A Rogue By Any Other Name

I remember when I was first introduced to the world of X-Men...I was in middle school, and X-Men: The Animated Series came on just around the time I got home. Of all the mutants, my favorites were Wolverine and Rogue - Wolverine for his fierce temper and passionate unrequited love for Jean Grey, and Rogue because I loved everything about her. I loved her hair with the white stripe, her accent, her powers (both her natural absorption powers and those she absorbed from Ms. Marvel - super strength, invulnerability, and flight), her attitude...even her name. Rogue. How cool is that? Unlike the others, she didn’t seem to have a “real” name. It was just Rogue.

And so she remained “Rogue” for a long time. In the comics, she offered to tell Remy her real name, but he stopped her, saying that it didn’t matter. In the more recent X-Men: Evolution animated series, she was still only known as “Rogue.” But when the X-Men movies came out, everything changed. I suppose I can’t blame the moviemakers per se. I mean, we meet her right when her mutant powers surface, so I guess it makes sense that we’d know her name. And it might seem weird to mainstream audiences if she didn’t have some kind of “normal” name. I’ll give them that. I wasn’t thrilled with “Marie,” but I could live with it, if only because this was the movie version of Rogue, and I see her as a separate entity...an alternate universe, if you will. Besides...everyone pretty much just called her Rogue most of the time anyway.

But then something unexpected happened...something unacceptable. Somehow, someway, the X-movies spilled over into the X-comics. Beginning in X-Treme X-Men #31, movie references started to magically pop up every so often. Storm suddenly looked like Halle Berry...Mystique had blue scales...most importantly, Rogue was going by the name “Anna Raven,” and hung a huge poster from the movie “The Piano” in her living room. Oh yeah, there’s also a girl named Marie D'Ancanto (Rogue’s name in the X-movies) - she’s a totally separate character. But I digress. The point is that Rogue had a name. And while comic fans decided that it must be an alias (the likelihood of her having the last name “Raven” and being adopted by a woman named “Raven” is slim), it was not nearly as clever as the writers probably thought it was. I could almost deal with her choosing the name “Anna”...except for the fact that it’s clearly a reference to Anna Paquin (who played Rogue in the movie, as well as starring in “The Piano”). “Raven” is just stupid and uninspired. It’s common knowledge how Rogue feels about her adoptive mother, so it’s improbable that she’d use her name as part of an alias.

Still...it wasn’t her real name, so why all the fuss?

Things changed again when Rogue went down to Caldecott County...and we learned once and for all that her name is Anna Marie. I suppose that isn’t so bad, but it raises the same objections as before - they gave her a name that combines the names of the actress that portrayed her and her name in the movie. I’m not down with that. They couldn’t be more creative? Or just left things well enough alone? Since when is “Rogue” not enough?

On the other hand, I almost like Rogue’s name in Ultimate X-Men. She told Gambit that it’s Marian, which I think is a clever reference to Robin Hood’s special lady friend...if only the writers hadn’t crammed that idea down our throat, and let us pick up on it all by ourselves, it would’ve been so much better.

And so, I’ve manifestly refused to acknowledge that Rogue has revealed her name...because I think her “real name” is boring and uninspired. And I don’t think it fits. I’m not sure if that’s simply because its origin is so completely transparent, or because it doesn’t suit Rogue. To be honest, I’m not sure if I could ever accept any name for Rogue...maybe this is simply a fight I can’t win. But I won’t stop fighting it. As far as I’m concerned, she was, is, and always will be Rogue. Just Rogue. And that’s all she needs to be.