X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #18

Issue Date: 
November 2002
Story Title: 
Day of the Dead

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: 

Shanna Cho reports to the world that the X-Men were able to save them from an attack by an alien invasion, but sadly some of their own were hurt in the battle. Captain America, Iron Man, and the Thing are there to help the wounded X-Men though, as they carry the more critically wounded into a M.A.S.H. unit. The Doctors work frantically trying to save the wounded heroes but Storm, Rogue and Gambit seem far-gone. Rogue thinks that her healing factor should save her, but has to discover that she is completely powerless. Seeing Storm’s spirit leave her body, Rogue panics and tries to follow her, only to slip into the astral plane where she is welcomed by Jean Grey. Phoenix informs her of her plan to save Storm, while Rogue needs to help Gambit who has now ascended into his own spiritual world. Back with the living in the M.A.S.H. unit the Beast, Jean, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine have teleported in to help. The X-Men set out to help their friends. Nightcrawler tries to persuade Davis Cameron that just because Heather may look different does not make her a monster, while Wolverine and Jean calm Heather down from a near Shi’Ar berserker rage. The Beast has brought a new set of mechanical fingers to try and save Gambit, since he cannot use his now bulky fingers for such delicate surgery. Jean enters the astral plane and heads for Storm’s spirit world, where she is surprised by the beauty of Storm’s soul. Turns out that Ororo deliberately took the chance to meet her deceased parents in the afterlife, before she returns to her body, after she introduced her best friend Jean to them. At the same time, Rogue heads to Gambit‘s spirit world, where she tries to convince him not to die. Gambit thinks that it is a good day to die as he just saved the world, and he is willing to step into the light. Yet Rogue drags Gambit’s astral form back to the land of the living. Later, as the healthy check on the sick Heather finds that her brother has run away and he does not want her to follow. While Wolverine informs Rogue that Gambit may never treat her the same for taking away his chance at peace.

Full Summary: 

(on TV, Madripoor Network News)

Shanna Cho stands in front of two of Madripoor’s skyscrapers, that seems unharmed by all the fighting. Yet everything around these two towers is in flame or badly damaged. She is reporting to the Madripoor citizens of the events that have transpired on their little island in the last couple of days. She tells her audience that an invader named Khan tried to take over the world by using their island as a beachhead. As one scene switches to Captain America leading a crew of rescuers through rubble looking for victims, Shanna reports that the Avengers and Fantastic Four have come to help in relief aid. Next, a scene shows the past where Rogue fights against part of Khan’s army. Shanna reports that luckily for the world though, a courageous team known as the X-Men risked their very own lives to save them from disaster. The picture changes next to a M.A.S.H. scene where a couple of doctors unload wounded victims from an ambulance. Shanna reports that unluckily for the X-Men some of their members might have paid the ultimate price to insure the world‘s survival.


Iron Man carries Rogue, the Thing carries Gambit, and Captain America helps Storm walk into the M.A.S.H. unit that has been temporarily set up near where the X-Men fought their last battle. As they all stumble in Doctors rush to their side as Captain America calls for them to help his “colleagues”. Iron Man places Rogue on a hospital bed as Doctors try to tend to her wounds. She informs them that her healing factor will kick in momentarily and that they need to tend to her friends first. All over the unit all the nurses and doctors run around frantically. Some are worried that if they are mutants they might carry any type of infectious disease, while others just want to help and they call out orders for different medical devices to be brought to them. One doctor works on Bishop and he is surprised to see that the clothes he wears is like body armor. Luckily for the doctor Bishop is not hurt as severe and he shows the confused doctor where his shirt is fastened, so he can take it off to check on Bishop’s wounds.

Lifeguard is the only X-Man not hurt in anyway and she stands in front of the door to the unit listening as the doctors talk about her brother’s very serious wounds. Lifeguard still has not changed back to her normal appearance, she still is golden armored Shi’Ar with wings in appearance. Heather thinks to herself that even with her name being Lifeguard she is not able to save her own brother.

Iron Man still is standing next to Rogue as he tries to convince her that even though she thinks she is healing, her wounds are bleeding freely and she needs medical attention. The doctors examine her and they take the measurements of the entry of her wound and the exit. Shocked beyond belief they realize that she has been stabbed right through her heart. Sage, who is wounded, but not severe enough to be lying down, is walking around and Rogue notices her. Rogue calls out for Sage asking her what is going on, because the doctor was able to puncture her skin with a needle and surprisingly Rogue is able to make skin to skin contact with everyone?
Looking sad and dazed, Sage says nothing, but as they touch she tells Rogue to look at her hand and Rogue realizes that she has made skin to skin contact with her teammate, though nothing happens.

Near Rogue’s bed, Storm lies unconscious. As she goes into a cardiac arrest, one of the doctors screams out for more assistance from the other doctors near him. Five members of the medical staff begin working on her and they discuss who she is and the nature of her severe wounds from being stabbed, beaten, and nearly drowning. As one doctor tries to revive her using CPR the other holds an ambu-bag over her face. Storm has stopped breathing on her own and the doctors do everything they can to save her. One of the doctors looks up to the monitor to see that she is flatlining and they all frantically try to use some shock pads to try and restart her heart. While they are shocking her and filling her full of epinephrine and atropine the one thing the doctors do not lose is hope. Even hope seems to fail though because Rogue, for some reason, is able to see Storm’s spirit rise from her body dressed in her X-Treme uniform. Rogue cries for her to please not leave, but Storm just puts her finger to her own lips as if to quieten her, and she ascends through the roof of the M.A.S.H. unit and leaves.

Rogue cries, “Storm !” but she does not pay attention. Rogue jumps from her bed as all the doctors and nurses around her try to calm her down and get her back in her own bed. The only thing that calms her down though is that Bishop grabs her. Rogue tells Bishop of what she saw. As they kneel down together he tries to convince her that even though Storm may be gone she needs to rest because he does not want her to go too. Bishop notices Rogue has stopped moving and he cries for the doctors to help her.

(on the astral plane)

Rogue is surrounded by nothing but white and she realizes to herself that she too is dying, just like Storm. She is dressed in her X-Treme uniform and she is confused on why the afterlife is so colorless and empty. As she floats she notices that she casts a shadow and she wonders if anyone is around to tell her what will happen next? As if to answer her Phoenix appears with her and the Phoenix effect itself can be seen as an outline around Jean’s body. Rogue yells out “Phoenix !”, as she is shocked to see her friend there with her to help. Jean tells her that they are family and that she can call her Jean. When the two friends embrace, Rogue’s clothes change into one of the school’s current uniforms and Rogue asks Jean if she is dead ? Jean tells her that Rogue is not dead yet but she is pushing the envelope and that is why she is here to help. Rogue thankfully tells Jean that she had seen Storm’s spirit leave her body so they need to hurry before Storm’s spirit runs to far. Jean tells Rogue that she will worry about Storm, but that she needs to worry about someone else. Shockingly, Rogue remembers Gambit and that he was hurt badly.


The doctors have Gambit hooked up to a breathing machine and they talk amongst themselves that he will probably not make it, since they can’t stop the bleeding. Right then four X-Men materialize in the middle of the M.A.S.H. unit’s floor. They are the Beast, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, and Wolverine. Shocked a doctor tells them that this is not mutie central and that someone needs to call the MP’s. Jean, who is worried about Nightcrawler teleporting the four of them at once and what a strain it must be for him does not notice the bigotry in the doctor’ voice as she asks if Nightcrawler is okay. He replies that he is and under the circumstance he would have tried to teleport four hundred if he needed to. Wolverine however does notice the doctor’s bigotry and he tells him that he does not like the word “mutie”. Captain America grabs the doctor by the shoulder and informs him that he will vouch for them and that they probably will help the other X-Men out better then even the doctor’s will.

Beast tells the others that Gambit needs him most. He places some Nano-Probe Manipulators, as he calls them, on his hand, explaining that his bulky hands, a result of his recent mutation, are great for fighting but not for surgery. Wolverine walks away telling the others that he is going to go check on Storm. Nightcrawler walks by Slipstream’s bed as he screams at the doctors that he does not want to see the monster that calls itself his sister because his sister must be dead. Nightcrawler, whose eyes are aglow, overhears Davis talking about his sister as she stands in the corner of the unit sulking in pity.

Both Logan and Jean notice the markings on Lifeguard’s body as royal Shi’Ar. They think she might cause trouble, as she looks as if she is about to go into a berserker rage. Wolverine tells Jean, as he pops his claws, that he will take her down quietly but Jean stops him saying that she wants to try first. Jean walks up to Heather and compliments her on how that her plumage is some of the finest she has ever seen and she asks her how she came about to find them? Confused, Heather asks Jean, “What ?” and Jean tells her that she is a friend of Storm and that they are X-Men too. Jean asks Heather what her name is and Heather answers her question but tells her that she at least used to be Heather Cameron.

Slipstream, who is now more calm and hidden behind curtains, sits in his bed as he notices he has a visitor. Nightcrawler is his visitor and as Davis reaches out to shake his hand he notices that Nightcrawler only has three fingers. Surprised, Davis asks who he is and Nightcrawler explains that like Davis he is a mutant. By birth, he is german, by choice he is an X-Man and also has studied to become a priest. Davis asks if he too was jumpstarted by Sage that he looks like he does, but Kurt explains that God made him look like this. Davis explains that he does not believe that the monster outside is his sister because his sister was beautiful. Nightcrawler tries to change Davis’ point of view, stating that inside Heather is as human as she ever was, besides right now she is confused and scared and could use her brother’s support. Yet Davis says that he can’t bear to look at her and he worries that his mutation will be worse then his sisters.

(in Storm’s soul)

“I bin dead but I got better, bin to heaven loved in hell, once more I am wand’rin’ wand’rin’ down this road I know so well…but where I end up this time I have no clue!” is what Jean sings as she floats down into Storm’s spirit world. Outside a house, probably somewhere in Cairo, Ororo stands in a pink evening gown holding doves as two white tigers lay at her feet. Storm tells Jean that she should not know where she is because this is her soul, not Jean‘s. “Mine should look… this wonderful.”, Jean tells Storm. As the two friends embrace, Storm’s uniform too changes into a version of the school’s current uniforms and Storm apologizes for not inviting Jean sooner. Jean tells Storm that she is not here for pleasure though, because she is here to bring Storm back. Storm informs Jean that the lines between life and death rarely meet so close and that she wanted the opportunity to see her parents once more. Behind Storm appear John and N’Dare Munroe and Storm wants to introduce Jean to them. Jean very humbled, says that she should not be here for their reunion because that should be just something special for Storm. The two parents embrace Jean and tell her that they are so happy that Storm has grown up so nice and that they thank Jean for being such a good friend. Storm tells Jean that she is fine, but she wonders about Gambit.

(in Gambit’s soul)

Rogue is driving a motorcycle through the air. Rogue talks to Gambit although she does not see him. She tells him the image of a nice ancestral house in his spirit world doesn’t impress her, likewise the fancy crypt. She tells him that the locked gate will not keep her out as she jumps over it, though not without falling off the bike. She knows this is the astral plane but surprisingly the landing still hurts. Gambit stands in front of the crypt and tells her that she has been keeping him and he was hoping that her and him could ascend to the afterlife together. While Rogue lies underneath the motorcycle she was riding she tells him that they will be going all right but not to the after life but back to life. “You got brass, Rogue, but it is outta your hands.” Gambit tells Rogue as he walks toward the light.


Wolverine holds Rogue down as she screams to, what he perceives as thin air, that Gambit had better not leave her. Wolverine tells her to stop that she is killing herself and that the Beast is taking care of Gambit. There is nothing she can do for him and she needs to rest and let the doctors take care of her.

(in Gambit’s soul)

Rogue chases Gambit and tells him not to turn his back on her. Gambit tells her that the light is so beautiful and it feels so much like home. She runs towards him begging him not to walk away. Rogue and Gambit embrace in a passionate kiss and she tells him that she will not let go. He tells her to not be so foolish because he believes it is his time to go. “No”, she tells him that she will not help him die because she loves him. He tells her, as he smiles that there could not be a better way to go then as he saved the world.


Wolverine grabs Rogue’s face screaming at her, desperately trying to get her to take his powers from him so she can live. He looks into her eyes and tells her that she does not even have to be awake for the transfer to occur and that he does not care if she takes all his power, that he just wants her to live. However nothing happens, and Wolverine screams to Jean that Rogue’s powers have stopped working. She is on her own and she is dying.

(in Gambit’s soul)

Gambit starts to ascend into the sky and he tells Rogue that he loves her too. Rogue holds onto Gambit telling him that she will not let him go. She begins to float off the ground with him and she screams at him that they have not even had a chance to live their life together so he should not leave her. Rogue grabs hold of a statue to keep them from floating away. She screams to him, that even though he thinks he should die, the X-Men write their own destiny so they also can make their own miracles. As he tries to float away Rogue anchors him to the earth and he begs her to just let him go because he may never be in such a state of grace again. She tells him that their story is not done and he tells her that it is because this is the happy ending. “Ah’m selfish! Ah want better. And so should you!” she tells him.

(present, later)

Heather goes to check on Davis finally without her wings and Nightcrawler informs her that he has already departed. He left her a note and asked her not to follow him. Jean stands in front of Storm’s bed and asks her how she is feeling? Ororo tells Jean that she is feeling fine and now her folks are too because they have gone home.

Rogue lies on the hospital bed next to Gambit‘s and she clutches his bare hand and with hers as Logan stands above both of them. He tells her that Gambit may not like her after he wakes up, because he knows what he went threw and he may have not wanted to come back. Rogue tells Logan that she does not care as long as he is alive. Logan smiles at her and tells her that she really is a “Rogue” because she likes doing things the hard way. She smiles back at him and tells him that he taught her well. She also says that since they are X-Men that they are defined by hope and that’s why they never give up and they find a way to win.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Bishop, Lifeguard, Nightcrawler, Phoenix IV, Rogue, Sage, Slipstream, Storm, Thunderbird III, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Gambit, X-Men ally
Captain America, Iron Man (both Avengers)

Thing (Fantastic Four)

Shanna Cho, newswoman

Maggie, Ricky and other Madripoor doctors and nurses

Madripoor wounded
Within Storm’s soul :

David (John) and N’Dare Munroe, Storm’s parents

Story Notes: 

Dorothea Fleisher, R.N. was C.C.’s technical advisor for this issue.
The into scene of Shanna Cho in front of the remains of Madripoor actually looks like the World Trade Center.
Wolverine had his near death experience in Wolverine (2nd series) #176.
On the Astral Plane both Rogue’s and Storm’s uniforms changed into versions of the uniforms worn by the two X-teams still operating from the mansion in Westchester.
Storm's father is wrongly named John in this issue, though earlier issues refered to him as David Munroe.

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