X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #38

Issue Date: 
February 2004
Story Title: 
Storm: the Arena - part 3: Slave

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: 

In the Tokyo Arena, Storm and Callisto face off to see who will win the rightful title as Champion. The match seems to be one-sided and Callisto easily takes care of Storm. Surprisingly, instead of Callisto gloating, another character from Storm’s past enters the Arena. Her name is Masque and, although he was a male before, it still seems she/he can still cause the same damage. She quickly transforms Storm into a devilish creature but even still Storm is able to allow the others enough time to escape and hide at Lila Cheney’s safe house. Afterwards, Masque uses her newly acquired entourage to break Storm’s spirit in preparation of using her in the Arena. It seems to work, as, days later, Storm stands in the midst of the Tokyo Arena, preparing to battle an armored clad ninja. During the battle, the ninja’s helmet falls from off of her shoulders, revealing the fact that Yukio was the combatant all along. Storm strangely does not stop and silently begins to close in for the kill. Placing two Katana’s to Yukio’s neck, Storm changes her mind at the last second and allows Yukio to live. Masque’s entourage quickly removes Yukio from the Arena and Purge pays Storm back for her disobedience.

Full Summary: 

In the Tokyo Arena, Callisto stands tall above Storm, as she holds Matsuo Koga’s neck in her hands, questioning why he set her up. Koga informs Ororo that Callisto has made a challenge and, with her being the Champion, she must accept.

A few feet away, Yukio tugs on Guido’s suit and asks him what Koga is talking about? Guido explains that if, Storm does not accept the challenge from Callisto, then it is assumed she forfeits, which gives the servitude of the entire Tokyo Arena to Callisto and her manager. Yukio skulks back into her seat, exclaiming how Koga is a weasel. Guido agrees but reminds her that the two of them did try and talk Storm out of accepting the title of Champion. Yukio questions Guido about the history between Storm and Callisto.


Guido explains that a mutant group called the Morlocks held the X-Men hostage under the streets of Manhattan. Their leader, Callisto, was challenged by Storm to duel for the lives of the X-Men. Luckily for the X-Men, Storm won both their freedom and the leadership of the Morlocks. In the battle, the two combatants fought with knives and Callisto, believing that Ororo was a hero and never would kill, thought she had the upper hand. Callisto didn’t and Storm was able to sink her blade deep into the heart of the mutant named Callisto.


Guido turns to Yukio and tells her that this must now be Callisto’s revenge. Yukio exclaims that she was told by Storm that the two of them had since become close friends. Yukio looks up just in time to see Callisto moving to fight and the Ronin calls screams out, “no,” as loud as her lungs can go. Yukio sees Callisto pull hundreds of blades from hidden pockets all over her outfit and hurl each one of them towards the unknowing Storm. Ororo releases Koga and braces for the few that might get by her defensive maneuvers. Those behind Storm are the unlucky ones as they are sprayed with razor sharp knives, wounding some and killing others. One blade does get by Storm and it slices deep into her left bicep.

Behind Storm, Guido wrestles Yukio to the ground before she can enter he battle in defense of her friend. He tells her that this is a battle Storm will have to face on her own. He also explains that he knows Storm as an extremely smart woman and she must have a plan up her sleeve.

The battle continues and Storm seems to be on the losing side. Callisto’s mutant power makes her an almost unbeatable opponent, as she can predict nearly every move her opponent is making. Quickly, her tentacles grasp Storm’s body and, each time, Callisto sinks a blade into a different area of Ororo’s body. Reading for the coup-de-grace, Callisto is thrown back by a last minute lightning strike. Callisto stands to her feet and tells Storm that she has not lost her touch. Storm tells Callisto that their battle has not ended. Callisto triumphantly stands above Ororo and tells her that it seems she was not paying attention. Storm looks around her and notices the bodies of the dead being carried out and, looking down at her own wound the, wind goddess collapses.

Storm’s thoughts:

Storm remembers a time when she was approached by Xavier and asked to join his new team of mutants so she could help others. Then, shortly after joining the X-Men, how much the price for her sacrifices would be. Later in her life, she decided to leave Xavier and form her own team of X-Men. Tragically, soon afterwards the entire mutant population was struck with the knowledge that an entire nation of their people was obliterated on the island of Genosha. Circumstances soon afterwards also led to Xavier announcement of him being a mutant, which brought the X-Men out in the open. Inside the Arena, Storm stands alongside her mentor, Charles Xavier, and is surprised, as he punches her in the stomach, announcing that no one can be trusted.

Back in reality:

Storm comes to, in the embrace of Callisto’s tentacles, and asks Callisto why she would transform her body just to settle a score with her? Shockingly, Storm realizes that the spirit seems to be out of Callisto, as if she is being mind-controlled by some outside source. Thinking that she must warn someone, her words are interrupted by a tentacle sliding into her larynx. From behind Storm, a voice approaches and Koga, along with the other combatants, turn to see the oncoming person.

From the shadows, a woman’s figure appears and she announces to Storm that she should not spoil the ceremony. She continues on to say that, as for transforming Callisto, it seems her looks are much better now. Stepping out into the light, a Madonna-like woman tells Storm that she was right in one regard: it’s about settling scores both with Callisto and her. In Storm’s mind, she screams the name Masque, as she recognizes her oncoming enemy.

Approaching Storm, Masque asks if she requires a demonstration? Putting her hands to Storm’s face, Masque begins to reshape her appearance into the form of a beaked dinosaur. Ororo falls to the floor in seemingly agonizing pain. Masque turns around and asks if anyone else would like a demonstration of her powers? Masque tells Koga that it would seem that most of his Arena combatants are not even worth keeping, so the others will be sold as slaves. Koga exclaims that their enslavement was not in the deal! Stepping in to shut him up, Paradise (a member of Masque’s entourage) places a hand on Koga’s right shoulder, sending him to his knees. Masque explains that, in the Arena, there are no rules for the Arena that’s Champion loses.

Ororo stands to her feet behind Masque and her entourage and thinks to herself that she may have only a fraction of her strength, but she must give Yukio and the others the chance to escape. Her ruse works and, after a brief confrontation which Storm loses, the smoke clears and the others are gone, save for Masque and her followers. Masque turns to her strongman named Posterboy and demands that he search the Arena to see if he can find the missing combatants. She also tells him to put out the word to others in the Arena Circuit that the Tokyo combatants have rebelled against their code and that makes them all fair game.

Turning her attention to the mayhem-causing Ororo, Masque inform her that it is time she begins the process of becoming broken, just like her friend, Callisto. Masque transforms Storm’s face back to its original appearance and she leans down to kiss Storm on the lips. Suddenly, boils burst all over Ororo’s skin and Masque tells her that it is her inner demons coming forth from her body. All around Storm, black smoke floats from the boils and, tethered to the ends of the smoke, are hundreds of tiny heads. Masque goes on to say that every hour another inner demon will take her place and become host to her body, till the one Masque likes the most is picked.

Suddenly, one of the heads bursts into Ororo’s right shoulder, sinking its teeth into her. Ororo begins to change shape to the appearance of the inner demon she was bitten by. Before even having the time to react, Paradise sinks her psychic claws into the neck of the Ororo-demon. Masque explains that, by the time Paradise is through with her, she will beg Masque to give her more torture. Behind Masque stands Callisto and she is privy to every word that Masque speaks, even the words that haunt her to the bone. Callisto is her pet and Masque gloats about how easy she was broken. Callisto looks up into the Arena and notices a spycam hiding in the corner, sending a signal to an unknown place.

In Lila Cheney’s safe house, Yukio watches on the spycam every action that is taking place back at the Arena. Angered by what she sees, she lashes out at Koga and knocks him to the floor with a well-placed punch. Guido quickly seizes Yukio and asks her to consider the fact that fighting will not help them figure a way to help Storm or themselves. Guido picks Koga off the floor and tells him that he is going to help them find a way to clear all their names. Yukio grabs their attention and tells them that something horrific is taking place back at the Arena.

Back at the Tokyo Arena, Storm is somehow back in her human form and seemingly being beaten violently by the mutant called Purge. Masque tells Storm that her plan is to bring forth every vision that seems glorious and noble, then turn her over to Purge to make her hate those visions. Storm, being tormented by Purge’s whip, questions Masque if she truly wants to see the demons in her soul? Storm’s body transforms into the look of a devil-cat and she pounces on top of Masque’s body. On top of her tormentor, Storm tells Masque that her inner demon hungers for her heart. Luckily for Masque, Paradise is close by and she quickly subdues the ballistic Storm.

Later, in the same Tokyo Arena, the Champion Storm walks out onto the center stage, with a throng of fans cheering her every move. Storm thinks to herself, as the next combatant comes out, that it was not the fact she had lost to Callisto that hurt her so much; it is the fact that the battle was over. Moving through the motions in her fight against her assailant, Storm continues to think about the inner demons inside of her and how alive she feels when they are free. Storm feels her body changing and knows that she is allowing her wild side to come free. Suddenly, her combatant loses her helmet and Storm realizes that it is Yukio underneath all the armor. That does not stop Storm, though, as she chases Yukio across the Arena, trying to knock her down.

In a hover platform, Masque watches from above and narrates to the crowd about how the Storm they all know is nurturing and kind, but this Storm is ruthless, even to the point of murdering her own friend. Storm quickly conjures up a tornado that spins Yukio around. Storm races over, her appearance in the form of the devil-cat once more, and grabs the fallen katanas, placing them to Yuriko’s neck. The crowd cheers for Storm to kill Yukio and, just as it seems she is prepared to do so, Storm drops Yukio to the ground. Storm’s her appearance suddenly changes to normal and she tells the crowd, “No.”

Purge rushes out and punishes Storm for her disobedience and Posterboy quickly removes Yukio from the Arena floor. Masque looks back at Purge, as she runs to Yukio’s side, and tells him that she wants to hear Storm scream. Inside the hidden chamber, Yukio asks Masque why she was going to allow Storm to kill her? Masque calls her a poor bunny and tells her that she knows Storm too well to think she would kill her best friend, yet! Putting her hands to Yukio’s face, she begins to transform Yukio back into Paradise. It seems that Paradise was used as a ploy to test Storm’s reserve. Masque goes on to tell Paradise that it will take a long time to break Storm’s spirit but, eventually, they will, just like they did Callisto’s. Masque walks out onto the Arena floor and hears Storm beg for mercy. However, instead of allowing her the mercy, she tells Purge to begin the torture again. Behind them, in the shadows, Callisto stands and, after hearing all that had transpired, she seems to ponder questions in her mind.

Characters Involved: 


Guido Carosella


Arena attendants and employees


Masato Koga



Paradise disguised as Yukio



Samurai Bodyguards

Thoughts and Flashbacks

Callisto and Storm, in the Morlock Tunnels

Storm, prior the X-Men

Storm, without her powers and with a Mohawk

Bishop, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Storm (all X-Men)

Charles Xavier

Story Notes: 

Masque was supposedly killed by Shatterstar in X-Force #9. No explanation is given as to how he survived this incident.

Masque has been shown in every other appearance besides this one as a man.

Unless Masque’s powers have gone through a secondary mutation, he was never shown with the ability to alter his own appearance. This fact was also stated as a curse of his mutation.

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