X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001

Issue Date: 
February 2002
Story Title: 
Queen of Shadows (1st story) Purity (2nd story)

Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (penciler), Sandu Horca (inker), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Andrew Lis and Mark Powers (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

First Story:
When Bishop, Rogue, and Sage visit Gateway in Dreamtime, the Shadow King attacks and kidnaps Gateway. During the adventure, Rogue learns about one of Destiny’s diaries, but she’s reluctant to tell the X-Men everything about what she’s found. Later, while Rogue sleeps, the Shadow King visits her dreams and makes her doubt everything she knows about her life. As he menaces Rogue, the Shadow King orders the Reavers to take her and kill the X-Men. While the X-Men defend themselves against the Reavers, Gambit and Rogue discover that Rogue may possess the key to defeating the Shadow King. Rogue leaves to rescue Gateway alone and finish the fight while the rest of the X-Men defeat the Reavers. Rogue locates the Reavers’ base where the Shadow King invades her mind and transforms her into the Shadow Queen. The Shadow King reveals his plot to use Rogue and Gateway’s powers to control space and time. Rogue uses her strength of will, and perhaps the borrowed power of other minds, to stop the Shadow King and imprison him, like Psylocke did. Rogue rescues Gateway and the X-Men hand the defeated Reavers over to the police. Thanks to Gateway, the X-Men acquire another one of Destiny’s diaries. In light of her recent victory, Rogue inspires the X-Men by reaffirming their team mission and purpose. Together, Rogue and Gateway enjoy an evening of peaceful bonding.
Second Story:
In her college dorm room, Shadowcat surfs the web and finds the website www.voiceofhumanity.com, loaded with anti-mutant propaganda. After reading the slanderous material, Shadowcat joins the website chat room and tries to defend mutants. The chat host dislikes what Shadowcat has to say and kicks her out. Shadowcat grows tired of the racism and wonders if there’s room on the planet for both humans and mutants to live together.

Full Summary: 

First Story:
Inside their penthouse in Sydney, Australia, the X-Men listen as Bishop discusses learning more about his family heritage. Bishop concentrates, letting his “spirit go,” and makes the transition into Dreamtime, taking Rogue and Sage with him. The three X-Men find themselves at Ayers Rock beneath a moonlit sky. Before them, Gateway sits next to a small fire. Bishop informs his teammates that Ayers Rock is known as Uluru amongst the local tribes. Even though Bishop believes that Gateway is his grandfather, Bishop admits that he knows next to nothing about his own heritage. The X-Men join Gateway and sit around the fire as Bishop tries to connect with his cultural background. Together, the group shares a mystical and spiritual experience that leaves them blind to what occurs around them. The X-Men are taken by surprise as a tremendous explosion rocks them and knocks them around. In the shock wave, Rogue loses sight of Sage and Bishop, but she manages to grab onto Gateway. She tries to keep Gateway from being pulled into the heart of the explosion. The physical contact triggers Rogue’s powers and she absorbs Gateway’s power and personality before being transported away from him. Rogue finds herself on all fours on top of a giant volume of Destiny’s diaries. When she looks at the pages, Rogue sees confusing images of the future. She deduces a connection between Gateway and the infamous diaries. Rogue becomes alarmed at what the giant diary says about her.

Soon, Rogue, Bishop, and Sage return safely to the penthouse with the rest of the team. Rogue tells the others about some of what happened to her in Dreamtime, but Bishop senses that she’s holding things back. Rogue says the Gateway slipped through her grasp and disappeared. Bishop demands the rest of the story from Rogue, but Storm tells him to back off. Storm trusts Rogue and orders everyone to take a break for an hour.

Later, the Shadow King visits Rogue in her dreams while she sleeps in her X-Men uniform. Rogue sees images of her past and Destiny while the Shadow King taunts her. The Shadow King attempts to plant seeds of doubt in Rogue’s head about Destiny’s intentions over the years. Destiny and Mystique raised Rogue, but the Shadow King hints that Rogue was just a pawn. The Shadow King proposes that he shaped Destiny, whom in turn shaped Rogue and manipulated Mystique because of him. Rogue reacts in anger and confusion while her X-Men uniform tears to shreds, revealing a strange, otherworldly looking garb underneath. While Rogue sleeps, the cyborbg Reavers make their way to the X-Men’s penthouse armed to the teeth.

Soon after, Gambit and Storm try to comfort Rogue at her bedside. Rogue has awakened from her dream and the Shadow King’s torment. She still wears her X-Men uniform. Gambit and Storm see that Rogue is unnerved and they ask her what bothers her. A frightened Rogue replies that she saw lies in her sleep. The Reavers arrive and make their move, firing a blitzkrieg of bullets into the X-Men’s hotel suite. The Reavers mention that they’re under orders to kill everyone but Rogue, whom they want alive. Subsequently, the X-Men engage them in a destructive battle. During the fight, a Reaver fires an energy blast at Rogue and the impact sends her crashing through a wall in the side of the building. Rogue is rocketed through the evening sky until she crashes into a construction site nearby, bouncing from beam to steel beam. To her surprise, Rogue actually feels the physical pain of this ordeal and discovers that her invulnerability is fading.

Inside, the battle continues. While Bishop and Thunderbird fight two of the Reavers in one room, Prettyboy gets the drop on Sage in another. He pins her to the ground and attempts to reprogram her brain with the circuitry in his own.

Rogue reels from her pain in the construction site, worried about her fluctuating powers. The Shadow King appears to continue harassing her, and Rogue wonders how he escaped. Previously, the Shadow King was imprisoned within Psylocke’s mind. However, once Vargas killed Psylocke, the Shadow King managed to escape. He quickly invades Rogue’s mind. Soon Rogue believes that she’s embracing the Shadow King in a passionate kiss. Then she thinks that she’s kissing Gambit instead. Rogue regains her senses and finds herself in Gambit’s embrace. Rogue tells Gambit that the Shadow King has returned, and that he was the one responsible for all of the trouble in Dreamtime earlier that day. Gambit learns that the Shadow King has told Rogue things that make her question her past. After hearing Rogue’s story, Gambit says that Shadow King could be lying just to drive Rogue insane. In the past, Psylocke was able to use her mental abilities to lock the Shadow King in her head. According to Gambit, since Rogue contains some residue of Psylocke’s absorbed power and psyche, Rogue may be able to imprison the Shadow King as well. Rogue and Gambit deduce that the Shadow King was behind Gateway’s disappearance and the Reavers’s assault. Rogue soars high into the sky, proclaiming that she has to finish this fight alone. She acknowledges that she’s also absorbed and imprinted the Shadow King just she has Psylocke, which makes him a part of her. Rogue wonders if that’s why the Shadow King has been able to permeate her consciousness so easily. From the Shadow King’s mind, Rogue learns the location of the Reavers’s hideout. She finds the headquarters and takes a meteor dive, crashing into the place. When she enters, Rogue sees Dr. Lian Shen standing before Gateway, who’s chained to a wall. Donald Pierce surprises Rogue and punches her into a wall.

Back in Sydney, the X-Men continue their fight with the Reavers. As Bishop cleans house on one end, Sage does the same on the other. She overcomes Prettyboy’s programming and turns it back on him, making him her slave. Sage forces Prettyboy to help the X-Men defeat the Reavers, which he does. Soon, the X-Men subdue their attackers.

In the Reavers’s headquarters, the Shadow King materializes from the body of Donald Pierce. The Shadow King forces Rogue to face her strengths and weaknesses before psychically transforming her into his Shadow Queen. The Shadow King reveals his grand scheme. Through Rogue, he plans to gain access to the souls of everyone the young woman has ever absorbed and imprinted. The Shadow King will subsequently rule their minds and make them his own. He wants to possess all of the heroes of the world to make them his army. And as for the part of Rogue that contains Gateway’s essence, the Shadow King will use that to gain access to Dreamtime and control time and space. While he proselytizes, Rogue defies him. Rogue asserts control of her own mind, commenting that the Shadow King has underestimated her resolve. Because Rogue has spent years melding the minds of others with her own, the Shadow King figured that her head had become fragmented and distorted, something he could easily dominate. Rogue manages to force the Shadow King. From the psychic residue, a visage of Gambit appears, which Rogue kisses. Then she asserts her independence, saying that she doesn’t need Gambit to feel good about her choice, although he does make it nicer.

Later, the police prepare to take the Reavers into custody. Bishop urges the officers to exercise extreme caution with their cyborg prisoners, who may possess sophisticated internal weaponry and computer systems. One police officer wonders how that can be done without taking the Reavers apart piece by piece. Rogue arrives with Dr. Lian Shen and Donald Pierce slung over her shoulder. Storm is relieved to see that Rogue is fine and well, but wishes that the rest of the X-Men could have assisted her in her mission. Rogue says that the X-Men were with her in spirit. She tells them that the X-Men, even though they may bicker and fight sometimes, are a team forged out of unbreakable bonds. She says something to the effect that the X-Men can carry Professor Xavier’s dream without his guidance because it’s a part of them. Instead of fighting for Professor Xavier’s dream, the X-Men can make the dream their own. When Bishop asks Rogue about his grandfather, Rogue replies that Gateway is fine, as well as Dreamtime. The X-Men are disturbed when they overhear two people arguing over a parking space. After the people settle their dispute peacefully, Rogue cites that as an example of people overcoming their darker natures and choosing the positive road, like she did with the Shadow King. Rogue removes a new volume of Destiny’s diaries, which she says came from Gateway, and hands it over to Storm. After she tells the team that they can discuss the book’s contents later, Rogue flies away, mentioning that she has something to take care of.

Later in the evening, Rogue finds Gateway sitting atop a large boulder in the wilderness. Rogue joins him and the two of them play instruments together.

Second Story:
Shadowcat discovers a website at www.voiceofhumanity.com, which is “dedicated to the preservation and the freedom of the human species.” Several web pages contain highlights of current events involving the X-Men and mutants in general. The news reports are biased against mutants and the X-Men, and mutants are referred to as people, only as things. There are dossiers of known and suspected X-Men operatives and stories celebrating hate crimes against mutants. Humans guilty of hurting mutants are praised on the “Humanity’s Heroes” page. Shadowcat enters the websites chat room, called Vox Populi, under the screen name of Lion. She takes a compassionate view toward mutants and speaks out against the chat room’s mutant haters. The chat room host, PhalanxPrimeSysOp, deems Shadowcat disruptive and bans her from the forum. Shadowcat logs off and talks to herself angrily. She wonders if Magneto was right when he took such a militant attitude toward mutants. Mutants have dealt with human hatred for years and Shadowcat thinks that maybe mutants should return the favor. On a shelf behind her are what seem to be five volumes of Destiny’s diaries.

Characters Involved: 

First story : Bishop, Rogue, Sage, Storm, Thunderbird (all X-Men)
Gambit, former X-Man / ally
Bonebreaker, Wade Cole, Angelo Macon, Donald Pierce, Pretty Boy, Murray Reese, Skullbuster III (all Reavers)
The Shadow King
Dr. Lian Shen
Second story :

Story Notes: 

The Reavers were believed destroyed in Uncanny X-Men #281. Yet there was apparently enough left of them to have them rebuilt.

There is a new female Skullbuster with the group. She is the third to bear that name. The first was destroyed on Muir Island in Uncanny X-Men #255, but rebuilt in the first Domino limited series. His whereabouts are unknown.

Cylla Markham replaced Skullbuster I on the Reavers, though she barely used the name. She was killed by Bloodscream in Wolverine #78.

Dr. Lian Shen was already in the Shadow King’s thrall before the Muir Island Saga. She appeared in Uncanny X-Men #253, 255, 257, 265-267, 278-279

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