Essential Rogue and Gambit - X-Men

Ok guys and gals, this is where my familiarity with the comics falters a little, so I'll do the best I can to explain what's going on. In short, it's my understanding that X-Men is supposed to be a companion to the Uncanny X-Men series, covering periods of time and events that Uncanny has neglected. The issues I have in my collection are from the second X-Men series. My initial intention was to seamlessly weave them into my Uncanny section, but I have no idea where to rather than trying to figure this mess out, I decided it would be simpler just to give this series its own section.

Of all the series, this was one of the most difficult to summarize precisely because it's meant to be a companion to other books, and the story lines leak over to and from comics other than just Uncanny X-Men. I think I've done a pretty good job, though, and if you have any problems figuring out what's going on, you can always drop me a line.

Issue - X-Men #4
Summary - Omega Red is brought back to life, Moira MacTaggart leaves the mansion feeling guilty about the (unknowing) part she played in recent past events (despite Banshee and Professor X's best efforts to assure her that it wasn't her fault), and Rogue, Wolverine, Gambit, and Jubilee attempt to play a powers-free game of basketball. Rogue accuses Gambit of cheating...and in response, he charges the ball and throws it at her. After the inevitable explosion, he invites her on a date. Though her reaction is less than kind, she shows up all dressed up and ready to go at the appointed hour. Of course, no one trusts the Cajun with Rogue's Logan, Beast, and Jubilee follow the couple in a jeep...but just when Rogue and Gambit are about to lose their uninvited chaperones, they're attacked by a group of soldiers, and everyone is captured.
Significance - Remy has apparently finally decided to focus his charms on one particular X-Woman. And so their infamous relationship begins. There are some choice lines in this one...from Jubilee's, "Restaurant? You'll be lucky if he takes you to a Taco Bell, Rogue," to Gambit's, "There are some things I prefer not to do in a group."


Issue - X-Men #8
Summary - Bishop, a mutant from one possible future (where the X-Men are nothing more than legends) has come to the present and is in the process of joining the same X-Men he has grown up hearing stories about. When he meets Gambit, he realizes that the man known as Witness (or LeBeau) in his time, the last man to see the X-Men alive before they were betrayed by one of their own, is none other than Gambit. This realization leads Bishop to assume that Gambit is the betrayer...tensions mount, but are dispelled when everyone goes on a (previously planned) picnic. At the picnic, Cyclops ogles Psylocke, much to Jean's annoyance, Rogue and Gambit flirt, and Gambit and Bishop fight. And just when things can't get any worse...Bella Donna Boudreaux shows up. For the first time, the X-Men learn something about his past in New Orleans - namely the arranged marriage between him and Bella Donna and his banishment from the Thieves Guild. There is trouble brewing between the Thieves and Assassins Guilds, and Belle has come to Gambit for help. The X-Men tell him that they will accompany him back to New Orleans and help however they are able.
Significance - This picnic is often referred to as Rogue and Remy's "attempted second date," even though all the X-Men are there. Rogue and Remy are sitting separately from everyone else...but they are far from alone. There are a number of great lines in this issue, followed shortly thereafter by Gambit accidentally hitting Rogue in the face with a charged pie (one that she spent hours making for him) when Bishop, his intended target, jumps out of the way. This is also the first time Rogue finds out that Remy is married (although because he's forced to leave the Big Easy the day of the wedding it probably wasn't consumated)...and she takes it pretty well. I mean, she's surprised, hurt, and angry, but she doesn't throw him off a cliff or anything. Not yet, anyway...


Issue - X-Men #19
Summary - In the previous issue, several X-Men travel to Russia to find out what happened to a town with whom all contact has been lost. Cyclops, Wolverine, Jubilee, and Psylocke are incapacitated by Omega Red, who is under the control of a mutant who calls himself Skinner of Souls. Colossus and a member of some kind of Russian military group evade Omega Red and discover a barn full of children who are unaffected by the spell the Skinner of Souls has cast on everyone else in the town. Meanwhile, the Russian government kills Colossus' parents and kidnaps his little sister, with the intention of evolving her latent mutant powers to stop the Skinner of Souls, even if it kills her in the process. Luckily, the other X-Men come to and stop the Skinner of Souls themselves when Psylocke injects the innocence of one of the unaffected children into the Skinner of Souls' mind using her psychic blade. While his guard is down, one of the Russian soldiers shoots him.
Significance - Although it isn't part of the main story line, Rogue and Gambit get a few frames in the middle...back at the mansion, Rogue is still blind from one of Strobe's blasts (from a battle I know very little about), but she misses flying. So she grabs Gambit, and takes to the sky, using him as her eyes. Their scene is only a page long, but it's amusing...and kinda sweet of Gambit to let her use him in this manner...not that he has much choice.


Issue - X-Men #24
Summary - Rogue and Gambit enjoy their first real date without interruption in the wake of tragedy. While he takes her out to dinner and a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, Jubilee tries to deal with the death of her friend, and Colossus's sister, Illyana. Revanche and Psylocke continue their quest to figure out who the real Betsy Broddock is (this is a long, complicated story that even I don't know all the details of...from what I understand, their minds were split, so each woman has half of Betsy's mind). The professor, Sean Cassidy, Moira MacTaggart, Beast, Cyclops, and Jean Grey continue their search for a cure to the Legacy Virus - a deadly virus that only infects mutants.
Significance - Duh, Rogue and Gambit go on a date. They tease each other during dinner, but the conversation becomes more serious on the carriage ride...when Gambit tells her that he's wanted things to be like this for them from the start, and asks for a kiss. Rogue pulls away, explaining that her first kiss put her friend into a coma, and that she'd die if anything happened to him. He tells her that they just won't kiss then, and that maybe this was their chance to learn about the real meaning of love, beyond the physical aspect. She offers to tell him her real name as a gesture of her affection, but he tells her that her name doesn't matter to him. That's so sweet! Ah think ah need to find me a Remy LeBeau of mah own...


Issue - X-Men #28
Summary - Apparently Sabertooth has recently come to the professor seeking help - he claims to want to learn how to control his violent rage. Several X-Men disagree with the Professor's decision to let Sabertooth stay in the mansion, a fact Jean and Cyclops bring to his attention, and though he appreciates their opinions, he stands behind his choice. When Sabertooth begins to get worked up, Psylocke enters his cell to give him a psychic injection, but fails when he attacks her. He says he wants Jean to give him his "fix," and she obliges. Unaware of the extent of her psychic prowess, Sabertooth taunts Jean and her affections for Wolverine, until she kicks his butt with a few telepathic punches and refuses him the injection he wants so badly...teaching him a valuable lesson that includes a touch of humility.
Significance - Rogue volunteers to bring Sabertooth one of his many meals, a fact that gets Gambit all worked up to the point of insisting on accompanying her. When they arrive, Rogue tries to convince Sabertooth that they only want to help him, and in return, he mocks her with hints that he knows about certain events in Gambit's past that involve Paris and an old girlfriend. He tells her that Gambit is just using her, that he doesn't really care about her, at which point Gambit charges up some cards and tells him to shut up. He does, but not before hinting that Rogue has a brother (or, more precisely, that her foster-mother Mystique has a son, so she has a foster-brother). Whether Gambit's concern over Rogue bringing food to Sabertooth is for her safety, or fear of what she might find out from Sabertooth about him, remains to be seen.


Issue - X-Men #30
Summary - After much anticipation, and long years of building up their relationship, Jean and Scott finally get married. Logan is the only one who misses the ceremony, although he left a note for the happy couple and one for Professor X. The wedding takes up the entire issue, and is told mainly from Professor X's point of view.
Significance - Rogue and Gambit are at the wedding together, and though they get very little coverage in this issue, what they do get is priceless. When Rogue catches the bouquet (it's good to be a girl who can fly), the single men dive after the garter in anticipation of slipping it on the southern belle's thigh, but Gambit beats them all to it, saying, " didn' think I'd give anyone else a chance t'slip this on the little lady, did you? I t'ink not."


Issue - X-Men #33
Summary - Rogue finally goes to Sabertooth to hear about Gambit's past. Sabertooth describes his first run-in with the Cajun, in Paris, when they were both out to steal a valuable necklace from a young woman. Gambit saves the girl from Sabertooth's attack and woos her, intending on earning her trust before swiping the necklace. This task was appointed to him by the Thieves Guild as a test, his brother Henri also in Paris as his sponsor. While Sabertooth sits back and watches, Gambit succeeds in securing the girl's affections and taking the necklace, but when he returns to Henri's room with his prize, he finds a note directing him to Notre Dame, where Sabertooth holds his girlfriend and Henri over the edge of the roof, threatening to drop them both if he doesn't hand over the necklace. Gambit does as he's told, but Sabertooth drops them anyway, and only able to save one, Gambit chooses his brother. As the girl breathes her last breath in his arms, she tells him that she truly loved him, and would've given him the necklace if he'd asked her to. Faced with the idea that Gambit is using her the same way he used this girl, Rogue gets in an argument with him, saying that while she's in love with him, he doesn't know what love is.
Significance - Although Gambit's past has been referred to in passing, I believe this is the first time a specific shady incident is described. It makes Rogue doubt his love for the first time, and I can't blame her...he says and does many a sweet thing, but does he really mean it? Especially after he's probably said and done such things a million times to a million girls. It makes one pause. But his responses to her words are encouraging - he admits that he was wrong, says that he's grown up since then, and implies that she's one of the reasons he's changed for the better.


Issue - X-Men #34
Summary - Psylocke and Gambit inspect the old abandoned orphanage where Cyclops grew up on a tip from Sabertooth, while Rogue and Beast stay behind in the jet. Surprisingly, the information Sabertooth has given them is correct, and as they make their way into a secret underground chamber they are attacked by Riptide, who was killed a while ago. At this point Rogue joins them, as does Beast when they descend another level, where they find Threnody, a mutant I am unfamiliar with, but who is apparently a friend they left in Sinister's hands in the hopes that he would help her become more lucid. She is surprisingly happy in her present position, because Sinister doesn't come by that often, which allows her to pursue her own interests. She shows them the huge genetic library he has collected over the years (which allowed him to create a Riptide clone), and in spite of Beast's protests that it has potential to be used for good, destroys it so it cannot be used for any more of Sinister's evil purposes.
Significance - When Riptide attacks Gambit and Psylocke, Rogue doesn't hesitate to come to their rescue, although she arrives just after they've knocked him out. When she breaks through the wall, she screams, "REMY!!" which is followed shortly thereafter by "' Betsy too, of course." Gambit goes on to address her as "mon amour." So even though she's still not too happy about what she's learned from Sabertooth, she can't deny her feelings for Gambit. And Gambit's feeling for her haven't changed either...


Issue - X-Men # 38
Summary - This issue includes a series of vignettes about different X-Men. Rather than going into all of them, I'm going to focus on the two that involve Rogue and Gambit. In Rogue's section, she goes for a swim with Iceman, who freezes the water right before she dives in despite her warnings that she's not in the mood for jokes. They argue a little, and both agree to deal with their issues - hers with Gambit and his with Emma Frost - rather than ignoring them as they have been. Meanwhile, Gambit confronts Sabertooth about telling Rogue about an event from his past, knowing he only did so to hurt Gambit by tearing the couple apart. He comes close to finishing Sabertooth off, but says that he's worked too hard to get where he is, and learned too much - including how to love - to kill him. Rogue overhears part of this conversation, and tells Gambit that she was wrong to hold his past against him, especially since there were parts of her past that she wasn't particularly proud of.
Significance - It's always nice to see a couple kiss and make up...well, figuratively. Gambit says several things to Sabertooth that convince me, and apparently Rogue, that he's not the same guy he was all those years ago in Paris. In this instance, it's easier to believe his words to Sabertooth than those same words addressed to Rogue...because as much as I adore Gambit, and as much as I'd like to believe in his feelings for Rogue, we all know what a charmer he can be. With Sabertooth, he has no reason to lie. He could have said, "Thanks a lot for screwing up my plan to seduce and use Rogue," but he doesn't. He really loves her, or is trying to love her, at least.


Issue - X-Men #41
Summary - Ok...this issue is the middle of a big, complicated arc. Suffice it to say that Professor X's schizophrenic son (who's also a powerful mutant) Legion has gone back in time to kill Eric Lensher before he becomes Magneto. Accidentally bringing several X-Men with him, they hunt down a younger Professor X (who has yet to create the X-Men) and try to stop Legion together. In the end, Professor X throws himself in front of Eric, and Legion accidentally kills him instead...and the future is (supposedly) irrevocably changed...that which is in the present, no longer can be. A crystalline wave freezes everything in the present, and the world as we know it shatters.
Significance - Everyone in the present is well aware of the crystalline wave's approach, although they hope that their teammates in the past will be able to stop it. In the last seconds before the wave hits, Rogue and Gambit seize this one last opportunity to express their love for each other, and kiss. Their first kiss was to be their last...


Issue - X-Men #45
Summary - Rogue and Iceman go on a road trip to Seattle. Ever since she and Gambit kissed right before they thought they were going to die, an act which placed Gambit in a coma, she's experienced a steady pull to go out west. Iceman tries to help Rogue, but she is moody and withdrawn, trying to sort out the memories she absorbed from Gambit. When they stop in a bar, Iceman inadvertently starts a fight when he tries to separate a scantily clad, and therefore dangerous, Rogue from a growing crowd of admirers, at which point Gambit shows up and helps him fight off the angry men. Rogue runs off, but Gambit and Iceman catch up to her in an abandoned theatre, where Gambit confronts her. She is relieved that he's ok, but is troubled by the shadowy memories of his that are trying to surface, and is discouraged about their relationship, saying that nothing will ever come out of it because of her mutation. In spite of his best efforts to subdue her, Rogue announces that she's taking a brief sabbatical from the X-Men and once again runs off. Gambit tells Iceman to go home, that he needs a few days to himself before he can go back. He then runs into Sinister, who mocks him about his past deeds.
Significance - Poor Rogue is going through so much here...not only did she almost kill yet another suitor, but she has some of his not-so-nice memories running around her head. Even though she and Gambit had previously agreed that their pasts don't matter, now that she has a taste of his, she needs to know the whole truth so she can get past it. Gambit is more emotional that usual, to the point of crying over the idea that Rogue knows what he's done and will never forgive him. He's relieved to discover that she can't quite seem to grasp the details of the memories she's absorbed, but offers to let her absorb him again so she can learn the whole truth...which she declines. After kissing him and putting him in a coma, she believes their relationship is hopeless, but Gambit has incredibly sweet responses to every one of her arguments. I love this issue because it pretty much deals exclusively with Rogue and Gambit - this is one of the many instances where one of them pushes the other away...and the other refuses to give up. It's also important to note that there are some great quotes in this one, especially from Gambit.


Issue - X-Men #81
Summary - Gambit's back from Antarctica (see Uncanny X-Men #350 for more info), Rogue's acting all weird, and Storm and Wolverine seem to think that there's something going on between Shadowcat and Colossus...though both adamantly deny it. Anyway, Remy is ready and willing to try and make things work...but Rogue doesn't seem like she's ready to forgive and forget. While they're trying to sort things out, a strange woman who hears voices shows up and tries to kill both of them. But her "voices" aren't enough help during the confrontation, and Rogue and Gambit seemingly beat her. When Rogue leaves Gambit in Boston (this time because she thinks she's pushing him too hard, too fast...not because she's mad at him), a green mist appears and begins "talking" to Gambit. I've heard about the colossally stupid green's supposedly what allowed Gambit to survive the conditions in Antarctica...and is female, so I guess she doesn't like Rogue much. But I don't know any more than that.
Significance - When Rogue first approaches Gambit at the boathouse, he's so distracted that he over charges several cards and nearly blows off his hand, after which Logan shows up and tells Gambit that he's ready to give him a second chance...but tells him that he better not betray the X-Men or break Rogue's heart again. Or else. The couple goes to Boston to talk, but Rogue loses her temper, and Gambit has to chase her from rooftop to rooftop as he tries to convince her that she should give him another chance. When it finally becomes clear that her seemingly negative attitude is a result of the guilt she's still feeling over leaving him behind, Gambit tells her that it was the self-loathing she absorbed from him that made her do it, so she shouldn't feel bad about it. After they defeat Kali (the woman with the voices), Rogue tells him that she still loves him, and asks if him if he still loves her...but when he is unable to say the words, she apologizes for pushing too hard, and tells him that she'll give him more time...but warns that she won't wait forever.


Issue - X-Men #83
Summary - Cerebro, the computer Professor X used to find and catalog mutants, has somehow become a sentient being, and is bent on making the Earth a safe place for mutants by destroying humans. In order to do this, it needs the professor, and has split itself up into "Cerebrites" to find him. While one group of X-Men, along with the Brotherhood's help, protects the professor, another team has gone to a distant mountain country where they have somehow detected another being matching Xavier's signal. What they find is a young mutant named Nina who has inadvertently copied the professor's bio signature. As Storm, Colossus, Gambit, and Rogue fight this Cerebrite, they are slowly but surely defeated until the Cerebrite grabs the child and heads back to the main Cerebro.
Significance - When the child informs Rogue that Gambit is in pain (and thinking about her), probably about to die, Rogue goes back to save him. Unaware that her glove has ripped, she accidentally touches him and absorbs some of his recent memories. She is puzzled by what she learns, but stops herself from prying further because it just isn't right. Of course, that's when Cerebrite sneaks up on her and incapacitates her too.


Issue - X-Men #109
Summary - This issue takes place around Christmas time, complete with snowball fights, ice skating, hot chocolate drinking, shopping, and gift-giving. There are a bunch of little side stories going on that I'm not going to get into...the major part of the issue is when Storm creates the X-Treme team, a group of X-Men whose purpose is to find the 13 volumes of Destiny's diaries before they fall into the wrong hands. She names Rogue, Beast, Psylocke, Thunderbird, Bishop, and Gambit, though Rogue speaks out against his involvement, which they inevitably argue over. In a conversation with Logan, Storm reintroduces Tessa, once a personal assistant in the notorious Hellfire Club, as Sage. She is the last addition to the X-Treme team.
Significance - In a previous issue, Rogue absorbed an alien, who accidentally amplified Rogue's mutation. As a result, she now randomly manifests powers she's previously absorbed. Rogue has no control over these powers when they surface, and because of this, she doesn't want Gambit to join the X-Treme team. She tells him that she's afraid that she'll hurt him, and wants him to keep his distance while she works through her new abilities, which he eventually agrees to do. They don't see each other again until X-Treme X-Men #5, although Gambit kinda pops in and secretly looks in on the team in X-Treme X-Men #4.


Issue - X-Men #166
Summary - Havok's team (consisting of Gambit, Rogue, Polaris, and Iceman) goes to Antarctica in response to a distress call sent by a mutant community who moved down there to escape the turmoil between mutants and humans in the rest of the world. After breaking through the barricade they had built, the X-Men are faced with a pile of dead bodies and the word "Golgotha" written in blood on the wall behind them. Emma telepathically explains (from the mansion) that the word refers to Mount Calvary, where Christ was crucified, and means "skull." A live mutant then comes out of nowhere and shoots himself in front of then, and another tries to hit on Polaris, but she kills him. Then a number of catatonic, zombie-like mutants show up...Rogue tries to absorb one, but is unable to get anything of use from him. That's when a group of psychopathic mutants attack the group. They manage to capture one of them, and try to ask him about Golgotha, but he keeps muttering gibberish about how they're all doomed. Rogue volunteers to absorb him as well, but he dies from a heart attack before she is able to. Emma arrives, and tells the group that she was able to read his mind and find out where Golgotha is before the mutant died. Elsewhere, there are reports of violence in both Calvary and Los Angeles...crazy people doing crazy things.
Significance - After the random mutant kills himself in front of them, Rogue reaches out for Gambit's hand. The act is both comforting and painful, as it reminds her that though he is there to console her, they can no longer touch (now that she got her powers back, after losing them in X-Treme). There are also several good, solid, flirtatious moments between the their relationship seems to be surviving this recent complication.


Issue - X-Men #167
Summary - Emma takes everyone down to where she's located Golgotha. The deeper they go into the ground, the stranger everyone's behavior is. Gambit gets physically ill, remembering a bloated, rotting corpse he once found in the Mississippi, Iceman gets all snarky and makes a comment about Rogue and Gambit not being able to touch, and Polaris starts to seemingly have a nervous breakdown...Emma says that Golgotha is triggering random receptors in their brains using a kind of sluggish telepathic signal she's never seen before. Havok has everyone carry the large...creature (Havok calls it a fungus) outside so they can destroy it, but Emma stops him, saying that the creature needs to be studied - she wants to take it back to the mansion, hook herself up to Cerebra, and see what she can learn from it. The two begin to argue, but Wolverine shows up and convinces them to compromise. When they get back to the mansion, Emma suggests that the rest of the team go to Calvary while she stays behind and studies Golgotha. The others follow her instructions, Havok checking out a recent archaeological site, while Rogue and Gambit stroll a local market. Rogue spots a trinket in the shape of Golgotha, purchases it, and brings it back to the rest of the team at the dig site...Wolverine states that something is alive down there, and they decide they need to check it out. Back at the mansion, Emma uses Cerebra to learn Golgotha's "dirty little secrets," but is seemingly overwhelmed by the information she's confronted with...the memories of so many people who died/were killed at the hands of Golgotha. She passes out trying to leave Cerebra, trying to warn her friends of the danger they're in. Meanwhile, in the city of angels, a young mutant who goes by "Boy" has found himself a group of followers...he leads them back to the place he had once called home (a mansion where he was employed, and mistreated, as the "house boy") and has them slaughter every human there. On the wall, written in blood, is the word "Golgotha."
Significance - The "no-touching thing," as Gambit first describes it, is clearly an issue. Under the creature's influence, Iceman makes an insensitive comment about Rogue "not letting Gambit touch her," something that angers both Gambit and Rogue. When Iceman apologizes to Gambit on the X-Jet, the Cajun admits that his icy teammate may just be on to something...right in front of Rogue! Ouch. Later, in Calvary, as the couple stroll a marketplace, Rogue can't keep silent any further. She starts to tell Gambit that their predicament is hard for her too, but is interrupted when they discover a trinket in the shape of Golgotha...


Issue - X-Men #168
Summary - As Emma regains consciousness, she activates Cerebra and uses it to contact Rogue about what she's learned...but it's too late to warn them, the team is already fighting another creature in the caves below Calvary. Once they capture the beast (and attach it to the X-Jet), they swing by Los Angeles to deal with Boy and his mob of crazy followers, who have just attacked a group of people attending a major television network's board meeting. Wolverine, Iceman, and Polaris hunt the group down to the old Western set they've holed up in, and a minor scuffle ensues. Polaris uses her powers to knock the crowd out, so they are able to both get the members of the group somewhere safe ("padded cells"), while capturing and securing their leader, Boy. When they return with the leader, Emma has just announced that while she does not know what the two creatures are (one from Antarctica and one from Calvary, now held in large storage tanks), she knows that neither one is Golgotha. Boy starts to mock the X-Men, saying that he feels the craziness coming; he hopes that he'll be immune to its effects this time around, and laughs at the prospect of the X-Men ripping themselves apart. Then he taunts Wolverine, who unexpectedly attacks him. As Gambit pulls him off Boy, Wolverine threatens him, and it's up to Rogue to break it up. Later, Wolverine tries to figure out what happened...why he went after Boy, and afterwards, Gambit. He decides that he needs some time alone to think, but is prevented from leaving by Cerebra. Emma and the others appear, and she explains that she's put the mansion in lockdown until they "sweat this craziness out."
Significance - When Havok decides to break his team into smaller groups, Gambit and Rogue are supposed to be separated...but Iceman, probably still feeling a little guilty about his earlier comments (in addition to wanting to be with his current crush, Polaris), offers to take his place. When Wolverine attacks Gambit at the end of the issue, Rogue doesn't hesitate to step in and protect her the point of threatening to kill Wolverine if he injures him.


Issue - X-Men #169
Summary - After making sure the students are safely locked in their rooms, Emma has the adult X-Men break into groups and search the mansion for Golgotha. She goes on to explain that the creatures are just shells left behind by the real Golgotha, which telepathically feeds on whomever is in its range before flying off to a new location. This feeding cycle takes 24 hours, so their self-imposed quarantine will either allow them to find the real monster and destroy it...or allow it to destroy them as it feeds. While searching the mansion everyone hallucinates to a certain degree - Emma, believing that she has suddenly grown old, decides to give herself a face-lift using scissors...Iceman keeps seeing everything (and everyone) completely frozen...when Polaris and Iceman go to check the X-Jet, Iceman seems to think that they have already done it, while Polaris doesn't remember checking it...Wolverine thinks that Rogue and Gambit are hunting him down in the sewers beneath the mansion...etc. In the sewer, Wolverine attacks Gambit, and Rogue is forced to absorb him. Gambit goes on to pick a fight with her, saying several hurtful things before storming off to give them some privacy. Compared to the other two, Rogue seems pretty much unaffected, blowing off Gambit's tirade, and calling Wolverine's sudden admission of "having a thing for her" an effect of Golgotha, though that doesn't prevent her from kissing him. Their kiss is interrupted by a call for help from Emma...Rogue leaves Wolverine (recovering from her absorbing him) and finds Emma attacking Havok, who she thinks is Cyclops. Rogue breaks up the fight, but is talking like Wolverine, and is scared when she can't get her claws to come out. Meanwhile, in the sewers, Polaris and Iceman come across Gambit fighting with an imaginary Sinister. She leaves Iceman to watch him while she goes back to check the jet (she still has doubts that they checked it the first time). This time she sees one of the creatures, and tells the rest of the team to report to the hanger. Once again, tempers flare as Havok accuses Iceman and Polaris of fooling around instead of doing their job...but as they're short on time (the 24 hours is almost up), Emma convinces them to stop their nonsense and find the real Golgotha pod within the creature. She and Havok destroy the pod, and everyone is just about to relax when Emma receives a transmission from a mutant living on the International Space Station - where hundreds of Golgotha creatures are approaching Earth...
Significance - Rogue and Gambit are assigned to search the sewers for Golgotha, and though they are nowhere near the creature, they certainly feel its effects. Gambit makes several malicious comments to Rogue, and though she seems to write them off to Golgotha's influence, she is deeply wounded by his words. Wolverine, who Rogue had to absorb so he wouldn't kill Gambit (again, due to Golgotha), tells Rogue that he'll hit Gambit for the things he's said once his own strength returns. Rogue and Wolverine do end up kissing, but it's unclear how much of the action is Rogue's doing. Wolverine tells her that he wants her, but is that true, or is it just Gambit's suggestion that they "always had a thing for each other" run amok thanks to Golgotha? Rogue tries to reason with him before succombing to his advances, but is this because she truly has always carried a secret torch for him, because she's absorbed Wolverine and his secret torch for her, or is Golgotha taking advantage of her emotional state?


Issue - X-Men #170
Summary - Although initially wary of the plan, NASA decides to let the X-Men go into space to deal with the Golgotha creatures because they've successfully dealt with them before...and because they're expendable. Once in space, they come up with a plan to destroy the creatures, but tensions are high due to the recent events - things that were said and done that have hurt each other deeply - so Havok tells everyone to just pretend like none of it ever happened. They all have difficulty simply "forgetting" what happened, but manage to put things aside at least until the creatures are destroyed. They all go out into space, Havok and Polaris taking point, and everyone else killing whatever the miss. The rest of the group loses contact with the two at one point, but they eventually turn up. Polaris wipes out the remaining creatures after stating "it looked right at me." They return to Earth, and all is right with the world...except for the fact that the president of the U.S. doesn't want anyone to know that a group of mutants saved them...not that he has anything against mutants, just that he wouldn't want them to be made into a bunch of heroes...
Significance - This is a hard issue for everyone, after what they've all said and done to each other. At first, the ice between Rogue and Gambit is broken when she mentions that she'd like a glass of water, and he offers to get her one. But the cuts run deep, and they begin to argue right before putting on their space suits - each questioning the "truth" in the other's words/actions. In the end, though, they seem to kiss and make up both literally - puckering up against the closed visors of their helmets - and figuratively.


Issue - X-Men #171
Summary - A new girl named Foxx has been admitted as a student...she's described as many things: dangerous, wild, and, above all else, incredibly sexy. Emma decides to put Foxx in Gambit's class, a choice that has several of the X-Men questioning her motives. At the same time, Emma is working with Rogue and Gambit using telepathic therapy, though their first session is disastrous when Rogue absorbs him (in her mind). After recovering from the ordeal, Gambit holds a class in the Danger Room, where he seems a bit more...intense than usual. Meanwhile, Rogue has been extra moody around the flirtatious Iceman and Polaris, and Iceman has been a touch jealous of Polaris and Havok's previous relationship. Wolverine and Rogue have a brief discussion about Gambit, and the newest addition to his class, but Rogue is confident that he would never cheat on her, even though Wolverine seems less than convinced. Foxx is a mix of contradictions - coy with Gambit, awestruck with Rogue, and nasty to her classmates. The issue ends with a naked Foxx offering herself to a equally naked Gambit in the shower. Despite her best attempts, Gambit rebuffs her advances and asks her to leave...just before turning the temperature of the water to cold...
Significance - Poor Rogue. Poor Gambit, for that matter. What on Earth was Emma thinking dangling a girl like that in front of him when she knows he's having issues with his girlfriend? And why would anyone in their right mind go to Emma for relationship advice? Emma, who had a psychic affair with Cyclops when Jean was still alive? *sigh* I guess they must've exhausted all their other must be so frustrating for both of them. Anyway, I don't get why Wolverine is so suspicious of Gambit, unless we're going back to the famous "Lili Penrose incident" (see Gambit #3 of the 2004-2005 series)...but he thought it was funny when it happened (which I thought was out of character - click here to read my rant on this Gambit series). Besides, I thought the writer established that he hadn't intended to imply that Gambit cheated on was supposed to be a funny little joke. And, to be perfectly honest, what guy wouldn't be tempted by a hot, naked young girl offering herself to him? He'd have to be dead. Or gay. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those two options...but we all know Gambit is neither. When you're in a committed relationship, you're not immune to the charms of the opposite just choose to resist them. Like Gambit did.


Issue - X-Men #172
Summary - The issue begins in the shower, with Gambit about to accept Foxx's proposal, but he wakes up screaming before anything happens. Rogue (who is sleeping in a separate bed in his room) offers to analyze his dream, but he hurriedly excuses himself before she can get anything out of him. Later on, in the middle of another telepathic therapy session, Gambit has a flashback of his nightmare - Foxx replaces Rogue in his mind, and Emma has to slap him to bring him back to his senses. Neither woman knows what he saw, but Rogue can guess...especially after a thoughtless comment Gambit makes under his breath. But Gambit is able to escape the awkwardness of the moment because he has to take his class on a field exercise. During the exercise, Foxx continues to openly flirt with him, which causes a series of problems - the least of which being that at least two of his other students seem to have crushes on her. When they gang up on Gambit as a group, he compliments them for working as a team, then tells them he's willing to forget their insubordination of they back off immediately. Back at the mansion, Rogue asks Emma about what Gambit saw during their session, then apologizes to Polaris and Iceman for her recent emotional outbursts, while Nightcrawler tries to find out what Polaris saw out in space (as per Havok's instructions). Gambit and his group return, and he is upset when Rogue doesn't show up for telepathic therapy; he confronts Emma about telling Rogue what he saw, but she admits that she doesn't know what he saw...then warns him that something isn't right in the mansion. He returns to his room to discover that Rogue has moved all of her things out, then searches the grounds for her. When he finds her, she tells him that he should date Foxx since they're obviously attracted to each other, but he assures her that he's only interested in her and is determined to prove it. He goes to Foxx's room and informs her that she's being transferred to another class...she continues to flirt with him, getting rather aggressive, but he still won't take the she - wait for it - morphs into Mystique. Mystique admits to creating Foxx in an attempt to seduce him, but he's proven himself more faithful than she she morphs into Rogue and tells him that if he sleeps with her, it won't really be cheating...
Significance - Ok, as pissed off as I would be about my boyfriend dreaming about another girl (I'd eventually get over it), I can't blame Gambit for doing so. It's a dream. And he's a man. He can't help it. He didn't actually do anything. In fact, later on even Mystique admits to underestimating his devotion to Rogue. Moving on, I like the fact that he doesn't get angry at his students for standing up to what they thought was inappropriate behavior on his part. It shows a maturity that hasn't really been seen in him before. I guess I understand why Rogue moved out of Gambit room, but I'm also done with Marvel ripping them apart just to bring them back together. It's great that Gambit volunteers to kick Foxx out of his class, but I think he waited a little too long. As for Mystique...oh, that was tricky tricky the way she turned into Rogue at the end, but there's no way Gambit would go for it. Not knowing the truth.


Issue - X-Men #173
Summary - Mystique, lounging on a bed and still in Rogue's form, calls a shadowy figure (who just happens to be a thief) and asks him if he can give her a "booster" of the "shield thing" he gave her to protect her mind from telepaths...he says he can't, so she better hope she can finish her work before she's found out. Gambit tells Rogue that he just told Foxx he doesn't want her in his class anymore, but leaves out the part where Foxx tried to seduce him...and that Foxx is really Mystique. Rogue feigns surprise and pretends to care about Foxx's hurt feelings. Elsewhere in the mansion, Havok and Emma are trying to help Polaris remember what she saw out in space, but Polaris freaks out and blows up the tape of the incident. While Emma goes to Cerebra to try to figure out why the telepathic feel of the place has been off the past few days, Havok chases after Polaris to apologize for his recent obsession with what she saw out there. He admits that he's still in love with her, but is interrupted by Emma's voice in his head, asking him, Iceman, and Gambit to report to her. Rogue searches for Foxx, then tries to comfort what she thinks is a naive girl, but all of Foxx's responses are wrong - she's sarcastic and making cryptic comments that Rogue can't figure out...that's when Emma and the boys show up. Emma blames Foxx for the recent telepathic imbalance, and calls her out as a shapeshifter. Gambit tries to convince Rogue to go inside, but before he can, Foxx turns into Mystique. Emma accuses Gambit of knowing all along, and Rogue is furious when he admits that he did...that's when Mystique decides to make a hasty exit. First Havok tries to stop her, then Gambit, and Rogue is forced to use a plasma blast to separate them. Mystique claims that this was all an elaborate scheme to convince them to let her join the X-Men (by showing she still has that "same magic"), so they put her in a cell beneath the mansion until they decide what they should do with her. Emma announces that they need to gather all the senior X-Men for a meeting to discuss the situation, much to Rogue's surprise. Later that night, Emma tells Cyclops that she was unable to successfully read Mystique's mind because someone has done something to her to prevent telepaths from getting any information from her. Rogue gets up and goes to visit her foster-mother, asking her why she came to the mansion. Mystique confesses that she came to seduce Gambit, but remains silent when Rogue asks her if she was successful....
Significance - Again, I would not be happy with Gambit if I were Rogue, but after a considerable amount of cooling off time, I'd understand why he did what he did. He may have made an error in judgment by not telling Rogue what was going on, but his intentions were pure. He hid the truth to protect her. Now, if he did it to protect himself, that's another story...but I truly think he realized what kind of effect this information would have on her, so he chose to keep it from her. I was a bit surprised that Rogue was willing to try and soften the blow dealt to Foxx when she was asked to leave Gambit's class, but I'm not sure if that was sincere. Mystique needs some serious parenting classes if she thinks her actions will endear her to Rogue...wat kind of mother would do what she did? She deserves whatever Rogue dishes out...


Issue - X-Men #174
Summary - While Emma simultaneously talks to Beast about the vote tomorrow, Mystique's cell phone rings - it's her mysterious thief friend. In the basement, Rogue and Mystique are arguing about Gambit...Mystique doesn't think he's good enough for her daughter, and goes as far as morphing into Gambit and "repeating" the sweet nothings he supposedly said to her. Rogue can't take it, blasts her mother, then absorbs her to get to the truth (but like Emma, she is unable to decipher the contents of her mind). Then she runs upstairs and interrupts a one-on-one tutorial between Gambit and Bling, one of his female students. She tells the girl to get out, then yells at Gambit. He assures her that nothing happened between him and Mystique and explains that he didn't tell her what was going on (that Foxx was Mystique and she tried to seduce him) because he didn't want her to worry. After calming down, Rogue catches up with Bling and apologizes for her earlier actions. She says that growing up and becoming an X-Man doesn't magically make everything in your life perfect, like she thought it would when she was younger, then goes on to explain the situation to the younger girl. Bling goes back to her curious classmates, who are watching in awe as X-Man after X-Man arrives at the mansion, wondering what all the fuss is about, and tells them what's going on. Rogue asks Emma to read Gambit's mind so she could know once and for all if anything happened between him and Mystique, but the other woman politely refuses. Later, Mystique makes an impassioned plea to the others in an attempt convince them to let her join the X-Men, and is then escorted back to her cell while they make their decision. While they discuss it (and many of them make absolutely ridiculous statements about why it's such a good idea to make her an X-Man), one of her former classmates goes into the basement and confesses his love for her...or Foxx, anyway. She makes no attempt to disguise her contempt for him, and a fight ensues. Nightcrawler teleports in and puts an end to the struggle, then seemingly successfully guilts Mystique into leaving for a while to give him a chance to get used to the idea of her as a teammate. Unaware of the events below, the X-Men overwhelmingly decide to let her join on a probationary basis, and send Rogue down to deliver the good news. Gambit goes with her, once again stating that there's nothing between him and Mystique, but when they get to her cell, they find it destroyed and she is nowhere to be found. Gambit's student is taken to the infirmary, and they all wonder at Mystique's sudden disappearance. Elsewhere, Mystique is talking to her mysterious thief about everything's that's happened...but when he asks if she did end up sleeping with Gambit after all, she refuses to answer...
Significance - As painful as it must have been hearing what Gambit supposedly said to Mystique, this isn't the first time Rogue's mother has done something like this. I don't blame Rogue for absorbing her, or bursting in on Gambit's tutorial, but she really needs to step back and take a deep breath. She seems to do that when she goes after Bling. And then there's the big meeting about Mystique. Why this "letting Mystique become an X-Man" thing has to go to a vote, I don't know. She effectively broke into the mansion and tried to seduce her daughter's boyfriend...that doesn't really seem like the right way to go about it. Rogue adamantly opposes her admission, and Gambit readily supports whatever she wants. But everyone else has lost their senses...oooh, I feel a rant coming on. Perhaps I'll have to write one...By the end of the issue, at least Rogue is willing to talk to Gambit, but it's going to take a while before she can get past his deception.


Issue - X-Men #184
Summary - Apocalypse is back, and he's recruiting new horsemen. In the story so far, he has already found three - Pestilence (whose identity is yet to be revealed), Famine (Sunfire), and War (Gazer) - all of whom presumably were made horsemen against their will (again, we don't know the details of Pestilence's transformation). Meanwhile, Mystique has been busy trying to convince both Rogue and Gambit that her friend Pulse, who can turn off mutant powers, is the only one who can have a fulfilling relationship with Rogue. And so, in the last issue, Gambit makes the surprising move to voluntarily join Apocalypse. This issue begins with the X-Men capturing Famine, only to discover that he is actually Sunfire, who they thought was dead (killed during the most recent Rogue series). While Gambit is undergoing the incredibly painful "transformation" process as performed by Apocalypse's machines, Ozymandias (Apocalypse's faithful servant) has the nerve to question his master, and is disciplined accordingly. Angered by Apocalypse's response, and failing to convince War to take his master down, Ozymandias sneaks into the mansion looking for the X-Men's help. He offers to lead a small group of them into Apocalypse's ship so they can catch him off guard. But even as they climb through the labyrinthine passages of his ship, the self-appointed god begins to doubt his intentions...his actions...but "comes to his senses" when the X-Men confront him. This is when he introduces them to his most recent creation, the newest Death...
Significance - I didn't include the first two issues of this story arc here because I don't think they're really "essential" Rogue and Gambit reading - they mostly involved Mystique bothering Rogue and Remy about Pulse, trying to persuade them that he is the only one who could truly make Rogue happy. Anyway, while I think it's important to point out that Rogue is able to recognize Remy immediately, despite his new look as Death, I think the details of Gambit's conversation with Apocalypse before he's "transformed" is more significant. He says that he's decided to join Apocalypse because he loves the X-Men and wants to keep an eye on their old his ally, he will be privy to Apocalypse's every move, and can take him down if necessary. This revelation doesn't phase Apocalypse (and left many readers cold), but I think Gambit's motives should be mentioned as his love for the X-Men includes his love for Rogue.


Issue - X-Men #185
Summary - The X-Men are forced to fight Gambit (now Death) and Apocalypse, and in the process, accidentally destroy the "antidote" Apocalypse has been stockpiling. Rogue tries to reason with Gambit/Death, but Apocalypse orders him to "use the gas on her." She only survives because Mystique jumps in and punches him. At this point, Apocalypse has had enough, and prepares his ship for departure...Ozymandias tells the X-Men to retreat before the ship takes off, and they are forced to leave Gambit/Death behind. Meanwhile, War has infiltrated the mansion to retrieve Famine, and although the remaining X-Men stand up to him, it is Sunfire himself who is able to repel War's attack successfully, before falling unconscious. On the way to the United Nations Building, Gambit/Death admits to feeling conflicted about his new role as Death, something that Apocalypse does not take well. Once they reach their destination, Apocalypse announces to the UN that he has come up with a plague to wipe out all humans...but if they are willing to kill off 90% of their own kind (to "even out" the numbers of mutants and humans), he won't infect the remaining 10%. And so, in an attempt to protect mankind, the government gives the X-Men access to two super-secret, brand new Sentinel prototypes. The real identity of Pestilence is finally revealed - it's Polaris - and the last pages of the issue cover her "transformation."
Significance - Rogue believes that Gambit's transformation is not complete...she's sure that Remy still exists somewhere, buried deep within the mantle of Death. She is seemingly unable to reach that part of him, however, and is nearly killed a couple of times because she is unwilling to fight him (saved by Iceman and Mystique respectively). Later on, after the X-Men have retreated, Gambit/Death comments that he understands what Rogue was saying...that part of him is still Remy LeBeau, and part of him still loves Rogue. Apocalypse is understandably upset at these thoughts, and threatens to "readjust" Gambit/Death...but relents when Gambit/Death responds with a threat of his own. The point is that Rogue is right - Remy's still in there...


Issue - X-Men #186
Summary - There's a big showdown between the good guys (the Avengers, X-Men, and a couple of government soldiers manning the two Sentinal prototypes) and Apocalypse. They manage to damage his ship, then enter it, at which point there's another confrontation between Rogue and Gambit. War is killed by Ozymandias for reneging on a deal they made while he was still Gazer (before his transformation), and Sunfire shows up just in time to blast Apocalypse, then carries off an unconscious Gambit. The X-Men finally discover that Polaris is the woman behind the newest incarnation of Pestilence, and Havok risks his life to save her by giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation despite the fact that she's riddled with a plethora of germs. And though Apocalypse escapes in the end, it seems that a deal he made many years ago is finally going to catch up with him...
Significance - Rogue finally strikes Gambit/Death after he attacks Havok, but hesitates when Gambit/Death calls her by name. Mystique knocks him out, and he is later taken away by Sunfire...Rogue tries to make sense of what's happened, but is unable to. She tells Pulse about a dream she had that Remy was trying to come back, but kept getting lost.


Issue - X-Men #187
Summary - Sunfire and Gambit are in a Zen temple, contemplating their next move. While Gambit is initially resistant to Sunfire's idea that they must rid themselves of their attachments to external things (including Apocalypse), Sunfire is quite persuasive. Back at the mansion, Polaris is having difficulty adjusting to her situation…her body is healing, but her mind is super-messed up. Emma Frost and Beast are in the middle of performing tests on her when Sunfire and Gambit show up. They have decided that they are something new (not Sunfire and Gambit, but not Famine and Death either), and as Polaris is in the same position, they've come for her. There's a bit of a scuffle, and Sunfire ends up going after Polaris alone while Rogue confronts Gambit. Polaris wakes up and refuses to go with Sunfire – she doesn't belong to anyone, and she plans on keeping it that way. Meanwhile, Gambit tries to kill Rogue, and is only saved when Pulse steals his powers, at which point Sunfire and Gambit makes a hasty exit. Polaris also announces that she is going to leave to find Apocalypse. The story ends with Sunfire and Gambit returning to the Zen temple, discussing what they should do now that they are that they are alone. But a voice tells them they are not alone…and Sinister reveals himself from the shadows, announcing that he is their future...
Significance - And thus, Rogue and Gambit are broken up again. I don't know what's worse, Gambit attacking Rogue as he explains that he has to kill her in order to move on with his life, or Rogue not trying to defend herself. If it wasn't for her friends, she'd be dead. Even as Pulse is holding Gambit back, it takes quite a bit of convincing to get Rogue to fight back. But I must say, when it's all over, at least she doesn't throw herself into Pulse's arms (as some writers might have her do). Completely heartbroken over recent events, she says that she doubts that she'll ever want to hear about romance ever again.


Issue - X-Men #204
Summary - Previously, a series of unfortunate events have befallen Rogue, who has been promoted to team leader of a quick response team. She was infected with a virus called Strain 88, which makes skin-to-skin contact with her deadly, and she recently absorbed the minds of 8 billion aliens during a battle. Several X-Men are working together help Rogue - as Emma examines Rogue's mind, trying to piece it back together, Beast is busy studying the virus she's been infected with. But before they are able to help her, Sinister's Marauders attack. During the fight, Mystique and a couple others betray the X-Men and rejoin their fellow Marauders..and in the process, Mystique shoots Rogue in the chest and kidnaps her. The Marauders go on to find/incapacitate/kill any telepaths and precogs. In this issue, Cannonball recovers from his last encounter with the Marauders, during which Destiny's Diaries were destroyed, while Cyclops and the X-Men try to decide what their next move will be. Meanwhile, back at the Marauder's secret base, Sinister is trying to reassemble Rogue's shattered mind. And though some of his team have begun to question his plans, he seems to placate most of their concerns for the moment. Gambit is left alone with Rogue and tries to explain his recent behavior, at which point she wakes up for a few moments before falling back into a coma. Mystique pops in to suggest that he touch Rogue - which they both know will kill him - so she won't be all alone amongst all those other minds she absorbed. The story ends with a power surge in the mansion that causes all the lights to go out...and Blindfold, a precog who escaped the Marauder's wrath, replies to Iceman's assertion that it's nothing with ominous certainty that, "It's not nothing. It's everything..."
Significance - After such a long Romy drought (mostly because Gambit has been MIA), it's nice to see them together again. When Sinister makes an offhand comment about trying to keep Rogue alive being a wasted effort, I'm glad Gambit doesn't hesitate to remind Sinister that he'd have to go through him to kill her. Later, when he's alone with Rogue, Remy pours his heart out to her...speaking words of apology, of hope, of love. It's really very sweet. Almost as sweet as the fact that it seems Rogue's only coherent thoughts are those of moments she shared with Remy. It's a pity she was only awake a few seconds, but it works with the story, so I'm ok with it. I have to admit that I was a bit shocked by Mystique's "why don't you touch her" suggestion, though. Although she had a point about his personality being able to keep Rogue company in her mind, doesn't she realize how pissed off Rogue would be if she woke up to find out that she had unknowingly killed her own lover? And how that would make her feel about Mystique...?


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