X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #6

Issue Date: 
December 2001
Story Title: 
Paradise Lost !

Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (artist), (uninked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Andrew Lis (assistant editor), Matt Hicks and Mark Powers (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

While Sage monitors their activities, the X-Treme team continues their investigation into the death of Miles Warbeck, otherwise known as Viceroy. Bishop delves into the nature of his killing, Rogue tries to clear the prime suspect, and Storm and Thunderbird protect the children of the deceased. Bishop hits a dead end when autopsy reports reveal nothing about the real killer. When he learns about the shooting death of another mob boss, Bishops heads toward the scene of the new crime. Rogue and Gambit are captured and tortured by the Examiner while Red Lotus watches. Despite their pleas of innocence, the Examiner believes they were responsible for the death of even another crime boss, one of the Examiner’s associates. Rogue and Gambit manage to free themselves, but the Examiner escapes punishment. Red Lotus starts to believe that they had nothing to do with any murders, but he still treats the X-Men harshly, forcing Rogue to knock him out. Rogue and Gambit leave to inform their teammates about their adventure, taking the unconscious Red Lotus with them. Storm and Thunderbird locate Viceroy’s children, the Cameron siblings, but evil forces are close behind. Criminal gangs want to seek and destroy the Camerons and eliminate any heirs to Viceroy’s empire. Sage becomes a target as well when her old allies from the Hellfire Club reenter her life with a vengeance.

Full Summary: 

In the Royal Sydney Hospital, Bishops masquerades as a federal agent while Viceroy’s corpse is examined. According to pathologist Dr. Peter Lambert, Viceroy died of asphyxiation, but no evidence suggests foul play or external trauma. Apparently he suffocated for no reason in a room of fresh air. Since Bishops is wearing Sage’s special glasses, he’s connected via her computerized network to any other X-Man wearing pairs of special glasses. In a suite miles away, Sage wears her pair and lounges in a chair, seeing everything through Bishop’s eyes. She monitors his findings and provides feedback, agreeing with Dr. Lambert’s analysis. Sage tells Bishop that the nature of Viceroy’s death doesn’t seem like Gambit’s style. Thunderbird, Storm, and Rogue, in their respective positions, are also connected and listening through their own glasses. Rogue, from her location, mentions that she’s almost located Gambit in Chinatown. Sage warns her to be cautious and mentions that Viceroy, an expert marksman, fired repeatedly at a stationery target and missed every time. This suggests that someone with illusion casting powers was involved. Afterward Sage removes her glasses and mistakes the water she’s drinking for wine.
Storm and Thunderbird fly through the air, searching for Viceroy’s children. Thunderbird asks Storm how they can fight someone with illusion powers and she replies that it’s possible. Sage informs them that they’ll find the Viceroy heirs in the beach community of Surfer’s Paradise. The children have no idea that Viceroy is their real father. Inspector Menzies tells Bishop that the head of the Russian mafia was shot dead in an area known as Little Odessa, fueling a mob war. In her suite, Sage mentions to herself that something feels wrong, and fails to notice that her X-Men uniform has been replaced with the outfit she wore as a member of the Hellfire Club.
Later, on the beach of Surfer’s Paradise, Storm and Thunderbird continue their search wearing revealing, sexy swimsuits to blend in with the massive crowd. Thunderbird finds Heather Cameron, one of Viceroy’s lost children, working as a lifeguard. He introduces himself to gain Heather’s attention. Carrying a surfboard, Storm heads into the water where she sees Davis Cameron, Viceroy’s son, surfing with a friend. The two surfers marvel at her beauty. Suddenly, a great white shark emerges from the water and knocks Davis and the other surfers from their boards. He falls into the water, unconscious and bleeding. Heather leaps from her lifeguard tower, intending to save her brother. Storm swims after Davis and grabs him, with the shark closing in on her fast. From shore, Thunderbird fires a focused beam of nuclear plasma through the water and blasts the shark into oblivion. The impact creates waves in the water, and although the shark is gone, Storm and Davis are still endangered when they’re caught in the current. Heather makes her way near them and, miraculously, she seems to be pushing them and the other surfers onto shore. Then Storm and Heather use CPR to resuscitate Davis. Once he’s risen, Davis wastes no time flirting with Storm.
Back in Sydney, Sage types away on her laptop, oblivious as her environment reverts from a plush suite to a Victorian room and back again. Soon she notices when her room changes into her old Hellfire Club apartment. Sage gets up and walks to a mirror. To her surprise, she sees herself wearing her Hellfire Club uniform instead of her usual one.
Elsewhere, Rogue and Gambit lie at the mercy of the Examiner, chained to a wall with needles stuck all over their half-naked bodies. Nearby, the Red Lotus watches while the Examiner goes to work. The Examiner accuses Rogue and Gambit of murdering Julius Gow and remains confident that he’ll torture the truth from them with his needles. After Rogue defiantly spits in his face, the Examiner asks why the X-Men have interfered with the Australian crime world. Gambit claims innocence and pleads with his torturer to release Rogue, but the Examiner ignores him. Using the expert placement of his needles, the Examiner continues to play with his captive’s bodies. The Red Lotus starts to believe Rogue and Gambit may be telling the truth and orders the Examiner to stop, but the Examiner renders Red Lotus unconscious by throwing a volley of expertly aimed needles at him. While Gambit distracts the Examiner, Rogue manages to remove a needle from her body, accessing her power. With her reclaimed superstrength, Rogue spits a needle into the Examiner and knocks him across the room before she frees herself and Gambit. After they get back into their uniforms, Rogue and Gambit notice that the Examiner’s gone, having escaped while their attention was diverted. Red Lotus awakens, but Rogue knocks him back out when he gets out of hand. Rogue and Gambit decide to leave and take the unconscious Red Lotus with them since he might prove useful later. Rogue tries to contact Sage, but gets no answer through the network.
In Sydney, Sage continues to reside inside of the Hellfire Club illusion, but she concentrates enough to locate the person responsible, Lady Mastermind. Sage knocks her unconscious and heads for the door, but when she opens it she finds a brick wall blocking her way. Lady Mastermind’s illusions are so powerful that they persist even when she’s lost consciousness. Sage reaches another door and opens it, but Sebastian Shaw waits on the other side. Shaw punches Sage and grabs her by the throat, vowing revenge for how she betrayed him and joined his enemies the X-Men.
Back in Surfer’s Paradise, Storm and Thunderbird spend time with Davis and Heather Cameron, having something akin to a double date. Thunderbird sits at a table and talks with Heather. When Heather asks him why he seems distant, Thunderbird replies that he’s dealing with the death of a female friend. Heather doesn’t know he’s referring to Psylocke. While they chat, Storm and Davis dance together. Meanwhile, a band of lethal mystery men head toward them, beating up police officers on the way. Once Storm and Davis finish dancing, they join their comrades and Storm tells Thunderbird that she’s lost contact with Rogue and Sage. She decides to go investigate while he watches over Heather and Davis. Thunderbird tells Storm that she worries over nothing. When a bunch of men crash through the ceiling looking for a fight, Thunderbird thinks he spoke too soon.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Rogue, Sage, Storm, Thunderbird (all X-Men)

Gambit, former X-Man / ally

Heather Cameron

Davis Cameron

Inspector Menzies

Dr. Peter Lambert

Red Lotus

The Boxers

The Examiner

Sebastian Shaw

Lady Mastermind

Story Notes: 

Rogue seems to contact Sage while she’s imprisoned by the Examiner. That’s impossible since she’s chained and removed of her equipment. Also, she never mentions being locked up and tortured, in need of assistance. The only feasible conclusion is that Rogue contacted Sage before she located Gambit in Julius Gow’s restaurant, which happened in X-Treme X-Men #5. This puts the opening scene of this issue hours earlier than the later scene when Storm and Thunderbird locate the Camerons in Surfer’s Paradise. In fact the narration box mentions that it's the next day for Ororo and Neal so it fits.
First appearance of Dr. Peter Lambert, the Cameron siblings and Lady Mastermind.
Psylocke was supposedly killed in X-Treme X-Men #2.
Actually Lady Mastermind was intended to be Mastermind II, explaining her diffrent looks with an illusion disguise. However when Mastermind II appeared around the same time in issues of Uncanny X-Men (#401 onwards), it was decided to make them different characters. Lady Mastermind (Regan Wyngarde) and Mastermind II ("Martinique Jason") are half-sisters, sharing the same father.

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