out of storage, as this thing lets him track anybody who was ever branded by Weapon X. He thinks that Rogue has perhaps forgotten what those animals did to them. Rogue, with a serious look on her face, warns Cain to leave right now, as she doesn’t want to hurt him. Juggernaut laughs, as he is aware that Rogue can only absorb him when she doesn’t wear any gloves, as she is right now, and she can’t use them because Cain holds her tight by her arms. Rogue notices that Cain is as stupid as ever. She moves her feet until her shoes fall out, and kicks Cain so hard he has to drop her.

Cain tells Rogue she can fight him all she wants, as, unlike her new boyfriend, Cain’s mutant power aren’t some stupid card tricks. He is unstoppable! He punches Rogue in the face. Rogue remembers that and, thanks to the fact that Cain hit her, she is now unstoppable as well. Thanks to the punch, Cain touched her and allowed her to absorb enough strength to blow Juggernaut to the other side of the street! But, he’s still standing. Cain shouts at the scared bystanders to get out of here now, before he beats them to pulp. While they escape, Cain notices that they even bring their children to this hellhole, and can’t believe that Rogue actually sympathizes with these animals.

Rogue wants to know if Juggernaut is still working for Magneto and taking orders from him, suspecting that Magneto might have send Cain after her to kill her. Cain denies that. He would never kill Marian, as… he loves her!

He grabs Rogue’s arm tightly, and she has to scream from the pain. Cain asks Rogue to touch and absorb him, and to look straight into his heart. Rogue has no choice but to do that. Rogue recognizes images from their shared past back as prisoners inside the Weapon X compound, and them spending time together in their holding cells. Cain sees him and Rogue as two sides of the same penny, as they are both trailer trash made good. Rogue was the brains, and Cain was the brawn: they were the perfect team. Sharing a cell with Rogue was the only time Cain felt like a free man.

Rogue passes out. Gambit returns, and asks Cain to drop Rogue, remembering him that Rogue is still just a kid and can’t handle so much information. Cain wants to know how the Cajun would know that. Remy knows enough to not force Rogue into being something she doesn’t want to be. Cain thinks that the only reason Rogue is with Gambit is because he reminds her of her father. Gambit takes the ruby he and Rogue stole earlier. He charges it, and throws it at the Juggernaut. On impact, the ruby phases inside Cain’s armor!

Energy starts surrounding Cain. He laughs. Cain doesn’t know what the Cajun did to him, but he hasn’t felt this good since he turned thirteen and crushed his father’s skull with one hand. He has never been this strong! He is even able to lift up a car, and throw it away. Now there isn’t a force on this planet that can prevent him from being with his girl.

Gambit won’t allow that, and pulls out his bo-staff. Unimpressed, Cain starts fighting Remy. Gambit puts his staff on the ground, jumps high up and lands on Cain’s back. He starts running amok through the city, smashing everything in his way, until he eventually manages to grab Remy and throw him back on the ground. Remy mentions that he now had enough time to charge up Cain’s helmet with enough energy to demolish a city bus.

Uncertain, Juggernaut wants to know what that means. At that very moment, his armor explodes. Cain smiles and calls Remy stupid. Gambit still has an ace up his sleeve. He charges up some more cards, and throws them at Cain, but they all miss. Cain laughs again, but this was all part of Gambit’s plan. He tells Cain to look behind him. He does, and realizes his mistake: the cards hit a giant constructing plate, and it crushes down on both Cain and Gambit!

Rogue wakes up, only to see Remy’s fate. Rogue senses that Gambit is still alive, as she can still feel him. She moves some bricks away, and finds Gambit, almost out of breath. He now realizes that there really is exist some true magical things in this world. Police helicopters can be heard in the distance. Gambit knows he won’t be in this world for long anymore, and wants to at least steal one final kiss from Rogue.

Marian has no other choice, and kisses her beloved. Gambit’s energy fills the air and floats inside her body.

Three days later, at the Xavier Institute…

Iceman sits alone in his room, and makes ice sculptures of Rogue. The phone rings. It’s Rogue. Bobby immediately wants to know where she is, as he has heard on the news that the cops found Gambit’s body.

Rogue changes the subject, as she is scared. Normally, the transfer only lasts a few hours, but this time it’s different. Bobby asks what’s wrong, hearing that Rogue’s voice doesn’t sound right. Rogue mentions that she can still hear Gambit’s voice, as if he’s standing right next to her.

Rogue apologizes, but she has to go as her phone card has almost run out. She stands nearby a gas station somewhere. She takes goodbye from Bobby and hangs up.

Rogue turns her head, and her eyes are now similar to Gambit’s, and she is able to charge up playcards like he used to.

Characters Involved: 

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

Gambit, Rogue


Nick Fury

various security guards, Las Vegas visitors (all unnamed)

as Danger Room simulations:

Dr. Octopus, Electro, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, Sandman (all “Ultimate Six”)

Story Notes: 

This Annual takes place a few months after Ultimate X-Men #53, and presumably even after Ultimate X-Men #60. The reason is that in the issues in between, Angel’s wings was wounded after being pinned against a wall by Mojo, and Storm received her new uniform.

Rogue was kidnapped by Gambit to join Fenris, as seen in Ultimate X-Men #50-52. Though, as later occurred, Fenris wanted to kill Gambit because they thought Rogue to be better suited for them to use, Rogue and Gambit together rebelled against Fenris and escaped from their clutches. When Rogue first joined the X-Men in Ultimate X-Men #32, she later on started a relationship with fellow X-Man Iceman, but ended that relationship after she saw him kissing with Shadowcat. Not thinking she had a place within the team anymore, Rogue chose to leave together with Gambit after kissing him, as seen in Ultimate X-Men #5.

Gambit was a street performer in Ultimate X-Men #13.

This issue mentions the existence of Black Tom Cassidy, though he hasn’t actually appeared yet. It’s also unclear if there’s a connection between him and ultimate Juggernaut. And if Tom exists, it’s presumably that one-time “616” X-Man Banshee also exists, though unclear at this point. This issue also reveals that Juggernaut’s real name is also Cain Marko in the “Ultimate Universe,” something that could only be presumed before.

Both Rogue and Juggernaut were members of Weapon X in the past, as seen in Ultimate X-Men #7-12. Afterwards, they joined Magneto’s Broterhood as an appreciation of thanks, and together helped blew up the Brooklyn Bridge during the Ultimate War mini-series. They were both apprehended by SHIELD, but Rogue had a change of heart after agreeing to help Xavier defeat the attacking Sentinels. She was later pardoned from her crimes and, thanks to Fury, put under Xavier’s custody and reunited with her parents, as seen in Ultimate X-Men #32.

Throughout the issue, Gambit’s pupils are sometimes miss-colored as white, and not red.

Dr. Octopus, Electro, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter and the Sandman are all villains Spider-Man fought in the past and successfully managed to defeat time after time, like Iceman mentions. They formed the “Ultimate Six” throughout the “Ultimate Six” #1-7 mini-series, until they were eventually defeated once again by Spider-Man, though he had the help of SHIELD and the Ultimates this time.

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