X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #39

Issue Date: 
February 2004
Story Title: 
Storm: the Arena - part 4: Gladiator

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: 

Callisto and Storm fight battle after battle, from Arena to Arena. Each one they win adds a new victory tattoo to their bodies After one such battle in London, Masque talks to Tullamore Voge, who offers a large sum of money for the purchase of Storm. At first, Masque does not agree but, eventually, she caves in and agrees to his offer. After informing Ororo of her decision, she leaves to let Paradise administer some lessons. Little does Masque suspect, but Koga and the others are watching every move of hers from the safety of Lila’s extra-terrestrial hideout. The Tokyo competitors decide to save their friend, even at the cost of their lives. Callisto has the same idea and she finds that both she and Storm have faked their loyalty to Masque’s cause. They fight a few more battles and, thanks to a distraction caused by the Tokyo crew, the two mutants fight their way through Masque’s entourage and take the villainess out. After shipping her to Tullamore Voge via the box meant for Storm, the combatants gather in Tokyo to discuss future plans. In a hot tub, Callisto, Yukio and Storm discuss the possibility of using the Arena as a secret staging area to train future X-Men.

Full Summary: 

In the London Arena, two combatants face off against five champions from other Arena’s around the world. The combatant’s names are Ororo and Callisto, two mutants with enough power to take on an army. To the fans in the stands, these two mutant’s reputation has them as the best of the Arena. They have paid top dollar to see this battle and the two combatants give them more than their money’s worth.

Callisto faces off against a mutant female by the name of Quill, who, with her powers sending razor sharp feathers hurled towards the combatant, it seems to be a good match. Thankfully for Callisto, she has learned every martial art form known to man and can use them with deadly effects. Quickly, Callisto grasps the hundreds of quills in mid-flight and sends them hurling back at their creator. Storm is the next combatant to be attacked, as the mutant by the name Dervish uses his speed attack against her. Storm calls upon the rain to soften the ground beneath Dervish and, while he is busy trying to catch his balance, Storm moves in to knock him out.

While her back is turned, two of the other mutants move in and team-up against the weather witch. Their names are Lariat and Lamprey and, while Lariat holds Ororo down, Lamprey uses his powers to try to suck the life force from Storm’s body. It seems the two Champions have finally won the fight but Storm, in the last minute, calls upon a lightning bolt that sends the Arena’s competitors to the ground, save the two winners, Callisto and Storm. Looking into the stands, Ororo thinks to herself that Masque has made a lot of money off of this bout and the two of them will never see any profit from it.

After the battle, the Arena fans and competitors all go to a mansion under the shadow of Big Ben to celebrate the night’s victories. Storm walks up and down the floor, drinking and laughing with the Arena fans, while Callisto is held against a nearby wall, as she is felt up by many of the fans that were cheering her on earlier.

Behind the door closest to Callisto, a shadowy figure’s eyes glow, as if in laughter at seeing Callisto’s face twist in disgust. The shadowy figure is found to be Masque and she closes the door to turn to the other occupant of the room, Tullamore Voge. Voge sits in a lounge chair with two of his “hounds” under leash below his feet. These two women-hounds are barely clothed with fishnet clothing and humbling themselves at their master’s feet. One of them uses her own body as a footrest for the rotund villain. Voge holds in his hand a hologram of Storm and he asks Masque to allow him to buy her. Masque tells Vogue that her and Callisto have brought her Arena more money than any other competitors and she would be foolish to sell her for one payment. Vogue tells Masque that she has gotten her revenge on Ororo and it is now his turn to gain his revenge. He goes on to say that there is no price too high. With that said, Masque tells him that they will talk about a deal. Smiling from ear to ear, the blue villain says, “splendid.”

Masque goes to the dungeon that Callisto and Storm are kept in. Paradise follows Masque and, using her psychic talons, persuades Storm to agree to anything Masque says. Masque begins to talks and she tells Ororo that the slave-master, Tullamore Voge, was offered both Callisto and Storm to become his slaves, but he would only take Ororo. Masque goes on to say that it must be a powerful grudge that he has against her to be so insistent on only her. She tells Ororo that, soon, she will give her to him and, from then on, she will never be able to taste freedom again. Behind Masque, a small light flashes and a spycam can be seen in the shadows of their cell.

On the other end of the spycam, Koga watches from a laptop computer and sees Masque tell Paradise that she wants the full treatment for Storm tonight. Masque continues to say that she does not want any rebellion in Storm’s heart against Tullamore Voge. Near Koga, a voice is heard asking him if he sees anything he likes from his spycam? Quickly Koga drops the monitor of his laptop down and tells Guido that it is nothing of consequence. With the speed of thought, Guido picks Koga into the air and tells him that he does not want to play him or Yukio as chumps. Guido tells Koga that he was their manager and it is his fault their in the predicament they are in. Behind Guido, Yukio raises the laptop’s monitor to see what Koga was seeing.

Koga tells Guido that they were Gladiators and it is their life to fight for riches one moment and lose it all the next and every Gladiator knows that. He goes on to say that it is his job to sign matches that will give his Arena the best awards. Its just this time he was suckered like an amateur by Masque. Guido’s features tense and he asks Yukio if he can finally kill the little weasel. The other seven members of the Tokyo Arena walk up to Guido and Koga. Koga tells the others that they all knew the consequences of joining the Arena and they all voluntarily gave up their freedom. He goes on to say that they could stay in Guido’s extra-dimensional house forever, but they could never go home again.

Yukio asks Koga if he has a good idea. He tells them that he is the brain, while they are the brawn. He tells them that Callisto was used by Masque, which makes her challenge invalid and, if they can defeat Masque, the other Arena’s would recognize them once again into the fold. Yukio asks Guido to let Koga go and then asks if he has a plan to get by Masque’s defenses? He answers her question with a smile; absolutely!

In the dungeon of a mansion in London, Callisto tries to get the attention of Ororo. Callisto calls out, but does not receive an answer. Callisto calls Ororo a cow and tells her that she never thought she would have been broken so easily, except for maybe by her. Sweat drips from Callisto’s face, as she tries with all her might to remove the shackles from around her body. Sadly, Masque has thought of this ploy and she placed inhibitor shackles around their arms, which makes their powers useless while they are adorned. Finally giving up, Callisto closes her eyes and tells herself that Masque has defeated her as well. Suddenly, a small rock strikes Callisto’s forehead and, with an “ouch,” she looks up to see the rock floating in front of Ororo’s legs. The rock suddenly moves through the air, striking the spycam nearby, and Storm thinks to herself that she might have allies watching them but, just in case it’s Masque, she cannot tip her hand just yet. She begins to think, as she raises her head and smiles at Callisto, that if they are going to win their freedom they will have to play as dirty as their captors.

Days later, in Hong Kong, the two women fight more combatants, as it seems that Masque is taking them on a farewell tour together before Storm is shipped off to Tullamore Voge. In the midst of the Arena, Callisto is spread-eagle over a fire-breathing mutant, while Storm holds back four attackers with her lightning attacks. Even with all of this commotion, the two allies converse on how Storm was able to stay sane, even after all of the manipulation by Paradise and Purge. Elsewhere in the Arena, Masque becomes irate when she realizes that her two prize possessions do not have live microphones implanted on them in the Arena. Posterboy tells her that Storm puts off too much interference to allow them any vocals from their equipment.

In a dungeon later that night, Storm holds a bit in her mouth, as Paradise administers more “lessons” to her. Thinking to herself of ways to stay sane, Storm shrinks into herself and allows the wild creature inside to take control.

In Rio De Janeiro, in Riyadh and, finally, in Las Vegas, the Arena battles continue. In each fight, the two mutants discuss a new thought. This thought is one in which every mutant in the world’s Arena’s can be given the chance to join in a secret army that may even one day surpass that of the X-Men themselves.

Inside her bedroom, Masque looks over two pictures of different celebrities that she may want to change her appearance to next. Paradise, Posterboy and Purge enter the room and tell Masque that it seems there is no need for them to continue on with punishing Storm and Callisto, because their spirits have finally been crushed. Masque tells them that it is good news and demands Posterboy to contact Voge and tell him that his package will be shipped soon.

The conversation between Posterboy and Masque, becomes interrupted, as Koga sticks his head around he door and asks if he is interrupting anything. Masque quickly stands to her feet and commands her entourage to kill him. Crying, “wait,” Koga begins to back off as the door fully open, revealing the entire Tokyo Arena combatants, including Yukio. Koga tells Masque that he has brought the talent back to her as a gift, plus the hideout that they were all staying at. Suddenly, a translucent door appears in front of Masque and Koga, allowing Masque to step into the gateway. Inside the room, its sentient host greets Masque and tells her that, all it is, is hers.

Masque turns to Posterboy and Paradise and tells them to bring both Callisto and Storm to her side. She tells the others that she cannot be sure that their plea is true until they seal the deal with blood! Storm and Callisto have now arrived and Masque asks if Yukio is her friend? Storm agrees with Masque’s assumption. Masque shockingly tells Ororo that, if she is truly under her command, she will kill Yukio. One of Masque’s entourage holds Yukio down and, with a clean swipe of her razor blade, Storm slices the throat of her friend. Storm stands triumphantly over her quarry, as the others stare at Yukio in fear. Masque kisses Ororo on the head and throws her towards Paradise, telling her to ship Storm to Voge. Leaving the room, Masque tells Posterboy and Purge to take care of the other combatants, so they can be conditioned for the next fights.

After Masque and Paradise leave the room with both Callisto and Strom in tow, Posterboy begins to check out the dead body of Yukio. Shockingly, Yukio awakes and kicks Posterboy off of her, sending him into the arms of Purge. Everyone stares in disbelief of Yukio’s resurrection, as she gleefully announces that Storm is the greatest woman alive. She explains that Storm cut the vein on her throat that would be the messiest, yet leave no lasting harm. Guido checks Yukio’s wounds and Yukio tells them its time to rock-n-roll.

Outside in the hallway, Paradise is taken by surprise, when Storm turns on her and knocks her out cold. Masque, feeling betrayed, runs down the hallway, awakening the mutants from their dorms. She screams to the eleven members that arise that whomever is able to bring her Storm’s head will get to become Champion of the Arena of their choice. Callisto stands at the other end and asks if she can join the other side and help Storm? Masque screams for a group of mutants to attack her and tells Callisto to prepare to die. Every mutant in that hallway realizes that Masque is a liar but they’re so scared of her that they would go against their better judgment and fight two combatants that have already defeated them once before.

Storm and Callisto realize that the mutants are fighting scared, but no measure is held back, as Storm and Callisto easily defeat their opponents. Masque runs towards Storm, thinking that, if she can only touch Ororo, she can deform her for life. Storm has different ideas, as she uses her powers over the wind to send Masque skewered on a nearby door. The glass shards hold the villain into the air, as she screams for them to release her. She tells them that, if they would only let her go, she would make them richer than their wildest dreams. Callisto tells Masque that they are Champions, which makes them rich. Masque then decides to persuade Callisto to let her go in exchange for her arms back, but it still does no good. Silently, Callisto picks up a nearby glass shard and holds it close to Masque’s face. She tells Masque that she likes her new appendages, but she may need a little work. In the Las Vegas Plaza, a scream of, “NO,” can be heard on every floor.

Back in Tokyo, where it all began, the mutants of the Tokyo Arena eat at a large table, as they watch a blonde-haired woman dance on the table before them. Above them on a balcony, Yukio, Storm and Callisto watch the festivities below. Yukio tells the others that she wishes she could have been there to see Masque squirm. Callisto explains that it was Storm’s idea to put Masque in the box shipped to Voge, but she wishes they had killed her. Storm tells Callisto that killing will not be tolerated, not now, hopefully not ever. Thinking to herself, Storm is not so sure of herself when it comes to that. She remembers how it felt to let her wild side free and she worries if she could stop if it ever got free again.

Callisto interrupts Ororo’s thoughts and she asks her if she will return to the Arena? Storm exclaims that she is an X-Man and will always be. Callisto warns Ororo that she has sworn her life to the Arena and now she can never go back. Ororo explains that she has different views about the Arena. She says that they can start using the Arena to train mutants to help humanity and not just entertain. Callisto thinks for a moment and tells Ororo that she has seen her people murdered before her eyes and she will not see it again. If Storm will have her, she will do whatever Storm needs.

Inside a Jacuzzi, the three women are stripped totally naked and each one of them is enjoying a red wine. Storm tells the others that she finds it odd that she came out to Tokyo as a favor to a friend and has found a way to build a secret army. Callisto jokes that it must be the Xavier in her that sees a group of mutants and wants to form them into X-Men. Ororo tells them that she pictures a world where humanity and mutants live side by side, where women with tentacles can be considered human like everyone else. Callisto tells Ororo that her views are impossible. Ororo counters with the fact that the two of them are mutants, which proves that anything is possible.

Characters Involved: 


Guido Carosella


Arena attendants, combatants, and employees


Dervish II, Lamprey, Lariat, Quill (Four Champions from the Arena)

Masato Koga



Paradise disguised as Yukio



Tullamore Voge

Story Notes: 

Storm first met and earned the ire of Tullamore Voge when her X-Men interfered with his slave-ring in Uncanny X-Men #383-385.

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