X-Men The End - Book Two: Heroes & Martyrs #6

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (story), Sean Chen (penciller),Sandu Florea (inker), Avalon’s Ian Hannin (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Schmidt, Sitterson & Lazer (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Rogue is reunited with her son and Scott and Emma’s children in the X-Men’s former Outback HQ. From there, a transmat field leads her to Sinister’s HQ, where Wolverine’s squad is fighting Sinister’s people. Gambit and Bekka face the Neverland director in the moon’s Blue Area and are helped by Dani Moonstar, now transformed into a fully-fledged Valkyrie. They too teleport back to Sinister’s HQ, where Rachel and Cable are busy taking care of the Technarx virus, while Rogue has beaten and killed Shaitan. Sinister, disguised as Gambit, uses her exhaustion to wound her fatally in front of her horrified foster mother, Mystique, who had been disguised as the Dark Beast the whole time. The true Gambit arrives too late to do anything but kiss his wife good-bye, while Mystique takes revenge and kills Sinister. Gambit decides to take Sinister’s place and meet the alien traders, a plan he telepathically shares with Xavier, who now knows that Sinister’s headquarters had been in Genosha all along. Rachel and Cable decide to accompany him and Gambit asks Mystique to take care of his and Rogue’s children, as their grandmother. In the meantime, Kitty Pryde has been in a debate with her rival, Alice Tremaine, in the race for the position of mayor of Chicago and her role as a mutant. Rachel telepathically contacts her to say good-bye – most likely forever – leaving Kitty in tears.

Full Summary: 

While the X-Men are fighting for their lives, their former member, Kitty Pryde, is in a neck-to-neck race for mayor of Chicago. Her opponent, Alice Tremain, is the public face of Purity, the most virulent global anti-mutant hate group who began their televised debate at the University of Chicago with the question whether they want the next mayor to be a human being or a monster.

I’m a monster? Kitty asks with a mocking, self-deprecating smile. She phases through her desk, as she addresses the audience, informing them that, through an accident of birth, she is a mutant. She can walk through walls. That’s the only difference, she drives home her point, because she is also a citizen of the United States of America, endowed with unalienable rights like all of them. Ms. Tremaine’s question is, does that difference make a difference. Are mutants monster or are they people? And where do they go from there?

Elsewhere, Kitty’s former teammate and friend, Rogue, dressed in a White Queen outfit after imprinting Emma Frost, is flying high in the atmosphere, flying as fast as she can to save her and Emma’s kids from Mr. Sinister. With Emma’s powers, she has managed to psi-link with Emma’s oldest child, Meggan, and tracked the children to the X-Men’s former Australian Outback headquarters, where the five kids find themselves attacked by robotic dogs.

The situation is grim, as Megan’s telepathy only works on organic brains and the others are too young to have developed powers. The cavalry luckily arrives as Rogue simply tears through the creatures.

Her son, Olivier, happily hugs her and babbles that his father Gambit was only faking to work with Sinister, so he could help them. Exasperated, Rogue exclaims God forbid her husband ever find an easy way to do anything. Megan addresses Rogue politely, asking why her mother is inside Rogue’s head. Rogue explains that she imprinted Emma, so they could find the kids together. She couldn’t come herself, as she’d been hurt. Meggan anxiously asks after her father, Scott Summers. Rogue calms her. That man will probably forever.

She telepathically transmits images of the children to Cyclops, to let him know they are all right. She turns back to her son asking about his missing sister and father.

When Sinister dropped Transmat portals on the fugitives, he sent them to two different destinations. Gambit and Bekka ended up in his private concentration camp for mutants, Neverland, in the Moon’s Blue Area. His agent, the director, attacks Gambit with energy blasts and mocks that Gambit should have kept his bargain. So he could turn out like her? he asks, as her armored guards close in on them. Suddenly, though, they are turned to dust, courtesy of Dani Moonstar, reborn as a Valkyrie, complete with winged steed.

Dani, now dressed in a warrior’s garb, displaying both Cheyenne and Norse characteristics, announces that they are done. The director stupidly states the obviously wrong, that Dani is dead. Dani deadpans that she is an X-Man. She got better.

Sinister made the director a match for her prisoners when he gave her the ability to channel the power of all the Marauders. She loosens an arrow at the woman, trapping her. Those powers are wasted on her, Dani continues calmly. The mutant she loved to terrorize is no more. What remains is Valkyrie. And through this vessel are reborn not only the ancient powers of the Cheyenne, but those of Asgard.

The director calls up an emergency transmat to Sinister’s citadel, but Gambit smoothly trips her with his staff. As Moonstar raises her axe, the director pleads for mercy. Dani gives her the same mercy she showed her prisoners – none.

She turns to Gambit and Bekka, telling them to use the transmat portal and give the others her love. She is going to bury this place, rebuild the Rainbow Bridge and see where it leads her.

Back in Chicago, Kitty Pryde points out that, while they’ve been talking for over an hour, they have hardly said a word about taxes, education, transportation, healthcare, housing, jobs… the real concerns of real people. Being mayor is about making this city work and helping its citizens to make a better life; instead, Alice is making it all about fear.

Alice cuts in, reminding that, after what happened at the Xavier Institute, they have a lot to be afraid of. Kitty points out that while she is a Jew that doesn’t automatically mean she favors her faith above all other. Just like she doesn’t favor women over men, whites over non-whites and so on. A community is people working together for the common good, They don’t achieve that by casting people out. Alice Tremaine points out security. As a member of Congress, she has seen first hand the threats to this nation. She isn’t speaking about mutants this way out of prejudice but because they represent a clear danger. Bull, Kitty shouts angrily.

Back at Sinister’s HQ, Wolverine’s now free team engage the Marauders and their transformed prisoners, Shatterstar and Warpath, who now merely extensions of Technarx. While X-23 takes care of them, Rachel and Monet telekinetically dismantle Technarx itself right down to its constituent atoms. However, the sorceress Shakti attacks, using her magic to revert Monet to the mutated and aphasic form of Penance that for much of her life had been her prison.

A pyrrhic victory, as every edge of Penance’s body is sharp enough to cut through stone and Rachel telekinetically tosses her at Shakti, killing the sorceress. However, this leaves her vulnerable to being stabbed in the back by her “brother,” Cable, who has also been transformed by Technarx. Not wholly, though, as he apologizes. A tiny Phoenix symbol glows over Rachel’s eye, as well as Cable’s, as she reminds him that Technarx is dead. He can fight this. Cable replies hat it lives on in him just like it does in her now. And every second it grows stronger.

Rachel’s astral body touches Cable’s as she replies this only holds true if they fight it by themselves. Their inheritance, their playground is all creation, as their mother is Phoenix and that makes all the difference. Energy begins to engulf them.

Elsewhere, Wolverine is engaging Shaitan, who for years has been trapped in the shape of Storm. While Storm’s nervous systems had been gradually degraded by her powers Wolverine had taken care of her. Because of Shaitan, much of the world believed Storm a psychopathic terrorist. More than once, Shaitan had used his likeness to entice unwary X-Men into Sinister’s hands, such as Dani Moonstar, so for Wolverine beating up Shaitan is pure payback. Hurling an insult, Shaitan brutally hits back, stating that he fought by his Khan’s side, as he conquered whole dimensions. He is nothing special, merely the latest Wolverine he will add to his collection.

Suddenly Rogue joins the fray. Shaitan, however, at once realizes that the woman is not Rogue. She has Rogue’s looks and moves but not her powers. He hurls her aside and she turns to her true self – Mystique.

Cue for the real Rogue to show up. Shaitan smashes her into the ground and boasts that none of them are a match for him and even less for his Khan. Unimpressed, Rogue gets up again and returns the blow in kind.

Via Cerebra, Emma Frost is in contact with her and adds her power to Rogue’s, while Cyclops and Beast are anxiously watching. Rogue brutally kicks Shaitan, hurling him through the citadel’s wall, as she tells him to surrender. He would sooner die, the villain counters. Good, Rogue states, as she kicks him in the head with all her strength backing the kick.

Exhausted, she informs Emma that Shaitan is done. And she is wasted. Both she and Emma are exhausted and Emma closes the link, joking she doesn’t want to assimilate any more apart from Rogue’s tattoos. Rogue jokes back that it makes her nervous about what she might have gotten from the exchange.

Suddenly, Gambit is at her side and the two lovers embrace. Mystique shouts a warning but too late! A tender moment turns to tragedy, as “Gambit” suddenly stabs her. While Rogue drops into Mystique’s arms, “Gambit” tells Rogue that he opened the portal to allow her to return so he could deliver a “father in law’s” fond farewell before his departure.

Just as he intends to finish her off, the real Gambit runs into the room, to be greeted by the smiling Sinister, wearing his form. He screams in denial as he sees his wife minutes from death. Sinister strides towards a chamber, telling Gambit that the future belongs to him. He will leave Gambit to the ashes of his past. For the moments of existence left to him.

Mystique speaks up. She tells Gambit to see to his wife and take care of her daughter. Sinister is hers. She reaches for Sinister’s fallen knife. Sinister points a weapon at her and informs her his weapons are keyed to the X-Men’s collective genome. The slightest wound is fatal. Mystique advance towards him as he fires. His bullets will adapt to her every change, he warns.

Even this one? she mocks, as she turns to the form she used for the past months – the Dark Beast. With a feral smile she tells him she watched him create his toy. She is immune. With his guns empty, the cornered Sinister offers to create a new and improved Rogue. She loved the one she got, Mystique retorts. They could remake the world, he offers. Absolutely, she replies, with a nasty grin. And an infinitely better one without him!

Crouching over his injured wife, Gambit shouts out for medics. With bloody fingers, Rogue touches his face and tells him there is nothing to be done. She can’t even channel any imprinted powers to save herself. She’s all used up. It’s not fair, he complains. When he was dying, she pulled him back from Heaven. Feel free to cut a deal with God, Rogue jokes, before informing him that Olivier and Emma’s elder three children are safe.

Crying, Gambit tells her that Bekka and Alex were with him and are safe. How can he tell them? With a wan smile, Rogue replies that he is the charmer. He can find a way. How is he supposed to go on, he asks. He’s the man she loves, Rogue replies. He’ll find that, too. She asks for a last kiss. He begs her not to die, before they kiss one last time.

At the Xavier Institute, the Spikes inform Cyclops and Xavier via telepathy that they are detecting major readings from Genosha. A cloaking field has just been disengaged. They are linking with Rachel and now have a lock on Sinister’s headquarters. Xavier shouts out in surprise that all these years Sinister was in Genosha right under Xavier’s nose.

Back at Genosha, Mystique tosses Sinister’s head aside. Too little, too damn late. But at least they are quit of him. Gambit suddenly runs toward one of Sinister’s suits. Sinister said “departure,” he explains. Since he took Gambit’s place, it is only fair that Gambit now take his. Mystique reminds him of his responsibilities. What about his children? As Gambit changes, he tells her that his first responsibility is to keep his children safe.

Mystique changes into Sinister and tells him that she can do the job better. Gambit points out that Sinister worked with slavers and the Shi’ar. They know all about shapechangers. He’ll succeed because he is the real deal. Not just in the face but in the genes. And when he arrives, what then? asks Mystique. He’ll pave the way for Charles.

Xavier telepathically joins them, having listened in. Mystique states that Gambit needs backup. A weary Rachel and Cable join them, still showing marks of Technarx’s attempt at assimilation. They volunteer to go.

What about his children, Mystique asks Remy. He replies that they never met their grandmother. It’s Anna’s gift to her. Someone to live for. No more lost causes, just a proper family, a real future. “’kay, mom?’ he asks as they hug. Good-bye, my son, she replies with tears in her eyes.
In Chicago, the debate is almost over. Kitty smiles, as she begins her closing statement, when she is telepathically contacted by Rachel, who informs her of Rogue and Sinister’s death. Kitty is horrified. But it gets worse, as Rachel quickly explains that soon Slipstream will come to pick up Gambit (disguised as Sinister), herself and Cable. She has to go. Her mom’s out there.

On the astral plane, the women hug, as Kitty moans that she’ll likely never see Rachel again. Some things they have to trust to fate, Rachel tells her in parting. Kitty is left in tears.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, White Queen I (headmasters of the Xavier institute)

Beast, Cable, Marvel Girl III, Moonstar, Shadowcat, Wolverine (former X-Men)

Gambit, Rogue (members of the X.S.E.)

Spikes / Stepford Cuckoos



Oliver & Rebecca LeBeau (Rogue and Gambit’s children)

Alex, Megan & unnamed twins (Cyclops and Emma’s children)

Mr. Sinister

Shakti, Shaitan, Technarx-infected Shatterstar & Warpath

Director of Neverland

Alice Tremaine

via telepathy

Professor X

Story Notes: 

While the world believed them to be dead, a team of X-Men, led by Storm, actually lived in a ghost town in the Australian Outback from Uncanny X-men #229 to 253.

For a long time, Monet was imprisoned in the form of Penance, courtesy of her evil brother, Emplate, as told in Generation X #40.

Shaitan assimilated Storm’s form way back in X-Treme X-Men #12.

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