X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #19

Issue Date: 
December 2002
Story Title: 

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: 

The X-Treme team, plus a few members from the other X-Men teams, is having a party in celebration of their recent victory over Khan's forces. Jean and Hank baked a cake to surprise their friends, which it does. Jean sits down at the table and before too may of them can begin eating she asks the X-Treme team if they are willing to move back to the Institute to become teachers. The team does not answer her question, but only ponders if they should or not. As they sit around the table, each one talking about different subjects, plus teasing Storm because of her recent abduction, the mood is festive. The mood does not stay festive for long though because Kitty's recent troubles over her father's death surface, causing her to leave the table. After talking for a moment, each X-Man goes in their separate ways exploring Rogue's recently acquired mansion. Beast helps Gambit in the Garden as he tests Gambit's recent injuries to see if he is getting better, which Beast finds that Gambit has greatly improved. In another room of the mansion, Bishop delivers a cake to Sage and they discuss whether they should take Jean up on her offer or not. Still in yet another room, Storm and Kitty argue over Kitty's recent behavior until Kitty eventually breaks down. The two embrace and Storm tries to comfort Kitty. Rogue approaches Gambit, who is still in the garden, and she tries to comfort him over his recent revelation that he has also lost his power along with hers. The two decide on not leaving one another, as they want to take their relationship day by day and see how it all turns out. The next morning, as Jean and Storm finish doing the dishes since they stayed up all night talking, Kitty says her good-byes and leaves to head back to college. The two friends are left alone in the kitchen when they are startled by a noise outside. As they investigate, they see a motorcycle and Gambit and Rogue inform their friends that they are planning on leaving for a while to explore their relationship further. Neal and Heather also decide to leave together to hunt down Heather's brother and to make sure he is all right. Jean watches the four of them go and is shocked to see how their day has begun. Jean decides that it is their time to leave and Logan offers to stay behind to help Storm in her recuperation and they agree. As the other members leave, the three members of the X-Treme team that are left discuss their future plans.

Full Summary: 

Kitty Pride, Jean Grey, Logan, Beast, and Nightcrawler are in New Orleans partying with the X-Treme team over their recent victory over Khan and his army. Rogue has been given her deceased foster mother's home and fortune and she plans on sharing her bounty with her friends, the X-Men. Jean Grey and Hank (the Beast), who is dressed in a chef's outfit, walk into an outside courtyard where the others are already sitting around a table, listening to a Jazz band that is playing in the background. Jean is telekinetically carrying a large cake and enough silverware and plates to feed all her friends. Rogue asks while her hand is on Gambits shoulder what Jean is doing? "What good's a celebration, Rogue-dear, without a cake!" is Jean's response to her question. Beast also adds that the two of them had baked it themselves.

Jean lays the cake on the table and on top of the cake reads "Welcome Home X-Men". Jean brags on how that her telepathy tells her the size of cake that each one of them wants and also her telekinesis allows her to serve it to them neatly. In the background Bishop tries to catch Sage who has decided to leave the party for her own reasons. As Jean serves the cake to every one Hank congratulates Rogue on her recent killing of her enemy, Vargas. Rogue curiously does not answer him back though. Hank seems to not notice though, as he raises his glass to toast to his absent friends. While around the table the rest of the X-Men raise their glasses, each one toasting differently. Some toast to just their absent friends, while some toast Colossus' passing, and the others toast Psylocke's passing.

Nightcrawler stands next to Logan and brags on their Kitty for now being in college. While Logan comments that he never thought they would be alive to see it. Kitty responds to her friends teasing by telling them if the two of them do not stop their yapping, they may not live much longer. Logan, unafraid, asks Kitty why she was last heard to be working in a saloon? At another conversation around the table, Lifeguard asks Bishop where Sage had went? He just replies that Sage does not like social interaction much. Jean breaks in, telling them that since Cassandra destroyed the mansion and they were outed as a school for mutants, the enrollment has multiplied. Further, Xavier has started an outreach program in X-Corp, helping out mutants and humans across the world.

Elsewhere around the table, Neal is having a conversation with Bishop and he tells Bishop that he thought they were not going to make it when Khan's ship was heading straight for them. Bishop replies that the ship blew up real good and, luckily, right on cue. Beast interjects in their conversation and tells about how, in the past, they called it a "Magneto Moment". The more certain the death, the more certain the resurrection, he comments. He ends the conversation, poking fun at Storm by wanting to hear about how she was supposed to be Khan's queen. Toasting Storm, Logan tells Storm that every bad guy worth the name also wants Storm as his queen. Nightcrawler surprises Storm by bamfing in front of her and telling her that he is the "Warlord of Barsoom" and he will claim her as his queen. Phoenix stands to her feet and in a fighting stance tells Nightcrawler that he can not have her because her heart and soul belong only to her. Bishop, in response to Jean's challenge, stands to his feet also and tells Jean that they will have a problem because the woman is his. "She's mine, She's mine, She's Mine" is blasted at Storm from her friends joking with her. Storm laughs and hides her head begging her friends to stop their teasing. Kitty decides to join the fun as she stands and holds her head asking the others what they are talking about? She is Storm! Kitty shocks her friends by telling them that someone has just now switched their minds and she is possessed with Storm's mind and Storm has Kitty's mind. The X-Men stare in wonder at Kitty wondering if she is actually joking. To break the silence, Lifeguard asks aloud if this happens very often? Beast tells her that it actually does happen occasionally. "GOTCHA!" both Storm and Kitty cry out as the whole team laughs together about their teasing.

Beast tells Jean that he wishes he could be around to see how Storm would pay them back for their teasing, but they cannot since they will be leaving soon. Jean tells Hank that they can be together if Storm's team just comes home. Jean tries to give a speech about how that they are all X-Men and they need to be together. She shows them a telepathic display of how Bishop, Rogue, Storm, Sage, and Thunderbird would look like as teachers at the Xavier Institute. She ends her speech by telling them that she does not want to sound pushy, but she believes that they belong as teachers in the Institute. "I assume we have a choice...?" Bishop asks Jean. She grabs his arm and tells him that they have a responsibility to mutants and humans everywhere.

Kitty, angered by Jeans' comment, jumps in Jeans' face and tells her that she thought that they were all human. Jean defends herself, telling Kitty that she should know what she means. She goes on to say that they just want to help and give guidance because they do not want to see another Genosha. Kitty agrees with Jean and walks off teary-eyed, leaving Jean confused and Nightcrawler bamfing after Kitty. Storm sits behind Jean in her wheelchair she has been temporarily forced to use because of her recent injuries and tells Jean disturbing news that Kitty's dad was one of the humans that died trying to save young mutant children in Genosha. She also says that Kitty, through her extensive knowledge of computers, was able to find a video with her father's death on it, so she was able to watch her father die. "Oh my God.", Jean exclaims as she holds herself as if a chill has come over her and she stares towards the now departed Kitty.

A few seconds later, Jean sits in a sit in front of Storm, surrounded by what is left of the party members from before. Logan, puzzled, comments to them that Kitty had never told him about her father's death before. Bishop reminds Logan that Kitty is a lot like him and that her recent problems have caused trouble at school for Kitty. Jean looks at Storm and tells her that if there is anything the X-Men can do to help anyone on the X-Treme team all they need to do is say the word and they will try anything to help. Hank, as he lounges back in his chair behind Storm's, tells Storm that the Institute now has a healer in Xorn and that if he can be of any service they would take her to him. He also informs them that Professor X is able to walk again because of Xorn's healing powers. Bishop, not surprised, informs Hank that they had seen Xavier on television walking and they were extremely impressed. "I'll consider it..." Storm replies to Jean as she grasps Jean's hands. Jean turns to Bishop and begs him to make Storm reconsider. Bishop tells Jean that Storm is their leader, so she calls the shots and he will back whatever decision she makes. "Even if it kills her?" Jean asks Bishop. "Especially then..." Bishop replies. Jean puffs up and tells Bishop that all of them are stubborn. As he shoots back, telling her that she does not need to be talking about being stubborn because she is also.

A few minutes later, Neal catches up with Heather who has now made her way to the rooftop of Rogue's mansion. The moon silhouettes Heather and Neal tells her that she looks magnificent. As Neal nears Heather she asks him not to say that but he replies to her that it is only the truth. Neal asks Heather how she is doing and she tells him that she is doing fine considering the circumstances which "STINK"! The two sit down on the roof and she tells him that she had to leave the room because now that she has her wings all that she can think of when she is in a small space is that she needs to get out to spread her wings. She remarks that a few days ago she did not even have wings but now she would not know what to do without them. She says that she cannot remember who Heather Cameron ever was because she now seems such like a stranger to her and that she thinks her brother was right to call her a monster. Neal tries to calm her by saying that she is not the monster her brother said she was. Convinced, Heather tells Neal that she was once a Lifeguard, but now when she looks at people, she only sees prey. Heather turns to Neal and tells him that Davis wasn't even supposed to have his powers. Only because Sage jump-started him is the only reason he has the powers in the first place. Now she wants to be with her brother just in case he has to go through the same changes that she did. Neal places his hand over Heather's now alien hand and he asks her if she can find her brother? She tells him that she is a natural born predator and she can now find anyone she wants. Neal tells her if she will have him, then he would love to come with her. She replies that she does want him to come and help her.

Elsewhere in Rogue's large mansion, Hank tries to catch up with Gambit who is sitting in the mansion's garden and contemplating. Hank talks to Gambit as he approaches and he tells him that a person could almost get lost in this mansion's garden. Gambit tells Hank that getting lost was what he wanted when he came there in the first place. Hank asks how Gambit is doing after his recent injuries at the hand of Vargas? Gambit tells him, as he removes his shirt partially, that even his scar is almost healed. Hank congratulates himself on his Nanobot technology and tells Gambit that before long he will not even have the scar. Hank turns away from gambit as if he is going to walk away and he tells Gambit that it is one thing to look healed but to actually be healed that is another. With that said Hank lunges towards Gambit and he tells him to "think fast". Gambit surprisingly outmaneuvers Hank and teases him on how slow he is. Gambit removes his cards from his pocket and holds them preparing to hurl them towards Hank. Hank, however, tries to tell Gambit that his attack was only to test Gambit's reflexes and he does not want Gambit to destroy Rogue's new home. Gambit does as Hank asks and he puts his cards away. Ecstatic over Gambit's fast recovery, Hank hugs him and tells him that he is glad that he is healing so quickly. As Hank has Gambit in a firm embrace Gambit thinks to himself that he is not healthy and, thanks to Rogue, he may never be again.

Meanwhile, Kitty now has finally reached her destination, her room. Outside her room Nightcrawler walks Storm to the same room, telling her that Kitty seems to be tremendously upset. Storm holds Nightcrawler back and tells him to please let her talk to Kitty. Kitty is packing as Storm enters the room and she does not even turn to look at her as she enters. Kitty informs Storm that she is going back to Chicago and that she should have never answered Rogue's invitation in the first place. Storm asks Kitty how she can say that and Kitty tells her to just leave her alone. Storm, angered by Kitty's disrespect, causes lightning to strike in the sky and she demands for Kitty to look at her. Kitty, in anger, lashes back at Storm, telling her that she cannot stand to be around the X-Men anymore because it hurt her too much. She tells Storm that she hurts because she sees her in a wheelchair and Gambit and Rogue, the whole team, almost died a few days ago. "But we didn't..." Storm replies. Kitty, now furious, screams at Storm only inches form her face, "THIS TIME". Kitty informs Storm that she has a box of memories she keeps in her dorm room and in that box are mementos of her deceased family and friends. She does not want to add anymore things to that box. Storm asks Kitty, as she begins to pack again, if she is trying to protect herself by crossing the X-Men from her life and Kitty replies "yes". Kitty has her bags packed and is walking out the door as Storm tells her that for the longest of times she believed she should have died with her own mother and father and she hated her parents for dying and leaving her alone. Stopping to think, Kitty drops to the floor, sitting upon her own suitcase. She looks down at the floor and falls into Storm's chest telling her how much she misses all of them. Storm embraces Kitty and tells Storm that she cannot rejoin the X-Men because she has her own dreams and Xavier's dreams have only lately began to scare her.

In her room, Sage continues to type away on her invisible computer as Bishop enters her room carrying a slice of cake for her. He asks her why she has chosen to remain hidden while the other X-Men are around? She informs Bishop that she and the others have a bad past together. Bishop tells her that he knows that she once was thought to be on the side of the bad, but she is now helping them and if he can trust her they will eventually too. He asks her why if Rogue is right and their mission is finally over because they have broken the wheel of fate left by the diaries, why can they just not go back to the Institute and help as teachers? Sage, analyzing her keyboard's display of Xavier's head on the right and Cassandra's head on the left, tells Bishop that she cannot answer his question. She does inform him though that she can say that she has concern for the Institute because it can easily be manipulated since it is such a huge target now for mutant haters. Xavier has the most powerful mind on the planet. Sage goes on to say, and he even has Jean Grey and Emma Frost by his side, but if they are busy looking after mutants, then who is going to look after the normal people on Earth? Sage walks up to Bishop who is now standing on the balcony of her room. They both look out on the humans walking below them. "Who will be their champions?" she asks.

Once more in the garden of the mansion, Gambit still is there. He seems bored, throwing cards into a nearby pond. Rogue comes up to Gambit and asks him if he has been tossing cards all day and none of them have been able to be charged. He tells her that he thinks when he almost died and she saved him that he lost his powers at the same time. Rogue leans over Gambits sitting body and she tells him that if it is any consolation, she no longer has hers either and she is happy that she can finally touch his skin and kiss him. She leans over his body and he tells her that it is her own fault she lost her powers because she was trying to play hero. "With your life at stake, that's no choice at all," Rogue tells Gambit as she kneels beside him. She tells him that since both of them has lost their powers that now maybe they can start a life together.

Rogue leans back against the rock wall nearest to them and she asks Gambit if it was all just a game to him and as long as they couldn't touch it was fun but now he no longer wants to be with her? Gambit does not answer her, he instead asks if she would like to dance with him since the Jazz band is playing close by and he does not want to waste such a beautiful song? As he gets closer to her, she tells him that they have had their moments but even they are not enough for her because she is selfish and she wants a lifetime with him. "Okay," Gambit replies. As Rogue questions his answer, he tells her that he will not promise anything but they will do things day by day and see how it all works out. "It's a start..." she tells Gambit. As they embrace to dance and as they are shadowed by the night's sky, Gambit drops his cards to the ground and the queen of hearts and the jack of hearts are shown face up.

The morning comes and Storm replies that she and Jean have talked all night long while they done the dishes. Jean tells her that "Martha Stewart" has nothing on them since they were able to make use of her telekinesis and Storm's rain showers cleaned the dishes in an extremely new way. Jean leans down to Storm's level and tells Storm that it makes her sad to see her in the wheelchair. Storm is not sad though, she informs Jean because she is getting stronger every day and that nature is just taking its course. Kitty interrupts as she opens the door to the kitchen, joking of how Storm should know nature since she is the poster child for Mother Nature herself. "You're leaving?" Jean asks Kitty. She tells Jean that she has classes and a job to get back to, but most importantly she finally has a ride. Kitty begins to open the outside door to leave and she tells the two of them that she will stay in touch if they ever need her to call her.

Jean turns to Storm and tells her that she has tried to leave the X-Men more than once and she hopes Kitty has better luck. Surprised by a sound of a motorcycle starting up, Storm and Rogue head outside to find Rogue and Gambit saying their good-byes. The two of them tell the others that they have decided to leave and try to get their relationship back together again, as well as recoup away from all the action for a while. Hank tells them that they have made a good "therapeutic" decision and the team supports them. Thunderbird and Lifeguard approach the others as well and inform them of their decision to leave as well to search for Davis Cameron. "Good man..." Nightcrawler states towards Neal. As Neal hugs Sage and he tells them that X-Men look after their own and thanks the team for teaching him that. Rogue also hugs Logan before she leaves and is excited that she can finally give him a goodbye kiss.

As the four members leave, Jean tells the others that this was not the end she had hoped for and Logan tells her that life is definitely full of surprises. Jean goes over to Storm and tells her that she is sorry to have to leave and Hank interrupts to say "especially before breakfast". Logan approaches Jean and tells her that he wants to stay with Storm as she recoups to help her out and Jean agrees. Before Jean leaves, she shows the three X-Treme members one last time the dream picture she has of them as teachers and tells them that her offer still stands. As the others leave, Bishop turns to Storm and asks if they can just go home because he believes their job is done? Storm looks over to Bishop and asks him "Is it?" As the three of them look on the tablecloth infront of them, their new uniforms lying on top of it, Storm tells Bishop "I was thinking it has barely begun..."

Characters Involved: 

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

Gambit (X-Men ally)

Shadowcat (former X-Man)

four members of a Jazz band

Story Notes: 

The first newspaper article is from "El Pais" or the "The World." The translation of the headline of "the independent morning newspaper" is "Mutants save the world, they were here." Ironically, the Spanish word for "were" "estuvieron" is misspelled as "estuviean".

Nightcrawler's claim at being the "Warlord of Barsoom" is a reference to Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burrough's "Mars" series. In the series, the native word for Mars is Barsoom.

In the issue, Bishop comments on Kitty's behavior as being like Logans is in reference to the years that Logan spent training and being more of a surrogate parent to Kitty as she lived at the Xavier Institute. Kitty's father death in Genosha was revealed/seen in X-Men Unlimited #36. In the same issue, she was reprimanded by the school for using force against a racist, but peaceful, anti-mutant demonstration.

Vargas, at the end of X-Treme X-Men #16, critically wounded Gambit. Hank used his Nanobot technology last issue to try to save Gambit's life.

Viper wounded Storm in issue #11 of X-Treme X-Men and along with her fight against Khan has caused her to be temporarily placed in a wheelchair. Apparently she can still use her powers we just do not know the extent she can use them at yet.
For two months, the title gets replaced by a limited series called "X-Treme X-Men X-Posé", before it continues with X-Treme X-Men #20 again.

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