Essential Rogue and Gambit - X-Men: The End

As I understand it, X-Men: The End was written in an attempt to show fans what would happen to the X-Men in the future...whether or not it was meant to be merely one of any number of possible futures, or if it's supposed to be the future, the one and only future that will inevitably occur, is up to the reader, I guess. But in the world of comics, especially that of the X-Men, there are so many realities, so much backtracking, it's easy enough to brush aside these premonitions if you don't like them.

This series is depressing in more ways than one. With half the universe out to massacre the X-Men - past, present, and future members of the team - the death toll reaches biblical proportions. And despite some of the exaggerated silliness required to create this catastrophic duel to the death, there are little bits and pieces of the story, seemingly insignificant, that make it worth the read.

Because of the sheer scope of the story - and the fact that the writers attempted to include every possible significant character (living and dead) - each issue is somewhat difficult to summarize. I've tried my best to capture the essence of each one, and as always, if there's anything else you'd like to know, you can always e-mail me.

Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 1, #2
Summary - In the first issue, the Phoenix Force has re-manifested itself as Jean Grey in the Shi'ar Imperial Ship, the Starjammer...causing those who had significant emotional/psychological connections with her, namely those who loved her deeply (Cyclops, Professor X, Wolverine, Storm, Cable, the "new" Marvel Girl [Rachel Summers], and Jean's father), to have visions of the Phoenix rising. In this issue, Cyclops argues with Emma, since their children have also been affected by visions, then contacts team members around the world about the possibility of Phoenix's return. Meanwhile, Lilandra, Majestrix of the Shi'ar has been informed of the appearance of Phoenix and orders it, and anyone that stands by it, destroyed. But her Lord Chancellor appears to have plans of his own...
Significance - Rogue and Gambit are shown in Las Vegas, breaking into a high security building. Gambit uses his agility to get past a web of lasers, and Rogue uses her super strength to knock down a thick metal blast door. Just like old times...they also kiss with no apparent absorption. Oh yeah, and Rogue is wearing a wedding ring.


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 1, #5
Summary - Danielle Moonstar, kept under heavy sedation in some kind of mutant prison, summons her dream powers long enough to briefly make psychic contact with her best friend, Rahne Sinclair, now dean of students of Xavier Institute. Emma Frost takes her kids to Rogue's house, and while the women go shopping, Gambit, along with Thais and Thaiis (former enemeies), look after both women's children. Seemingly random attacks commence - Storm is attacked in her home in East Africa, the X.S.E. are attacked in their headquarters in Washington D.C., Shadowcat is attacked in Chicago, where she is running for mayor - in each case, once the perpetrator is killed, it is revealed to be a warskrull, members of a deadly race of creatures, enemies of the X-Men. Even a warskrull disguised as Gambit fools Emma, but Rogue quickly disposes of him...only to find their children kidnapped. On the other side of the country, Sage redeems herself to the X.S.E., and a catastrophic attack on the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning begins...
Significance - Rogue and Gambit have two children, named Bekka and Olivier (to see pictures of them, click here). Both have brown hair, and Bekka likes Jazz. After killing the Gambit impostor, Rogue and Emma return home to find Thaiis, badly wounded. She tells them that although they were attacked by shapeshifters, it was Gambit who kidnapped the children, citing a debt he owes Sinister...


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 2, #1
Summary - The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning has been vaporized. Completely. The loss of life is astronomical, and includes both students and X-Men. Survivors pitch in wherever they can. In Washington, the President of the United States worries that this act of terrorism, which seems to target mutants alone, might affect the rest of the country, the rest of the world. Meanwhile, X-Force, whose numbers have been decreasing since the beginning of the series, is completely wiped out by a warskrull in disguise. Sinister, Dark Beast, and Gambit are keeping the children safe from the apparent intergalactic war on mutants in a kind of glass prison, Wolverine and Storm finally make their way to the massive crater that was once the home of the X-Men, and Professor X is nearly killed by the same warskrull that finished off X-Force.
Significance - While Emma goes semi-hysterical over the disappearance of her children, and her inability to communicate with either them or Cyclops telepathically, Rogue keeps calm and searches for clues. While she's concerned about their children, she's sure Gambit wouldn't take them without a good that she's certainly going to ask him about when they find him. Meanwhile, the LeBeau and Summers children squabble about Gambit in their glass cage. Dark Beast tries to take the youngest Summers baby, but the eldest children (Olivier and Megan, Emma's oldest daughter) are ready to protect the child. Gambit steps in, causing Dark Beast to back off. The children yell at Gambit for betraying them, even as Sinister tries to assure them, and Gambit, that this is the only place they're safe...


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 2, #3
Summary - Aliyah Bishop, daughter of X-Man Lucas Bishop and Deathbird, a Shi'ar and sister to the Majestrix Lilandra, goes to part of the Starjammer that is "blind" to her signal in an attempt to fix some of the damaged systems. While there, she comes across a transport pod that has crashed into the side of the ship, one that has obviously been there for a long time...and out of the pod appears her mother. Aliyah is overjoyed, as she believed her mother died years ago...and as she falls into Deathbird's embrace, she realizes too late that her mother has been a host to the mother queen of the brood, who replaces herself into the younger woman's body. Elsewhere on the ship, Phoenix attempts to free Nocturne from the slavers' telepathic hold on her...which nearly results in the emergence of Dark Phoenix, if not for the interference of Nightcrawler. Meanwhile, at Cyclops' insistence Shadowcat leaves Salem, NY for Chicago in an attempt to keep her campaign for mayor on track. With the election just days away, her friends feel her job is to campaign while the rest of them deal with the tragedy at hand...
Significance - No real significance to Rogue or Gambit, save the fact that Rogue's on the cover. Why characters that don't appear in issues sometimes make their way onto covers, I'll never know...


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 2, #4
Summary - Wolverine takes a team to Afghanistan in search of answers...namely, to find out what happened to the members of X-Factor. Marvel Girl is one of the team, and uses her powers to project a holographic "replay" of events. Then she produces a transmat portal so the team can follow Sinister's new Marauders. Back at what's left of the Xavier Institute, Cyclops broods alone in a tent...thinking about all those who lost their lives, all those he was unable the save - the students, the teachers, his brother. What follows is a seemingly unrelated monologue about the one mistake that has ever haunted him - abandoning his ex-wife Madelyne (a Jean Grey clone who eventually went nuts and became the Goblin Queen) and his son (Cable) for the X-Men. His thoughts are interrupted by Emma, badly injured, screaming about her missing children. Beast gives her a sedative, at which point she forces a mindlink between herself and Rogue. She asks Rogue to absorb her so she can use their combined powers to find their children. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, an anit-mutant protester throws a brick at Shadowcat, who tells the crowd that this is not the way to voice their opinions...that they are all adults, and could more effectively make their point through their votes, rather than using violence. And then there's Gambit and the children. While Emma and Rogue's children try to come to terms with their imprisonment, and the person who put them there, Gambit and Sinister have a heart-to-heart. Wolverine and his team are captured by Sinister and trapped in the wish-fulfilling illusions of the Ladies Mastermind. In the mutant prison, Moonstar's powers continue to reach out to her friends despite heavy drugging, so her captors decide to kill her.
Significance - OH MY GOD! Sinister is Gambit's father!!! Oh the humanity! That's the big revelation at the end of the issue, and certainly explains a lot of things...but although this is arguably the most important aspect of the issue as far and Gambit and Rogue are concerned, it's not the only one. Rogue's wonderfully tough attitude, and her charm, are portrayed beautifully during her mindlink with Emma. We also get to see bits and pieces of Rogue and Gambit's children's personalities. Gambit's love for Rogue and their children is also obvious during his discussion with Sinister.


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 2, #5
Summary - Sinister's story - he was approached by Apocalypse, agreed to join him, and was "enhanced" by him under the condition that he pledge his obedience. So Sinister played with genetics, namely cloning, and eventually came to a point where he decided to overthrow his master. To that end, he cloned himself, with a few minor adjustments (namely giving his clone mutant powers)...but his clone was kidnapped by Apocalypse, and eventually ended up under the care of Jean-Luc LeBeau. We all know the rest...and while Sinister shares his story, the children stage a fight in their prison, and call for help after Bekka is knocked out. When the guards approach, the children jump them, but are no match for the adults. At this point, Gambit interferes, grabs the kids, and tries to make a hasty exit. A transmat portal appears before them at the last second - sending Olivier and Emma's children to one place, and Gambit and Bekka to another. Now that they're free of Sinister's base, Megan tries to telepathically link to her mother, but ends up linking with Rogue instead. Looking through the girl's eyes, Rogue figures out where they are, and tells them she's on her way. Then the issue jumps to Wolverine and his team, trapped in the illusions of the Ladies Mastermind. The only problem is that Wolverine realizes that there's something wrong - some of the people in his illusions are dead. It's not until Jean Grey projects herself into one, giving him something real to fight for, that he's able to break their hold on him and destroy the ladies...which frees his entire team. Oh yeah, and Moonstar, who's officially dead, has become some kind of killer Viking goddess type thing.
Significance - Although Gambit is Sinister's clone (technically as his clone, he's Sinister's brother, not his son...but that's just the scientist in me talking), he has something that Sinister lacks. As it says in the comics, "aspects of spirit and soul that not even Nathaniel Essex had ever suspected." He became a hero. And he met a woman whom he loves with all his heart. He became something more...and that makes all the difference. His protectiveness of the children, even though it's expected, is nonetheless touching.


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 2, #6
Summary - While Shadowcat debates the other mayoral candidate in Chicago, Rogue rescues Olivier and Emma's children. Gambit, transported with his daughter Bekka to a mutant prison, is saved by the valkyrie warrior Moonstar has become, then catches a portal back to Sinister's citadel. As Wolverine's team fights Sinister's Marauders, Wolverine is knocked out by the alien is Mystique, disguised as Rogue. That's when the real Rogue shows up and kills Shaitan, nearly dying the process. Sinister, masquerading as Gambit, fatally stabs Rogue just as the real Gambit arrives. Mystique kills Sinister. Rogue dies in Gambit's arms.
Significance - A tragic end to one of the most tormented couples in comic history...for the first time in this series, Rogue is unable to identify a phony, presumably because Sinister and Gambit are nearly genetically identical (save a mutation or two). Rogue has completely used up all her energy rescuing the children and fighting Shaitan, so she's unable to tap into powers she's previously absorbed. Gambit wishes he could save her the way she saved him from death (X-Treme X-Men #18), and asks her how he's supposed to tell the he's supposed to go on. She does everything she can to assure him that he's strong enough to do both, then asks for one last kiss...


Issue - X-Men: The End - Book 3, #3
Summary - This issue includes a big huge monstrous battle between the X-Men and pretty much anyone who's ever been against them. I can't begin to describe the epic proportions of this's completely insane.
Significance - Gambit is masquerading as Sinister in an attempt to find out what his role is in this whole "war against the X-Men" thing. He's finally found out by Khan, one of the X-Men's enemies who's fond of taking over worlds (he's the alien who nearly killed Gambit in X-Treme X-Men), who is currently the Lord Chancellor of the Shi'ar, though he's been plotting against the Majestrix Lilandra. A fight ensues, and with his last breath (or so I assume, since we don't see him after this scene), Gambit charges an ace of hearts and blows him (or both of them?) up. His last words are, "This is for my Anna!"


To see pictures of Rogue and Gambit's children, click here.

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