X-Men Legacy (1st series) #260.1

Issue Date: 
March 2012
Story Title: 

Mike Carey (writer), Khoi Pham (penciler), Tom Palmer & Ed Tadeo (inkers), Antonio Fabela (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Clay Mann, Seth Mann & Morry Hollowell (cover artists), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

At the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Rogue, Gambit, Frenzy and Marvel Girl are engaged in a game of football with several of the students, including Rockslide, whom Rogue helps learn a new aspect of his power - that he can re-form his body using any rock, not just that rock that was part of his body. In doing this, however, Rockslide uses some large stones that were covering a nearby portal which housed the demons known as the N’Garai. Gambit and Frenzy question each other’s motives for taking up positions at the Jean Grey Institute, but before they can get further involved, Rogue learns of the N’Garai invasion, and she is determined that it will not interrupt the school day, as she has vowed the students here will get to live normal teenage lives. In the teachers’ lounge, Cannonball and Husk argue about Husk’s inability to deal with her problems, before they, Iceman and the Beast get word of the invasion. Iceman joins the battle on the school grounds, while Husk and the Beast go ahead and teach their classes. Cannonball joins the battle, but Rogue orders him to his class. Soon, one of the Mabdhara, the N’Garai generals, emerges from the portal, and rallies his fellow demons to widen the portal by taking the blood of innocents - and they make their way to the school buildings. Rogue quickly goes about subtly absorbing the powers of various students as she goes into each class, assuring them that despite the noise outside, things are fine. Using a combination of the students’ powers, Rogue manages to defeat the Mabdhara, and the remaining demons rush back through the portal, which is then sealed. Afterwards, Gambit and Rogue share some friendly words, before Gambit and Frenzy go into town and spend time at a bar. They reminisce about their early encounters, before kissing.

Full Summary: 

'Sudden death!’ the X-Woman called Rogue exclaims. ‘First touchdown wins!’ she adds, out on the sports field at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. On Rogue’s team, her fellow X-Men: Remy “Gambit” LeBeau, Rachel Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, and newest member Joanna “Frenzy” Cargill. On the opposing team are several of the school’s students - Anole, Rockslide, Armor and Glob Herman. ‘Fastball Special! Hurr hurr!’ Glob exclaims, while Anole darts past Rogue, carrying the football, he tells his friends ‘Block ‘em, guy! I see daylight!’, while Gambit throws several kinetically-charged playing cards at him. ‘Look at them. They’re acting like kids’ Rachel telepathically tells her teammates, while she hovers in the air, displaying her new costume. ‘They are kids’ Frenzy replies.

‘You know what I mean’ Rachel tells her, adding that they are acting like kids, which is nice to see, considering what everyone has been through. “I must study politics and war” Rogue quotes. ‘What’s that?’ Gambit asks her. Rogue replies that it is something John Adams said - explaining that he studied politics and war so his kids could study math and science, and their kids could study art and music. Looking at Anole and Rockslide, Rogue tells Gambit that he and she didn’t get to be kids, but they are going to make damn sure that these kids do. ‘Maybe with the next generation - fingers crossed there is one - it won’t even be a question’ Rogue declares, adding that it ain’t gonna be easy.

Rogue surges forward, towards Rockslide, and breaks through his rocky form. ‘Hey! Personal foul!’ Rockslide shouts, while a shocked Rachel asks ‘Um…Rockslide can re-form himself, right?’, to which Rogue replies ‘Yeah, good as new’, and tells Rachel that it is their job to push these kids to be better. Rogue touches Rachel on the cheek and borrows some telekinesis, which she uses to separate Rockslide as he tries to re-form himself. ‘Sentinels don’t take fifteen yard penalties!’ Rogue shouts. ‘Hey!’ Rockslide complains. Rogue tells him that he is no use in pieces, and that he has got to learn to hold himself together.

Rogue tells Rockslide not to worry about her pushing these stones away, reminding him he can re-form his body out of any rock. ‘Reach out. Use whatever’s available. Don’t just rebuild your body. Rebuild a better one’ Rogue tells him as she continues to push his broken body apart. ‘I’m trying!’ Rockslide exclaims. ‘Try harder!’ Rogue tells him, and again. This forces Rockslide to draw towards himself some rocks from another part of the campus, rocks that were covering a hole in the ground. ‘Holy badassness!’ Rockslide exclaims as he examines his increased mass once these rocks form his new body. ‘Your power ain’t in your body. That’s just stone. It’s up to you what shape it takes’ Rogue declares.

‘She’s a natural, eh?’ Gambit asks Frenzy as the two make their way off the field. Frenzy replies that Rogue has come a long way, but that she can’t say the same for Gambit ‘King of Thieves to lovesick schoolboy’ she points out, telling Gambit that he set himself up for a fall coming here. Gambit reminds Frenzy that he has been teaching kids to survive all his life - whether that is picking pockets and cracking safes or learning to live with a dark side they think that will drown them. ‘That’s why I came’ Remy declares. ‘Uh-huh. And it never crossed your mind that with Magneto on the other side of the country, tour chances with Rogue might improve?’ Joanna asks. Gambit cruelly points out that he is not the professional soldier who chose a school over an army so that he doesn’t have to see Cyclops and Emma Frost together.

Frenzy just smiles and moving closer to Gambit reminds him that folks cam here to make a change for the better - her included. ‘Don’t make me mess that up by breaking this off in your -’ Joanna begins, to which Gambit interrupts, telling Frenzy that he didn’t start it, but suggests that both leave the past in the past. Gambit adds that it is a new beginning, so there is no reason to dig up old demons.

At that moment, from the hole that was covered by the stones, there is a green glow, and a scrawny hand emerges. Rogue and Rachel suddenly convulse, and Rogue cries out in pain. ‘Um - are you okay?’ Anole calls out. Rogue and Rachel gather themselves and Rogue replies that she is fine, before ordering the children back to school. Rachel telepathically asks Rogue if she is sure, ‘We might need -’ she begins, but Rogue reminds Rachel that they came here to be students, so they are going to be students. Looking over to the woods nearby, Rogue tells Rachel to alert the faculty that they are being invaded by demons. ‘And it’s not gonna disrupt the school day!’ Rogue exclaims as she, Rachel, Frenzy and Gambit rush towards the woods, where the spindly demons have gathered.

In the meantime, in the teachers’ lounge, Dr Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast and Bobby “Iceman” Drake sit at a long table, while siblings Sam and Paige Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball and Husk stand nearby, with Sam exclaiming that he understands not wanting to have a graveyard on campus, but that he thinks it is disrespectful to the kids who died here to just sweep them under the rug because they’re “off-message”. Both siblings are sporting new costumes, and Husk quickly tells her brother that there are memorials in the teachers’ areas, and that Wolverine didn’t want to upset the students. ‘Yeah, well, Ah’m upset. And Ah don’t get why you ain’t. About lots’a things’ Sam declares, motioning to a photograph of their brother, Jay “Icarus” Guthrie, he points out that Paige doesn’t even look at his picture, and hardly even talks to the rest of the family, to him even.

Paige turns away from Sam and mutters that she has a class, so she should go and get changed. ‘That’s what Ah’m talking about’ Sam tells Husk, pointing out that every time she gets a less than happy thought, she sheds her skin. ‘Your power ain’t an antidepressant, Paige - you gotta -’ he begins, before the four X-Men receive a telepathic alert from Rachel, announcing that they have a Code Red. ‘Damn it’ Sam mutters, before telling Rachel to go ahead.

Dressed in their school uniforms, Anole, Rockslide, Armor and Glob Herman walk through one of the corridors, and Rockslide declares that something is up. ‘I’m telling you. They felt a disturbance in the force’ he exclaims. ‘Maybe it was just a headache’ Anole offers. But Rockslide replies that X-Men don’t get just” headaches”, and points out that it is like in the movies, when someone coughs, you know they have got cancer. Armor remarks that if there was a threat, the X-Men would tell them. ‘I go on missions with them all the time’ she boasts. ‘Yeah, Armor, you think you could rub that in a little harder -’ Rockslide begins, before Iceman slides past them on an ice-sled. ‘Hustle kids. You’re tardy!’ Bobby tells the students.

‘I told you! Iceman’s running off to defend a world that hates and fears us!’ Rockslide exclaims, while Armor approaches Dr McCoy and asks him if there is somewhere else they need to be right now. ‘Like, with the world in balance?’ she asks. Hank opens a door to a lecture theater and tells the students that they won’t get out of class that easily. ‘Come in. Let’s see who can identify the subject of today’s lecture’ he adds. Anole and the others take their seats. Several other students are already in the room. At the front of the lecture theater, Hank displays a projection of an alien. Armor raises her hand and announces that the N’Garai demons associated with the Elder God Chthon, and reveals that there is a stone portal to their dimension right here on the grounds. ‘Brown noser’ Glob mutters. ‘Really? Isn’t that dangerous? Why don’t they move it?’ Anole enquires. Beast explains that you can’t move a portal, and adds that it was sealed and Dr Strange cast a spell on it, so no one can get near it. Anole asks if it could get broken again by accident - a hurricane or something, but the Beast replies ‘Presumably not’ and adds that magic isn’t an exact science.

Outside the school buildings, the battle between the X-Men and the N’Garai is underway. Rogue and Frenzy attack their opponents with physical strength, while Iceman blasts his with ice. Rachel telekinetically lifts hers away, and Gambit throws kinetically charged playing cards at his. ‘Okay, you all got Beast’s telepathic briefing. Priority one is sealing the gateway!’ Rogue announces, before telling Iceman and Gambit that they are with her, telling Frenzy and Rachel to keep the N’Garai away from the school. ‘Rachel, who else is on site?’ Rogue calls out. Rachel replies that Wolverine and Kitty are at a school board meeting, and that Husk is teaching mutant lit. ‘Cannonball…is right about here’ Rachel adds as Sam blasts onto the battle-field, tearing one of the N’Garai apart. ‘Sam, don’t you have ethics class right now?’ Rogue calls out, as Sam steps up from the bones and gunk of the N’Garai. ‘Yeah, but I figured we were at Defcon One’ Sam replies. ‘Not yet. So get back there, pronto’ Rogue orders.

A moment later, Sam is in front of his class, where students like Indra, Cipher and Gentle stare at him. ‘Okay. The very first rule is, X-Men don’t kill…unless there ain’t not other choice’ Sam calls out. ‘Like, oh, you’re fighting demons from Jell. Just as a hypothetical’ Sam tells his students, while Toad, the school janitor, goes about wiping the N’Garai gunk covering Sam’s body. ‘Faster, Toad, this stuff’s eating through my costume!’ Sam exclaims.

In the Beast’s class, Hank announces that the N’Garai are deadly, and that their blood, fangs and claws are all poisonous. ‘They are extremely durable, single-minded killing machines’ Hank tells his students. The Beast reveals that the silver lining is that the vast majority of the N’Garai, the warrior caste, are not terribly intelligent - unless they are being given their orders by the generals - the Mabdhara.

Outside, Rogue, Bobby and Gambit approach the portal, and Rogue tells her teammates that they have to plug the leak. Green energy radiates from it, and Rogue points out that since they can’t get close to the cairn, it is down to the two of them. ‘Clear some space!’ Rogue exclaims. ‘Done!’ Gambit replies. ‘Got it sealed!’ Bobby calls out as he covers the portal in ice. ‘Now al we need to do is mop up the ones who got through. Easy as…crap!’ Bobby declares as something breaks through the ice - the Mabdhara. It’s massive form rises over the X-Men, and it calls out to its warriors: ‘To me, warriors! With the proper blood sacrifice we can widen the portal…bring through entire armies!’ the Mabdhara boasts.

‘If it’s blood you want, ugly, take your shot!’ Rogue calls out. But the Mabdhara just strides past them, telling Rogue, Iceman and Gambit that their souls are tainted by a lifetime of war. ‘We require the blood of innocents. We want your children!’ the Mabdhara exclaims. ‘There’s too many! Rachel, you’ve got incoming!’ Rogue calls out.

Rachel receives Rogue’s warning, but the N’Garai have swarmed towards her and Frenzy. ‘They’re on us…I’m trying to hold them back…and they feel so wrong, like maggots eating my brain!’ Rachel calls out, while announcing that Frenzy is getting woozy from the poison in their blood. ‘I’m fine!’ Frenzy boasts as she pummels another of the demons. Suddenly, Rachel sees several N’Garai run past them, towards the buildings. ‘We need to alert the students!’ she informs Rogue. But as Rogue knocks back one of the N’Garai, she tells Rachel ‘No’, and asks Remy if he can hold out. ‘Of course’ Gambit replies as he throws more cards at the N’Garai and speaks in French. ‘I hope that’s Cajun for “Call in the National Guard”!’ Iceman mutters. But Rogue smiles at Remy and Bobby and tells them that they don’t need the National Guard, and as she climbs onto Iceman’s ice-sled and they speed away, Rogue reveals that she has a better idea.

Inside the room where Husk is teaching Mutant Literature 101, Rogue bursts into the room and apologizes to Paige for interrupting, before informing her that she needs to borrow her, as they have a problem with the heating system. ‘Gotcha’ Paige replies, before turning to her class and telling them that it is silent reading from here on out. Closing the door behind her, Husk enters the corridor, and shedding her form, becomes like flame, ‘Seems warm enough to me!’ she declares as she releases flame against the intruding N’Garai.

Rogue is still in Paige’s classroom, and calls out to the students: ‘Before Ah go, Ah have an announcement’. Before she says what she has to say, however, Rogue is distracted by the student Bling, who has her cellular phone out. ‘Roxanne. No texting’ Rogue scolds her as she touches both Bling and Match. In the Beast’s class, Rogue tells the students that they might hear some noise. ‘We’re gonna be doing some…demolition outside’ she lies as she touches Rockslide when she walks past him, while telling the students that this is not an excuse to neglect their studies. In Cannonball’s class, Rogue stands by Gentle and Oya and tells them that they will sit here and do their work, that their school day will not be interrupted. ‘Ah trust Ah’m clear about that’ she exclaims as she touches both Gentle and Oya.

Back outside, ‘They’re breaching the wall!’ Iceman exclaims as he and the others continue to battle the N’Garai and the Mabdhara. ‘Can’t hold them all…’ Frenzy remarks as she smacks another of the demons over. The Mabdhara knocks Iceman aside, and urges his fellow demons onwards. ‘If even one child’s blood is spilled, we win!’ the demon shouts. Suddenly, ‘In that case…you lose, sugah!’ Rogue exclaims as she appears behind the Mabdhara, her form increased, rocky, and sporting both flame and ice - and then she stands on it. Frenzy and Gambit continue their attack, while Rogue causes rock to encase many of the N’Garai, while the others surge back to the portal from where they came.

‘How’re we supposed to study with that racket?’ Bling mutters to Match as they can hear the massive noises outside.

Soon, Frenzy and Rachel piles masses of rock onto the N’Garai ruin, while Rogue and Gambit stand nearby. ‘That ought to plug the portal ‘til Doc Strange or somebody can fix it. Hopefully better than last time’ Rogue declares, while Gambit points out that as far as the kids know, it was just another day of bettering themselves. Rogue tells Remy that she has gotten a lot better at not taking people’s memories when she borrows their powers, but that she cannot help getting flashes. ‘What these kids’ve been through already…Ah’m not sure we can spare ‘em the pain we’ve known. Ah’m not even sure we can spare ‘em worse’ Rogue tells Gambit. ‘Maybe not. But we’re gonna try our damnedest’ Gambit assures her. Rogue thanks Gambit and tells him she will see him later, deciding that she needs to be alone for a while, she heads off into the woods, while Frenzy watches them.

Later, Frenzy and Gambit are in civilian clothing and walk of out of a bar. ‘Glad I’m not the only one who had enough of being a responsible adult for a while’ Joanna tells Remy, who replies that he is never gonna be the tweed jacket type. ‘Rogue, on the other hand…you see her today? Like she was born to teach, to lead’ Remy remarks, before kinetically charging a bottle and throwing it into the air. Frenzy points out that Rogue has always depended on others just to survive, and now she has her powers under control, for the first time in her life, she is spreading her wings. ‘And I’m still the same no-account couyon I always been’ Gambit declares.

Frenzy smiles as the glass bottle explodes overhead, and reminds Gambit that when they first met, way back when, he was a damn fool with a chip on his shoulder bigger than his head. ‘Never saw a mess you wouldn’t dive right into…and make it worse’ Joanna tells him, adding that it was like looking in a mirror. ‘Little wonder we spent the whole time trying to kill each other’ she points out. ‘Way I recollect, it wasn’t all trying to kill each other’ Gambit tells Frenzy. ‘Sure it was’ Frenzy replies, adding that they just moved it into the bedroom and found more fun methods. Gambit smiles. Frenzy smiles. And then they embrace each other and kiss….

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cannonball, Frenzy, Gambit, Husk, Iceman, Marvel Girl III, Rogue (all X-Men)

Anole, Armor, Bling, Cipher, Dust, Gentle, Glob Herman, Graymalkin, Indra, Match, Oya, Rockslide (all Jean Grey School students)

Toad (school janitor)

N’Garai & Mabdhara

In Photograph:

Story Notes: 

The X-Men have encountered the N’Garai numerous times since their debut in X-Men (1st series) #96. Most recently in X-Men: Magik #5, and Free Comic Book Day: X-Men #1.

This is the first issue written by Christopher Gage and with the new status quo at the Jean Grey school.

Written By: