X-Women #1

Issue Date: 
July 2010
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Milo Manara (artist), Dave Stewart (color artist),) Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)
special thanks to Ralf Macchio, Mark Paniccia, Ruwan Jayatilleke, Sara Mattoli, Simon Bisi, Marco Lupoi and Mike Marts

Brief Description: 

Rogue has invited several of her female friends (Storm, Psylocke, Marvel Girl and Shadowcat) to spend a week-long vacation with her at her house on Kirinos. However, during a party, Marvel Girl is abducted and the house is destroyed, with the guests only surviving thanks to Psylocke’s telekinesis. The X-ladies track the kidnappers to Madripoor where they attack the compound where Rachel is being kept. When Kitty tries to free her, Rachel tells her she has to stay and that there is more going on. She telepathically dumps the info into Kitty’s mind. The X-Men are hit by a mysterious ray and find they lose their powers mid-air. They barely survive their escape. Kitty has lost consciousness and, when she awakens, they are on a small boat belonging to Captain Dave whom her teammates apparently bailed out of some trouble. While not able to process all the data Rachel gave her Kitty, reveals that the lady who abducted Rachel - the Barnoess Krieg - has also kidnapped Emma Frost and is apparently planning something big, trying to fan tensions between China and India. The ladies discuss what to do, as they are still powerless, when their boat is attacked by helicopters – the Baroness’ people. However, their attackers are soon in trouble as well, as their technology suddenly fails them, due to some new arrivals, a group of cargo cultists who take the X-Men and Dave prisoner. While Kitty is running a fever, still trying to process Rachel’s information, the other X-ladies are put to work and the cargo cultists’ chief, who has the power to cancel out technology, is smitten with Storm (much to his wife’s displeasure). When the cultists are attacked by the Baroness’ people, Storm saves the life of the chief’s wife and the other X-Men also fight for them. When they explain what’s going on, the cargo cultists decide to help. The Baroness plans to use a cerebra-like device to start a war between China and India, supply both sides with weapons and later fill the new power vacuum herself. However, thanks to the Chief’s vicinity, her machine doesn’t work. Neither does the power suppresser, leaving the X-Men able to attack and free their friends. The Baroness reveals that she can cancel the powers of nearby mutants herself and tries to flee, but Storm flashfreezes her. With all that over, their friends and the world saved, Rogue sulks that her home was destroyed and the others decide on an impromptu jungle party to cheer her up.

Full Summary: 

A highly guarded fortress on the island of Madripoor, where the guards suddenly find themselves attacked by a tempest courtesy of Storm whose lightning also plays hell with their electronics. She is joined by Psylocke and Rogue, who take care of the rest.

While they monopolize the bad guys’ attention, Shadowcat sneaks inside the underground heart of their complex to find their kidnapped teammate Rachel Grey. “Rescue’s here,” Kitty greets her happily, only to comment on Rachel’s outfit a moment later, a tight, extremely short red leather number with thigh high stiletto boots. Comes with the job, Rachel replies as she hugs her. She apologizes but she can’t go yet. She has a lot to tell Kitty, and no time to be gentle. So, she telepathically dumps days of memories into Kitty’s skull. Under the pressure, Kitty’s nose begins to bleed. A moment later, she is hit by an energy blast. The guards have found them.

Angrily, Kitty takes two of them down with martial arts moves. As Psylocke joins them, Kitty asks her to nail the shooter. Betsy tries to but is also hit by the weapon’s blast and Rachel protects the shooter. She deflects Psylocke’s telekinetic blast and Rachel and the shooter are separated from the others because of ceiling caves in.

Kitty phases herself and Psylocke outside and up into the air, telling Betsy to trust Rachel who told her everything telepathically. She still needs time to process the information though, her brain hurts!

Rogue expects them in the air but is also shot as is Storm. From within the citadel, a blonde woman presses a button and all of the X-Men are hit. The next moment, they lose their powers and fall.

Kitty is the first one to hit the ground. Her fall is braked by the trees and shrubbery of a slope. She falls downward and grabs Rogue’s hand. Both of them fall into a river. Shortly before them is waterfall. With Rogue hanging on to her, Kitty grabs a vine, swings to a rock where she deposits Rogue The next moment, Storm is carried over the waterfall and Kitty barely manages to grab her and leave her with Rogue. Kitty herself loses her grip bus is saved in turn by Psylocke, who has caught a higher vine. Safe in Storm’s arms, Kitty passes out.

It had started innocently. Rogue had invited them to the villa she had inherited on Kirinos in Greece. Only her female friends were invited for a week of fun. Kitty, Rachel and Betsy were jet skiing. When they were approaching a yacht, the other two women drew aside while Kitty drove onward and phased through the ship where (to her embarrassment) she surprised two men in bed. Due to her surprise, she fell off her jetski once she was outside.

Later in the evening and all dolled up they enjoy a party. One man addresses Kitty, recognizing her from the jetski. Kitty immediately denies it, but he and his partner recognize her. He tells her they never forget a beautiful face or a memorable moment. Shall they dance? Kitty is embarrassed but soon she and Betsy dance with the two men. All the ladies have fun in their own way. Ororo sings while Rachel flirts with a handsome dark-haired fellow.

Outside, the two of them kiss. Unfortunately, he fires a weapon at her a moment later. With her last strength, she calls out to Kitty, before she falls unconscious. The X-Men hear he telepathic cry.

The man presses the button of a device and the building explodes. As Rachel is transported away, a sphere rises from the conflagration and lands in the sea. Psylocke’s telekinesis, having saved the X-Men and the guests in time.

After making sure the civilians were safe, they followed Rachel’s trail which led them to Madripoor and their current predicament.

Kitty awakes with a killer headache to find they are on a boat steered by a stranger. Captain Dave and the ship is the Glory, Storm explains. Betsy gives her some broth and informs her they bailed Dave out of a jam. In return, he is carrying them clear of the bad guys.

Noticing the lousy weather, Kitty asks Ororo why there is a storm. She explains that, before they lost their powers, she had amplified the weather over the island. It will take a while to wind down. Until then, it provides ideal cover so no one can follow them from air.

Betsy asks if Kitty managed to sort out what Rachel told her telepathically. She wishes! Kitty sighs. The harder she tries, the more her skull hurts.

Rogue has taken over steering as Dave takes a nap. Does she think this power loss is permanent? she asks Storm, who figures they will find out the hard way. Rogue touches Ororo’s face. No matter how many times this happens, each one is like a miracle. To touch someone without stealing their life… She loves being Rogue, but sometimes it’s nice to just be Anna.

As the night wears on, the women help themselves to Captain Dave’s alcohol reserves while discussing their plans. Kitty suddenly sees a vision overlaying reality. Noting her unusual behavior, Rogue giggles that she’s drunk. Kitty replies that she thinks she is seeing what Rachel sees and what she sees is Emma Frost, captured and sitting in a chair, wearing a Cerebra-style helmet. Kitty doesn’t know how his is possible but she and Rachel always had a rapport.

She asks Betsy what she is listening to on the radio. BBC World Service, comes the reply. Some sort of foolishness between India and China. Kitty wonders why that rings a bell, then summarizes what she’s learned from Rachel. Apparently, the bad guys also grabbed Emma Frost….

Can’t they just let them keep her? Rogue suggests. Kitty heartily agrees with her dislike of Frost, then continues that Emma’s caged unlike Rachel who they figure they can handle. Rachel knows they have something nasty planned and that they need both Emma and Rachel to make it work. So far, nobody suspects that Rachel is just playing along, or they just don’t care.

Couldn’t it be anybody but Emma needing rescue? Rogue sulks. Storm states that everyone among them agrees with her feeling but Emma is an X-Man now. She knows, Anna sighs, but she’s just a… well… a bitch. Tell her again why they are rescuing her? How about because it will just kill Emma that she needed to be rescued? Kitty suggests slyly.

She heads outside to grab some fresh air, then gasps. On a pole is a human skull, adorned with a pilot cap. She calls the others outside. Captain Dave swears. They are not supposed to be here, he mumbles. This stretch of river has always been clean! What is he talking about? Rogue asks. Panicked he replies they need to get out of here. Rogue reminds him the storm is breaking. If they go back they are sitting ducks! More poles with skulls appear and Dave warns them that this is worse. As if on cue the engines stop. Dave is not surprised.

A moment later, they are attacked by shots from a helicopter. Storm pushes Dave aside before he is hit. The ladies wonder if the shooters in the two helicopters have somehow zapped their engines like they did their powers. Does he have any weapons? Kitty asks Dave. He has nothing, Dave tells them and suggests they swim to the shore. But it’s too far. They would appear to be sitting ducks, but suddenly the helicopters lose power and one of them veers into the other, causing both to explode. That was certainly convenient, Storm mutters while Dave announces they are so dead. She thinks Dave may have a point, Kitty remarks as they find themselves surrounded by very strange armed people, a mix of savages and pirates who are partially wearing aviator uniforms.

Their captors lead them to their home, a clearing in the jungle with lots of plane wrecks which they use as their homes. As the resident nerd Kitty realizes who their captors are. Cargo cultists. A legendary south sea tribe who worship airplanes as gods. According to legend, they have the mystical power to bring down their gods to earth. After what they witnessed and the looks of the encampment, that is not a legend and they’ve been busy.

Bound and gagged, the ladies and Dave are led to the cultists’ leader, who is immediately smitten with Storm (much to the displeasure of his wife).

The tribe puts their prisoners to work. Psylocke feeds the pigs, Rogue takes care of children and washes their clothes, while Dave looks after Kitty who is suffering from fever.

In her delirium, she sees through Rachel’s eyes again and finally makes the connection between that situation and the reports from China and India. Stolen Cerebra technology is supposed to boost Emma and Rachel’s power, amplifying them enough to control the two largest populations on the planet to start a war and for the villains to make a profit.

Kitty witnesses Rachel trying to free Emma but being held back by a regal blonde, apparently the boss of the villains. That’s all Kitty gets as she sinks back into her fever.

Of all of them, Storm has drawn the worst lot. Dressed up in a harem girl outfit that leaves little to the imagination, she is supposed to serve the cargo cultists’ leader, who has taken a shine to her. When he makes a grab for her, Ororo reaches for a metal pitcher and slams it against his head, then tries to climb up a vine to get away from him. Could this get any worse? She mutters exasperated. Of course, immediately it does at on the balcony stands the leader’s wife who cuts the vine. Ororo falls to be caught by her would-be suitor.

“Hands off!” she orders. He grabs her ankle and they both land in the pool. Storm offers to stop struggling if he will release her friends. Can’t do that, he replies. The thrill is in the chase. And if she fights all the harder? she asks. Then they have a deal. To settle it, she dunks his head under water.

And so, a little later both of them sit peacefully at a feast of the cultists. The other X-ladies who have been freed if not invited watch the scene. Rogue remarks that this must be Storm’s true power, to make all the bad guys go nuts. They want nuts, they should keep an eye on the chief’s missus, Betsy warns them.

Kitty complains about the clothing the cultists gave them. Rogue got the luck of the draw with a pilot’s suit, but Betsy is dressed in a very short Chinese style mini and she is wearing a short bodysuit. She thinks her outfit is nice, Betsy remarks. She has no shame, Kitty laughs. No, she just always looks good, Betsy retorts.

Rogue looks up and warns the others. Armed men on paragliders are coming down to attack. Instead of raising the alarm, Betsy and Rogue lift Kitty up to grab one glider. She takes out the soldier and the other ladies join the fight.

Some of the mercs head for the nursery to take the children hostage. Rogue attacks them from behind, takes a baseball bat and takes them out to defend the kids.

Other mercs finally attack the chief’s party with machine guns. Ororo pushes down the chief’s wife, taking a hit for her. Seeing that, the chief’s eyes begin to glow red. With his powers, the technology of the attackers doesn’t work anymore. He strikes one of them, however the other soldiers brandish knives.

Luckily, Kitty and Betsy come to the rescue and take them out. With all the attackers imprisoned, the heroines and their “hosts” discuss the situation. The chief points out that the prince of Madripoor has always respected their independence. Maybe the stakes are so high, the old rules don’t matter, Kitty suggests. Or maybe the prince is out of the loop. Fact is, somebody is trying to start a way and they are using the X-Men’s friends. They are the only ones is any position to stop them, powers or not. The chief and his wife share a look, then he offers their help.

Later in a plane: Kitty and Rogue are pilots whereas in the back the chief expresses his surprise that Ororo saved his wife, considering that she saw Ororo as her rival. She is not her rival, Ororo insists. Why would she let her die? He adores her, he replies. Ororo sighs exasperated. Thanks to the plane’s wild movements she loses her footing and is caught by her would-be-suitor who insists on a kiss. She is not in the mood, she snarls.

Thankfully, they are interrupted when the other ladies announce they are close to the city. Kitty orders Rogue to take the helm as she again comes into telepathic contact with Rachel.

In her mind’s eye, she sees Emma and Rachel, both sitting in chairs, Cerebra helmets on their heads. Between them sits the woman whose name she now learns is Baroness Krieg. She learns that, when the hit on the chief failed, the Baroness advanced her timetable. Energy emerges from her eyes, engulfing Rachel and Emma. The Baroness orders her scientists to fire the weapon.

Kitty realizes that the Baroness just has to take psychic control of the target armies, start a few skirmish for which she can provide arms to India and China, and ultimately sweep in when the dust settles and become the dominant power in the region. Thankfully, they have a plan as well.

The Baroness learns that the machinery is down; nothing is happening. Emma tells her she will soon be shut down as well. The Baroness fires her gun at Emma, only to find it doesn’t work either, all thanks to the chief whose power is to inhibit machines. Of course, the moment he uses his power their plane’s engines also fail. But down on the ground Madripoor hightown loses all energy as well as he takes out the generators and with it the machinery sustaining the power nullifier.

With their powers restored, Storm uses her control over the winds to land their plane. Rogue and Psylocke confront the enemy directly finding Rachel who kayoed all the flunkies and is about to be stabbed by the Baroness as her powers don’t work on her.

Betsy tries to take the Baroness out telekinetically but also finds that mutant powers don’t work on her. When Rogue tries to tackle her she finds her powers are gone as are the ones of the others. The power nullifier and controller is the Baroness herself. That device simply expanded her range.

The Baroness aims her gun at Rogue but Betsy kicks her legs out from under her and grabs her weapon. She hesitates long enough for the Baroness to enter a flight capsule that rises.

Kitty phases through the walls and lands on top of it. The pod slides through an escape tunnel. Kitty phases it and herself through tunnel and the pod lands outside and crashes on the ground.

The Baroness stumbles outside to be expected by Kitty, Betsy Rachel, Emma and Rogue. Any words before prison? Rogue asks mildly. The baroness mocks that their powers can’t harm her. Storm who is far enough away engulfs her in a tornado pulling don hypercold from the troposphere, leaving the Baroness flashfrozen. Emma then hits the statue with all her strength, then complainn about breaking a nail. As punishment she kicks the ice statue in the face.

They turn the baroness over to the local authorities. Storm returns to the plane where the chief seems to be depressed. When she asks what’s wrong he reveals that he doesn’t want to lose her. He wasn’t expecting her to stay with him, was he? she asks mildly. Well, he was hoping she’d come around, he replies. Sharing a look with his wife, she warns him he’s been neglecting her and should better tend to her before she finds something on the side. The other woman smirks at the idea.

Later, all aboard the plane, Emma still complains about her nail which cost her $300. She should have killed the cow. Kitty tells her to stop it already. Rogue is equally bloodthirsty. The Baroness blew up her home. Rachel simply suggests she rebuild. And they’ll help, Betsy offers. Rogue admits she’s grateful but this wasn’t quite the party she had in mind when she invited them all on vacation. So, to cheer her up, they hold an impromptu party in the jungle.

Characters Involved: 

Emma Frost, Marvel Girl III, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm (all X-Men)

Captain Dave
His wife
Other Cargo Cultists

Baroness Krieg
Her scientists and soldiers

Rogue’s guests and other vacationers

Story Notes: 

The story presumably has to take place somewhere between Uncanny X-Men #461 (the story of Psylocke’s return) and #475 (when Marvel Girl leaves for space), though not all aspects fit, e.g. Rogue’s power set should be different at that point.

The story was first published in Italy.

Milo Manara is a famous Italian artist, renowned among other things for a number of adult comics.

Rogue’s villa was bequeathed to her by Destiny in X-treme X-Men #4.

Krieg is the German word for “war.”

“Cargo cult” is the term coined to describe the phenomenon of some primitive cultures responses to interactions with much more highly technologically advanced societies. Primarily known in the Pacific, some islanders attributed supernatural and godlike origins to material left behind by visitors and developed rituals and practices to understand, control and summon more of it.

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