X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #36

Issue Date: 
February 2004
Story Title: 
Storm: the Arena - part 1: Challenger

Chris Claremont (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Scott Hanna (inked), Transparency Digital (colors), Rus Wooton (letterer), Stephanie Moore & Cory Sedlmeir (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

Storm arrives in California with Gambit in tow. She returns him to his lover, Rogue, who in so many ways is ecstatic to see his return. After a brief discussion on their new role as world police enforcers and their title of X-Treme Sanctions Executives, Bishop is hit hard with the similarities of the future where he came from. Trying to ease his fears, Ororo explains that, as long as they try their best, the future is never truly known. With that said, Ororo flies off into the sky in search of Tullamore Voge in Tokyo. After her arrival, she meets up with Yukio and the two head towards a club called the Arena, where Vogue is believed to be involved. After their arrival, they meet up with a mysterious woman by the name of Masato and she guides them to a special area of the club. Shockingly enough, this place is a true arena, where mutants fight one another for survival. Watching the battle, Storm takes pity on one of the combatants and enters herself in the fray. In the midst of the battle, Ororo is able to gain the upper hand and, after it is all said and done, is declared the victor and new champion. Beginning to wonder, Storm realizes that the feeling of victory is glorious.

Full Summary: 

A spiked gate opens to reveal a shadowed female figure and her thoughts are on the cheers of the people around her. The thought that passes through her mind is that the people want their “star” and this is her destiny.

Days before the shadowed woman’s starring moment – Storm flies Gambit back to California. Once they arrive on the beach near Rogue’s house, Gambit becomes distracted by his lover, running into his arms. Rogue questions Remy, as she jumps into his arms, of where has been. She tells him that she thought Storm had stole him away from her. Gambit informs her that she had tried to steal away their love, but they both know she is the only one for him.

Much later, Ororo tells the others about what she was up to and tells them that the government has now made them official world sanctioned police. Sam states the fact that their team is now the X-Treme Sanctions Executive and, officially, cops. Bishop sits below Sam on the back porch of Rogue’s beach house and he crushes the can in his hand in both anger and confusion on the events transpiring. Bishop tells the others that he feels like he is experiencing déjà vu. He tells them that in the future that he came from his job was to police the mutants populace and the title of his position was an X.S.E. (Xavier Security Enforcer) officer. Sam jokingly teases Lucas that at least he’ll get on the ground floor this time. Bishop stands to his feet and Ororo comes to his aid and asks him if he feels that their actions will prevent his future or help create it. She tells Bishop that in Africa where her mother is from they believe that nothing is written until it happens. She continues to speak and tells Lucas that if they all do their best the future will take care of itself. Bishop reaches out and grasps Ororo’s jaw in his right hand, he informs her that she could be wrong. Ororo defiantly tells Lucas that she is an X-Man and that gives her hope.

Sage walks up to her two friends and asks if she is going to go solo into Tokyo. Ororo confirms Sage’s proclamation and tells them that it is their job to go after Bogan. Ororo looks down at a picture of Tullamore Voge and tells the others that it seems that Bogan and Vogue employee the same muscle so there is probably a connection between the two of them. Sam asks Storm if she wants back up to help her face against whatever menaces wait on her in Tokyo. She tells him that she does not and questions his thoughts on her inability to handle a slaver like Vogue. She tells him that, if she needs any help, they can rest assure she will call. Bishop turns to her and tells Ororo that she won’t call because of her stubbornness and that might even be the death of her. Finishing their conversation, Ororo tells Lucas that if she dies at least she knows she sacrifices herself for a good cause.

Ororo flies towards Tokyo and, along the way, she thinks about the death of her parents and the war that caused it. She also thinks of how her parents never saw her grow to adulthood and join the clandestine group known as the X-Men and how their dream became her own. She remembers how Charles Xavier has recently focused more on the future of mutant-kind and she realizes that her job is to take care of the world here and now, until Xavier finally reaches his goal. Seeing the city of Tokyo getting closer, she thinks about the recent attack on her body and the uncertainty of her physical prowess afterwards. That is why, she thinks, she is here to not only stop a slaver from an illegal action but to prove to herself that her body is capable of leading her X-Treme team in it’s future.

Storm flies above the skyscrapers and thinks about her meeting scheduled for seconds from now with her long time ally, Yukio. Just then, a shadow races across the building below her and she recognizes the form as Yukio. To Ororo’s shock, Yukio jumps from the building, headed straight towards the ground below. Screaming, “NO!” Storm rushes to her friends aid and questions her intelligence for such a dangerous feet. Yukio tells Storm that she had told her when and where to meet her; she just wanted to greet her in style. Ororo questions Yukio of what she would have done if she were unable to honor their reunion? Ororo lands Yukio on the nearby building and Yukio informs her that she would have just had to think of something to save her and quickly.

Ororo and Yukio embrace and they discuss both of their recent near death experiences and how both seem to have something to prove. Yukio teasingly walks towards a hidden present and offers it to a reluctant Storm. Ororo recognizes the present as new clothes and Yukio warns Ororo that if she wants to get in the Arena she will have to look the part. Storm stutters out no and Yukio asks if Ororo is afraid of the clothes or the woman they will help to set free?

Later that night, a Samurai stands guard at the door to the entrance of the Arena. Handfuls of pedestrians try to gain entrance, only to hear a rejection from the large Samurai. All, except the few he agrees upon, may not enter but, after seeing Storm and Yukio, he doesn’t hesitate to allow them in. Storm’s outfit is flashy with a red appearance going from her shoes all the way to the cleft of her breasts. The tight-fitting jean skirt is sowed together on the sides and reveals Storm’s “better” side. Yukio wears an outfit equally as flashing and the black skintight outfit stretches the entire length of her body with small holes strategically placed all over. To accentuate her outfit, she wears a black and green jacket that seems to be outfitted with medals. Both women stand in high-heeled shoes and each one of them wears a form of collar around their neck.

As the women enter the building, Ororo thinks of how Yukio is a hired assassin and how they became friends she will never know, but when she is with Yuriko she feels so untamed. After her entrance in the Arena, each woman is shocked to see the appearance of the insides. It is like that of an alien place. In this entertainment center, there is no barrier between the entertainer and the entertained. Both Yukio and Ororo quickly realize that the noise is so much that the two of them can’t hear one another and, all around the room, camera’s flash pictures of the crowd, replaying them on video screens in odd shapes. One of these screens show Ororo and Yukio can’t help but laugh, as the two of the drink at the bar.

Another form of entertainment in the bar is the fact that certain dancers are given headsets that supposedly makes their experience even better. Ororo and Yukio are among the guests that receive these headsets and, unknown to them, an unknown person is scanning them via the headsets to find out if their mutants. On a video screen in a separate room, Yukio is shown to be a baseline human, while Strom is revealed to the Arena as a mutant. After their moment in the spotlight, the two friends see a nearby rest area, where they can escape the noise.

Yukio and Ororo race into the nearby room and Ororo questions her if she is all right. Yukio asks her own question about how the room could be so quiet, even with all the music playing outside. Ororo informs her friend that she was able to set a wind buffer against the door that helps to filter out most of the sound so they don’t have to scream at one another. Both companions sit on a couch in the room and sip their glasses of wine. Yukio asks Storm how she is feeling? Storm replies that she can’t even remember the last time she had so much fun. Yukio tells Ororo that she is trying to help her let loose and actually enjoy life.

Suddenly, the curtains to their hideaway part to reveal a woman that introduces herself as Masato Koga. Masato tells them that she knows about their recent adventures and certain talents and powers each one of them has. She continues on, telling them how there are other areas to the Arena that might be spicier to women of their nature. Masato stands to her feet and tells the two women to follow her, which they do. As the women traverse different areas of the Arena, Masato talks about how the need for people of their nature to win at all costs for survival was so strong in the past. The need to fight for survival is not strong now, but the need to win battles at all costs still is. They travel through the dance hall section of the Arena, a gambling casino, and finally through a male entertainment section.

With a motion Masato commands the bodyguard to pull back a set of curtains that reveals a passageway farther down into the depths of the Arena. At the bottom of he stairs, Masato tells Storm and Yukio that human beings became sterile, not wishing to be hunters or predators anymore. Humans became content just to be voyeurs, who watch others do what they can only dream of. Storm’s red wig is taken from her hair by handmaidens that appear at Masato’s command. A bird-type headpiece, equally as red, takes its place. Yukio is not left out, as her hat is removed and replaced by a phantom mask with wig-piece. Masato continues to speak and she tells them that for some the urge to be the star is too much and they venture forth to become the hunters once more. The two allies follow their guide, but nothing prepares them for the sight they see once they pass through the nearby gate.

Warriors stand behind the two allies, but the amazement doesn’t come from the sight of them. The amazement comes from Masato’s introduction of the true Arena. Around them sit hundreds of people, who are cheering the two mutants that fight in a small courtyard below the cheering masses. In the courtyard, a young mutant named Silkworm fights against a towering behemoth by the name of Musclehead. The outcome looks to be obvious, but Silkworm turns out to be a worthy opponent, making quick use of Musclehead’s bulk against him. Storm hears Masato tell her that the rules are simple, there are none. No mercy is given, only earned in the battles that take place. She goes on to say that victories are, however, most rewarding. Back in the courtyard, it seems that Silkworm has bested her opponent and a smile creases Ororo’s deep-red lips. The smile doesn’t last long, as Musclehead regains his strength and attacks the overconfident Silkworm. Musclehead has Silkworm by the throat and is seconds away from finishing her off, when Storm licks her lips in silent anxiety of her next move.

A lightning bolt separates the two attackers and Storm floats softly to the courtyard to warn Musclehead of his actions. She tells him that he made his point, but killing Silkworm is not the answer. Oddly, it isn’t Musclehead that attacks the would-be savior, but Silkworm. Silkworm, angered at being rescued, tells Ororo that she shouldn’t have interfered with their match, as she sends her powers to entangle Storm. Ororo, wrapped up like a cocoon, is no match for Musclehead, as Silkworm sends her spinning into his awaiting fists.

Above the ground floor, Yukio removes her headpiece and screams Storm’s name in fear. Blades quickly surround Yukio’s neck and Masato warns Yukio not to interfere with the match. She tells her that Ororo made the choice of entering the battlefield and she must now play by its rules.

That is easily done for a woman that commands the very elements. Summoning the winds to wrap Silkworm’s energy strands around her own body, Storm is quickly able to subdue the arrogant mutant. Storm hovers in the air and she informs Musclehead that she does not want to continue on with their fight. Musclehead tells her that it is too late and he will face and defeat her. Storm lands on the ground and creates a gust of wind to nock him off balance, which allows her to make a strategic blow. Musclehead falls to the ground and Storm pounces on his chest. As she begins to lay a serious blow, she tells him that he must always remember that where there is lightning there is always thunder! With that said, she knocks him into a nearby wall and Masato travels to the ground floor to raise Storm’s hand in victory.

Masato announces to the fans that she gives them their newest Tokyo Arena Champion: Storm. Surprisingly enough, Storm thinks that she feels glorious… and she wants more!!

Characters Involved: 

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

Gambit (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Lila Cheney (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Rogue (X-Treme X-Men ally)


Arena attendants and employees

Marie Jennifer D’Ancanto

Masato Koga


Samurai Bodyguard


Story Notes: 

Yukio was attacked by Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red in Wolverine #174, which supposedly forced her to be a paraplegic the rest of her life.

In Uncanny X-Men #173, Storm was convinced by Yukio’s influence to cut her hair in a Mohawk and try and act more spontaneous.

The X-Men first met Tullamore Voge in Uncanny X-Men #383, but his species' first appearance was during the Cross-Time-Caper storyline in Excalibur.

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