X-Treme X-Men : X-Posé #2

Issue Date: 
February 2003
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Arthur Ranson (artist), (uninked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Rodolfo Migliarai (cover art), Andrew Lis (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Paul and his film editor, Gary, watch the footage shot from Madripoor, to see if they can use any of it in their documentary. After watching Rogue face off against Vargas, they move to the footage shot from their two reporters in front of the Xavier’s Institute. While in California, Officer Mendes drives Manoli and Neal to a bar to meet up with a mutant that would like to tell his side of the story. The two reporters enter the bar where they meet a biker/mutant who introduces himself as the person that called them. Unknown at the time to Neal and Manoli, the X-Men Gambit and Rogue are there as well. The two X-Men decide to leave, but are confronted by Cutter and his gang. After the gang attacks Rogue, leaving her lying on the ground, they destroy her bike as they leave. Going back inside the bar, they tell the other patrons, including Paint and Jack, what Cutter had done. Neal walks up to Rogue and, instead of outing her, helps hide her appearance from Paint, who has recognized Rogue from the news. Rogue ponders for a few moments if she should stop hiding from humans. She decides the answer and walks out of the bathroom she was in to give Neal his footage. Sadly, Neal and Manoli find out about Paul’s plan and no longer want to put their friends in danger. A week later, Storm finds out from Paul D’Antoni that he was canceled along with his show, and he will get his revenge on them later. Doing a little detective work Storm finds out that it was Warren Worthington III who canceled the show and she meets with him to ask why!

Full Summary: 

Paul sits in front of a television monitor in his office, asking one of his assistants, Gary, what he is showing him? Gary explains that the monitor is showing Rogue (in Psylocke’s uniform) preparing to strike a fatal blow, killing the man named Vargas. Gary explains that they received the video from a Madripoor Broadcasting station that was taken during the recent Invasion.

Gary tells him that the good thing about the video is Rogue is one of the X-Men and the other guy appears to be human. Paul cheers Rogue on as he views the video telling Gary that he must contact Neal and Manoli to get them to interview her for them. Paul rants on about how Rogue is sexy and a killer at the same time. He tells Gary that the video will be their star performance. Gary looks up toward Paul, asking him if he listened to the audio for the video, because the tape seems to have more feeling then just mutants killing humans. Paul tells Gary that he does not care about the sound, the only thing he wants is the visual footage. Gary trying to argue his point, asks Paul why they have already drawn a conclusion and sadly now are trimming the tapes to match their conclusion? Paul getting mad tells Gary that a subordinate should not question his superior, so he had better understand that fact, now! Agreeing with his boss Gary is asked to cue up the footage from the Xavier Institute.

The time 1:34, Nicki and Jared two of Spotlights reporters are drenched head-to-toe, as they leave the grounds of the Institute. Jared tries not to look behind him as many of the grounds students begin taunting them. Jared complains that the lousy mutants nearly drowned them and now they’re laughing. Jared tells Nicki that the two of them need to get out of there but, as tears come to Nicki’s eyes, she tells him to just keep shooting footage no matter how bad they look! Nicki, talking to the camera, says that they are reporting live from the Xavier Institute, where they had came to interview a Miss Emma Frost. She says that she loves a joke just as much as other people do, but the mutants at the campus seem to only want to see the press on their terms and that disturbs her. Mockingly, one of the mutants behind her shouts out that they are more human then she is.

Back at the station, Paul watches the video and comments to Nicki’s question, “Why Indeed?” He continues to watch some of the video telling Gary to contact Conan and Wetherell to get the last of their video.

In Valle Soleada, California, an officer drives two reporters to a roadhouse where they hope to find the final piece to their story. They thank the officer for the ride, as he tells them that it is hard to be a cop in a town full of Muties’. The two reporters that get out of the police car are Conan and Wetherell. Walking into the bar, they see bikers playing pool, drinking, and laughing stand around, seeming to enjoy each other’s company.

A man named Jack is shooting Pool, while an unseen Gambit and Rogue argue over why Gambit wants to hustle such innocent bikers. Gambit lays down some money, while Rogue tells Gambit to not look so innocent. He tells her that once he has suckered his mark, he will stop acting. He does just that, finishing the pool game in a matter of seconds with a couple of well-placed hits. The bikers, angry at being hustled, converge on Gambit, who tells them that if they calm down he’ll buy them all a beer. They agree and the biker name Jack, the man he just hustled, introduces himself. While they all talk, Conan and Wetherell are finally noticed. One biker calls out to the others that they need to clear out, because reporters are here. Realizing who they are, Jack tells everyone to chill out. He says that they are his guests and he had invited the reporters there to tell his side of the story. Conan asks Jack if he is a mutant too? Jack tells Conan that he is, but not the super-powered kind like Paint, who is standing only a few feet away.

Walking over to Paint, Conan asks her how being a mutant has affected her life? She tells him that when she first manifested her powers her parents thought she was a freak. In the present, however, she has learned to deal with her mutation, because it no longer bothers her what people think about her gift.

On the other side of the room, Rogue tells Gambit that she recognizes the reporters, but she does not want to be the voice for mutant-kind anymore. Gambit tells her that the two of them have been soldiers long enough, so they do not have to be one now. Behind them and unseen, Conan asks Paint if she has ever thought of contacting the Xavier Institute? She tells him that she is just happy to pay her bills and having a label is not what she wants out of life.

After walking out the door, Gambit tells Rogue that they might need to stay, because what Paint has to say rings real true. Rogue asks Gambit what he means? He tells her that, in the bar, there are both humans and mutants living in harmony. Gambit tells her that the X-Men have always endeavored to create a world in harmony and now the two of them are standing in a place just like they have always dreamed of. Leaning towards her, he tells her that he wants the two of them to settle down here and live. She asks if he is serious, because he has always acted like he would never settle down. He tells her that she is in his heart and soul. Seconds later, the two of them are startled to hear a noise coming from behind them.

The two turn around to see Cutter and his gang leaning against Rogue’s motorcycle. Cutter sits on her bike and Rogue kindly asks them to move. Cutter shows her his mutant powers, dozens of spikes emitting from his arms and torso, telling her that they do whatever they want! Rogue calmly tells Cutter and his friends to move, because Halloween is over and she is not impressed with their gifts. Cutter tells her that her being a “Static” has a life that is over, while him being a “Spike” rules the future. Cutter asks Porous to make her soaked, and he does so following Cuter’s orders. Rogue knocks Porous down, quickly taking Cutter down as well. Gambit helps out by knocking the confused Porous into another one of Cutter’s buddies, as Rogue complains about her clothes being ruined.

Dervish, standing farther away, attacks Rogue. Gambit trying to help his lover tries to charm Dervish out of hurting her. Spinning her into a nearby trash-heap the mutant gang begins to pile back in their car to leave. Gambit goes to Rogue’s side as, a few feet away, Cutter thrashes Rogue’s bike. He tells them that he is going to leave her something to remember them by. The gang rides away and Dervish cries back to Gambit that the next time they meet they need to “make it for real.”

Rogue asks Gambit why he tried to charm Dervish? He tells her that it was the only thing he could do to keep from hitting a teenage girl. Rogue tries to brush herself off, telling Gambit that he could have at least hit her once. Rogue crouches down next to her bike, as she tells Gambit that for the first time in her life she felt truly helpless. If other humans feel that way around mutants, then Xavier’s dream will never be achieved.

The two walk back into the bar and the pedestrians that were already in the bar ask them what happened. Rogue explains to them about how the mutant gang jumped them. Jack figures he knows who it was and tells her that he will hunt down Cutter for them. Rogue, sitting down at a booth, tells them not to worry, because she can fight her battles all on her own. Paint, walking up to Rogue, offers her some coffee. Paint tells Rogue that she has a better attitude then she would about Cutter. Jack continues to talk to Conan, telling him that people think just because he is a biker he should only hang around bikers. He also tells him that people think because he is a web-designer he should only hang around them as well. Some of the right-minded folk, though, think that he should hang around just human beings because, underneath the surface, that’s what they all really are. Listening to his conversation, Gambit shouts out an “A-Men” in agreement to Jack’s words.

Paint sits down with Gambit and Rogue. She tells them that she is a big believer in the fact that Cutter and his gang should be slapped every morning just on principal. Paint tells Rogue and Gambit that the only two that have stopped his gang were two X-Men just a few days ago. Gambit, standing up to leave, states that they must have taught Cutter a real good lesson. Paint, wiping blood from Rogue’s face, asks her if she thinks Gambit is hot like she thinks he is? Rogue tells Paint that she will not get an argument from her and Paint shockingly realizes that Rogue and Gambit are an item. Rogue, changing the subject, tells Paint that she has great tattoos. Touching Rogue’s finger Paint gives Rogue a tattoo, while Rogue comments how much it tickles.

Neal Conan interrupts the two women’s conversation and tells Rogue that she seems really familiar. Gambit, walking up behind Conan with Rogue’s change of clothes, tells him that he must be mistaken, because the two of them would have remembered him. Paint, realizing who is in front of her, tells Rogue that she recognizes her as an X-Man, because she saw her on television. Conan, leaning towards Rogue, tells Paint that he knows the real Rogue and she cannot be touched, so they must be mistaking her for someone else. Conan leans back up, as Wetherell is behind him taping. Conan tells her that he apologizes for the intrusion and asks her if people mistake her all the time. Rogue tells Conan that it is a drag, but it happens a lot. She asks them to excuse her so she can make herself presentable.

Going into the bar’s bathroom, Rogue thinks to herself how thankful she is that Neal covered for her, because she noticed that he did recognize her. Rogue begins to take off her clothes, down to her underwear. She thinks all the while about how she has been running scared since she became an X-Man. She thinks that it is because she feels ashamed of what she is, that she ran for all this time. Rogue puts on some new clothes and holds out her arm that Paint had covered in tattoos’. She thinks to herself that she is a super-hero and, if she wants to give her and Remy a good life…looking into a mirror, she thinks that its time she makes a stand.

Rogue walks out of the bathroom and everyone’s heads turn to see her, as she calls out Neal’s name. She tells him that, if he is ready to talk to Rogue, she is now ready to talk to him. Neal and Manoli are sitting at the bar looking extremely bummed. Remy walks up to Rogue, as she wonders aloud why they appear so depressed? He tells her that the two of them just got a call from Paul, their editor, telling them about his plans to turn their footage into anti-mutant footage. Rogue apologizes to the two reporters and offers to buy them drinks. Manoli, shocked at Rogue’s uncaring attitude, asks if she has a wand that will make all the bad things go away? Rogue, smiling, places her cellphone to her ear, telling the two of them that she plans on calling in a couple of “markers’ of her own, to see if they can do something about it.

Monahan’s in Manhattan about a week later. Paul sits at a bar sulking in self-pity, as Storm comes up behind Paul, introducing herself to the now-unemployed Paul D’Antoni. He comments to her that she looks better in her fighting uniform than the clothes she has on at the present. She comments back that he is as charming as his reputation persists. Holding a glass up, he sarcastically asks why she is honoring him with her presence? She tells him that she is there to talk to him about the piece he is working on, which would ruin her associate’s reputation. Paul, raising his voice, asks her if she is just there to rub in the fact that just an hour ago his piece was canceled along with his job? Storming out of the bar, he yells back in at her that the muties seem to have got what they wanted! Storm, pondering about who may have helped cancel the show, hears Paul’s last words, as he threatens to ruin mutants everywhere as soon as he gets another job.

At “Archangel’s House”, worldwide headquarters and primary home to Warren Worthington the Third, Warren arrives, suited in a tux. Walking down his steps, he sees Storm on the television talking about the overwhelming affects of mutants and humans living together. The scene is from Neal and Manoli’s footage recently taped for “Spotlight.” Warren looks over to the corner and sees Storm in the shadows, as she tells him that she has heard he owns the only copy of the “Spotlight” footage. He clicks the television off and tells her that it is his trophy, to remind him always what they are fighting for. Not looking at him, she says that she let herself in.

Questioning her reasons, he asks her business or pleasure? She tells him that after she had done some initial investigative work she has found out what he did, and she would like an explanation. Warren walks over to his bar, pickup up a glass of wine. He tells her that if she is talking about the “Spotlight” situation, he just made the problem go away. Storm tells him that there wasn’t the need for such an extreme approach. Warren tells her that in order to insure the “Global Brand,” he needed to tie up their loose ends.

Warren approaches his window, as he continues to talk, telling her that even if their intentions are noble he cannot allow a bunch of loose cannons running around. Splinter groups blur the Institute’s message, he goes on to say, and the X-Men need her and her teammates back. They cannot allow a splinter group going around messing up the name of the X-Men. Looking back at her he tells her that he only gives them one option: to rejoin the X-Men. If she denies him, she may not get a second chance. Leaning closer to her he says: “That’s the deal: you get with the PROGRAM, you join the team in every sense… or you get the hell OUT of our way.” Walking into his elevator he tells her to show herself out!

Floating down to the ground, Storm approaches Bishop, Sage, Wolverine, Neal, and Manoli. She reports that Warren is right in some of the things he says, but his solution is a mistake. Logan asks Storm what she is going to do now that Warren has made his call?

In his office, Warren picks up The New York Times where, on the front page, it reads “Network scandal! How X-Corp tries to manage the news.” He reads it, but afterwards crushes the paper gazing at it in anger.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Bishop, Gambit, Rogue, Sage, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Esme (a student at the Xavier Institute)

Unnamed students from the Xavier Institute

Paul D’Antoni (Executive Producer of “Spotlight”)

One unnamed journalist, Craig Damaski, Manoli Wetherell, Neal Conan, Nicki Yeoh (journalists for “Spotlight”)

One unnamed cameramen, Jared (Cameramen for “Spotlight”)

Gary (Spotlight’s film editor)

“Cutter” Sullivan, Dervish, Jack, Paint, Porous (Mutant civilians in Valle Soleada, California)

Mutant and human civilians (Valle Soleada, California)

Officer Mendes (an officer in Valle Soleada, California)

in Video

Rogue, Storm


on Magazine Cover

Beast, Bishop, Cyclops, Storm, Thunderbird III, Wolverine (members of the X-Men)

Neal Conan, Manoli Wetherell

Story Notes: 

Given the rivalry of directions for the different groups of X-Men, specifically Storm’s X-Treme team and the Archangel’s at the Institute, the title of the story “Watershed” has special significance. In this case, “watershed” seems to refer to a critical point that marks a division or turning point. Not only does this represent a divergence of philosophy for the leaders of both X-teams, but the writing and editorial philosophy of Chris Claremont from writers of the other X-titles.

The police officer was shown last issue.

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