X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #42

Issue Date: 
April 2004
Story Title: 
Prisoner of Fire - part 3: Eyes of Fire

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

Brief Description: 

The X-Treme team prepare for their upcoming battle, just as help arrives in the form of Sunspot, Skids and Magma. Cannonball goes over their plan and splits the teams up with Gambit, Sunspot, Skids and himself on one team, while Rogue, Magma and Sage are on the other. After a brief goodbye, Sam’s team heads to take on Bishop and his newfound allies. The team of X-Men, once atop an old army fort, is attacked by Bludgeon, Cudgel and Rolling Thunder, who they easily take care of after a brief confrontation. Next comes what Bishop calls the main event, where he single-handedly takes out all of his old teammates, minus one. That one is Remy LeBeau, who, after a brief battle, removes Bishop from combat by using his own booby-trap against him. The fight is quickly ended, however, when Elias’ pet telepath sneaks up on Gambit and uses her powers to nock him out cold. Elsewhere, as their battle ends, the other team flies over the sands of California to a destination known only to Sage. Vange, who is flying the X-Men to L.A., lands on a deserted stretch of highway, where they meet up with an ally from their past, Shadowcat.

Full Summary: 

In Anna Raven’s house, on the shores of Valle Soleada, a team of X-Men prepares for one of the toughest battles they have ever fought. Inside the house, the team dawns their uniforms made from unstable molecules. They think to themselves about how the uniforms they wear not only separate them from normal people but also provides them a layer of protection and gives them a way to focus on the battle ahead. In front of one window, Sam Guthrie puts on a jacket over his bare upper torso, while, in another, Rogue does just the same with the jacket she has. Gambit approaches the same window that Rogue is next to and peers out, to announce the arrival of their other allies.

Coming in the front door are Magma, Sunspot and Skids, who are all three there to help in the upcoming battle. As they walk in, Roberto and Amara embrace their friend, Sam. Skids notices the presence of Marie D’Ancanto and announces to the others that she is the anti-mutant terrorist that has been on the news of late. Evangeline stands quickly to her feet and, wrapping her arm around Marie’s shoulder, tells Skids that she is on probation and, furthermore, she is now working for her. Rogue introduces Vange to her friends as the team’s lawyer and the others should not condemn the X-Treme team for taking in strays, because they have all been strays in their own way. The team gathers in the living room with Cannonball in the center of them. He tells them that they do not have time, so they must work fast and make no mistakes. Sam continues on, as the others sit and listen; he tells them about Elias and the fact that he is probably using Bishop as his point man. This means, he continues, that he has been probably drugged with Rave, which will make him easier to control by Bogan. Magma tells Sam that he seems to be making a lot of assumptions. Sam tells her that he makes those assumptions, because he knows, if the roles were reversed, he would be doing the same thing.

Sage interrupts Sam by saying that his assumptions of Bogan’s plan are both sound and tactical, but she wonders what his plans are to defeat both Bogan and Bishop. Sam tells Sage that Bishop is probably the one mutant close enough to them that could probably defeat all of them single-handedly. Vange places her hand on his shoulder and tells Sam that Bishop is only one man. Sam turns his attention to Vange and he tells her that Lucas knows both their strengths and their weaknesses, he has been trained most of his life to battle mutants. Placing his hand to his chin, he tells the others that Bishop is not the key, though, because the telepath is and, once they can remove her from the playing field, all the other pets of Bogan will fall much easier.

Sam goes over to Amara and Sage and tells them that they, along with the other “gals,” will get the job of going after the telepath. He tells them that Amara’s job is to find their hidden lair and then it’s up to the entire team to defeat her. Sam points to the others and tells them that it is up to them, along with himself, to keep Bishop busy. Skids places her hands to her face in astonishment and tells the others that she didn’t think they would have to take on someone who considers themselves on par with Magneto himself. Roberto places a hand on her shoulder and asks her if she thought their job was going to be easy? Next, Vange walks up to Sam and tells him that she can help. Sam asks Vange is she knows how to fight. With a dress cut low in the back, where her hidden Dragon tattoo is shown, she tells Sam that she is a mutant Dragon. Sam tells her that she can guarantee that Bishop has already thought of a way to easily defeat her, so he thinks the best place for Marie and her is to be as far away as possible from Bogan’s pets.

Gambit announces, as he sits on a nearby couch next to his lover, that he can take Bishop. Roberto turns around and tells him that he doesn’t even have his powers anymore, which makes him no match for Bishop. Gambit places his hands on his retractable Bo and tells Bobby that he can take him and Bishop won’t even know what hit him. With a smirk and a gesture, Sam looks at Gambit and tells him that’s exactly what he is hoping for.

Still inside the beach house, Anna and Remy spend a few moments alone before the two of them are separated. Embracing one another and stealing a kiss from time to time, the two lovers discuss their feelings about leaving one another. Anna tells Remy that she wishes the two of them could stay there forever and not have to leave one another again and again. Remy explains that the two of them are X-Men and they could choose to stay on the sidelines, but Elias’ evil would still come after them. He goes on to explain that, sometimes, life is about sacrifices and, if they want to be free, then those sacrifices must be made. Anna asks Remy if this is their dream, the house and the kisses before going off to battle? He stops her approaching kiss and lightly kisses her forehead in jest. He tells her that this is what reality is and this is what their struggles are for. Clearing his throat, Sam Guthrie walks in and tells Remy that it is time for them to go. As Gambit begins to walk away, his lover tells Sam that they better take care of her man. As Gambit turns, Rogue slaps his butt as a return jest and finishes by telling Sam that, if he is harmed, the others will answer to her.

Outside the house, Vange undresses for her transformation into her Dragon form. Rogue tells her that, as soon as she drops Magma, Sage and herself off in L.A., she is to take Marie to safety and stay by her side. Vange warns the others to stand back as she transforms. After her transformation, Rogue tells Marie not to be scared and Marie tells Anna that she isn’t scared – much. Rogue tells her, as they all climb on Vange’s back, that she has a friend that has a dragon and she thinks Marie would like the two of them very much. On the ground, Sam tells Bobby, Skids and Gambit that they need to get ready.

On an abandoned U.S. Army Coastal Fort, the X-Men wait for the arrival of their adversaries. Their wait doesn’t last long and Skids is the first of them to be attacked by Bogan’s pets. Her attackers are Cudgel and Bludgeon. Both think they have the upper hand, as they approach the frail looking mutant. They are certainly not rocket scientists and each one is shocked when their blows slip right off the body of their prey. The two mutants are caught off-guard by her powers and their momentum drives one another together. The force of such a great collision sends both their cudgel sticks into the ground, which creates a small hole that Bludgeon easily falls down into.

Skids laughs hysterically at the clumsiness of her attackers, which only angers Cudgel into a rage. He attacks her once again but, before his cudgel can land, it is mysteriously taken away from him. The thief is Sunspot and, using his super-strength, he uses the cudgel to knock their attacker out of the battle area. Suddenly, Rolling Thunder appears from atop a nearby cliff and sends plasma blasts down on her combatants below. Skids warns Roberto to get in front of her body and the two X-Men race off to hide behind a nearby stone wall. Coming from behind the very same wall, the X-Man named Cannonball appears and, using his kinetic shield, he easily deflects Rolling Thunder’s plasma blasts back towards their origin. This causes the ground below the young lady to crack and break and she tumbles to the ground below. Skids, hiding behind the stone wall, yells in excitement that they are three for three and it seems they are going to have an easy victory.

Shockingly, Sam’s team hears the voice of Bishop behind them and Roberto and Skids turn to face their most feared combatant and former ally, Lucas Bishop. He tells them, with eyes glowing red, that it is time for the main event; he also warns them not to get too cocky. Bishop places a gold box on Skids’ chest and tells her that the scariest thing about her power is that it repels friction and, without it, once her body starts to move, there is no way to stop it. Suddenly, Skids begins to spin out of control and she is thrown into a nearby pit, where she bounces from wall to wall. Sunspot tells Bishop that it is his job to protect her. Bishop cocks his head back and laughs. He teases Bobby that he must be the most “caring conscientious employer.” With that said, Bishop jumps from the wall and tells Bobby that they are about to see who can take the best punch.

Thankfully, Sam appears from the shadows behind Bobby and uses his power to throw a kinetic punch and knock Lucas straight through the stone pillar behind himself. Roberto yells to Sam to finish off Bishop, while he tries to stop Skids from spinning out of control. Bobby tells himself that, since he is not invulnerable, if his uniform doesn’t live up to par his plan is really going to hurt. Roberto pulls with all his might to stop his partner’s uncontrollable spinning and, finally, his strength prevails and she stops her motion. Bobby leans over his fallen partner and tries to remove the device that Lucas put on her earlier. Even with Sam’s protest of a trap, Bobby still continues to pry on the device. Suddenly, the device lights up and sucks Roberto’s energy from his body, sending it straight to the unconscious body of Bishop. This knocks Roberto out of the fight but, to the dismay of Cannonball, it also revitalizes Lucas, as he quickly gains his feet and throws combat nanomites into Sam’s face. Bishop explains that, even though this era’s technology is still so primitive, he can still use its resources to create devices that will help him in battle. Sam jets off and Lucas warns him that, if his invulnerability field collapses, the nanomites will do harmful things to his body. Bishop confidently strides forward, as he surveys the battlefield for more prey.

He does not, however, notice a small wooden stick rise between his legs from the side, as he strides down the steps. With a quick movement, Remy moves the Bo upwards and trips the shocked Bishop to the ground. Gambit and Bishop attack one another with neither one gaining the upper hand. Lucas asks Remy if he thinks he is a match against himself? Gambit jumps in front of Bishop, with his playing cards in hand, and asks Lucas if he thinks he is just all sass without the sizzle? With a flick of the wrist, Gambit releases his cards and Bishop braces for the impact. The cards easily bounce of Remy’s mutant adversary and Gambit uses the opportunity to slide underneath Lucas and use his Bo to flip Lucas into the pit atop the unconscious Skids and Roberto. With his landing, he re-triggers the energy-draining device, which effectively knocks Bishop out of the battle.

Gambit apologizes to his still-unconscious teammates, telling Bishop that he is magic. Jumping into the pit near his teammates, Gambit places his fingers in the air and teasingly tells the unconscious Bishop, “Bang big man you…dead?” Suddenly, black shadowy fingers phase through Remy’s head, as a voice is heard form behind him about where his magic is at now. Elias’ pet telepath stands above the fallen heroes and tells them that all that matters in the end is that she wins!

Meanwhile, above the sands of California, Vange flies her teammates to a new destination that Sage has asked her to travel to. Rogue tells Sage that it seems they are not going to their planned destination. Sage explains that she is changing the plan. With an air of frustration, Rogue exclaims that she isn’t surprised. Sage explains. as Vange lands near a rest stop. that Bogan thinks he knows the X-Men inside and out. She goes on to say that Elias figures that he knows their numbers and all their capabilities. Rogue stops Sage’s explanation. as she realizes where Sage is headed. She gasps about how Sage thought to bring in a “ringer.” Suddenly, Katherine Pryde stands before them and Sage exclaims that there is no better person to help them than somebody who can walk through walls and who’s mind is unreadable. Katherine exclaims to the others, “Just when I thought I was out…they pulled me back in!”

Characters Involved: 

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

Lila Cheney (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Magma (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Shadowcat (X-Treme X-Men ally)

Skids, Sunspot (X-Corp L.A.)

Evangeline Whedon

Marie Jennifer D’Ancanto

Bludgeon, Cudgel, Manacle, Revenant, Rolling Thunder (all Bogan’s thugs)

Elias Bogan in an Unknown Telepath

Story Notes: 

In Shadowcat’s entrance, when she says “Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in!” is a line from the Godfather movie.

Skids last appearance was in X-Force #78, where she decided to give up the life as a super-heroine and study at a University in Boulder, Colorado.

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