X-Men (2nd series) #187

Issue Date: 
August 2006
Story Title: 
The Blood of Apocalypse, epilogue: The Future

Peter Milligan (Writer), Salvador Larocca (Penciler & Inker), Jason Keith (Colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Sunfire convinces Gambit that they are a new breed, and that they must get Polaris, also a former Horseman, to join them. But Polaris is having problems of her own which the X-Men are trying to figure out. Although she cannot get over Gambit, Rogue cruelly flirts with Pulse, and Iceman thanks Havok for helping Polaris despite the risks to himself. After conducting more tests, the White Queen and Beast learn that whatever Apocalypse did to Polaris has resulted in some form of powers residing within her, though they are most likely not to be mutant abilities. Sunfire and Gambit make their presence known, demanding Polaris, so of course a battle breaks out. Rogue tries to help Gambit, but he makes it perfectly clear that he only wants her to die, and begins to bash her head in. Pulse comes to Rogue’s aid, but even still, Rogue is not able to seriously harm Gambit. Sunfire tries to get to Polaris, but Lorna has awoken now, and announces that she belongs to no one, and fights Sunfire off. Sunfire decides that this was a bad idea, and grabbing Gambit, they escape without anyone having a chance to stop them. Later, Valerie Cooper informs Havok that more Sentinel’s are on their way, while Polaris announces that she is leaving to find out why Apocalypse gave her these powers - and that she is going alone, leaving Havok and Iceman behind. Pulse assumes that Polaris is going to Egypt, and tries to make a move on Rogue now that Gambit is completely out of the picture, but Rogue makes it quite clear that she never wants to hear about romance ever again, and storms off. Sunfire and Gambit are soon approached by their future - Mr Sinister!

Full Summary: 

Japan…in a Zen temple, a center of quiet medication and compassionate wisdom, a place of reflection, where according to the Lanavatra Sutra, one might come to recognize that consciousness is the only reality. For those reasons, Shiro “Sunfire” Yashida tells his fellow former X-Man and Horseman of Apocalypse, Gambit, to stop struggling, or else he will have to break his neck. Remy “Gambit” LeBeau points out that the only reason Sunfire can walk on two legs is because of Apocalypse. Gambit, or rather, Death as he is now known, elbows Sunfire in the face, ‘Apocalypse gave you back your dignity, turned you from a shuffling half-man into a near god - and he put the meaning back into my life, gave me the spark that helped me to leave the X-Men - now you tell me we have to turn our backs on him?’

Sunfire gets to his feet, ‘No, Remy, no…I tell you - we have to kill him!’ Sunfire blasts Gambit with an intense beam of flame, as he remarks that Linji, of the venerable Rinza school said that if you meet the Buddha, you must kill the Buddha, and if you meet the Patriarch, you must kill the Patriarch. Death gets to his feet, ‘I thought Zen preached peace and humility’ he asks. Sunfire explains that “kill” is not to be taken literally, and what they must kill is their attachment to teachers, masters and external things. ‘For us, that includes Apocalypse’.

Death exclaims that they are Horsemen - created to serve their master, so they must remain loyal. Sunfire reminds Remy that from the beginning he had doubts and was a half-formed Horseman at best. ‘Those are doubts no more!’ Remy claims, as Shiro declares that they are something new, something other - neither horsemen nor any longer true X-Men. Shiro reveals that there is one more like them, and their duty is to find her, as they belong together. ‘Together - so we can do what?’ Remy snaps. ‘What do any of us do? Fight, make up split, scheme, fight some more. What life is for creatures like us’ Shiro exclaims.

Suddenly, Shiro surrounds both himself and Gambit in a ball of fire, ‘Perhaps the only way we will kill Apocalypse…is by the cleansing purity of fire…’ with that, Gambit a.k.a. Death screams.

Half a world away, at the Xavier Institute. ‘That terrible scream, it’s got to be Lorna!’ exclaims Alex Summers a.k.a. the handsome Havok. Running alongside him is Dr. Henry “Beast” McCoy, who remarks that it barely sounded human. Entering the med-lab where Lorna Dane had been recuperating, they find her gone, Alex asks where she is, and Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen explains that Lorna woke up suddenly and became disorientated, frightened, she started screaming. Emma motions to the corner of the room where Lorna is huddled, and remarks that she isn’t sure what happened after that. Suddenly, there is a blinding light and Lorna is gone.

Knocked aside, Alex gets to his feet and asks the others if they are okay. Beast helps up Emma, who reveals that her head is spinning after a moment of contact with Lorna. The X-Men look up to the ceiling and discover a gaping hole which Lorna created to make her getaway.

Upstairs, in the cafeteria, Bobby “Iceman” Drake is talking to one of the few remaining students at the Xavier Institute, the young woman named “Bling!” and explains to her that it wasn’t anything like a fire, more like a piranha’s mouth, it bit him and the rip in the space-time continuum took a chunk out of him. ‘Freaky. And you’re not worried that you, ah, caught something nasty?’ Bling asks. Suddenly, the floor behind them erupts, and Lorna bursts through, landing on the ground nearby.

Bobby rushes over to his former girlfriend, as Bling asks if she is all right. ‘This woman saw millions dying on Genosha, has been used by Apocalypse to host some of the world’s nastiest diseases, and now she’s exploded through the floor…so somehow I doubt she’s okay’ Bobby declares as he picks the green-haired Lorna “Polaris” Dane up, talking softly to her, he tries to get her to wake. Alex, Emma and Henry enter the room, ‘Is she okay?’ Alex asks. ‘I…I don’t know what she is’ Bobby replies. Emma asks Henry to take Lorna down to another med-bay, while Bobby asks Emma what is going on, as she said Lorna was getting better.

The White Queen reminds Bobby that she actually said she was confident that Lorna’s body could fight off any of the infections she had when she was Apocalypse’s Horseman, ‘I didn’t say anything about her mind’. However, Emma points out that this could be positive, for if Polaris is finally struggling with her inner demons, the horrific experience with Apocalypse could prove to be beneficially cathartic. Iceman asks if this means Lorna has her powers back, while Rogue remarks that if Lorna is like this because of what Apocalypse did to her, Gambit could be going through the same thing.

Emma tells Bobby and Rogue that to answer both their questions, she and Henry would need to conduct more tests. Iceman goes over to Alex and remarks that he never got to thank him for what he did in Apocalypse’s ship with Lorna. Havok replies that it was simple first aider stuff, but Bobby remarks that it took some stones for Alex to put his lips to Lorna’s knowing how many diseases she had. ‘Really showed how much you…how much she means to you’. Alex smiles, ‘I just happened to get to her first. It was nothing you wouldn’t have done’ he remarks before turning away. ‘Yeah…’ Bobby mutters unsure.

Rogue, holding hands with the X-Men’s new ally Augustus a.k.a. Pulse, remarks that she wishes she could exorcise Gambit clean out of her mind. Augustus remarks that his mother used to say - before she was carried off to the sanitorium - ‘There’s nothing that time, whiskey, and the novels of Virginia Woolf won’t heal’ Rogue smiles and asks Augustus if his mother really said that. ‘She was an enigmatic soul’ Pulse remarks, smiling back. Rogue puts her hands up to Gus’ lips, ‘I can’t tell you how much of a help it’s been having your around these last weeks’ she says, when suddenly, ‘Face it, you two were made for each other’ exclaims Raven Darkholme, better known as Mystique, as she approaches her daughter.

Rogue asks her foster mother what she is doing sneaking up on them like that, to which Mystique points out that she is an X-Man and has a much right to be here as any one else. Turning to Gus, Raven smiles and asks him if he has asked Rogue to marry him yet. ‘I’m going to take a shower’ Gus remarks as he takes his leave. Raven asks Rogue ‘Don’t you just love the way he talks? It’s like having warm sherry poured down your ear holes’. Rogue asks Mystique why she is still doing this, reminding her that she only brought Gus here because she hoped he would come between she and Remy. ‘I’d have thought you’d ease off…now that it’s clear Remy ain’t ever coming back!’

As Rogue says that sentence though, outside on the grounds of the Institute, several O.N.E. security guards are mysteriously knocked out.

Back in the med-labs, Emma informs Alex, Bobby and Rogue that she and Henry have conducted further tests on Lorna, revealing that she is strong, her body is fighting off the diseases it carried. Emma also reveals that what Polaris now possesses, is some manner of strange, and they think, mutating power. Bobby asks if this means Lorna is one of them again, a mutant, but Emma explains that it would seem that something else is happening. Havok admits that he doesn’t understand, as the powers Lorna displayed were just like Polaris’.

Emma explains that they are just a simulacrum hardwired into her by Apocalypse, a facsimile of her former mutant powers created by technology rather than the X-gene. ‘Hey, if she walks like Polaris, and talks like Polaris, she is Polaris!’ Iceman exclaims. Emma points out that they will not know who or what she is until she emerges from the dark night that engulfs her. Suddenly, ‘Oh my lord!’ exclaims Rogue as Sunfire and Gambit enter the room, and Shiro declares that they are taking Polaris.

The X-Men get to their feet, and Havok tells Bobby to cover him, as they are not taking anyone. Shiro tells the X-Men to tell him where Lorna is, or else they will find her themselves. Rogue asks Gambit what he thinks he is doing, to which Remy just replies that Polaris is one of them, so she belongs with them. Alex assures Sunfire that the X-Men can help him, as they know what Apocalypse did to him. ‘You don’t have any idea what he did to us!’ Shiro snaps back, before aiming his powers at his one-time teammates. Alex calls out to Bobby, who creates a solid block of ice, encasing both Sunfire and Death in it.

The X-Men stand around the ice prison as Alex remarks that this will give them time to work out what to do with their former teammates. Rogue exclaims that she just wants to undo what has been done to them, while Iceman asks Emma what she thinks. ‘I think we might have a problem!’ the White Queen replies, as surprisingly, Sunfire manages to use his powers to melt the ice and burst out. With the X-Men all momentarily stunned, he and Gambit race away. Emma asks if anyone is hurt, to which Bobby replies that it will heal. Alex however, is more concerned with the whereabouts of Rogue.

‘REMY!’ shouts Rogue as she flies down a corridor in a streak of flame. ‘Oh, great’ mutters Death, turning just in time for Rogue to crash into him. In the med-bat, the Beast is startled by the sudden noise, when suddenly Sunfire blasts the door down, declaring that Polaris belongs to him. Beast motions to the devices that Lorna is hooked up to, and explains to Sunfire that if he disconnects Lorna from the benzodiazepines that are keeping her calm, he might induce an epileptic seizure. ‘I think we’ll take that chance!’ Shiro exclaims, ready to tear away the equipment, when suddenly, Lorna hovers above her bed, ‘Sunfire! I do not belong to you!’ she declares angrily.

Back in the corridor, ‘But, Remy - we love each other!’ Rogue exclaims as Gambit smashes her head into the wall, ‘That’s why I gotta kill you. You’re my greatest attachment to my old self!’ Remy declares as Iceman and Havok arrive. Gambit turns to them, and lets loose some sort of gas, explaining to them that it is a present from Apocalypse, and their bronchial tubes will be clogged with mucus for the next twenty minutes. Ready to punch Rogue’s face in some more, Death suddenly finds himself incredibly weak as Pulse wraps his arms around him, holding him in place, Gus tells Rogue that he cannot depower him for long, so she must hit him. Rogue is hesitant, ‘Come on, h was trying to kill you, Rogue!’ Gus reminds her.

Back in the med-bay, Polaris has knocked Sunfire to the floor, telling him that they can fight all day, but that she still will not belong to anyone - but herself. Lorna adds that it has been some time since she was able to say that.

Rogue smashes her fist into Gambit’s face, ‘You actually wanted to kill me!’ she exclaims, when suddenly Sunfire barrels through, grabbing Gambit, he admits that he was wrong about Polaris. ‘Whatever she is, she is not one of us!’ Alex calls out to the Beast, asking him to stop Sunfire, but Shiro shoves Henry aside, giving him time to leap through the window and escape with Gambit.

Later, Havok scolds the O.N.E. security guards, remarking that he thought they were supposed to be guarding this place. Dr. Valerie Cooper assures Havok that if the Sentinels had been here, Sunfire and Gambit wouldn’t have gotten away like that - nor would they have gotten in so easy. Alex assures his friend that they can get along without the Sentinels, but Valerie tells him not to get used to it, as the new Sentinel Squad is due to arrive any time. Alex does not look impressed.

Approaching Alex are Lorna, Bobby and the Beast. Bobby tells Lorna that what she is doing is crazy, as she just got out of her sickbed, and Henry backs him up, telling Polaris that she should be careful. Alex asks what is going on, to which Iceman reveals that Lorna intends to leave - tonight. This surprises Alex, but Lorna exclaims that she knows how this place works and if she doesn’t leave tonight, then something will happen and she will end up staying forever. ‘What’s so bad about that?’ Alex asks, ‘Exactly!’ agrees Bobby.

Lorna points out that Apocalypse has given her this new start, with new powers, but she needs to find out why - from Apocalypse. Alex asks Lorna where she thinks she is going to find him, to which Lorna replies that she knows where she will start looking. Alex tells her to wait, as he is going to come with her, ‘Not this time’ Lorna replies. Alex and Bobby just look at each other. ‘Guess it’s a free country’.

Up on a balcony, Rogue asks Gus where he thinks Polaris is going. Gus replies that she is probably going to Egypt, as that is where he would, go if he wanted to track down Apocalypse, but personally, if he ever sees that big thug again it will be too soon. Rogue and Gus hold hands again, and Rogue thanks him for what he did today, as he saved her life. Gus replies that perhaps he was just doing himself a favor, after all, with the Cajun hunk out of the picture, there is nothing in the way of their romance now. ‘Gus! No!’ exclaims Rogue, breaking her hands from his, surprising Gus as she exclaims that the love of her life just looked into her eyes and told her that he wanted to kill her. ‘So I don’t wanna hear one word about romance!’

‘I doubt if I ever will again!’ she adds as she storms away. Stepping out of the shadows, Raven mocks Augustus on his great timing. Gus also begins to walk away, ‘Mystique - why don’t you go and metamorphose yourself!’

‘…you must kill the Buddha’ Death remarks, exclaiming that he thinks he understands now - Apocalypse, Rogue, the X-Men - he is free from them all now. Sunfire points out that this leaves them free to decide what to do next now that they are alone. Suddenly, stepping out of the darkness of the temple, someone says ‘But you are not alone!’ Gambit recognizes that voice, and a pair of glowing red eyes confirm the presence of the diabolical Mr Sinister, ‘I am glad you both feel able to move on from the past…for I am your future!’

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Havok, Iceman, Mystique, Rogue, White Queen (all X-Men)

Gambit / Death, Polaris, Sunfire (all former X-Men and former Horsemen of Apocalypse)

Pulse V


Dr. Valerie Cooper

Mr. Sinister

O.N.E. Soldiers

Story Notes: 

Sunfire was given new legs by Apocalypse in X-Men (2nd series) #182-183.

Havok performed first aid on Polaris to save her life in X-Men (2nd series) #186, despite the fact that she was riddled with disease.

An error occurs when Rogue and Pulse are talking about exorcising Gambit from Rogue’s mind, their speech balloons come from the wrong person.

Polaris was one of the many mutants, but few X-Men, that were depowered following the horrific “M-Day”. [X-Men (2nd series) #177.

An error occurs on page 15, panel 2, where Gambit / Death is drawn in place of the White Queen.

This issue marks the final for both writer Peter Milligan and artist Salvador Larroca. Milligan has been writing X-Men (2nd series) since #166, while Larroca’s tenure began earlier, with #155.

Beginning with issue #187, Mike Carey takes over the writing, and Chris Bachalo the pencils.

Cast changes are also set, with Polaris and Havok moving to Uncanny X-Men, and Cable, Cannonball, Sabretooth and Lady Mastermind joining Iceman, Rogue and Mystique in this series.

This issue comes with a bonus “Masked Marvel” back-up story written by Karl Kesel.

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