X-Men (2nd series) #45

Issue Date: 
October 1995
Story Title: 
The Enemy of My Enemy…

Fabian Nicieza (Writer), Andy Kubert (Penciler), Cam Smith (Inker), Kevin Somers and Malibu’s Hues (Color Art), Richard Starkings and Comicraft (Lettering), Bob Harras (Editor)

Brief Description: 

Rogue and Iceman continue their cross-country journey amid arguments and painful emotions. A recuperated Gambit flies the Blackbird out to Seattle, where Rogue and Iceman end up as well. After becoming frustrated with her powers in a bar, Rogue flies away, and Gambit rescues Iceman from some mutant-hating college students who witnessed the scene. Gambit’s siphoned memories lead Rogue to an abandoned theater, where her two teammates meet her. Gambit tries to convince Rogue to move on, deal with it and return with him, but she can’t continue unless she finds out the nature of the mysterious memories that cause him so much pain. In the end, he refuses to tell her what happened in the theater, afraid it will ruin everything he has worked so hard to attain. Yet Gambit wants to give himself to her completely to convince her of his love and offers to let her touch him. Rogue refuses. Neither of them is satisfied, but she decides to leave and take some time off from the X-Men. Iceman takes the Blackbird back to Xavier’s, but Gambit remains in Seattle for a few days to sort things out. Sinister approaches him one night, warning him that it is not over. Nothing is settled. He will have to play the hand that Sinister dealt him eventually.

Full Summary: 

A disgruntled Rogue furiously employs her massive strength to hurl a boulder, demanding to be left alone. Though she still wears her gloves, her clothes are unusually revealing, exposing a great deal of her dangerous skin. She soars into the air, clutching her head as Iceman ices up to protect himself from the large rock. He also manages to guard their rental car, which has already been driven off the road and is leaning sideways on some bushes.

Iceman berates her for almost totaling the vehicle, citing the expense they’ve already incurred by driving from Key West to Seattle. Long strands of ice begin to encircle Rogue as Iceman tries to bring her back down to earth. “What’s wrong with you, Rogue?” he asks, hoping he can get her to stop being “nutty” and calm down. She earnestly replies that she doesn’t want to calm down, breaking free of his frozen ropes. In fact, she too wants to know exactly what’s wrong with her.

Iceman lets her fly upward into the night sky. This has happened before. By the time he climbs up to reach her in the clouds, she’s still crying. Apologies are exchanged for mutual provocation, and Iceman tries to show his absolute sympathy and desire to help. Rogue bows her head, afraid that it’s too late. “For what?” he asks. “For everything.” As they return to the ground, Iceman tries to convince her that it might not be the best idea to follow up on the nagging doubts she’s acquired since she absorbed some unknown painful memory from Gambit. Deicing and stepping back into the car, he suggests that they head east toward the Rockies or Mount Rushmore; anything besides the place that her heart is leading her to would be better. Rogue sternly rejects this idea. She is determined to confront the secrets she has pulled from Remy’s head, lest she run from the truth for the rest of her life. They drive off in the moonlight.

In Seattle, the Blackbird has left a gaping hole in the roof of the dock where it has landed. The rain pours down, soaking Gambit as he stands silently on top of it. His mind races, recalling that his experiences in the northwestern city have all been bad. “What has love done t’you, Remy LeBeau?” he wonders. He supposes that the Thieves’ Guild would laugh at him as he stands there, pretending that his face is wet from the rain, not tears. Pulling up the collar of his dripping trench coat, Gambit reflects on why he has come: to make sure Rogue is okay, and to make sure she doesn’t find out the truth.

The Blackbird’s onboard computer automatically cloaks itself with a holographic mask, and Gambit muses that it is not quite so easy for him to hide. His thoughts wander to the letdown – “a pretty swift shot t’the guts” – of knowing that his past has caught up to him, just when he thought he’d escaped it. Worse, it might be the woman that he loves who ends up ruining everything for him. Worse still, the whole situation has arisen from one stolen kiss. “One helluva kiss, at dat.” He wonders if he had to do it all over again, just what he would do.

In a restaurant outside of the University of Washington, Rogue casually leans over the bar, flaunting her long bare legs. The drooling young men who fill the bar are more than happy to comply with her request for a beer. She reaches to accept a mug from a nervous young man when a hand intercepts hers, blocking her bare skin with a napkin. “Do you really want to do that?” Iceman asks. Irritated, she flings his hand from hers, as the young men around her glare at him. Bobby, dripping from the rain, explains that he is trying to protect them as much as her.

The persistent young men clench their fists, but Bobby icily replies that they should leave her alone. When he turns to his teammate, Rogue angrily begins to give his lecture for him. She knows she is not supposed to touch anyone, ever. Unleashing her rage, she smashes the wooden bar to mere splinters. Clutching her hands, Rogue expresses her frustration that the young people around her are the same age, attending school and making friends; things she will never be able to do. When she first joined the X-Men, she would touch people all the time, but as time passed she grew too afraid. “Not much of a life if ah have to steal it from other people, now is it?”

Bobby tries to reason with her, talking about developing her powers. Rogue lashes out, citing what happened with Remy and Cody, the first boy she ever kissed. Remy was her last chance at love and now the memories she’s inherited from him will keep her from trusting anyone ever again. The crowd has fanned out, surrounding the two mutants in a wide circle. Standing alone, Bobby asks her what she took from Gambit that was so traumatizing. She admits that she does not know, but must find out. The ceiling shatters into mere chunks of wood when Rogue crashes through it, flying off to find the truth.

Instinct takes over as Iceman seals up the roof with a solid coating of ice. Not surprisingly, the college students still in the bar realize that these two unique individuals are mutants. They move in on Bobby, violently shouting about the recent Gene Nation massacre and the Legacy Virus. Suddenly, the floor explodes beneath them and the makeshift weapons they have acquired fly from their hands. Gambit appears in the wreckage of what was once a doorway, interested to see that a mere five minutes ago, they had wanted to touch a mutant in a whole different way. Before threatening another volley of kinetically-charged cards, he kindly asks Bobby if he’d like to try another place. As they walk away from the bar, Iceman thanks Gambit for the save and expresses how glad he is to see the Cajun up and about. Bobby proceeds to ask him what Rogue might have absorbed from him, but Gambit doesn’t volunteer any specifics.

Back in Manhattan, Graydon Creed watches CNN from a room high up in one of the city’s many skyscrapers. As a reporter covers a story on Gene Nation, he sips his coffee, pleased at the news. Creed is in a powerful position in the conflict, caught between his mutant heritage and his hatred for his parents’ race. As he turns off the television, a tall, blonde young man enters, commenting on how the situation will never end until someone does something about it. Graydon wonders if Clay is implying that it should be him. Intrigued, Creed inquires further. Clay flips a pin on to his lap, offering a position that could change the destiny of the country. It reads “Creed in ’96.”

Remy and Bobby scout out a few more bars in Seattle, but Rogue has found herself in an abandoned theater. She stands alone on stage amid the debris, wondering what could have happened there. The two men soar across the skyline on Iceman’s ice slide, Gambit telling his teammate exactly where she’ll be. Initially Iceman doubts him, but as they peer down through a cracked ceiling window, they see her. Remy lifts himself through the jagged hole, adeptly falling down to the dusty stage floor. Shock fills Rogue’s heart and face when she sees her lover alive and well. Catching his fall, Remy takes it all in stride, insisting that they need to talk.

From across the stage, Rogue is interested to hear this, since her affliction stems from his memory. Gambit assures her that he is well aware of what’s wrong, but is unsure if she does herself. He notices the fear in her eyes and wonders if it would be better to tell her the truth or keep living a lie. She invites him to talk, clutching her shoulders. He begins to tell her how he’s come to make her stop hurting, but she can’t meet his eye. A loose curtain hangs from above, and she wraps herself in the tattered red cloth. Rogue asks him how he wants to help her when he can’t change the past. “How can ah ever love you – really love you – if ah can’t trust you?”

Calmly, Gambit easily replies that he thought they had gotten past that, much like his inability to touch her. Angered by his almost placid response masking the primal fear that she can practically feel, Rogue yanks at the curtain. The entire lighting rig crashes down on the hapless Cajun, who narrowly misses a crushing death. Catching his breath, he pleads with Rogue to help climb over the hurdle, spouting words of love and giving back, but this is not enough for her. She kicks some nearby debris as Gambit tilts his head back in frustration. She flies off through the ceiling window, as Gambit ponders how his place in life, his chance to do something good, will be lost if she realizes what’s happened.

In the sky above the theater, Iceman moves to stop the wayward Rogue, blasting her with ice. He reproaches her for turning her back on her problems. She easily breaks the encasing ice off of her and retorts that Bobby has done a marvelous job of running away from his problems with his father and Emma Frost. Closing the gap between them, Iceman concedes that he too has been hiding on this journey, but proposes that they jointly try to straighten their lives out. Afraid he’s oversimplifying, Rogue tells him that Gambit is absolutely terrified of this secret. As if to illustrate the point, Gambit sends a kinetically charged sandbag hurtling at Rogue from his place on the roof. She crashes down to his level where he rushes to her side, imploring her to listen.

Lifting a crumpled marquee off of her, she tells Remy that she is tired of listening to everyone. First, Mystique forced her into doing things, then Xavier offered to help with her powers, then Gambit spoke to her of true love, making her believe it might come true. Gambit asks if listening to herself has led Rogue to leave him, but she answers that it’s the only way she won’t have to deal with all the questions. Instead of letting her run away from it all, Remy insists that they deal with the problem there and then. Rogue implores him to let her know what happened in the theater, since it’s obviously killing him, but Gambit tells her that it is all in the past. She will have to free herself.

Solemnly, Rogue tells him that she wants to free herself, but is stuck in yesterday. When the crystal wave was coming, she could not die without kissing him once. Now, she can’t imagine never kissing him again. Catching one of her tears on his gloved finger, Gambit brings it to his lips, telling her there are other ways to kiss, to touch body and soul. He then removes a glove, offering to give her more, to break down every barrier between them. He tells her to touch him. His naked hand inches from her face, she turns away.

By this time, Iceman has arrived on the scene. After apologizing to Remy, Rogue tells them that she needs time to herself. Bobby wonders if she is leaving the X-Men. “For a bit,” she replies, telling him to be strong and in control. Softly, Remy asks her what their future is. He loves her. She loves him as well, recounting how the first time she saw him, she thought, “Honey, this snake charmer is a close ta Prince Charming as you’re evah gonna get.” He apologizes to her for not meeting her expectations, but she sadly tells him that he is exactly what she expected. Without another word, she flies away. Alone together in the rubble of the theater, Bobby, back to street clothes, tells Remy that she will return. “To de X-Men, Bobby, but not t’me.” Iceman asks Gambit if he is ready to go home, but the Cajun tells him to take the Blackbird and go. He needs some time alone.

Several nights later, Gambit walks alone through the streets of Seattle, glad that he is never too far from coffee. He thinks regretfully about the unexpected outcome of his encounter with Rogue, reflecting that it was as much her fault as his. She won’t be able to love anyone until she loves herself. As he strolls through the rain, Remy lights a cigarette. He coughs and flicks it to the ground. A dark boot-clad foot steps out from the shadows and extinguishes it, the owner musing that Remy thinks he’s safe and everything’s over. Gambit’s eyes flash red, cards charged and ready in his hands. “What are you doing here?” he shouts.

The unseen speaker continues on, discussing how Remy thinks he’s working on being a better man, free from his past. Gambit announces that the two of them were squared along time ago. Ignoring him, the unknown man proceeds to recount how the woman Remy loves has found out that he did some unpleasant things in the past and Gambit has realized he’s been living a lie. From the shadows, two gleaming eyes and a red diamond can be seen glowing back. “We are what we are, Remy LeBeau,” he says.

Stepping out of the darkness, Sinister says that Gambit can no more pretend to be a true X-Man than he himself can. He tells Gambit that he wanted to be there for him in his time of need, just as before. Sinister reminds him that it will soon be time to play the hand which he has been dealt. He vanishes in a crimson glow, leaving Remy alone. He drops the cards, a full house, to the floor. Gambit remembers how much he hates who he was, who he is, and who he will be.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Iceman, Rogue (All X-Men)

Graydon Creed


A reporter

Scoot, a girl and other college students in the bar


Story Notes: 

Rogue kissed Gambit and absorbed his memories in X-Men (2nd Series) #41. The memories, and Gambit’s connection to Sinister, are explained in Uncanny X-Men #350.

Graydon Creed is Mystique and Sabretooth’s son and Nightcrawler’s half-brother. This issue marks the beginning of his presidential campaign storyline.

The problems Iceman is running away from are Emma Frost’s possession of his mind in Uncanny X-Men #311-314 and the bigotry his father shows in Uncanny X-Men #319.

Gene Nation executed a massacre at a club in Uncanny X-Men #322.

Seattle, Washington is located in the northwest United States. Known for being the birthplace of grunge music and having a Starbucks on every block, it is considered, as Gambit puts it, the “coffee capital of d’world.” It is also as far away one can get from Key West, FL in the US without leaving the country’s contiguous 48 states.

This is Fabian Nicieza’s last issue.

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