X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #10

Issue Date: 
April 2002
Story Title: 
Keys Of The Kingdom

Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (penciler), (uninked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Matt Hicks and Andrew Lis (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

While the X-Men and their new-found friends are resting in their civilian clothes, Gambit asks Storm for possession of the ruby she wears in her costume's choker. Sage surprises Gambit by identifying Storm's family heirloom as part of a collection of ancient gemstones called the Madripoor Set. As Storm tries to explain that she cannot give up her mother's present the X-Men are attacked by a hulking creature called Shaitan. Gambit and Lifeguard, under Storm's orders, attempt to escape with the ruby but are attacked by Shaitan who teleports them all away. Desperate to follow and rescue their abducted friends, the X-Men allow Sage to use her abilities to unlock the latent powers of Davis Cameron. He manifests the ability to access a Warp Wave teleportation power, and Davis takes the team to Madripoor, where they are greeted on Madripoor by its current ruling princess, Viper. She leads the X-Men to a temple where Shaitan has Gambit tied to an altar surrounded by the gems of the Madripoor Collection. The X-Men attack Shaitan, but not before he successfully activates the gems and, using Gambit's energy powers, opens a portal from which emerges an immense red energy-laced tower. Also emerging from the portal are alien combat troops. The X-Men rescue Lifegurad and capture the troop leader before, at the behest of the still captive Gambit, they withdraw. After the X-Men have left, a new portal opens and more troops emerge. The new troop leader informs his men that the reports are correct and that their leader has been captured. After their instruments locate their leader they will rescue him and if any harm has become their Lord, then this new world will pay the price.

Full Summary: 

The X-Men travel through a teleportation process that Sage calls the Warp Wave. This Wave is generated from Davis Cameron who marvels at his new power. This new power of teleportation allow him to transport, nearly instantaneously, by generating a wave that he is able to ride to his desired destination. Luckily for the X-Men, Davis is also able to take others along. The X-Men arrive at their destination, emerging from their dimensional portal. Unfortunately, only Davis, still atop his wave-riding mini surfboard, is able to have a soft landing. Davis continues to reel from this new power and the extra-sensory abilities that come with it. However, as the power subsides, so does Davis' strength and he falls to the ground. Luckily, Storm manages to catch him. Still reveling in his euphoria and looking into the beautiful eyes of the woman whose name truly means beauty, Davis recalls the events that led up to this moment.
(a few hours before)

The X-Men are relaxing in their apartment in Sydney, dressed in their civilian clothes. Thunderbird and Lifeguard flirt, Bishop and Rogue converse, Davis gives Storm a backrub and Sage, still the outcast, sits alone on the couch. At first glance it seems that Sage is brooding, but in truth, even at this moment of calm, she studies. Through her red-tinted glasses Sage replays text from one of Destiny's Diaries. The section she reads foretells of the price of Xavier's dream being the Ancient Aerie’s fall.
Gambit enters the room and makes a request of Storm. He asks for the ruby that she wears as a choker on her costume. To everyone's surprise Sage asks Gambit why he is attempting to reconstitute the Madripoor Set. Storm, never having heard of this collection, asks Sage about it. Sage explains that collection is a keystone. She further explains that a temple on Madripoor, the only known reference of the stone, says that they possess terrible power and that the last time they were an active set, Atlantis fell.
Gambit explains that the collection is a part of his history as well. The Thieves Guild have watched the owners of the gems and stole them from whomever collected more than one. In recent months, Gambit explains, someone has acquired three. The Viceroy had possessed one gem of the set, and Gambit had come to Australia to steal it. Now, he says, he needs Storm's ruby. Rogue asks Storm if she had any idea of the gem's history or significance. Storm replies that she knew of it only as a keepsake from her mother, who had been given it by hers, and so on. If her mother had known about the gem's history she had never had the time to tell Storm, as she died when Storm was four. Gambit attempts to use his charm to get on Storm's good side, but Storm rebuffs him. Beginning to leave, Storm imparts another bit of information: She HAD known about her gem's power. A friend had shown her how to use the ruby to open a portal between dimensions even though the power was limited. As she opens the door, Storm theorizes that if all gems have some special ability, that linked together they might hold unlimited power. The X-Men cannot allow them to be collected.
Storm's thought is interrupted, not by her departure, but by a hulking form. A gigantic alien being clad in black armor and a red cape grasps Storm and Gambit with his pincer hands. From his skull-like face the monstrosity calls Storm a thief and mocks her ambition as doomed. Under the orders of his Monarch, he has scoured the continent looking the keys to his Monarch's triumph. Captured, but not helpless, Storm calls down a lightening bolt onto her captor. Her blow is followed by solar plasma blasts from Thunderbird and force blasts from Bishop's guns. Rogue follows next with a right cross so powerful that Storm and Gambit are released.
Now freed, Storm instructs Gambit to take the ruby, the monster's prize, and hide it well. Ororo tells Lifeguard to get Gambit clear, and Lifeguard transforms into her metal form as she runs to the window. Wings grow as she grabs Gambit, and they leap into the air. The armored monster looks in horror as his prey prize escapes. In a swift move he crashes through the wall and jumps onto the airborne Lifeguard and Gambit. Upon contact the trio are teleported away in a green light.
The X-Men stand defeated. Davis asks what the team's next move is but Storm points out that they don't even know where their friends have been taken. Sage next speaks and suggests to Storm that the time has come for what they had previously discussed. After Storm's agreement, Sage tells Davis that he, like his sister, is a mutant albeit a latent one. She further states that her mutant power, under the proper circumstances, can trigger latent powers into an active state. Thunderbird immediately and emphatically objects. He states that the acceleration of the natural evolutionary process, creating super powered beings for convenience, is not only wrong, but against everything that they X-Men have stood for. Davis quiets Thunderbird, pointing out that it is his life and his choice. Davis says that he has the choice that the rest of them did not, and he will make this decision and choice freely, to save his sister.
With no pause, Sage approaches Davis. Energy tendrils arc from her eyes and enter his. Sage narrates her actions, explaining as she analyzes Davis' DNA and makes the proper modification to activate his powers. The rest of the X-Men watch in amazement and horror. Bishop regrets his silence at the issue before, regretting his deferment to Storm's judgment. Rogue wonders if Sage possesses the ability to un-create mutants as well, possibly to rid her of her powers. Finished, Sage asks how Davis feels. As his body continues to crackle with energy, Davis exclaims that he feels great and never better.

In the jungle of Madripoor the X-Men take stock of their situation. To their surprise they are welcomed to Madripoor by its ruling pricess, Viper. After giving her condolences for the recent death of Psylocke, Viper explains her presence as an investigation into recent activities at the nearby temple. Suddenly a blinding red light fills the air, taking the X-Men and Viper by surprise.
(a few minutes ago)

As the X-Men were in transit to Madripoor events were already transpiring in the temple. In the center of the temple lay a circular altar ordained by giant gems. Upon the center and largest gem, a ruby, lie a chained and nearly naked Gambit with the prized Ruby of Storm attached to his neck, and five other gemstones placed at his hands, feet and the left side of his chest. On the chamber wall Lifeguard, still in armored form, is chained and helpless. The monstrous kidnapper of Gambit and Lifeguard introduces himself as Shaitan. He explains that the stones of the chamber will amplify the ability of Gambit's body to generate energy to the point sufficient to open a portal between the current dimensional plane and the one beside it. Lifeguard, having used Shaitan's boasting to build up her strength unnoticed breaks free of her chains. She leaps to rescue Gambit, but is slammed against the chamber wall by Shaitan who supplements his blow with an energy blast.
Back at the altar the gem on Gambit's body erupts in energy. A beam of fire, as red as blood, launches into the sky. The beam takes the form of a monstrous tower, whose base is so huge it completely encloses the island of Madripoor, that measures over a hundred miles in length.

As Shaitan gloats to the still gripped Lifeguard Rogue bursts through the chamber walls. Carrying the surprise Shaitan aloft, Rogue exits the temple and slams him into the lagoon outside. Rogue tries to press the attack and hits Shaitan several times, but is kicked back by the recovered monster. Thunderbird, flying into action, fires his solar plasma and injures Shaitan. Rogue takes advantage of this injury and kicks Shaitan miles away.
Nearby Storm flies herself and Bishop into the temple's center chamber. There they find Gambit atop the energy filled center gem with the energy column erupting from his chest. As Storm tries to attend to Lifeguard, Bishop attempts to use his energy absorbing powers to drain the center gem. Bishop is forced back in pain as his attempt is unsuccessful. Realizing from Shaitan's claims that time is limited, Gambit instructs Storm to kill him.
Before Storm can respond, a flash of pain wracks Gambit and a portal opens. From the portal emerge purple skinned aliens in military style armor and wielding assault weapons. The troop leader begins ordering his men. He orders Alpha and Beta firing teams to fan out and secure the "landing stage". Charley team is told to follow him and establish a full cordon around the generator. Bishop, realizing combat troops, especially ones who sound like they know their business begins firing his guns. The troops are surprised and even more so when the floor beneath them begins to give way. The troop leader is able to order the "launch bay" alerted before he falls to the chamber floor below.
Storm orders Bishop to take the troop leader prisoner, intending to interrogate him later, using Rogue's absorption power if necessary. The troops, still above, begin to fire at the X-Men in order to protect their Lord below. Lifeguard uses her body as a shield while Bishop returns fire. Storm intends to wait for Rogue and Thunderbird to return, but Gambit, sensing another portal opening, yells for them to get clear. The team understands and departs, against their true wishes.
The new portal opens with a violent boom. More armored troops emerge with their weapons already firing. The team leader, apparently human, orders that the Pylon be notified that the landing stage is secure. Further, he informs his men that their report is true and that Khan has been captured. The leader informs his men to scan for Khan's transponder. As soon as a tight signal is located they will move. As the team waits the leader tells his men not to worry and promises that if Khan is hurt, or worse, then the whole world will pay the price.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Rogue, Sage, Storm, Thunderbird (all X-Men)

Gambit, former X-Man / ally


Davis Cameron



Story Notes: 

Storm's real name is Ororo, which means "beauty" in the native tongue of the kenian tribe her mother stems from.
Sage is reading Destiny's Diary extract 117/G3, apparently she has catalogized the many entries. The text is : “ Earth shall be her home, the stars her destination. Mothered by War, her Father’s her salvation. The price of Xavier’s Dream shall be the Ancient Aerie’s Fall. “ The entry is accompanied by an image of Deathbird in conflict with Storm, Bishop, Davis Cameron and a female figure with Shi’Ar facemarks and feathered forearms, who is wearing an basic X-costume. It’s important to note that while serving as Apocalypse’s Horseman, Deathbird was called War. This prophecy might relate to current events in New X-Men, where Cassandra Nova, posing as Xavbier has the Shi’Ar Empire under her control.
The ruby of Storm’s costume already showed odd readings when examined by the Civil Guardia in X-Treme X-Men #1. The The friend of which Storm mentions having shown her its abilites is the otherdimensional M’Rin, whom she first met in Classic X-Men #22 and again in Uncanny X-Men Annual #12. Actually it seemed as if M’Rin gives Ororo the ruby in Classic X-Men #22 for the first time, on the other hand Storm has already been wearing what seems to be the same ruby as part of her first uniform, like a brooch to keep the cloak/cape together.
The Madripoor Set is made up of six gems : Storm’s ruby, a diamond Gambit stole from Vargas in X-Treme X-Men #4, another stone he got from the Viceroy’s appartment, and three more that Shaitan has aquired off-panel. The scene with Gambit being tied to the altar and the tower were already seen in one of the diaries and Gateway’s dreamtime sequence, too in X-Treme X-Men #4.
Though in X-Treme X-Men #3 she already uses her abilities to sense the ultimate potential of the Beast and temporarily boosts his healing factor, this is the first use of Sage's powers to unlock the latent mutant gifts of others.
Most of Madripoor’s crimelords were slaughtered in Wolverine (2nd series) #98. The Viper gained control over the island in Wolverine (2nd series) #125-128. She strengthened her position by forcing Logan, who is a well respected person in his Patch identity, to marry her because of an old promise. Recently he managed to blackmail her into agreeing to a divorce, but so far is still Madripoor’s crimelord.

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