Monday, August 22, 2016

Life eXpectancy

Thanks to an alien invader named Khan (no, not that Khan), Gambit of the X-Men has been captured and restrained and is being used as a power conduit for a beam that opens a portal between dimensions that allows Khan to bring his forces through. When Rogue arrives in an attempt to set him free, the portion of Gambit's power that she's absorbed makes her susceptible to the beam as well, holding her in place above him and making them both vulnerable to the approach of Vargas, a Spaniard who has already killed Psylocke and wants to see Rogue dead because of a vision of the precog mutant, Destiny, that reveals his death at Rogue's hand.

Vargas is hardly the honorable type--and the other X-Men are occupied with Khan. And so with both Rogue and Gambit helpless, you're likely correct in your guess of what happens to these two next--and given that this comic is called X-treme X-Men, and that it's written by Chris "the-more-graphic-the-death-the-better" Claremont, you're even probably prepared for the worst. The question is:

Can you think of any way both of these people lived through this attack?

What if we threw in the fact that Rogue has been impaled through the heart?
It has to be game over for this pair, right?? Come on!!

When the X-Men arrive on the scene, however, you'd think that they saw this kind of thing every day. Practically speaking, they probably have. How often have you read this sort of scene in an X-Men issue:

"You should be dead!"
"I got better."

If you or I had been the victims here, there would be no miraculous discovery that we had somehow survived. We would have died within seconds. No question whatsoever about that. But given that neither Rogue nor Gambit is being written out of the book, the X-Men blink for a few moments and then move on, talking about what's occurred as if filling each other in during a briefing.  Rogue is even strong enough to narrate things for us.

Gambit's fate remains uncertain, while Rogue does the next most astonishing thing of the day (after remaining alive with a sword jabbed directly through her heart, that is)--she picks herself up and goes after Vargas. Flies after Vargas. As if huge battle swords were pulled out of her every day. She's also displaying signs of her power being "jump-started" in some way that I can't recall; basically, the abilities of all those she's ever imprinted on herself are available to her, without the need to track all the individuals down and make physical contact with them again. One of those abilities, Wolverine's healing factor which she absorbed wayyyy back when she first joined the team, is being used in minuscule doses to keep her alive--because, you know, it would look silly if she just got up from that sword strike, dusted herself off without a scratch (or, in this case, a scar on both sides of her body), and winked at her teammates and all of her readers because an instant-presto healing factor had made a joke of the dramatic death scene pictured in the previous issue's cliffhanger. This way, we take the whole thing More Seriously, because the Threat Of Death is still hanging over everyone involved and Someone Could Still Die. (No one else does.)

The rematch with Vargas is brutal, with most of Rogue's stockhouse of extra powers staying dormant for the duration--yet, even bleeding all over the landscape, she still prevails while also deciding to spare Vargas's life. And lets him walk away. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe this is all just a joke.

The following issue has everyone (finally!) being taken to a hospital facility in Madripoor, with many on the team suffering serious injuries and Storm, Rogue, and Gambit on the critical list. Claremont spends much of the issue name-dropping a truckload of medical terminology from the assembled doctors who are like the world's most amped-up trauma team; and the three X-Men whose lives hang by a thread all pay a visit to the gateway to the afterlife, before pulling themselves back (though Gambit returns reluctantly).

We're left to assume that whatever of the healing factor remains within Rogue has helped to pull her through. As for Gambit, the Beast has performed surgery on him with (what else?) nanotechnology.

Somewhere in the afterlife, Psylocke is staring daggers directly in Chris Claremont's direction. Words, to no one's surprise, no doubt fail her.


B Smith said...

A variation of that was the reason I quit reading the X-Men - remember that scene right back in #160-something where they're fighting the Brood in New York and Colossus is impaled on a metal something-or-other. "He's dead" Wolverine says.

Sure enough, next issue he's in the Starjammers' sick bay and well on the way to recovery.

Someone should have offered to impale Chris Claremont with something and let him find out how easy and quick such scenarios *aren't*

Comicsfan said...

Gee, I wonder if they'd call that "method writing," B? I doubt Mr. Claremont would want to go that far for his art. :)

Warren JB said...

I don't know if there's any bit of this that's not painful. Especially, for me, "I get a slim window to leave this terrible life for somewhere much better. Please let me go." "No."

Should I assume that Remy's relationship with Rogue was smoothed over as quickly and without comment as their bodies were?

Comicsfan said...

Warren, they'd both lost their powers (at least for now) as a result of their experiences, so they decided to take a leave of absence from the X-Men and travel together to sort things out. It's pretty much status quo with them, only this time there's nothing really stopping them from taking things to the next level. (Especially when you've both hurdled death, I suppose.)