Essential Rogue and Gambit - X-Treme X-Men

The X-Treme team was formed by Storm in order to find the 13 volumes of Destiny's diaries (see X-Men # 109 and my Destiny's Diaries section), and originally included Rogue, Beast, Thunderbird, Bishop, Psylocke, and Sage (formerly Tessa of the Hellfire Club). Of course, between making new friends, meeting up with old ones, getting injured in battle, and death, members of the X-Treme team vary from issue to issue.

This is a complete collection of all the "essential" X-Treme issues.

Issue - X-Treme X-Men #5
Summary - In addition to reports of a Sentinel attack and Professor X "outing" himself as a mutant, the X-Treme team comes across a news flash accusing Gambit of murdering a local crime boss in Australia. While Bishop participates in the official investigation using fake FBI credentials that were included in Rogue's inheritance from her dead foster-mother Destiny, the rest of the team surveys the crime scene unofficially. After their analysis is complete, the team splits up. Storm and Thunderbird leave to search for the murder victim's children, afraid that they'll be the next targets, Bishop continues working with the police, Rogue runs off to find Gambit (which she does, and the two of them are captured), and Sage stays behind, monitoring everyone's progress via communicators.
Significance - Rogue is the one who convinces the team to go to Australia and help Gambit. Once there, she is the only one who maintains his innocence to the point of almost picking fights with two of her teammates. When she finds him, we get to see the couple together for the first time in this series. Along with their inevitable trademark banter, we see them in action, working together like a fine oiled machine as they fight off a slew of people who want to kill them. There's nothing like a good fight to bring a couple together.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #6
Summary - Bishop is still working with the police, Storm and Thunderbird find, befriend, and flirt with Heather and Davis Cameron, the murdered crime boss's children, and Sage suffers a psychic attack from Sebastian Shaw and his former ally's daughter, Lady Mastermind. Meanwhile, Gambit and Rogue are tortured by their captors, who hope to gain some important information from them. The couple escapes in the end of the issue.
Significance - Here we get to see how in tune they are with each other psychologically. Although each acts on his/her own, they know each other well enough to use the other's actions towards a common goal, in this case, escape. While Gambit provides a distraction, Rogue manages to remove the control needle from her body and inject it into their captor.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #7
Summary - Storm and Thunderbird, with the help of Heather (who we find out is also a mutant), defend themselves, and Davis, against a group of terrorist-types. Rogue and Gambit return to find Sage under the influence of Sebastian Shaw and Lady Mastermind's illusions. In the fight that ensues, Rogue and Gambit are separated, and Rogue falls prey to Lady Mastermind, who creates a new reality in her mind, where she can touch without absorbing powers/memories...and where Vargas is mocking her by picking off all her friends before coming for her. The father and daughter plan to use this ruse to trick Rogue into killing off the remaining crime bosses in the area, along with anyone who tries to stop her, by making them appear as Vargas in Rogue's mind. Bishop is still working with the police on the murder investigation.
Significance - Rogue's illusions begin with her in bed with Gambit, kissing. Their relationship is apparently so well known that even these two obscure villains know about it and can use it to their advantage. While Rogue is crying over the friends she believes are dead, the real Gambit is preparing to follow and stop her from hurting herself or others.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #8
Summary - This issue is interesting in that the story is told entirely through pictures...not a single word is spoken. It begins with Gambit saving a random girl from a group of thugs. Rogue attacks her teammates returning with Heather and Davis because she thinks they're working for Vargas. She then comes across a dying "Gambit," who points out Vargas in a building across the street. Of course, it's all part of the grand illusion - there is no Gambit here, and the person Rogue's lead to believe is Vargas is really Bishop (who's still working with the police). As Rogue begins her attack, Thunderbird gets the drop on Lady Mastermind and knocks her out. The illusion remains however, and Rogue has Bishop by the throat, up against the wall, when someone taps her on the shoulder. She turns to discover yet another Vargas, and begins attacking him, at which point the illusion begins to shatter...the Vargas mask slips away to reveal Gambit.
Significance - Although Gambit doesn't want Rogue to kill innocent people, his involvement here seems to be out of concern for her well being as much as, if not more than, the idea of saving potential victims. I also wonder if one of the reasons the illusion shatters so quickly in the end is because of the bond they share. In the last frames of the issue, they embrace and seemingly kiss (in the background) with no adverse effects.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001
Summary - (Note - Although there are a number of inconsistencies, I've been informed that this issue takes place between X-Treme X-Men #9 and 10.) When Rogue accompanies Bishop on a trip into dreamtime, she encounters wisps of the Shadow King...a big bad guy from the good old days (I believe he is the one who turned Storm into a child way back when). Her dreams continue to be plagued by the King, until Rogue finally realizes what has happened - with Psylocke dead, the Shadow King has escaped the prison she locked him away in, and he is coming after her. Because she is "connected" to all the people she has ever absorbed, he plans on using her to attack the only beings he ever felt were a worthy adversary - the X-Men. But even as his seductions seem to take hold of her, Rogue blatantly refuses to do as he asks. Psylocke is one of the people she's absorbed, so as long as she lives, so does a piece of Psylocke...furthermore, Rogue is tough in and of herself. She will not let the darkness of the Shadow King overwhelm her. She traps him in a prison of her own making, and saves the two people the Shadow King had successfully taken over. While Rogue fights the Shadow King within, her teammates beat up a group of bad guys who have been hired to capture Rogue and "kill the rest." Of course, the X-Men give those losers a good butt-kickin'. And all is right with the world.
Significance - Gambit offers his assistance to Rogue, which she appreciates, though she decides to face the Shadow King alone. They also kiss a lot. Once in real life (with apparently no absorption) and twice in her mind (while dealing with the big, bad meanie).


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #16
Summary - In previous issues, Gambit was kidnapped and his powers amplified and used to open a dimensional portal so an alien species can invade and enslave Earth. The other member of the X-Treme team fight to keep the alien troops from succeeding, and in the process, Storm is badly wounded and kidnapped by the alien leader, who hopes to make her his queen. In this issue, Gambit tries to knock down one of the support pillars so the building he is in will fall, he will be crushed, and the portal will close...but while he manages to knock the pillar down, it isn't enough to make the building collapse. At this point Rogue is finally able to get to him, and tries to set him free, but gets stuck in the beam emanating from his body. That's when Vargas shows up and runs them both through with his sword. Meanwhile, Bishop, Thunderbird, Sage, and Lifeguard (Heather Cameron) have infiltrated the alien base and rescue Storm. Bishop, Thunderbird, and Sage then focus all their powers on the portal, and destroy it.
Significance - What Rogue does here can be seen as selfish (she's willing to let the world come to an end rather than let the man she loves die) or romantic (she's willing to let the world come to an end rather than let the man she loves die). That said, she makes a valiant effort to release him, and she and Gambit exchange some great lines. I think it's interesting that she also gets caught in the beam because she's absorbed his powers in the past, so they're part of her as well. And as adamant as she is about doing everything she can to save him, he tries everything he can think of to keep her from coming near him because he does not want her to share his fate, which he assumes will be death.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #17
Summary - The rest of the X-Treme team comes across Rogue lying on Gambit with a sword coming out of her back and assume the worst, only to have Rogue ask for help. Bishop pulls out the sword - Gambit and Rogue are injured, not dead. While the team tries to assess Gambit's wounds, Rogue unexpectedly begins to randomly manifest powers that she previously absorbed, including those of Cyclops, Colossus, Beast, the Hulk, and Wolverine, whose healing factor begins to work, though she changes too quickly to be healed completely. She decides to hunt down Vargas and end this now, against her friends' better judgment. Rogue uses Destiny's vision to locate him, and attacks first his two bodyguards, and then him, wearing Psylocke's costume (Psylocke was killed by Vargas earlier in the series). In the course of the struggle, Rogue realizes that her powers are gone...which I assume means the powers she imprinted from others, because at the end of the battle, she seemingly absorbs Vargas. A news camera documents the events, unbeknownst to Rogue, and as she holds his sword at his throat, ready to kill, she finally sees the diaries and the prophecies within for what they are. She says as much to Vargas when he asks why she hesitates, and the news camera goes fuzzy. We never see if she really kills Vargas, though everyone assumes that she did. She returns to her friends and collapses onto Gambit.
Significance - Before she leaves to get vengeance, Rogue and Gambit have a short but touching scene where Rogue tells Gambit he better not to die while she's gone, and Gambit reminds her that it's not time for her to die either.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #18
Summary - As news reports of the X-Men's bravery spread across the globe, the wounded members of the team are taken to a nearby MASH unit. Storm, Rogue, and Gambit are the most critically injured, and doctors work frantically to save them. Rogue keeps pushing doctors away, insisting that her healing factor will help her (even though her bleeding has not yet slowed), and tells them to work on her friends instead. The doctors working on Storm suddenly lose her, and only Rogue sees her spirit leave her body. She calls after her friend, and passes out herself. When she comes to, she thinks that she's dead, but Jean Grey appears, and she finds out while she too is slipping away, she's not quite dead yet. Jean tells her to worry about Gambit, she will take care of Storm. At this point, Jean, Beast, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine arrive at the MASH unit. Beast immediately goes to work helping Gambit, Jean keeps an eye on Storm, Wolverine checks on Rogue, and Nightcrawler gives counsel to a frightened Davis Cameron. Jean discovers that Storm has no intention of dying, that she is just taking this opportunity, when the veil between the living and the dead is so thin, to see her dead parents again. Meanwhile, Rogue is slipping in and out of consciousness, chasing down Gambit, who tells her that it's his time to die, and that she should let him do so in the state of grace he's in now because it'll probably never happen again. As she fights to make Gambit stay, Logan touches her, willing to sacrifice himself to save her, but her powers are gone, and she is unable to absorb his healing factor. After much hard work on the doctors' parts, everyone survives, though Logan warns Rogue that Gambit may hate her for dragging him back to the land of the living.
Significance - Rogue is willing to sacrifice her own life to save Gambit, and is willing to do so even if it means he will never forgive her from preventing him dying in the state of grace he apparently so desperately wants. Can't get more significant than that...


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #19
Summary - The X-Treme team, plus Jean, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Beast, and Shadowcat celebrate in the Louisiana mansion Rogue inherited from Destiny. Jean tries to convince the members of the X-Treme team to return to with her to Salem Center, where they can teach the next generation of mutants, but is unsuccessful. While Shadowcat has trouble dealing with the fact that yet another friend and comrade has fallen (Psylocke), and that she almost lost several other teammates as well, Lifeguard ponders her apparent Shi'ar heritage, and Gambit attempts to use his powers, but card after card falls to the ground uncharged. Rogue confronts Gambit, who's annoyed with her for saving him, and gets annoyed herself, asking him if their relationship has been a game for him, and wonders if now that they have a possible future together (since she too is without powers), he's going to bail on her. In the end, the group splits up - while many of them stay in the mansion, Rogue and Gambit leave to explore the possibilities of a real relationship, Thunderbird and Lifeguard go off to learn about her roots, and Shadowcat returns to college.
Significance - Although Rogue doesn't seem to be all that upset about losing her power, aside from the fact that it's strange making skin contact with people, Gambit is mighty PO'd. He has no sympathy for the strangeness Rogue mentions, and tells her that it's her own fault that she lost her powers. But when she challenges his motivations in their relationship, he steps up to the plate and agrees to take things one day at a time and see where things go. They share a dance in her garden, and kiss.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men X-Pose #2
Summary - I detest the artwork in this issue, but that's beside the point. Gambit is being Gambit - hustling people at pool - which makes Rogue nervous. When they try to leave the bar, they get in a fight with a group of anti-"normal human" mutants. They hold their own even without their powers, but in the end, Gambit has to stop them from doing major damage to Rogue. They go back into the bar so Rogue can clean herself up, and though she initially pretends to be someone else when a reporter recognizes her, she decides that it would be a good idea to let him interview her. Unfortunately, he tells her that he just found out that the documentary he's been working on about the X-Men is being twisted by the network into anti-mutant propaganda. Rogue claims to be able to fix the problem, and calls in a favor to the rich, powerful Archangel, who prevents the special from airing.
Significance - Thus far, it appears that Rogue and Gambit are doing ok as a couple. I like the fact that Gambit comes to Rogue's rescue only after the situation becomes takes a special man to not get sickeningly overprotective after his girlfriend's lost her superpowers. But they fight side by side, as if nothing's changed.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #31
Summary - This is the beginning of a five issue story-arc centering around the strained relations between humans and mutants, which have become even more precarious since the destruction of Genosha and recent violent, terroristic outbursts from teenage mutants. Once such incident involves a family that is driven off the road by a group of careless, self-absorbed adolescents; only Marie, the teenage daughter, survives the crash, though her injuries are severe (and include the loss of an eye). While Storm and Gambit, conveniently disguised as movie stars (Halle Berry - give me a break - and Pierce Brosnan, I think) lie in wait to discuss the potentially volatile situation with government officials, Bishop and Sage run into Rogue when they take their badly damaged motorcycle to a shop in Valle Soleada. Rogue and friends meet up with Cannonball in a club where Lila Cheny is performing...but the fun ends when a suspicious Rogue spots Marie in a heavy jacket, and discovers a bomb strapped to the younger woman's chest.
Significance - After an absence of a little more than ten issues, this was supposed to be the big "return of Rogue and Gambit"...they even appear together on the cover...but they don't share one panel together, except on the first page which explains their recent absence. It is still a notable issue, however, due to some Rogue quotes commenting on her relationship with Gambit - although she is annoyed with Sage's comment that she doesn't see a ring on her finger ("That's our business, 'kay?"), things are clearly going well because she responds to Bishop's question, "But you're happy then, you and your guy?" with "Me an' my guy, Gambit an' his gal...Ah do so like the sound of that." But if you want to hear my thoughts on the rest of the issue - Rogue's skanky clothes, the blatant references to the movie, and the terrible art - click here to read my rant.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #40
Summary - In the process of researching X-Corp's Los Angeles office, Sage uncovers disturbing evidence that Elias Bogan, one of the most powerful telepaths alive and a previous member of the Hellfire Club, may be involved in the recent unrest in Valle Soleada. She contacts Storm to discuss the situation, while the others (including Rogue, Gambit, Lila Cheny, Cannonball, Magma, and Vange) enjoy a clambake on the beach, unaware of the danger they are in. Elsewhere, Bishop is ambushed by a group of goons, led by the mysterious "pet" telepath controlled by Bogan.
Significance - Rogue and Gambit stroll on the beach, hand in hand...they dance, they kiss, and all is right with the know, except for the fact that Bogan's out to get them.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #41
Summary - While Bogan's "pet" brainwashes and uses drugs to break Bishop, Rogue and Gambit track his last known movements...and after studying the evidence, conclude that he had purposely set himself up to be ambushed. They return to the house and confront Sage about Bishop's plan. Startled by the interruption (she was communicating with Storm via their special sunglasses), Sage attacks Rogue, and a struggle ensues. Cannonball and Magma arrive at the house a short time after things have calmed down, and they discuss the situation as a group. It's decided that the secret plan that was put into place was a good one - Bishop has the skills (and an immunity to the drugs Bogan is using) to trick Bogan into thinking that he's under his when Bogan sends him out to destroy the X-Men, he won't really be under the telepath's control. Knowing this will also allow them to divide and conquer - half of them will keep Bishop busy, while the other half secretly hunts down the "pet" telepath. Sage mentions that she has a history with Bogan, and her friends ask her to tell them about it so they are better prepared to deal with him. In the end, as the others prepare for battle, Sage and Storm privately discuss "what could have been" if Sage had been able to prevent the corruption of Phoenix by the Hellfire Club.
Significance - It's nice to see that Rogue and Gambit are still able to work together...with Marvel, you never now how a potential relationship will be handled, so I was pleased to see the couple have a "non-romantic" moment when they're trying to figure out what happened to Bishop. Of course, there's also the part where Sage nearly kills Rogue and Gambit is quick to stop her with a gun to the head...and a suggestion that they all take a moment to step back and think about what their next moves will be.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #42
Summary - Everyone changes into their specially made uniforms and they break into two groups - the boys (along with the newly arrived Skids) face off against Bogan's cronies, led by Bishop and the "pet" telepath, while the girls go off to find Bogan. The boys seemingly lose the battle, but the girls haven't yet played their part...the issue ends when they meet up with Shadowcat.
Significance - Although it's somewhat melodramatic (and a little mushy for my taste), there is a loving exchange between Rogue and Gambit - a "farewell before going off to war" type thing.


Issue - X-Treme X-Men #46
Summary - Just when everyone has a chance to kick back and relax, now that they've thwarted Bogan's most recent attempt to destroy them, disaster strikes on the other side of the country. Magneto had struck again, taking the entire island of Manhattan hostage, in addition to destroying the X-Men's mansion in Westchester and killing several X-Men (including Jean Grey)...the violence was now over (Wolverine killed him), but now NYC (and the X-Men) needed to rebuild. Mutants all over Valle Soleada show up at Rogue's house to volunteer their services, and are welcomed with open arms. The team spreads out to bring aid to both locations and Sage jump-starts Gambit, returning his powers to him. The issue, and the series, ends with Storm making a speech over dinner, and offering those present membership into the X.S.E (X-Treme Sanctions Executive).
Significance - adrenaline pumping is a necessity for a jump-start, so to that end, Rogue and Sage concocted a clever plan. They lit candles and spread rose petals on the bed, then Sage, disguised as Rogue in a negligée, made out with him. I guess when he was "ready," so to speak, she did her magic, and his powers returned. Not a bad way to do it, huh? Props to Gambit for realizing that this "sexy Rogue" was not really Rogue...hope he wasn't too traumatized by the deception...


Uncanny X-Men X-Men: The End Ultimate X-Men X-Men Misc Gambit Rogue X-Men: Evo