X-Men (2nd series) #171

Issue Date: 
August 2005
Story Title: 
Bizarre Love Triangle - part 1: Dangerous Liaisons

Peter Milligan (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Penciler), Danny Miki & Allen Martinez (Inkers), Liquid! (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

A young mutant girl dubbed Foxx finds sanctuary at the Xavier Institute, which leads to Havok and the White Queen being at odds about which squad to put her on, Alex wanting her on Iceman’s, while Emma wants her on Gambit’s, both pointing out that this girl may cause trouble for either Remy or Bobby. Foxx is introduced to Gambit and her squad-mates, and asks Gambit if she can have one-on-one lessons to catch up on what she has missed out on, which Gambit refuses. In telepathic therapy, Rogue and Gambit attempt to have sex, but even in the mind, Rogue’s powers absorb Gambit, and he ends up nearly a withered husk, though Emma slowly brings him back to normal. Foxx informs Rogue how much she admires her, but Rogue isn’t interested, and when one of Foxx’s squad-mates tries to get to know her, Foxx threatens him. After his recovery, Gambit seems to take his frustrations out on training his squad, and later, in the showers, Foxx practically throws herself at Gambit in the steamy showers, pointing out that he is past his prime, and every day he spends celibate the more his libido fades. In a conversation with Wolverine, Rogue is rather confident that Remy would never cheat on her. Meanwhile, Havok pesters Polaris about what it is she saw in space, but Lorna claims she cannot remember - or doesn’t want to remember. Iceman tells Havok to back off, until Lorna asks her past and present boyfriends to stop talking about her like she isn’t around. Iceman also encourages Lorna to speak about memories she may have with Havok, claiming he is not jealous.

Full Summary: 

‘Where did she come from?’ an agile woman leaps through a forest on a blood-red night. ‘We don’t know, she just popped up on the radar’. ‘That poor thing…’ ‘They chased her for miles’ A group of men park their truck, and let loose several dogs to follow the trail of the mysterious woman. ‘She’s lucky to be alive’ ‘I don’t think luck had much to do with it…’. The dogs surround the woman who has now climbed up a tree for safety. But soon, the men arrive - and discover the dogs are all dead. One of them supposes that she must have had help, she couldn’t have done it on her own, as she was just a little girl.

The men continue to follow her, one of them remarking that she was a pretty looking thing - if you overlook the coloration, and the teeth. One of the other men tells his friend that he worries him sometimes. ‘Did she know where she was running? Or was she running blind? Scared witless?’ ‘That hardly matters - they could so easily have killed her’ The men fire gunshots, BLAM BLAM BLAM, ‘The important thing is, they didn’t. The important thing is that somehow, through luck or design…she made it to the one place where she’ll be safe’. The girl evades the bullets, and leaps over a high fence, landing at an uncanny facility.

The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Westchester. Sunrise now, as the school headmistress, Emma “the White Queen” Frost and field team leader Alex “Havok” Summers continue their discussion about the Institute’s latest arrival. Alex suggests that this new girl might be a little wild for the Institute, to which Emma points out that the moment they stop admitting mutants because they are too wild, ‘We might as well go home and take up knitting’. Alex remarks that from what he hears, this girl needs a zoo, not a classroom.

Pouring some coffee, Emma ignores that comment and states that she thought Gambit could take her. Alex asks if that is a good idea, to which Emma replies, ‘It’s my idea, so I’m naturally inclined to think it is quite brilliant’. Emma informs Alex that he can help himself to coffee, ‘There’s decaf, too, if you want something a little tamer’. ‘Oh, you’re a very funny telepath’ Alex mutters, before pointing out that Iceman’s class is a little light since the accident. Emma replies that she knows, but that she thinks Remy is better suited. Havok tells Emma that she must know how things are between Remy and Rogue, as Golgotha made it very tough for them. Emma replies that Golgotha made it tough for everyone, to which Havok says especially Remy and Rogue, before implying that this girl, Foxx, could be trouble.

Emma replies that Foxx is a good name, though when she first heard it, she wasn’t sure if it was a proper noun or a verb. Havok tells Emma that she knows what he is saying - ‘Why put temptation in Gambit’s way?’ suggests Emma. ‘Why risk making things worse,’ states Havok. Emma remarks that Alex obviously thinks Bobby Drake is made of sterner stuff than Gambit, before suggesting that he probably wouldn’t mind that Iceman, who is dating Polaris, melts a little.

Havok replies that he doesn’t think it would have the same impact upon the group. Emma remarks that she is “just” a woman, so cannot appreciate this properly. Pointing out that Alex is a man, she hands him a photo of Foxx, and asks him if she is really as - her voice trails off, she doesn’t need to say anything, for Alex just looks at the photo and smiles, ‘Oh ye-eah, she is…’ he remarks.

In the Danger Room, Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit is currently training with his squad of students. The students have to restrain Gambit, but he tells them they are slow, witless and without guile - but besides all that, they are improving. As two of the students suddenly attack Gambit with their powers, he reminds them of the objective, informing them that they cannot restrain him by scattering his ashes, and pointing out that X-Men don’t kill. ‘Till you remember that, you don’t graduate’.

The White Queen interrupts Gambit’s training session and enters the Danger Room, apologizing to Remy before informing him that she would like to introduce his new pupil. ‘Her name is Foxx, make her welcome’. Gambit’s four students surround Foxx, as the blue-haired, white-skinned young woman says hello. Gambit walks over to the new recruit, and welcomes her to the Xavier Institute. Foxx asks Gambit if, because she is coming into the school mid-term, if they could have a few one-on-one sessions. Gambit clearly states that his class works and learns as a unit, so she needs to take it or leave it, before turning and walking away, informing his pupils that class is over. Foxx folds her arms and asks if Gambit is always that mean. ‘Are you always that obvious?’ asks Bling, one of the students. Emma says nothing.

Later, as the sunsets, Remy and Rogue are relaxing by a stream, when Gambit suggests that they could just hold hands, they wouldn’t need to do anything. Rogue replies that she wants to do everything - if Gambit is willing to take the risk. ‘You know I am’ replies Gambit, to which Rogue points out that it has been an age since they last tried, so maybe this time…this time will be different. Rogue starts to crawl towards Gambit, who exclaims that it is worth any risk - even dying for. Rogue swears that she will die if they cannot do this, to which Gambit remarks ‘What a way to go - the big death, La Grande Mort’. Rogue tells Remy that she doesn’t want to hurt him, and that if it starts, they will stop. Placing his fingers on Rogue’s face, Gambit points out that nothing is happening - nothing bad, anyhow, he remarks, pressing his lips to hers.

Suddenly, Rogue, inside Remy’s thoughts, she remembers the first time they met - that stupid game of ball, and although there were others there, she didn’t notice them. Then the first time Gambit held her in his arms. ‘But for you, at least, there is a chance to claim something from the day. Champagne, candlelight, magic time, Chere’. Gambit wooed her. But right now, Gambit is being drained of all his life energies. Rogue remembers how he took her for a ride on his bike - her feet haven’t touched the ground since. Remy tries to call out to Rogue, who is startled, and quickly pulls away. Barely skin and bones, Remy falls to the ground, as Rogue calls to him, apologizing and pleading with him to speak to her.

‘Look at that, no better than a burnt-out husk’ exclaims Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman, not referring to Remy (though that is one way to describe Remy), but to the steak he has just been served at the Institute cafeteria. Lorna Dane a.k.a. the Mistress of Magnetism, Polaris, exclaims that it reminds her of when Alex used his plasma blasts to cook the Thanksgiving turkey. Bobby asks when that was, to which Lorna replies that it was some time ago, to which Bobby asks her if she means Thanksgiving was just the two of them - Lorna replies that she doesn’t remember, and that it doesn’t matter, so she is sorry for mentioning it.

Bobby tells Polaris not to be sorry about it, as it was a cherished memory and she shared it. Lorna replies that it is not a cherished memory and she is sorry for mentioning it ‘Because I don’t want to hurt you, Bobby’. Bobby replies that he isn’t jealous, ‘I’ve got ice in my veins, baby!’ Lorna tells Bobby hat he doesn’t have ice in his veins, and that she is glad he isn’t jealous, because he doesn’t have any reason to be. Lorna kisses Bobby on the cheek, to which Iceman jokes that he is just warming up.

Suddenly, and angry Rogue shouts ‘Can you two please stop slobbering over each other?’ and using her newfound flame powers, she fires a blast which separates Lorna and Bobby and causes Bobby to fall to the ground. Lorna helps her lover up as Bobby tells Rogue that she could have killed them, before asking her where she got the flames from anyway. Foxx is nearby watching, and after Lorna tells Rogue that she looks awful and asks her what is wrong, Rogue runs from the cafeteria, asking ‘Who said anything was wrong?’

Havok enters the cafeteria and Lorna asks what has gotten into Rogue. Iceman points out that Rogue and Gambit have been jumpy for days, and Havok informs them that the last he heard, Remy was ‘blooding in the new girl’. Polaris exclaims that is a horrible expression, to which Alex replies that it is just a turn of phrase, and apologizes, before remarking that Lorna didn’t used to be so sensitive. ‘Shows how well you knew her’ mutters Bobby harshly.

‘Um, you’re Rogue, aren’t you?’ asks Foxx as she follows Rogue into the courtyard. Rogue begins to tell Foxx that she is in her way, to which Foxx exclaims that she wanted to tell Rogue how much she admires her, as there is so much she loves about her. Rogue tells Foxx that she is very sweet, before asking her to leave her alone. Slightly taken aback, Foxx replies ‘sure’ and heads over to the basketball court where several of her squad-mates are.

Onyxx tells Foxx not to worry about Rogue, and informs her that the X-Men don’t tend to mix with the students, as he puts a hand on one of her shoulders to comfort her. ‘And you are?’ asks Foxx rudely. Onyxx reminds her that he is one of her classmates, and suggests that the two of them could have a little fun together sometime. Narrowing her yellow eyes, Foxx tells Onyxx that the only fun she might have with him is tearing up his ridiculous face, and suggests he remove his hand before she leaves him with a stump.

Back in the cafeteria, Lorna, Alex and Bobby sit at a table together, and Alex reminds Polaris that she saw something out there in space while they were fighting Golgotha. “He looked right at me”, Alex says is what Lorna said, and asks her what looked right at her. Coming to Lorna’s aid, Bobby reminds Alex that she doesn’t want to talk about it - not now, maybe not ever. Polaris declares that she went through all this at the debriefing and she just doesn’t know.

Fellow X-Man, Wolverine, senses something wrong and approaches Lorna, asking her what is going on. ‘This pain in the butt is upsetting Lorna’ Bobby says, referring to Alex. Alex claims that he just wants to re-examine what she has to say. ‘Maybe he wants to re-examine her right into a padded cell’ mutters Bobby. Wolverine takes a seat as Lorna screams ‘STOP IT!’ and using her powers she pushes Alex and Bobby backwards, off their seats.

Quick to apologize, Lorna says that she is sorry, but she just wanted them to stop talking about her like she wasn’t here. Lorna asks Alex to leave, to which the handsome Havok gets to his feet and states that they will walk about this later. Lorna offers to go and get more breakfast, but Bobby replies that he has lost his appetite and asks her to tell him about that turkey. ‘Turkey?’ asks Lorna. Bobby reminds her of the Thanksgiving turkey Alex cooked with his plasma blasts and asks how it was. Lorna replies that it was inedible, to which Bobby grins, saying ‘Why does that make me feel so good?’

In Emma’s counseling office, Gambit lies still, to which Rogue thinks he looks so beautiful - like a corpse almost. Emma explains that she is bringing him to full consciousness slowly, as Rogue reveals that she hates the idea of Remy in a coma, as it seems so close to death. Emma informs Rogue that it allows the brain to heal quicker, and the same technique is used with serious stroke victims. Rogue is shocked, and asks how dangerous last night could have been, to Remy, that is.

As Gambit slowly opens his eyes, Emma replies that truthfully, she doesn’t know, to which Gambit mutters that, in other words, they are guinea pigs - a chancer to test the limits of Emma Frost’s amazing powers. ‘Willing guinea pigs, I seem to remember’ Emma declares, ‘Very willing’ Rogue replies, before greeting Gambit. Touching Gambit on the forehead, Emma announces that his thought patterns seem to be normal, at east as normal as his thought patterns ever are, meaning there is no harm done.

Getting dressed, Gambit mutters ‘That is a matter of opinion’, before reminding Emma that she promised them a telepathic answer to their problem. ‘I promised to help, that’s all’ Emma corrects him. ‘And you failed’ Gambit declares, but Emma informs him that he failed - or perhaps Rogue - as even in telepathic form, they were unable to escape the reality of the situation.

Gambit mutters that the reality is he died last night, he got sucked dry just as he reached a romantic crescendo, which he thinks is a special kind of traumatic experience. Emma offers to give them both more telepathic therapy, so they can try again. ‘Maybe’ replies Gambit, before saying that he has a class now, and telling Rogue he will see her around. As Gambit leaves, Rogue calls out to him, asking him to wait, but Emma tells Rogue to leave him, as he is upset, but will get over it - probably.

Gambit is now in the Danger Room, going through another training session with his students, in fact he takes out some of his frustration on his students. Though he wonders what he has to be frustrated about. With Onyxx and Flubber down, Foxx leaps over to Remy, who decides that the Danger Room never felt that dangerous - until today that is. Gambit and Foxx stop short of each other, and Gambit quickly announces that class has finished for the day, before reminding everyone that they have an oral examination tomorrow, and walking away. He tells himself to be careful - very careful.

Later, Wolverine and Rogue are having dinner together, and Logan informs Rogue that after watching Remy’s training session, it seemed that he was particularly violent today - like a man getting rid of his frustrations. Rogue suggests to Logan that he may just be protecting some of his own pent-up emotions, to which Logan tells her that comment was unkind. ‘And suggesting that Gambit is some kind of sexual neurotic ain’t?’ asks Rogue, to which they both apologize to each other.

Logan smiles and informs Rogue that there is some talk going around about Emma trying to help her and Remy, to which Rogue frowns and mutters that this place if full of talk. Logan asks Rogue if it doesn’t worry her that Gambit is spending some of his day wrestling with a little sex doll. Rogue asks why she should worry, and smiles, boasting that Gambit would never be unfaithful to her. Logan just frowns and averts his eyes.

In the steamy shower room, Gambit turns and sees a naked Foxx approach him, so he asks her what she is doing here. ‘That depends on you, Gambit’ Foxx grins, before standing under the same shower as Gambit. Remy tells Foxx that he doesn’t know where she got the idea that the two of them - Foxx knows what Remy is going to say and claims that she got the idea from him. ‘You can’t disguise your hunger’ she declares, to which Gambit tells her is not true.

Foxx runs a finger across Gambit’s chest and says ‘You want me. You can’t admit to yourself how bad you want me’. Gambit declares that he loves Rogue, but Foxx remarks that he still wants her, and tells him that it doesn’t make him a bad person, just a virile man. ‘You have needs. Needs that my…needs that Rogue cannot satisfy’. Foxx leans towards Gambit, ready to kiss him under the boiling water and tells him that she wants him to think about it. ‘I’m here for you, Gambit. No questions asked. No one need ever know’.

Barring her teeth, Foxx offers to show Remy how sharp they are, but Remy puts a hand up to Foxx and tells her to stay away, that this ridiculous conversation is over. Foxx agrees to, but asks him to think about it, and points out that his prime was several years ago - and every celibate day moves him further away from that peak. ‘Your libido fades by the hour’. ‘Mon dieu! And they say romance is dead!’ Gambit remarks, before Foxx turns away, and smiling, tells Gambit to think about it. ‘Think about me’. Gambit closes his eyes under the streaming water - before turning the temperature control round to cold.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Polaris, Rogue, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Bling, Flubber, Onyxx, Rain Boy (all Gambit’s Squad)

Other Institute students

Men chasing Foxx

In Flashback / Gambit’s mind:

Cyclops, Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 

As of this issue, Wolverine is no longer listed as a member of this team in the intro page, instead, the White Queen takes his place, meaning Emma appears in X-Men and Astonishing X-Men, while Wolverine appears in Uncanny X-Men and Astonishing X-Men (and many other books each month). Of course Wolverine will still appear in this book too, as seen this issue.

Gambit’s comment about X-Men not been killers is true only in a general sense, for while it is not something they condone, there are often extreme circumstances. X-Men that have killed people, for whatever reason, include: Wolverine (too numerous to mention), Archangel (the MLF‘s Kamikazee, soldiers of the Right, Cameron Hodge), Polaris (Member of the Church of Humanity), Cyclops (Ugly John), Havok (Brood Mutants), Colossus (Proteus and Riptide), Phoenix IV (Prism and MeMe), Iceman (Ginneyeh), Storm (a man who tried to rape her), White Queen (Adrienne Frost, her sister), Bishop (future criminals), Sage (Kahn‘s troops), Rogue (the Goth), Cecelia Reyes (a member of the Neo), Nightcrawler (Stefan Szardos his foster brother), Psylocke (Kapton Briton) and Marvel Girl II (when she was a Hound), Forge (during the Vietnam War), Kitty Pryde (an other-dimensional dictator).

Rogue permanently absorbed flame powers from Sunfire, in Rogue (3rd series) #8.

Thanks to my fellow UncannyX-Men.Net colleagues for the information on which X-Men have killed.

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