X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #17

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 
Rogue’s Destiny : La Suerte de Matar !

Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (artist), (uninked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Lynne Yoshii (assistant editor), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

In the temple in Madripoor, the X-Men mourn the apparent loss of Rogue and Gambit who lie in front of them, with Vargas‘ sword skewering both of their bodies. Yet they are not dead as Rogue speaks up, requesting their help. Bishop removes the sword and him and the X-Men tend to their friends injuries as best as they can. Bishop tries to calm Rogue down but her powers go out of control knocking him back with Cyclops’ optic blast. She transforms next into Colossus, then the Beast, the Hulk, and finally into Wolverine. She uses his healing factor to help in her recovery. Also manifesting both Psylocke and Destiny, she decides to go after Vargas, something which she claims to have to do alone, despite the other X-Men’s protests. As she leaves so does Lifeguard to go get medical help for the other wounded X-Men. Sage is shocked that the solution to their diary quest was right before them, as Rogue’s imprint of Destiny should have all the knowledge they need. Elsewhere in the city, Vargas carries his price, Storm’s body (actually Shaitan). He finds his two servants and they return to base, where Rogue, posing as the Psylocke statue is waiting for them. She attacks and knocks Vargas out of the building, but suddenly looses her extra powers fade. Left with only her basic powers and her skills in hand to hand combat, she defeats both Thais and Thaiis, before Vargas returns. At first Vargas and Rogue seem evenly matched, but her wounds reopen, and the swordsman gains the upper hand. The fight is observed by Shanna Cho and her cameraman, who keeps recording. Rogue finally imprints Vargas and is now able to match him blow for blow. Suddenly she comes to the realization that the diaries are a trap, that they leave no room for spontaneity or hope. Rogue prepares to strike Vargas with his own blade, but it is unclear wether she kills him or not, as right then the camera’s battery runs out of power and the end of the fight is not recorded. Elsewhere, Lifeguard attends to her brother’s injuries and he awakes but sadly he sees her Shi’Ar appearance and refuses to believe that this alien is his sister. Madripoor’s ruling prince, the Viper, comes with the medical supplies to help the X-Men. Unluckily for her, Storm remembers that she nearly killed her and takes her vengeance by shooting her with one of Sage’s guns. Luckily Viper was wearing Kevlar which stopped the bullets fatal blow. Still, Sage threatens Viper to never harm her friends again and with a blade to her throat, Viper is forced to agree to her demands. Rogue returns from her encounter with Vargas, barely able to stand. She collapses on Gambit’s chest as the rest of the X-Men look on.

Full Summary: 

In a temple in Madripoor Rogue lays dying on top of an also dying Gambit with Vargas’ sword sticking through the two of them. Her teammates from the X-Men stand sorrow filled around them. Bishop holds his eyes shut leaning against a shocked Thunderbird and Lifeguard holds Storm up, who herself has been wounded so badly she can hardly stand, while Sage stands alone by herself, not even being able to look at her two friends skewered on the ground before her.

The X-Men turn to walk away, but their silence is cut by a tiny mutter from their thought dead friend. Thunderbird and Bishop turn around in shock to hear Rogue’s voice asking for their help. Bishop walks over to them and pulls the sword out of their bodies. He helps Rogue to her feet, but she collapses again and they both tumble to the ground. Thunderbird comes to help him, and Rogue is placed in a stable position, he turns to Gambit. To Bishop’s amazement Gambit too is still alive. Thunderbird suggests to use his powers to cauterize Gambit’s wounds, but Sage tells him not to as his internal bleedings need to be assessed first. Instead she hands Neal some pressure packs. Storm asks whom the sword belongs to and Rogue tells her that it belongs to Vargas. Sage commands Lifeguard to get airborne and find the nearest hospital, but Lifeguard tells her that she can not leave her brother who is also hurt. Angered by Lifeguard’s refusing of Sages commands, bites back by telling her to follow his command and leave now because Gambit and Rogue are nearly dying and if she doesn’t act now, it will be too late.

As Sage watches Lifeguard fly away, Rogue tells Bishop that he was too harsh, but he defends himself that it was necessary. Bishop tells Rogue to stop talking and to save her strength, as she suddenly starts to trembling and before he fully realizes what is happening, Rogue manifests Cyclops‘ optic blast while looking at him. At first he absorbs the energy of the beam, but even Bishop has his limits and he can’t absorb the energy as fast as he is blasting. Rogue sends Bishop crashing into a nearby wall and seconds later her body transforms into organic steel. Sage runs to Rogue’s aid and she tells Rogue to focus and gain control. Rogue tries, but still keeps manifesting abilities as she stays steel but also sprouts fur, mixing the powers of Colossus and the Beast. Luckily Henry is a scientist and so along with his powers, she also gains his intellect and is able to use his medical knowledge to analyze her condition and find the best way for a cure. Rogue comes up with one solution, she needs strength and a body that can’t be hurt, so she transforms into the green skinned Hulk, whom she once imprinted. Concerned over her constant changes, Thunderbird reaches out to Rogue, but Sage stops him, telling him that she will have to fight this battle on her own. Just then Rogue finds the imprint she was looking for in Wolverine and she thinks given time Wolverine’s healing factor would keep her safe. However Rogue thinks she does not have the time to let her body heal, as she has some unfinished business. She reaches down and grabs Vargas’ sword, wanting to hunt him down.

Bishop steps in her way though and asks her to reconsider her actions because she could very well die from the wounds he had caused. Bishop also tells her that she was no match for Vargas when she was healthy so now that she is injured she will not survive their next encounter. Thunderbird agrees, pointing out that Vargas is a killer, yet Rogue announces that today she is too. Bishop once more says that she should first heal and then the team will take Vargas down together. Still, Rogue manifests Psylocke and says that this is something she has to do alone. Vargas killed Betsy because of her. Bringing to the forefront her imprinting of Destiny and explaining that she can now see the future, Rogue says that she can now find Vargas and defeat him. Sage takes off her glasses in surprise, they have been searching for the diaries the whole time, but actually they had access to their secrets through Rogue’s memory the whole time. Rogue tells her that it is only since Sage jumpstarted her powers. She then leans over Gambit and tells him that he should not die because right now is not his time to die. Gambit replies that it is not her call to say who dies, and that she should remember that it is not her time either, as Rogue flies away.

After Rogue is gone, Sage slumps down saying how that she has failed in not thinking of Rogue’s ability to imprint Destiny before. Meaning that their entire mission could have been easy if they had just used Rogue instead of searching out the diaries themselves. Bishop tells her not to take it too hard, after all Rogue just realized this herself, but Sage says that it was her task to see connections and solutions others would not. Now she is worried that Rogue might not survive the conflict with Vargas, meaning that again the knowledge in her head would be lost before they could have made use of it.

In one of the destroyed streets of the devastated Madripoor, Vargas carries what he thinks is Storm ‚s body, though it’s actually Shaitan who had copied her form. He finds his unconscious two servants Thais and Thaiis and wakes them up, commanding Thais to take the trophy (the body) to their transport, while he himself will accompany Thaiis to collect the Psylocke statue. Afterwards they would all go to retrieve his sword, he left in Rogue and Gambit. Thaiis asks for forgiveness, but she wants to k now why they continue the fight as he has won. Vargas tells her that he is a warrior and that he requires both his blade and his prize. As the two walk through a doorway Vargas explains to Thaiis his philosophy of how he believes that mutants are not the next evolution but just natures experiment to determine which strain of humanity is viable.

As they reach their hide-out, Vargas is actually surprised by the Psylocke statue coming to live. It’s Rogue, wearing Psylocke’s uniform and copying the pose of the statue. Vargas screams her name and wonders how she can still be alive. Rogue loses Vargas’ sword and attacks Vargas, knocking him through the closest wall. She informs Vargas that it is her Rogue, but the spirit of Psylocke is in her “An’ we’re both of us here to kick your ass!” Thaiis has no intention of letting Rogue make good on her word and as Rogue‘s attention is turned, she pulls her own blade, ready for the fight. Rogue suddenly feels pain in her chest, and as she tries to take out Thaiis with Cyclops’ optic blast, her power fades and nothing happens. While Rogue is in shock, Thaiis uses her confusion to her advantage and kicks her into the wall Rogue had sent Vargas through seconds before. It takes a moment but Rogue gains her composure again and using her own skill and training she defends herself against Thaiis , finally taking her out of the fight.

Thinking that she was actually counting on her whole catalogue of absorbed powers and now has to do without them, Rogue finds that she has no time to catch her breath though because Thais has returned and he comes carrying two automatic machine guns. He fires at Rogue with her narrowly outmaneuvering each bullet till she reaches Thais and she takes him out with a kick to the jaw. Rogue then holds her chest in pain, her wounds now open and bleeding freely again because of her apparent loss of all her powers. This of course is the perfect opportunity for Vargas to reenter the fight, and he does. Vargas jumps back through the hole he had made earlier holding onto a pipe he uses it to knock his own sword from Rogue’s hands and to regain possession of his lost weapon. Rogue defending herself quickly jumps on top of Vargas causing the two of them to descend over five floors to the bottom of the building they were in. Vargas is able to get the upper hand after their fall and cuts Rogue’s arm with the blade. As he slices through her he tells her that she is a superb fighter but so was the Sabretooth Tiger millennia ago, but he is extinct and mutantkind will reach a dead end too. As he runs towards her for another stab, he tells her that mutants were just nature‘s mistake and that the future belongs to humans like himself.

Right then, Shanna Cho arrives at the battle ground with one of her cameramen recording the two combatants fight. She wonders aloud to the news public why these two are fighting even after the war has been won? Shanna mentions unconfirmed reports that this mystery swordsman took on the entire invader beachhead himself and won. She continues to watch and recognizes that his opponent is Rogue of the X-me, who too took an important role in preventing the alien invasion, so she is shocked to see two people she considers heroes fighting one another. Vargas swings his sword toppling the nearby building and it collapses towards the direction of Shanna Cho and the cameraman. Seeing the two news people, Rogue leaps for them, and them narrowly pushes them to safety as debris falls down on the spot where they had just been standing. However Rogue herself gets partially buried and behind her Vargas comes up, telling her that it is over now ! He smiles and asks her if she has any final words ?

Meanwhile back at the temple Lifeguard worries over her brother who is still lying against the tree Rogue placed him at earlier. He awakes to see the now Shi’ar looking Heather Cameron in front of him and he is scared and cries for Storm’s help. He panics and falls down a cliff behind him, though Thunderbird is luckily there to catch him. Davis tells Thunderbird that one of the Invaders is still here and she is on the cliff above them, but Neal informs him that she is his sister Heather. “Liar!” Davis screams back at Thunderbird and he wonders aloud what the X-Men have done with her sister because the Shi’ar looking woman is a “monster”.

Behind them Viper walks up with some medical personnel following her. She asks them if she has come at a bad time, but then them that she had heard that they needed assistance and as ruling prince of Madripoor she decided to come herself to personally to the X-Men’s needs. Viper remarks on her pity for Gambit and also for Rogue, who she seen on television fighting Vargas, apparently is not much better shape than the cajun X-Man. Viper walks up to Lifeguard and comments on how remarkable she looks now. Viper turns her attention to Storm and jokingly tells her that Storm is not the tallest X-Man anymore. Storm secretly takes Sage’s gun from her side and aims it at Viper asking her if she is wearing Kevlar ? Not even awaiting a response, she surprisingly fires the gun and it hit Viper dead on, knocking her to the ground. Bishop runs to Storm and takes the gun from her hands, rebuking Storm for her actions, though she explains that the Viper nearly killed her. Sage drops on top of Viper, pinning her left hand with her knee, and the right hand with her other foot. She places her blade to Vipers cheek and tells her that the X-Men are family and if she ever attacks them again, herself or through surrogates, Sage will hunt her down and kill her. While a trickle of blood running down her cheek, the Viper agrees to Sage’s demands.

Back at the fight, Rogue thinks to herself of a woman named Destiny who was a former partner of her foster mother Mystique. She remembers how Destiny could see the future and how she even allowed herself to die even knowing the future to protect the continuity of the future. Both she and Mystique were tempted to change the future, but it nearly drove them crazy when time and again they failed in their attempts. Rogue’s attention shifts to the situation at hand – she is still battling Vargas. Rogue congratulates Vargas on that he is better than most opponents. Usually she instantly imprints her foes and the shock of her touch knocks them out. Smiling, while transforming more to a look of Vargas himself, she tells him that he may take a while to imprint but he is not immune. She raises up knocking Vargas to the ground and stealing his sword away she informs him that she is now like him. With one exception though because thanks to her powers, she has come with friends “PSYLOCKE most of all!” and “This is for HER!” As Rogue rises above him prepared to strike Vargas’ blade through Vargas’ own body he screams to her to fulfill her “Destiny”!

Rogue stops just for a moment and she thinks that the world has become clearer to her now. Destiny’s visions were not “a signpost for the future, but a trap”. She thinks also that if she was to follow the lead of the diaries, the future would turn into the past that simply hasn’t happened yet, with there being no room for surprises, creativity or spontaneity. Meanwhile Shanna Cho keeps recording the conflict, though a red blinking light shows that the camera’s battery is running low. Shanna is shocked about the gruesome scene happening before her, but she can’t avoid her eyes and keeps recording.

Rogue prepares to strike and Vargas tells Rogue that fate can not be changed and she should finish him off. Rogue looks at Vargas and tells him that Destiny was too close to the books. So she never understood that the only thing the books do is take all the responsibility away from everyone and makes them slaves. Rogue looks over to the diary Vargas carried, turned to the page of her killing Vargas and she tells him that the books are missing one thing and that is “hope”. She explains to him that the X-Men represent hope and that mutants represent a teaching to humans of what is possible in their future. Rogue dives towards Vargas with her sword, but right then Shanna’s camera view goes fuzzy.

Somewhat later, Rogue returns to the other X-Men, climbing over the rubble, barely able to stand. Bishop sees her coming and calls out her name. She tells them that it is over and she crawls over to Gambit to lay her head on his chest and both of them seem to pass out.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Lifeguard, Rogue, Sage, Slipstream, Thunderbird III (all X-Men)

Gambit, X-Men ally

Shanna Cho, newswoman

Madripoor Network News Cameraman



Thais and Thaiis, Vargas’ servants

Story Notes: 

By medical standards, Bishop’s reaction is completely wrong. Never pull a knife / sword or other sharp object out of a wounded person’s body. This might cause further damage and internal bleeding !

“La Suerte de Matar !“ is spanish and means “The Luck to Kill !”

Rogue’s transformations in this issue are as follows : Cyclops, Colossus, Beast, Hulk, Wolverine, Destiny, Psylocke, and Vargas.

Thaiis is the female and Thais is the male servant, but in the scene where Vargas is talking to Thaiis he calls her Thais (an editorial or lettering mistake).

The start of the fight between Rogue and Vargas contains some errors. In one panel, Rogue holds Vargas’ sword ready to attack, but in the next she is hitting him with her fist. Thaiis too is pulling her sword, but then she is grabbing Rogue with both hands, and her two blades are still in their sheathes. For the remainder of the fight Rogue is without the sword, but she mysteriously has it again right in time for Vargas to steal it back from her.

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