X-Men: Curse of the Mutants: Storm & Gambit #1

Issue Date: 
October 2010
Story Title: 

Chuck Kim (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Wayne Faucher, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba, Mark Irwin & Chris Bachalo (inkers), Antonio Fabela & Chris Bachalo (colors), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Miko Suayan & Christina Strain (cover), Chris Bachalo (variant cover), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men have learned of a vampire island in the Mediterranean where Dracula’s body is kept, however they cannot teleport in or scan it due to some sort of shield. Which means that the two resident thieves, Storm and Gambit, volunteer to steal Dracula’s body. However, their jet is shot down above the island and they only escape due to a mysterious telepathic warning. It becomes quickly clear who is behind the warning: Janus, Dracula’s loyal son who suggests they team up. Within the cavern, they are attacked and Storm is split from the others who discover the body but are attacked by more vampires. Storm finds a vampire circle in a trance, keeping up the shield while automatically feeding on humans. Janus informs her that the only way to drop the shield is kill the vampires which will kill the humans too. Out of options and time, Storm apologizes to the victims and does it. The X-Men teleport in and help their friends take the body while Storm has to deal with the guilt about what she did.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea, an X-jet flies, manned by Storm and Gambit. This is why they cannot teleport in, Storm announces. The vampires are generating a sort of forcefield around their island. He isn’t seeing anything, Gambit remarks. Storm explains that she can see how it disrupts the flow of weather patterns, air currents and temperature. Pure corruption. And she can smell it. Vile, like rotted flesh which means dark magic. She always did have a flare for the dramatic, he teases, and a nose for trouble. He is one to talk, she smirks. C’est vrai, ma reine, he replies.

They know you’re here, Ororo suddenly hears as though someone is speaking to her mentally. Get out of the plane now! What did he says? Ororo asks startled. He didn’t say nothing, Gambit protests.

Suddenly, vampires attack and the plane is taken down. Hovering far above it, the two X-Men remark they have barely begun and are already one plane down.

After the flying vampires leave, Gambit suggests they go down. Storm wants to stay a bit longer. They don’t want the vampires to see them. If not for that telepathic warning… He appreciates that warning as much as she does but maybe they could talk about it on solid ground… It can’t be, she mutters, suddenly sensing something on the ground. She lands the two of them.

She apologizes. For a moment, she thought she saw who was helping them. But he’s gone. Their target himself. Dracula. The undead dead guy? Gambit asks. The guy whose head is 15,000 miles away? After everything he’s been through with the X-Men, is that so hard to believe? He was just here, standing next to this path. Clearly, he meant for them to go that way. Whatever she says, he decides. Just point him at what it is she needs blown up.

Utopia, eight hours ago. The team is gathered. And thus, thanks to Northstar’s superspeed-staking all of the vampires before she could read their minds, their mission to find intel on this “vampire island” was a colossal failure, Emma Frost summarizes. Dazzler warns her not to blame Northstar, who did it to save her. Those stupid medallions the vampires wear not only block sunlight but her ultraviolet light blasts too. Point taken. Dazzler was completely useless in the fight, Emma remarks, except for giving her those unfortunate tan lines she mutters and ogles the top of her breasts critically.

Cyclops reminds them that the vampires have declared war on them. They need to do better. All Blade could tell them about this place was that the vampires are keeping Dracula’s body there. Up till now, he thought it was a myth and he is the expert on these people.

Storm suggests alerting Dr. Strange or his successor, Doctor Voodoo. But Cyclops already tried them: nothing. The vampires are masters at controlling what information they let out. He turns to Storm. She and Gambit agree to steal Dracula’s body so they can resurrect him. Are they sure, just the two of them? Scott asks. Other than it being a Greek island, they know nothing of its population, defenses, layout… The two are not impressed.

Northstar suggests they have Magik or Pixie teleport in and have a quick look around. Emma explains the vampires are blocking both Cerebra scans and teleportation gates in a 100 mile radius of the island. That means walking into a potential minefield with no back up, Cyclops warns. The perfect mission for two thieves, Storm believes. Two master thieves trained since childhood, Gambit corrects her.

Oh please, Emma mocks; they know what this is about. Storm’s bored with her proper husband and wants some excitement. Going to play Twilight with her old lover Dracula, hmm? They weren’t lovers, Ororo coolly informs her. He attacked her. But this experience gives her a potential advantage. Dracula created a psychic bond with her years ago. Perhaps this will somehow help in finding him.

Again, Cyclops warns her of the danger. But Storm believes they are prepared. And she will do whatever it takes to get this done…

As they make their way through the vegetation Storm insists she received a telepathic warning. Gambit replies he tries not to think about magic or vampires or anything like that too much. He leaves that to people like her. But he does know she never steered him wrong. If she says she needs him, that’s good enough for him. ‘Course, he doesn’t know if he trusts that voice she’s been hearing… Especially if it says to go down there, a cave.

Ororo beckons him to the cave’s entrance. Can he feel it? Happy to say he doesn’t… She leads him inside. He asks about her claustrophobia. Much better she assures him. Charles gave her some excellent coping exercises. They do not notice someone standing behind them at the cave’s entrance…

They walk further and further down for what feels like hours. Is she picking up Dracula yet? Gambit asks. She shushes him. She needs to concentrate. She is manipulating the air saturation around them. It masks their scent from the vampires. Is she all right? To use her powers, she must bond with the elements, she explains. The air here fights her. It’s very essence is corrupted. It’s this whole place, Gambit decides. Like a vampire itself. Feels like it’s sucking the life right outta—

The next moment, a vampire jumps on him followed by others who attack Storm. Ororo calls lightning to hit them but senses something wrong. A female vampires topples her. She grabs Ororo’s hair, musing she’s heard mutant blood gives you a rush for hours afterward…

Gambit gets rid of his vampire attacker and hits Storm’s assailant with his staff. The first vampire grabs him again. No more tricks, he announces. No more anything for him, it turns out as Storm kills him. She figures she needs to limit the use of her powers here. They are too volatile.

A young looking vampire newcomer stops another attacker from leaving, remarking he doesn’t think Queen Ororo is through with him yet. The newcomer greets the two X-Men and explains they’ll need his help if they are going to survive the experience. Storm demands to know who he is and how he knows her. Gambit points out as Queen of Wakanda she is kinda famous. The stranger introduces himself as Janus, first son of Dracula. And he knows her because his father spoke of her often. “The one that got away…” She grows tired of that misconception of his father and her, Storm announces haughtily. So what does he want?

The same as them, comes the reply. To restore his father to the throne. Unfortunately, the body is simply too well guarded and the entire vampire nation has orders to kill him on sight. He cannot do it alone. But together

Why should they trust him? Ororo asks. Janus points out he already saved them once, revealing he was the one to telepathically warn her on the plane.

Gambit whispers he is against it. Janus gives off a big bad wolf vibe. And they are Red Riding Hood. Ororo whispers back that her powers are questionable at best now. They need every advantage they can get. She accepts Janus’ help. Splendid, he replies. Shall they begin by interrogating their prisoner?

Later in what looks like the interior of a church, where according the guard they were supposed to find Dracula’s body. Is this a temple? Storm asks. The entire island is, Janus explains. The oldest place of worship on Earth. They are the first humans here. This is where the vampires fled after being hunted down in Atlantis. The legends say Varnae constructed it completely from magic, the structures the land, even the air itself. Hence the problem with her powers, Storm realizes.

Gambit demands Janus stop staring at him. Janus apologizes. This is all new to him, he is a pureblood. He explains that he was born as a vampire and spent no time as a human. His only real interaction with non-vampires—- has been as prey, Gambit finishes. Janus assures him he can control his urges, they needn’t worry.

A moment later, they are attacked and Storm is dragged down a hole by monstrous vampires. Storm finds herself alone down there. Janus telepathically contacts her. She can’t fly up as she is too drained. She tells them not to come down, they tumbled through some crevice. She is too far out. She tells them to get Dracula. He is the priority and they are running out of time. She’ll be fine.

She gathers up a sword and beheads a vampire, then walks along the tunnel until around the corner she sees a guarded cell. She tells Janus she thinks she has found the source of the shield. Once she brings it down, they can summon the rest of the X-Men to finish this.

She kills the guard and enters the cell. In a circle sit vampires concentrating on a spell. They are linked to humans, which serve as food source being slowly drained of blood. One of the persons hanging from the ceiling addresses Storm and begs for help.

Janus and Gambit, in the meantime, have found the headless body. Gambit isn’t sure whether Janus told him the truth about Storm. Janus scoffs that he is a prince of the vampire nation. If he wanted him dead, he would be.

“Prince Janus”, a newcomer announces, he honors them with his presence. And how gracious he brought dinner! a vampire woman surrounded by other vampires smirks.

Elsewhere, the prisoner asks Storm to help. He’s been down here for days. Those things don’t sleep or move. They just sit here. They are feeding on them.

Gambit and Janus do battle. Storm reaches Janus telepathically, explaining the situation that the shield is generated by a group of vamps in a trance. There are humans connected to them. Janus explains it’s a mother bond. Vampires in dormant states use them to feed. How does she free the humans? Storm asks. Janus fears she can’t. The procedure was designed to serve vampires, not humans. Storm suggests she kill the vampires. Do that or sever the chord, he tells her, and the humans will bleed out immediately. But whatever she does, she has to hurry. Because after them they will come for her and if the shield isn’t down, it’s all over.

Storm asks the victim if he knows how to stop this. He doesn’t know and pleads for helps.

Janus again tries to contact Storm as the battle rages on and they finally are beaten. Storm apologizes; she doesn’t know how to set them free.

Janus pleads they are going to die if she doesn’t act now. The vampires close in and Storm is out of options. She apologizes for not being able to save the victims an destroys the vampires, thus also killing the humans. She then calls Cyclops to inform him that the shield is down and he can send in a team. She adds that Janus helped them. Have Emma instruct the others not to kill him.

A moment later, help arrives for Gambit while Storm sits amidst the dead vampire victims.

Upstairs, Magik has teleported in Emma Frost, Wolverine, Colossus, Dazzler, Northstar, Psylocke and Angel. Oh dear God, these people smell terrible, Emma announces. “Let’s wrap this up quickly, please!”

Immediately, the X-Men attack. At super-speed, Northstar takes away the amulets that protect them from UV rays, allowing Dazzler to pulverize them all. “Go team Jacob!” Northstar announces.

With the battle over Storm rejoins them as they transport away Dracula’s body. Gambit was beginning to think she’d left with Janus. He made sure she was okay, then vanished. Is she okay? For a woman who may have just saved mutantkind, she doesn’t look so happy. She recalled that when she joined the X-Men she swore to never take a life. But that changed. She made an exception. And exceptions became justifications. Taking a life became less horrifying. And today she crossed a line. She took another life. Not a monster or a vampire. An innocent.

Gambit understands her. But it’s when she stops feeling bad for hard decisions that’s when she has to worry. She’s worried now, because she wonders, the next time she crosses that line… will it be too hard to bear?

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Emma Frost, Gambit, Northstar, Psylocke, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Janus, loyal son of Dracula
vampire victims

in flashback:
Cyclops, Dazzler, Emma Frost, Gambit, Northstar, Storm (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 

This story takes place between X-Men (3rd series) #2 and 3.

The vampire hunter Blade came in contact with the X-Men in Curse of the Mutants: Blade.

Dracula’s head is found in Namor #1.

“Twilight” refers to the popular series of novels by Stephenie Meyer about the love story between a human girl and a vampire (as does the term “Team Jacob” – Jacob being a vampire & Edward’s werewolf rival for Bella’s affection).

Dracula tried to seduce Storm in Uncanny X-Men #159 and Annual #6.

C’est vrais, ma reine: French for « That’s true, my queen. »

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: