X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #35

Issue Date: 
January 2004
Story Title: 
Intifada - part 5: Detante

Chris Claremont (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Greg Adams (inked), Liquid! (colors), Rus Wooton (letterer), Stephanie Moore (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

Rogue has attacked Roberto DaCosta at his very house in Los Angeles, California. Roberto doesn’t come unguarded, though, and two mutants by the name of Stringfellow and Skitz easily take care of Cannonball and Rogue. After the fight, Sunspot sends his two allies into the atmosphere and they land near a beach, unconscious and un-composed. Sage is able to pick up the fight on her tech-glasses and she takes Evangeline Whedon to safety, as Bishop prepares to save his two friends. Elsewhere in Crawford, Texas, Gambit teaches Storm a lesson in humiliation, as he defeats her in hand-to-hand combat. After their practice, Colonel Vazhin meets them and congratulates her for her team getting an official authoritative status. He tells her that, in order for him to feel better about her leading this new official team, named the X-S-E, she must infiltrate a battle arena and put a stop to it. Back in California, the delinquent mutants sit around their house silently reveling in their victory, in court. A shadowy figure approaches them and offers them the drug “kick” to defeat the X-Treme team and they accept. The mutants go after the fallen Cannonball and Rogue but, luckily for them, Bishop is there to save them. Back at the X-Corp headquarters, Bobby and Amara find the secrets behind Jarod Malloy. After their finding, Bobby announces to the public his findings and apologies. This event helps Marie to be found not guilty. Anna and Marie go to the D’Ancanto grave and she apologizes to her parents for her dishonor.

Full Summary: 

At Roberto DaCosta’s Estate, where a gala is being held at one thousand dollars a plate, things aren’t going as Roberto had planned. At this moment, he is being held by the throat against a statue of a dolphin spewing water from its mouth into a pool. The woman that holds him against the pool is named Anna Raven, otherwise known as Rogue. She has come seeking answers to some questions. Behind her is her friend, Sam Guthrie, and his ally, Anna Aquilla.

Sam cries out to Anna for her to stop. He tells her that this isn’t the time or place for her questions and asks her how she knows she even has the right guy? Rogue looks back at Sam and tells him that their house was attacked again last night by the same woman, but this time she wasn’t alone. Turning her attention once more to Bobby, she tells him that she trailed them after they left and they ended up going into the corporate garage of X-Corp. She goes on to say that the events would seem to mean that either X-Corp is dirty or Roberto himself is! Bobby tells Anna that she doesn’t know him, but Sam does and she should listen to him. He goes on to say that he does not take kindly to threats.

Rogue begins to morph into a giant string and Bobby tells her that she has just met one of his security guards named Stringfellow and his powers basically turns her into an elongated Reed Richards. Anna falls to the ground like a clump of stringy noodles. Bobby goes on to say that she doesn’t have the mobility that Richards has and he hears that the affect is quite painful, but luckily temporary. A young boy stands in front of Roberto with a smiley face shirt on and tells Roberto that, if she struggles, he can make it worse. Sam comes near Roberto and tells the two of them that there was no call in hurting Anna. Just then a girl from behind him attacks Sam, as she apologizes for her intrusion. Skitz is her name and, as Sam finds out, she has the ability to project delusions into people’s minds, making them see aspects of themselves they never dreamed possible and some that might haunt Sam Guthrie till his dying days. During his madness, Sam can only think of one thing, and that is escape. Sam blasts into the air and Anna, at the last minute, is able to wrap her stringy body around Sam’s throat and he carries them away, with a quick solar-powered punch from Sunspot (Roberto DaCosta). Roberto tells Sam, as he punches him into the atmosphere, that he has to much invested in house and his guests to allow them to harm either.

Screaming at Stringfellow and Skitz to find Sam and Anna, he tells them that the two mutants will not remain non-compos for long. He tells them that to be warned when they come to he is sure they won’t be happy. Amara begins to follow the two mutants, but Bobby begs her to say and promises to investigate Rogue’s accusations after the gala. He tells Amara that Rogue normally wouldn’t lie about such a thing, but he hopes she is wrong. Amara agrees to stay and Roberto begins to apologize to his guests for the interruption.

Meanwhile, near the ocean, Sam and Anna have come to a landing with the two of them still non-compos. Above them lurks a shadowy figure that talks to herself, saying that she is aware of Sam Guthrie’s presence, but her telepathy tells her that Anna doesn’t even exist. Her eyes glow with a tint of red and she ponders the fascinating evidence surrounding Rogue’s mind.

Elsewhere, the mutants delinquents named Cutter Sullivan, Dervish and Porous finish off their delivered pizza and wonder how much longer they’ll have to hide out before they can go back to causing havoc. Just then, the shadowy telepath appears in the room and offers the three of them the opportunity to attack one of the fallen X-Men. She shows them a picture of Sam lying on the beach, unconscious. She goes on to offer them three vials of the drug called “Kick” and she tells them with this drug the three of them can defeat any X-Man. The three mutants get an evil grin on their faces, as they continue to stare at the treasure they are offered. While the delinquents ponder their offer, at Rogue’s house Sage takes Evangeline Whedon to safety and Bishop goes off to save Rogue and Sam.

Back at the Presidential Ranch, Gambit and Storm parry each other’s moves, as the two practice with wooden sticks. They stand on the precipice of a small waterfall. He tells her, as they continue to parry, that she can’t always count on her powers or her good looks even though they can take a man’s breath away, because she must learn to fight before she can lead the X-Treme team into battle. Storm thinks she has the upper hand as she drops from Gambit’s grip, but he is quickly able to maneuver himself to miss her blow. After landing on his feet, he uses his leverage to knock Storm from the precipice down to the water below. As a mutant, Storm controls the weather and she instinctively creates a gale force wind to hold her aloft from the waters below. Gambit knew this, however, and planned accordingly. The master thief jumps from the precipice and lands on Storm, knocking her into the waters. Coming up from the water, Gambit gleefully smiles and, holding his fingers like a gun to Storm’s head, he tells her bang she is dead!

After there practice is over, the two mutants hear the increasingly familiar voice of Colonel Vazhin speaking to them from the nearby bank. He asks her if Gambit wins often, as he helps her from the waters. She tells him, as she calls on a gust of wind to dry off her body, that if she recalls correctly he has never lost. Colonel Vazhin tells Storm that her proposal was accepted and her team has now become the X-Treme Sanctions Executive or X-S-E for short. She looks at the Colonel and sees the questions in his eyes and she says what he is thinking; he wonders if she is up to the task? He tells her that their authority is unique and the jurisdiction is now global, which makes their badges recognizable around the globe. He goes on to say that she must be as much a diplomat as a warrior and the best at both. Storm tells Vazhin that she is ready and Vazhin tells her that he takes after President Reagan in that aspect he has faith, but her requires proof.

Gambit comes into the conversation and Vazhin informs him that their talk is private. Gambit tells Vazhin that it isn’t his call to make and Vazhin exasperates that the X-Men are always about the team. Vazhin reminds Storm that the chain is as only strong as the weakest link. He tells Ororo that she is the cornerstone to the X-S-E and she is just as integral to the future of mutants everywhere as Charles Xavier himself. Vazhin pulls a picture of a blue looking troll from his jacket pocket and tells Storm that she must complete an assignment before he will know for sure that she is ready to lead the X-S-E. Vazhin explains that there is a large number of mutant arenas popping up across the globe and they’re all linked to this man. Storm and Gambit recognize the man as Tullamore Voge, a slaver they met in Moscow quiet a while back. Storm asks where he is and Vazhin tells her that he does not know, but they do know that he has an arena in Tokyo and he wants her to join it.

On the sands of Valle Soleada, Cutter, Porous and Dervish have taken care of Stringfellow and Skitz. The three mutants walk closer to the fallen Rogue and Sam, while the two of them are powerless to escape. Cutter uses his powers to tear into Rogue’s elastic body. Luckily for them, the police arrive and the delinquents are distracted for the moment. Officer Mendes tells Cutter and the others to back away from the injured. He is not alone; because Jack, Paint and other mutants have come along and they tell Cutter and his gang that they’re no longer going to put up with their terrorizing. Porous attacks them and easily takes them all out by knocking them unconscious from dehydration. Cutter goes back to attacking Rogue, but luckily once more Bishop is there to save them. Bishop blasts Cutter to the ground and the three delinquents converge on their attacker. Dervish pulls Bishop from his truck with her wind powers and sends him sailing to a spiked-up Cutter.

While Bishop heads towards Cutter, Porous attacks Rogue, telling her that he is going to liquefy her one organ at a time. Cutter grasps hold of Bishop, but he is able to use his years of training to escape his grasp. Bishop listens as Cutter tries to brag about his power, but Bishop is easily able to counter his moves and send Cutter sailing towards Dervish’s face. He tells Cutter that he knows they’re on the drug “kick” and they should have saved their money. Thankfully for Dervish, Cannonball finally comes to his senses and he knocks Cutter out of the way inches before Dervish was impaled by her teammate. Bishop blasts Dervish with a strategically placed blast and tells Sam that he is glad to see him feeling better. Sam goes to the cliff to check on Officer Mendes and the others and reports back to Bishop that they’re hurt, but okay. From behind the two X-Treme members, Porous calls out to them and tells them that they forgot about him. Bishop teases Porous by saying that he isn’t really even a threat and Sam agrees. Porous screams to them that he will kill Rogue for their teasing. Bishop and Sam continue to tease by acting as if they don’t care. Rogue begins to reform into her true physical state as she wraps her hands around Porous’ throat. She tells him that he isn’t the hotshot he would like to think he is and knocks him to the ground for his troubles.

Back at the X-Corp headquarters, Roberto and Amara look through their files and find that Jarod Malloy was the one buying up the property from all the humans in Valle Soleada. Amara starts to tell Roberto that she doesn’t feel right and Roberto agrees. Oddly, the two friends begin to passionately kiss and, behind them and unseen, Empath stands crying. A hand lying on his shoulder shows the presence of the shadowy telepath once again. She explains to the un-hearing Amara and Roberto that she made Jarod leave a trail to make him look bad, to use him as fodder later on. She explains to them that Empath is making them kiss, but she will erase their short-term memories and only allow them to remember their findings. She tells Empath that she will give him his ration of “kick,” since he obeyed her. She also thinks its odd that these two friends passionately kiss, but she can detect that they do not have any passionate feelings towards one another. Given the vial of “kick,” Manuel downs it, still tears rolling down his eyes. She tells him that she wants him to be at his peak when she destroys the X-Men. Finishing their conversation, she says that she ha something special planned for Sage.

Another day, Roberto stands in front of reporters at his headquarters, publicly apologizing for Jarod Malloy’s actions. He goes on to say, as the X-Treme team continues to watch him on their television at Anna’s house, that Valle Soleada is Charles Xavier’s dream brought to life. He says that X-Corp’s goal is to create societies across the globe like this one and, hopefully, after years of trial, humanity will be able to live together. At Anna’s house, Bishop’s forehead wrinkles, as he says aloud that they will see if Bobby’s words come true. Behind Bishop, Sage uses her powers to search for Elias Bogan.

Anna and Marie stand at the gravesite of the D’Ancanto family and Marie apologizes for what she tried to do to dishonor their name. She stands up and embraces Rogue and, with tears in her eyes, she tells her parents that she has gotten a second chance and she wants to make them proud.

At a house somewhere in the world, a young boy listens to the words of Roberto DaCosta as he cleans his rifle. Behind him, hanging on the wall, is a poster with the PURITY emblem on it. Putting the gun to his eye, the determination for a future job lingers in his eyes.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Cannonball, Sage, Storm, (all X-Treme X-Men)

Empath, Skitz, Stringfellow, Sunspot (X-Corp L.A. Divisions)

Gambit (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Lila Cheney (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Rogue (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Alexei Vazhin

Boy From Purity

Cutter, Dervish, Porous, and other mutants of Valle Soleada

Evangeline Whedon

Gala attendants and security guards

Jack and Paint Freestone

Marie Jennifer D’Ancanto

Officer Mendes

Valle Soleada Residents

An unknown telepath

Story Notes: 

Reed Richards is none other than Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four.

Storm is versed in fighting without her powers. In fact, she was powerless when, in Uncanny X-Men #201, she became the leader of the X-Men in a battle against Cyclops.

Storm and her team of X-Men came into conflict with Tullamore Voge in Uncanny X-Men #383-385.

Colonel Vazhin’s reference to Reagan refers to President Reagan’s policy toward the Soviet Union during the period of glasnost (Russian for ‘openness’). Reagan’s policy was described as “Trust but verify.” The irony of Vazhin echoing this policy is that he is Russian, while Reagan was referring to the Russian government.

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