X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #24

Issue Date: 
June 2003
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (artist), (uninked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Mike Raicht (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Sam is carrying a woman from the wreckage in the Channel Tunnel, just outside in Paris. He was just in a battle with Weapon XII, where he lost a friend and hundreds of people lost their lives. That was yesterday, but today he’s trying to make right what another mutant made wrong. After setting down an injured woman, Xavier contacts Sam and asks him to meet up with the other X-Corp members so they can leave. Sam declines, choosing to stay till all the bodies are accounted for. During his aid work, Sam befriends a group called Sappers after saving one of their own from a cave in. Sam enjoys a few laughs with them and decides to help them till their work is finished. Later that day, they are moving debris when Sam hears a noise from a pile of rubble. After searching through the pile he finds survivors and becomes a hero to the workers in the tunnel. After their search is over, the Sappers reveal that they know about Sam’s secret powers, but they like him just the way he is. Flying off and giving the Sappers a show of his powers, Sam goes to visit the grave where they buried his teammate, Darkstar. While he’s there, Xavier gives him a note that reads the location of his one time girlfriend, Lila Cheney. Sam goes to visit her and the two decide to runaway together for a while. Months later, they reappear on Earth and Sam gets a visit from Storm. She offers him a chance to join the X-Treme team and he accepts.

Full Summary: 

Sam Guthrie is in the tunnel where he has just finished off a hard fought battle to save not only himself but also others from an experiment gone wrong: Weapon XII. A day later, he is still there, trying to help the local authorities dig out from the rubble any survivors that may have lived past the horrors. Sam carries a young lady to local paramedics and tells them that the girl’s name is Simone and she keeps asking about he brother. The paramedics thank Sam for his efforts and tell him that they will try to help her the best they can.

Sam walks by a large number of wounded and he hears the doctors call out to one-another of their needs for medical supplies and how different ones are losing their patients. A lady doctor comes up to Sam and touches his shoulder. She tells him that he is doing his best and the girl is in good hands with the medics. Looking out on a sea of dead bodies, Sam tells the doctor that they were in good hands too and now look at them. Sam apologizes for his words and the doctor asks Sam if he is all right. Sam tells her that the blood on him is from the girl he just carried and to not worry about him. Sam walks away from Simone, thinking that he knows he did his best but his best probably wasn’t good enough and she will soon die as well. He also thinks of his father and how he must have felt after one of the mines collapsed and he had to see all the dead bodies of his colleagues rolled away.

Hearing a mental call, calling his name, Sam answers it, knowing it is Xavier. Xavier tells Sam that he realizes that this is hard for him but there are no more survivors, so he needs to stop the search and meet up with the rest of the team at the French end of the tunnel. Xavier tells Sam that he and Jean have telepathically scanned for any survivors and they have found none. He admits that the resonance from the corpse of Weapon XII is hindering their scans, but they are fairly certain there is no one else alive. Sam tells Xavier that he was a miner’s son before he joined the X-Men and he knows that a man should never leave anyone behind, alive or dead. Sam tells Xavier that he is staying behind and Xavier tells Sam that he can do as he wishes.

Sam walks away and thinks to himself that Xavier didn’t need to have telepathy to realize the underlining reason Sam wanted to help. Sam grew up with a code-of-honor and he knows that, whatever the circumstances, a mutant “done the wrong doing,” so a mutant should help clean up the mess. Sam continues to help other aid workers move dead bodies from the wreckage when he hears a crashing sound. Instinctively, Sam jumps to save the aid worker fixing to be crushed by the falling debris. Sam saves the worker and gains a number of friends for it.

At Coquelles, France, the French end of the Channel Tunnel, Sam is greeted by cheers for his heroic efforts in saving one of their workers, a guy named Ginger. Ginger’s crew teases Sam for saving such a clumsy person as him, but they offer him a chance to sit down and socialize with them a while. The Sappers, as they call themselves, sit around a fire and eat the lunches that are available to them. The Sarge tells Sam that he’s got no use for heroes on his crew and a lady named Alice asks Sam where he is from. Sam explains about growing up in Kentucky, while the others tease him about his hillbilly upbringing. The Sappers ask Sam what his interests are and he tells them about his love any movie by Baz Luhrman and any show by Joss Whedon.

Alice, trying to be heard, tells the others that the Sarge is a trekker and he has an original set of Captain Kirk’s pajamas. Dermott, another Sapper makes fun of Alice about her love for Lila Cheney music and Sam defends Alice by saying Lila’s music is good. Alice, seizing her chance to have fun, asks Sam to stand to his feet and the two of them begin to sing one of Lila’s songs. She asks Sam to sing the lyric that Lila wrote called “Sam” and Sam declines her offer, but says they can sing a different lyric.

One of the Sapper’s interrupts and asks the others to listen to one of his jokes. He asks them, how many X-Men does it take to change a light bulb? The entire crew busts out; X-Men don’t need light bulbs they glow in the dark. Ginger, laughing, starts another X-Men joke when Cannonball interjects and tries to explain that the X-Men were there to help not to hurt. Sarge stands to his feet and tells Sam that, if it wasn’t for mutants like the X-Men, they wouldn’t be there cleaning up dead bodies. Alice, coming to the defense of mutants, tells the Sarge that he could say the same thing about Arabs, woman, blacks or anybody. Sam asks the others if they ever met a mutant before? One Sapper asks how they would know even if they met one and Alice finishes by saying that mutants look like just regular humans anyway. Sam tells the others that, back in his daddy’s day, a black man and a white woman holding hands would be lynched. Nowadays, who notices, so why can’t it be the same with mutants? Sarge tells Sam that mutants are living weapons, but people are just people. Standing to his feet, Sarge tells them that their break is over and they need to get back to work.

Trying to move a section of the train, Sam asks Dermott why they’re starting the removal of debris when they haven’t accounted for all the missing yet? He tells Sam that their just following orders and they’ve been told to move the train. Suddenly, Sam hears a noise from a pile of rubble nearby. Sam runs towards the noise, hoping to find the cause of it. Sarge screams Sam’s name and tells him to stop. Sam, beginning to crawl through a hole in the rubble, feels his shoulder being touched by Sarge, who asks Sam, what is he playing at? Sam tells him that he knows there is someone in the rubble, but the Sarge tells him that he is wrong and that he didn’t hear anyone scream for help. Sam decides to crawl back anyways, telling the Sarge that he will not quit if he thinks there is even a remote chance of saving a life.

Sam crawls to the end of the tunnel, worried about the shifting wreckage all around him. He tries to call out to get an answer, but he doesn’t hear a thing. Using a small amount of kinetic force, Sam hits the wall in front of him knocking a larger path clear. Knocking himself into an opening, Sam finds survivors, very much alive. Sarge screams out to Sam about his safety and Sam cries back that he has found survivors.

Outside the wreckage, hundreds of people clap their approval of Sam’s rescue. The Sarge doesn’t seem too happy though, as he drags Sam to the side for a private discussion. He tells Sam that he saw him use his mutant powers, so he knows who he is. Sam asks the Sarge if it makes a difference? Looking at Sam the Sarge’s face begins to smile and he tells Sam that, of course it does, but now that he has provided one miracle he is eager for more. He tells Sam that the two of them need to get busy and look for more survivors.

Much time later, Sam nears the end of the tunnel with the Sappers following. They congratulate each other on a job well done. They have accounted for every passenger, so it is now time for them to leave to their next assignment. Ginger thanks Sam for saving his life, but Alice tells Ginger he will have to wait his turn and she jumps into his arms, kissing Sam. Sarge tells Sam that, since he has to leave, he needs to do it in style. Questioning the Sarge’s statement, Sam is told by the others that the Sarge told them about his powers and they want to see it for themselves. One of them exclaims to Sam, as he begins to rocket away, that he needs to shake his mutant butt. Sam tells them that they are crazy and as he flies off Alice asks him what he is called when he is saving the Earth? Rocketing away, he answers them… “They call me, Cannonball!”

In Para LaChaise Cemetery in Paris, numbers of people watch as they lay Darkstar into the grave. Xavier meets Sam at the gates of the cemetery and tells Sam that he knows that Sam wants to quit X-Corp. Sam tells Xavier that he is tired of burying friends, at least for a while. Xavier, shaking Sam’s hand, tells him that he is welcome with the X-Men anytime he decides to come back. As the rain pours down, Sam watches as Xavier walks away. Questioning a feeling in his hand, he looks down to see that Xavier left him a note. The note reads about a concert Lila Cheney is putting on in Paris.

At the concert, Lila plays a solo on her guitar. The song is “Sam” and it talks about how she loved him and lost him.

After the concert, Sam approaches Lila. She is startled to see him and runs to hug him. Sam tells Lila that Xavier is usually subtler with his messages, but he is glad to see her. Sam tells Lila that he’d figured, after all the time they’ve spent apart, that she had forgotten about him. She tells Sam that she could never forget him. Lila asks Sam to let her take him away for aw while where there is no violence threatening him, just her and him and their love. He asks her where they’re going and, as her powers flair and they embrace, she tells him that it is going to be out of this world.

Months later, still in Paris, the famed Jardins Du Luxembourg in the spring, the lovers come home. Sam and Lila materialize, still kissing. In an apartment suite, Sam brings in food for them with no shirt on and a rose in his mouth. He tells Lila that he cannot believe she wrote a song about his momma. She tells Sam that his momma is so sweet she couldn’t help herself. Sam tells Lila that his momma thinks she is wild. Lila tells Sam that his Momma said that a straight arrow like him needed someone like her.

Later, Sam reads online about the murders in Alaska and how Sage and Bishop were involved in solving the mystery. Later again, at a restaurant, Sam questions Lila about the food he is eating and promises that, when they go Stateside, he will take her to his house for a real good barbeque dinner. Later still, Sam sees on the Internet about the Riot at Xavier’s and how one of the students was killed. Lila is doing a concert and she introduces a new song called “Bandit Souls”. Even later still, Sam sees on the Internet how Storm’s team split off from Xavier’s, but he is shocked to see how serious the split was.

Sam sits outside a restaurant, waiting on Storm to arrive. He hopes that Storm will honor his request for a meeting and, as if in answer, Storm floats from the sky, wearing her X-men uniform from the Institute. She tells Sam that he called so she came and she wonders, what’s on his mind?

Lila and Sam sit on a park bench looking towards a palace. Sam tells Lila that he saw Ororo today and she tells him that she knows, because a flying girl in a miniskirt tends to make the news. Sam tells her about their conversation and how he realized from that talk how much the world is changing. He explains about how his daddy would tell them stories about the miners fighting amongst one another and how it seems the world is no different now, than those miners. Lila, leaning on Sam’s shoulder, asks him what he believes the solution is. He tells her that Storm’s ideals make sense. Lila, teasing Sam, tells him that she knows he just loves the idea of playing Marshall. Sam looks into Lila’s eyes and he tells her that the world used to be afraid of nuclear war, now it’s mutant terrorists it fears more. He tells her that someone has to make the world play nice. He tells her, as well, that Storm asked him to join her team… and he said YES!

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Professor X, Storm (all X-Men)

Lila Cheney (X-Men ally)

Alice, Dermott, Ginger, Sarge, and other Sappers

Bar attendees

Food Court attendees

Funeral attendees

Paramedics and Firefighters

Victims of the train wreck

Astral Projection:

Charles Xavier

Cannonball’s Laptop Computer:

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

Jeffrey Garrett

Story Notes: 

The murders in Alaska and Bishop and Sage’s investigation took place in the last story arc of X-Treme X-Men. [#20-23]

The Riot at Xavier’s storyline occurred in New X-Men #135-137. The student who was killed during the riot was Sophie, one of the five identical girls of the Stepford Cuckoos.

Laynia Petrovna (Darkstar) died in New X-Men #130 during the Chunnel battle with Weapon XII, who was destroyed in the very same issue. Her funeral was held in New X-Men #131.

Weapon XII, which also could have been called Weapon Twelve, was part of the mysterious Weapon Plus project, of which Wolverine was apparently Weapon X (ten) and Fantomex is supposedly Weapon XIII (thirteen).

Lila Cheney wrote her song, “Sam,” after Sam Guthrie, a fact Sam is not one to brag about.

Baz Luhrman is a movie director with a short but very daring list of movies produced. In 1996 his cinematic version of Romeo and Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, updated the scene of Verona, Italy to modern-day Verona, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. In 2001, he directed and produced Moulin Rouge!

Joss Whedon is a writer, director and producer who is best known for being the creator and driving force behind the movie and television show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

Although no hint is given regarding a connection other than appearance, the character of Sarge bears an “uncanny” likeness to writer Chris Claremont.

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