X-Treme X-Men : Savage Land #4

Issue Date: 
February 2002
Story Title: 
What Price, Freedom ? What Price, Humanity ?

Chris Claremont (writer), Kevin Sharpe (penciler), Danny Miki (inker), Avalon Studio’s Arsia Rozegar (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Andrew Lis, Matt Hicks and Mark Powers (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Bishop and Sage safely transport their Saurid passengers to the community, and they reunite with their teammates. Suddenly the Savage Land Mutates attack, among them the savage Ororo and the mindcontrolled Beast. Rogue and Sage fall into the river and the Mutates sent sharks and alligators after them, Leash mentally enslaves Thunderbird and orders him to kill Bishop with his solar powers, not knowing that he will absorb the attack. Left for dead, Bishop later wakes up and battles some of the Mutates, while Rogue and Sage enter Brainchild’s inner sanctum. Beast snaps out of Lupa‘s pheromone control, but the tide only turns when Sage prooves to have the stronger will in battle against Leash. Now controlling her enslavement power, she stops Brainchild, and without the leader the troops are taken out soon. In the community both humans and Saurids are suspicious again and many want to see the Savage Land Mutates terminated, but Saurid leader C’rel and the X-Men manage to convince the others that only by peaceful coexistence they can hope to stiop the never-ending circle of violence. Storm‘s transformation is reversed, however she fears that she will never be the same again, as part of her welcomed the savage parts.

Full Summary: 

Brainchild has used a device on Storm to devolve her into a version of herself a thousand generations ago. Additionally he has increased her lust for battle and blood. The savage Ororo tries to resist, but finally she gives in to Brainchild‘s orders and howls that she will kill her former teammates.
The Blackbird lands at the community in the Savage Land. Bishop and Sage have transported the Saurid children safely to their tribe. The other X-Men are happy to see their teammates alive, and C’rel thanks Bishop for the safe return of her people. Neal interrupts, telling Sage that Storm is still missing, but Sage says he must be wrong. Her sensors tell her that the Beast is the farthest away (Lupa is again enthralling him), but Storm registers nearby. Suddenly Ororo leaps down on them, gutting Sage with her claws. Before anybody can react, she kicks Rogue in the face, and then Brainchild’s Savage Land Mutates strike. Whiteout uses her intense snow glare to blind all present. Rogue hears her attacker moving and knocks Whiteout out with one punch. She then grabs Sage to get her to safety and takes to the air, but Vertigo disorients them and they fall into the river.
Bishop and Thunderbird are standing back to back, and Neal is afraid to use his power as he can’t see where he is firing and could injure somebody. He is attacked by Gaza, the blind giant, who makes fun of them as he was blind since birth and has other senses to compensate. Bishop pinpoints Gaza’s direction and shoots at him, but Barbarus attacks him from behind, taking him out. Thunderbird is then taken to Leash who uses her power on him. She enslaves his spirit, and then commands him to slay his teammate. Neal blasts at Bishop full force, and Bishop falls down, not moving.
Outside the city gates, Amphibius sits by the river. He commands some sharks and crocodiles to go after Sage and Rogue, and uses his long tongue to rip an X-emblem from their costumes, to have proof of their deaths. However the two females don’t die, but dive down and find a pipe of the community’s sewer system. For the moment they are safe, but Rogue wonders what to do.
A little bit later, the Mutates have taken Beast and C‘rel to Brainchild’s inner sanctum, and he is pleased about his team’s performance. Right then Rogue bursts through the floor, ready to attack, but Brainchild attacks her with a mindblast. He increases her mental struggle against the residue of absorbed personae, and Rogue finds her mind taken over by Colossus, Waolverine, Sabretooth, Magneto and many more. Lupa doesn’t think it fair that Brainchild has all the fun, so she allows her enthralled Beast to join the fight. Yet her command doesn’t tell whom he should fight, and so Hank knocks out Lupa herself, before finding himself under attack by the savage Ororo.
Outside, Bishop was left for dead on the boneyard, evidently the Mutates have no idea how his energy power works. Waking up, Bishop wants to fight Gaza and Barbarus, but they send the brainwashed Thunderbird against him, and Bishop charges up even more. Bishop then knocks the rookie X-Man out, hoping that he will be himself again when he comes around, but before he can use the heat against the Savage Land Mutates, he gets disoriented by Vertigo. As if he wasn’t having a hard time already, more opponents arrive in the form of many savages riding dinosaurs.
In Brainchild’s sanctum, Rogue is still struggeling with the phantoms, and Beast is having trouble against Storm. He does not want to hurt her, but the X-Men leader is not held back by such concerns. Finally she gets the upper hand and throws Hank through the room. Beast crashes into Rogue, who absorbs him.
Elsewhere in the palace, Leash is running towards the slave pens. She wants to manipulate more people and ensure the Mutates‘ victory, but suddenly she is intercepted by Sage. Leash attempts to use her power on Tessa, but her will is stronger, and Sage reflects the attack back on Leash, now herself an enthralled victim of her own power and forced to do Tessa’s bidding. Instantly her former victims all regain their free will.
Outside, the many dinosaurs and Saurids gets angry about having been mindcontrolled. They need someone to blame and Khadar, the Saurid’s second in command, takes control of the situation. He knows his people need someone to blame and is about to order the Mutates killed. Bishop gets in between, and says that he can’t allow murder.
In the main chamber, Brainchild orders the savage Ororo to kill the still disoriented Rogue and the weakened Beast, but Sage enters with Leash and has her enslave the Savage Land Mutates‘ leader. With her master defeated, Storm too is soon taken out of the game, and Lupa’s wolfpack runs away after receiving a threatening look from the Beast.
The fight is over, the X-Men are talking with C’rel and Delage, the leaders of the two species. Delage thinks like Khadar that the Savage Land Mutates should be terminated, but C’rel knows that they all have to try and coexist. As long as they all live together, without one species attacking the other, they can be at peace. The X-Men back her up, they won’t allow murder. For now Delage agrees, but he says that he won’t tolerate further interference by the Savage Land Mutates or the X-Men.
Some hours later, Sage has learned how to operate Brainchild’s machine and used it to reverse it’s effect on Storm. While slowly transforming back, Ororo has run away into the snowy mountains, where the Beast finds her. She fears that what Brainchild did to her can’t be fully reversed. He could so easily awake the savage parts of her, and the way back to humanity is so hard. She apologizes to Hank for truly having wanted to kill him, but he ensures her that the team will always be there for her.

Characters Involved: 

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

C’rel, Khadar (both Saurid race)


Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Gaza, Leash, Lupa, Vertigo, Whiteout (all Savage Land Mutates)

Story Notes: 

Vertigo being with the Savage Land Mutates again is kind of unexpected. Way back, she appeared with the Marauders, never truly explaining how this came to be, and among this team, she was killed and cloned back to life by Sinister various times. In fact it has been mentioned that only Sabretooth is still the original guy, all others Marauders being killed and cloned at least once. It’s doubtful that Sinister allows one of his clones to return to the Savage Land; though maybe the original Vertigo never left the Savage Land and Sinister was using clones of her the whole time.

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