Essential Rogue and Gambit - Uncanny X-Men

The first issue of X-Men came out in 1963, and starred Cyclops, Beast, Archangel, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Iceman, and Professor X. By the 1970's it had been renamed The Uncanny X-Men. This series has spurned numerous companion series throughout the years, and has not only managed to survive, it thrived, and continues to do so today.

Issue - Uncanny X-Men #297
Summary - While Beast and Archangel work through the night to rebuild a recently destroyed Harry's Hideaway (where the X-Men have been going to for years to hang out, celebrate, etc.), and Rogue deals with the aftermath of her confrontation with Strobe, Jubilee and the professor enjoy some unusual bonding time. When she comes across a standing Professor X, he explains that he's temporarily regained the use of his legs as a side affect of a virus he's been exposed to. Jubilee convinces him to join her roller blading, and in the process learns that he's not the stiff, boring adult she always took him for...unfortunately, as the night fades, so too does the professor's ability to walk, and she has to help him back to his wheelchair.
Significance - Rogue has been temporarily blinded by Strobe, and is sitting on the roof of the mansion, thinking, when Gambit joins her. She asks him to leave her alone, but he doesn't...and while she struggles with questions about life and love, she admits that she wants him to take care of her. But when he tries to hold her, she yells at him, saying that her power is about restraint, and restraint is the one thing he doesn't have...and if he won't treat her like a woman, he should just go. He leaves her on the rooftop, but returns with a blanket. After wrapping her in it (to cover all that exposed flesh since she's wearing an itty bitty outfit), he holds her and promises that everything is going to be all right.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #341
Summary - It's Christmas Eve, and a group of X-Men have come to New York City to celebrate. Although the night begins with everyone hanging out in Rockefellar Center, they eventually break up into smaller groups/pairs. Everything is going just fine until Cannonball is accosted by Gladiator, the head of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. A fight ensues, one which causes a loud enough ruckus that the other X-Men in town hear it, and come to help him. Unfortunately, by the time they get there, the battle is over. When asked for an explanation, Gladiator tells them that the Majestrix of the Shi'ar empire has sent him to request the X-Men's help, at which point he uses transit spheres to teleport them to the Royal Cruiser of the Imperial Guard.
Significance - This issue begs the question - "Is there anything romantic going on between Rogue and Joseph (a Magneto clone in his 20's who has none of Magneto's memories)?" My answer, based on careful reading, is NO WAY. Come on, people. Let's think about this. Yes, Joseph does take Rogue on a somewhat romantic horse and carriage ride, and yes, he does figure out a way to touch her, and gives her a kiss on the forehead. But when Gambit announces that he's going off on his own in the beginning, Rogue is seriously pissed off. So even though it seems like Gambit's trying to give her a chance to spend time with Joseph by herself, she's obviously not dying for a moment alone with him.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #343
Summary - After docking with another Shi'ar ship, the X-Men are faced with a massacre. The only one still alive is a critically injured Deathbird, fierce warrior and sister to the Shi'ar Majestrix. As Joseph, Gambit, and Rogue search the ship for other survivors, they discover who is behind the attack - the Phalanx, a bio-technical species obsessed with absorbing all other life forms into their network. After destroying the remaining Phalanx on the ship, they come up with a plan to sneak past Phalanx ships to the Shi'ar throne world so they can free whatever Shi'ar have survived and as well as protect the young (unhatched children) before future generations are absorbed/killed.
Significance - As an incapacitated Gambit and Joseph are being loaded into the Phalanx ship, Rogue shows up and starts ripping the Phalanx to shreds...but there are too many of them, and although she takes quite a few out, they begin to absorb her into their network. They instruct her to say her last organic memory before she's completely incorporated, and she says, "G-Gambit. Gambit...ah loved you. Ah...always loved you." Of course, by then Gambit has freed himself of his restraints, and charges the Phalanx, blowing up their entire network on the ship. Then he holds her while she recovers. When he comes to rescue her, she tells him to get out while he can, not to risk his life for her. His response - "Girl, don't you ever listen? Without you...I don't have much of a life!"


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #348
Summary - After crash landing on Earth, Gambit, Rogue, and Joseph find themselves in Magneto's old Antarctic base, prisoners of his robotic servant, the Nanny. Their powers negated, Rogue and Gambit are chained to wooden posts in a cell, along with the bounty hunters Grovel and Spat, who have been hired to capture Gambit for some as-yet undisclosed reason. Meanwhile, Joseph is chained to the floor and exposed to multiple TVs playing anit-mutant news in Nanny's attempt to remind him of who he was, and reawaken his need for vengeance. With their powers gone, memories that Rogue has previously absorbed begin to surface at an alarming rate, causing her to act out scenes that she herself has never experienced. It seems that the prevalent memories amongst them are Gambit's, and as she struggles to figure them out and asks him what they are, he asks her to put them aside...that they're memories of a mistake he made a long time ago, one that he'll do everything in his power to fix.
Significance - The look of concern on Gambit's face as he recognizes the words coming out of Rogue's mouth...not only his, but other people's words to him, is touching. His thoughts tell us that his fears of her discovering his terrible secret are second to the horror of watching the woman he loves have to suffer through memories that are not her own. At the end of the issue, after trying to soothe her frayed nerves, he mentions that with their powers negated they can finally touch, and that this may be their one chance to...well, you know.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #349
Summary - A mysterious mutant called Maggot, who has been searching for Joseph, has tracked his movements to New York City, where he is attacked by Psylocke. She claims that she can only sense darkness in his thoughts, and as such, feels that she has to stop him while she can. Back in Antarctica, the other two people involved in the crash, Beast and his journalist girlfriend Trish Tilby, finally find each other in the caves of the base. Still trapped in their cell, Gambit goes off by himself (as far as his chains will let him) to do some series thinking, and Spat encourages Rogue to concentrate on the memories she's absorbed from Gambit. Just then, Joseph breaks through the wall with bad news about what's going on in the outside world, and tells them that they must escape. Gambit picks the locks on everyone's chains (including Spat and Grovel's) and the group tries to sneak out, but is confronted by the Nanny. Trish Tilby manages to sneak up on the unsuspecting robot (I guess she can't sense Trish since she's not a mutant) and takes her head off with a metal bar. Now that they're free, Rogue asks Gambit to explain why Spat and Grovel are after him, but he says he can't tell her...and proceeds to turn himself over to the bounty hunters, ready to face his mistakes.
Significance - At the beginning of the issue we are told that Gambit and Rogue "were able to fully express their love for each other" (even though they were stuck in a cell with Spat and Grovel). Take that as you will, friends...I'm sure you can figure it out. So, of course, Rogue is being all cuddly and gushing with sweetness, but Gambit pushes her away, and tells her not to say that she loves him, because she doesn't really know him, and if she did, she'd never be able to forgive his past mistakes. Once Nanny is destroyed, Gambit turns himself over to the bounty hunters, and says that he hopes that Rogue will forgive him someday, even though he'll never be able to forgive himself.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #350
Summary - The trial of Gambit...where do I begin? Spat and Grovel take Gambit to a mysterious enclosure (conveniently also in Antarctica) where he is placed in a cell and told that the time of his trial approaches. Once the other X-Men are able to put together some kind of transportation, Rogue insists they follow and save Gambit. This is where things get very complicated. Long story short, a mysterious figure who calls himself "Erik the Red" (which is apparently an identity several different people have adopted throughout the years when they don't want others to know who they are) forces the X-Men present to act as Gambit's jury. Remy's deepest, darkest secret is revealed by Rogue, who is forced to kiss him so she can absorb his memories and describe the events he's on trial for: once upon a time, long before he was a member of the X-Men, Gambit worked for Sinister. He gathered a group of mutants, the Marauders, for the geneticist, then told him that he was through working for him...but Sinister insisted he do one last job for him. Gambit eventually agreed, and led the Marauders right into the Morlocks' lair. He knew that something bad was going to happen, but didn't know just how bad things would get...until the Marauders began to kill the Morlocks. As soon as he realized what was going on, Gambit tried to stop them, but it was too late. All the Morlocks were slaughtered, save the one little girl Gambit was able to save - Marrow. Erik the Red places the Morlock Massacre on Gambit alone...but before any judgment can be reached, Rogue uses Gambit's powers (which she absorbed along with his memories) to free her fellow X-Men, and they all escape the building before it collapses. Erik the Red escapes (and we find out who he is), and the X-Men somehow get out of Antarctica...but leave Gambit to fend for himself. (Note - for Gambit's return, see X-Men #81.)
Significance - Rogue wants to help Gambit...but Gambit thinks he's beyond saving (body and soul). Despite her continued words of support and understanding when she tries to free him from his cell, he pushes her away, telling her that she has to leave him to face this alone. When she's literally physically forced to kiss him during the trial, he assures her that none of this is her fault. She accuses Erik the Red of "mentally raping" her by forcing her to absorb Gambit, the one man she wanted to get to know in a normal way...and as the building collapses, she is the one who grabs Gambit and saves him from becoming a pancake...but in the end, she throws him in the snow, and tells him that if he loved her, he would have come clean about his past...that he has no home now, not with the X-Men, and not with her...and she leaves him in the bitter cold to find his own way back to the civilized world.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #359
Summary - Haunted by the memory of the night she "expressed her love" for Gambit, Rogue has agreed to participate in a procedure that will potentially rid her of her powers forever. But Mystique, who has been posing as the wife of a senator and trying to thwart plans to find a way to render mutants "inert," learns of her foster-daughter's intentions and interrupts the procedure. Back at her apartment, she tries to convince Rogue not to go through with it, telling her that it is part of a plan to irradicate mutants, and that if her test proves successful, it will be used as a weapon. In order to determine if Mystique is telling the truth, she absorbs her, then infiltrates the lab and absorbs the head scientist's memories. She learns that while the scientist has created his machine in order to help his sister (a mutant who looks like a monster), the government has its own ideas how the technology should be applied. Rogue admits that she'd like to let him take her powers away, but she can't let him because she doesn't want the procedure to be used on unwilling participants. She destroys the machine and returns to the X-Men. Meanwhile, in Anchorage, Jean Grey is recovering from an attack via the psi-plane that has resulted in the loss of her telepathy. Cyclops is ever present by her side.
Significance - Rogue cites two reasons for wanting her powers negated - she wants to be able to hold a lover, and maybe a child in the future, in her arms. When Mystique morphs into Gambit to make a point, Rogue throws her through a window and warns that if she doesn't change form, she'll rip Gambit's face off her.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #368
Summary - While the other X-Men mourn the death of Joseph, who has apparently given his life to save others, Wolverine mercilessly trains in the Danger Room. He's preparing for the worst, as the United Nations has recently agreed to give Magneto the nation of Genosha to rule as he sees fit. The issue ends with a group of the X-Men being transported onto an alien planet.
Significance - Joseph's passing has a special affect on Rogue...aside from their close friendship, he was able to use his powers to temporarily allow him to kiss her without her absorbing him. Gambit observes from afar, yearning to comfort her, but holding back because he knows that he can't do what Joseph did for her.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #382
Summary - After Jean forges a mind-link with a fallen enemy, Cable fears that she may not make it back to her body before he dies. Storm, Beast, and Gambit convince him to use his psi-powers to allow them to join her in the shockwave rider's mind. They arrive in time to see that Jean has successfully incapacitated him, although they are confronted by four new enemies that call themselves the Lost Souls. Meanwhile, in the real world, Cable is attacked by a group of shockwave riders, which he is forced to fight alone as his teammates are incapacitated. The Lost Souls decide to divide and conquor, each one pairing up with one X-Man - Lament and Storm, Dirge and Gambit, Requiem and Beast, and Desolation and Jean - but they inevitably fail to keep the X-Men down for long. The X-Men and the shockwave rider all return to their bodies, and the battle between Cable and the others comes to an abrupt end. The shockwave riders decide to leave things alone for now, but promise that they will return and finish the X-Men once and for all in the future.
Significance - Dirge's attack on Gambit is psychological...he makes Gambit face the darker parts of his past - namely his role in the Morlock massacre and the lies he's told Rogue. And although his grief gets to him for a moment, he's able to move past it, partially because of his love for Rogue. He even declairs his love for her aloud, something Gambit rarely does, making this a noteworthy issue.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #385
Summary - Cable, Colossus, Psylocke, Gambit, Storm, Archangel, and Thunderbird have seemingly joined a band of pirates, the Sea Dogs, and are helping them collect innocent people to be sold into slavery. Wolverine, Beast, Rogue, Jean, and Nightcrawler arrive at the scene and try to stop them, but they fail and are captured. As the former X-Men drag their booty back to the center of slaver operations, it becomes apparent that this was all part of Gambit's master plan to shut down the slavers for good. The X-Men band together to fight the slavers, and Rogue finishes off their leader with a charged card thanks to Gambit's powers.
Significance - Rogue is puzzled by Gambit's betrayal...she can't quite believe it, so she holds back. When she gets close enough to absorb him, he tells her not trust him. She says that she does, and is incapacitated by Cable. Gambit brings her to the slavers unconscious, draped over his shoulder. But when the Goth tells his followers to kill them, the X-Men spring into action at her command. In the course of the fight, the Goth knocks everyone down, giving Rogue the opportunity to absorb Gambit, charge a card, and end things once and for all. Even though her role in the Goth's death was actually a plan she absorbed from Gambit, she feels guilty for causing the death of another, and Gambit promises to hold her for as long as she needs his comfort.


Issue - Uncanny X-Men #386
Summary - A night of dancing in New Orleans is cut short when Jean receives a weak psychic distress call from a woman stuck in a hurricane. Storm, Cable, and Rogue go out to sea in order to find the lost vessel. Storm is struck by wreckage flying around in the storm and is knocked out, leaving the rescue to Cable and Rogue. While Cable slices through waves with is psimitar, Rogue pushes the boat to safety, although she almost drowns when she gets trapped in an undertow.
Significance - Gambit is uncomfortable watching Rogue go off with Cable and Storm, especially because he feels like something isn't quite right with Cable recently. But typical Gambit, he can't bring himself to say so outright, and Rogue is plagued by the fact that he's talking in riddles that she can't decipher. It's sweet to see he cares, though. Later, when Rogue thinks she's going to die, her final thoughts are of Gambit...right before Cable pulls her out of the ocean.


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