|Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #182|| || |
Issue Date: June 1984
Story Title: Madness
Staff: Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita jr (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Glynis Wein (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Louise Jones & Ann Nocenti (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)
Rogue has flown to the X-Mansion from Japan. Checking the answering machine, she gets a call for help by Xavier’s associate, Michael Rossi, who is infiltrating SHIELD. Rogue attacks the Heli-carrier where Rossi is being roughed up by two SHIELD agents, one of whom is actually a mole for the Hellfire Club. As Rossi was searching for info on the Hellfire Club, the mole first kills the other agent, Price, and then intends to kill Rossi. Enter Rogue, who roughs him up and frees Rossi. She takes the wounded Rossi to a beach house. Rossi is surprised when Rogue acts familiar, even referring to their past together as partners and lovers. Rogue finally realizes that the Carol Danvers part of her took over when she learned that Carol’s former lover was in danger. When Rossi learns what she did to Carol, he hits her and stalks away disgusted, leaving a self-loathing Rogue. In the meantime, SHILED director Fury decides to call an all points alert on Rogue for the attack on the Heli-Carrier.
Sonuvagun, the newest X-Man, Rogue, announces. She’s just flown halfway around the world! She now begins to understand why Storm loves flying so much. The beauty, the majesty, the… peace. She never really took the time to notice before.
She playfully flies loops around a jumbojet, wondering if traffic control has her on their radar. She must be driving them nuts. She blows the pilots a kiss and grins at the expressions on their faces.
Finally, she tells herself to get serious. She’s on a mission. She reaches Xavier’s Mansion, noticing that she now thinks of it as home. She lands through on of the skylights in Storm’s attic and walks downstairs. She checks the room of Kitty Pryde. The professor sent her ahead to check on Kitty and the New Mutants.
She is tired, wanting only to sleep. That flight took more out of her than she thought. Suddenly, she notices that the alarm’s been ringing ever since she came in, but she only now realized it. She runs toward Xavier’s study. She sees they’ve got some calls on the emergency phone line.
The first one is by Cyclops’ wife, Madelyne Pryor, asking for help as Scott vanished right out of her arms. Rogue knows what happened to him. He got grabbed just like the rest of them and yanked across the universe by the Beyonder. But, if all went well, Cyclops should have been returned to Madelyne by now.
Course, they were supposed to land in New York, not Tokyo and nobody said anything about tossing in that dumb dragon.
The next message is played. Rogue looks up, recognizing the voice. The call is by Michael Rossi. He’s aboard SHIELD’s heli-carrier. He’s afraid their suspicions have been confirmed, he announces. That moment, as he curses out in pain, the call ends, cut off in mid-transmission.
Realizing he’s in trouble, Rogue immediately takes off, missing the last call and letter by Illyana Rasputin, announcing that Kitty Pryde was captured by the White Queen and that the New Mutants have gone to try and rescue her.
Meanwhile, on the detention deck of the SHIELD heli-carrier floating high above, two agents are interrogating Michael Rossi. When he refuses to even give his name even after days, one agent – Price – hits and kicks him. Well, he makes noises anyway, he remarks when Rossi groans. That’s a start. The other agent, Garwood, tells Price to cut it out. What did he do? Price rejoins. It’s not his fault, the prisoner is so clumsy. He keeps tripping over his own big fee. Roughly, he drags Rossi up again. He sure he wants to go through with this? Play hero all he likes, in the end he’ll talk. He roughly kicks Rossi. The question is does he want to get beaten to a pulp in the process.
The other agent intervenes, ordering this is enough. Price knows Fury’s orders. Fury’s getting old, Price scoffs, and maybe too soft for his own good. Besides, who’ll tell him? Garwood turns around, announcing he’ll take a break. He’ll need a breath of fresh air. Piece turns back to his prisoner.
Garwood returns to his quarters, musing they found the intruder in the computer center scanning for data on the Hellfire Club and its chairman, Sebastian Shaw. He’d better report in. Garwood activates a special secret comlink, linking him to Sebastian Shaw and his assistant Tessa.
On the helicarrier, SHIELD agents note there is an unauthorized transmission but have no chance to pinpoint it. Garwood shows Shaw a photo of the prisoner. Tessa identifies him as Colonel Michael Rossi, United States Air Force Field operative with the Special Investigations Service, reported missing in action some years ago.
Is he a threat to the Inner Circle? Shaw asks her. Unknown, she replies. Insufficient data. The fact hat Rossi is curious abut him at all makes him dangerous, Shaw decides and gives Garwood the order to eliminate him.
A moment later, the astral form of Shaw’s partner, Emma Frost, the White Queen, appears. To what does he owe the pleasure, he inquires. She has acquired some new students at her Massachusetts Academy, comes the reply. Xavier’s former protégés, the New Mutants. Would he care to meet them? He’d love to, Shaw agrees and promises to see her the next day.
Meanwhile, Rogue floats outside the Heli-Carrier, hidden by the clouds. The sun’s almost down. Time to make her move, she decides. “Suzy B,” do your stuff.
Rogue tosses a coin with all her strength and it goes right through the Helicarrier, damaging the radar system. Once it’s out of action, the heli-carrier is virtually blind. Rogue flies inside and kicks in a door to the computer center. Some agents try to attack her and she easily takes them out. Fury’s people haven’t changed, she thinks to herself. Brave, but oh so dumb.
She takes off a panel that seals the damage control bulkhead, trapping the crew in their various compartments. Then, she smashes the computer control, ensuring they will have to open the doors manually and neutralizes the entire internal security system. She’s pleased with her work. Everybody will be too busy making sure the carrier stays aloft to worry about her and her little jailbreak.
Garwood only just manages to return to Price and the prisoner before the doors are down. He then shoots Price. His plan is to make it seem as though the prisoner killed Price and he had no choice but to kill him in return.
As he is about to finish off Rossi Rogue, mockingly asks if she is interrupting. However, Colonel Rossi is a friend of hers and she really can’t let him shoot him. The man fires at her, but she proves invulnerable. He tries to at least finish off Rossi but, before he can, she destroys the weapon and slugs him unconscious.
“Colonel?” she asks, as she cradles Rossi gently. Mickey? They did a royal number on him, she states, calling him “Ace.” She promises to take car of him the way he always did of her. He recognizes the voice but then falls unconscious.
She grabs him and leaves, wondering what Rossi’s mission was. He was working with Xavier but was not officially sanctioned. And why the rough stuff from those SHIELD operatives? Was the killer a mole, and if so for whom?
SHIELD sends two fighter planes after her. She tosses another coin which goes right through a plane. The pilot has to eject and parachute. The other tries to follows Rogue but she is fast enough to lose him.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Danvers’ summer house. Rogue rambles that they should be okay here. Her folks pretty much leave the place empty midwinter. Look at her, carrying her first true love across the threshold. She gently puts him on a bed. Not finding any broken bones or abdominal rigidity, she thinks he isn’t bleeding inside. What will she do till he wakes up?
For a moment, she panics, feelings she doesn’t belong, then returns to her stable pattern of thought, finding her mother stocked the pantry. All she has to do is turn on the gas for the stove and she is in business. But why did she feel so weird a moment ago? Of course she belongs her, this is her home.
Time passes. Rossi wakes up and tries to move. She wouldn’t advise that, Rogue tells him, calling him Ace. She comes in, carrying a tray. Rossi wonders about her. Xavier mentioned she comes from the Deep South; where did she pick up the Boston accent and why does her voice sound so familiar? She puts the tray with the soup across Rossi’s lap.
He thanks her, and then is amazed at the soup. Where did she get the recipe, he asks her. It’s her own special concoction, she replies. Surely he hasn’t forgotten. Is his hearing going or is he hallucinating? he wonders. He thought this soup was unique. It is, she replies. It’s hers. She doesn’t understand, he insists. A friend of his came up with the exact same dish. That friend is her, she insists. What’s with the headgames? They’ve known each other for years. He’s not the one playing games, he retorts. They never met. The first time he laid eyes on her was just now, when she walked into the room.
That’s crazy, Ace, Rogue protests. Where did she learn that nickname? he inquires. She gave it to him, comes the reply. No way! he insists. She’s seen stubborn men in her day, she exclaims exasperated, beginning with her father. But, if he wants details, she’ll be glad to give them. They were in Berlin on her first mission.
How could she know that? Who is she? he shouts. What made her bring him here of all places? Partly because they were happy here, she explains. He hates to disillusion her, but she has the wrong man. How can he say that after all they’ve been through together? she asks. It’s the truth, Rossi insists. Why did she come after him anyway?
He called, she answered, she replies coldly. Really, does he think she’d ever leave him in the lurch after the way he and Wolverine defied orders to bust her out of Lubyanka prison? The KGB would never have let her go! She owes him her sanity and probably her life. Why is he looking at her so strangely? What’s wrong? She is, he replies. When was Lubyanka? Eight years ago, she replies. And they first met…? Right after she joined the air force.
Embarrassed, she admits she was so young back then, so… innocent. She looked and acted tough, but she wasn’t. Wait, she suddenly hesitates. She enlisted when she was 18, but she’s 18 now, how can that be? How can she remember being with him, fighting by his side, loving him when she couldn’t have been more than a kid?
She gets up. This house, her brothers and she helped Dad build it. She was the oldest. She wanted to prove she was as strong and capable as him. So what if she was a girl? There was an accident. She ended up with a wicked cut across her left hand. He knows, Rossi agrees. He’s seen the scar. Rogue takes off her glove. The skin isn’t marred. And she never had a father either. He ran away before she was born. She never had any sort of family till she met Mystique.
She sees herself in the mirror. Why is her hair so short? It should be blond. What happened to her face? What’s happening to her?
Rossi notices she’s switching accents from line to line. And personalities as well. He grabs her by the shoulders, insisting she is not Carol Danvers. Stop trying to pretend she is!
She tears herself away. It’s not pretend! she cries and runs outside. On the way she stumbles and lands with her face in the sand. Confused she can’t tell anymore which thoughts are hers. She sees the memories of younger Carol Steve and Joe Jr., Carol’s brothers. Steve was killed in Vietnam. The girl, Carol, runs towards Rogue. They merge. And she lives in the memory of the play for a moment. Then she and Carol split apart. Carol’s grown up now, older than her. The images aren’t real, merely memories Rogue sees in her mind’s eye, as she relives a life that is and is not her. The hard, dangerous years as a secret agent. A young woman’s passionate first love for her mentor and partner, Michael Rossi.
A transformation from human into something much more, as Carol Danvers becomes Ms. Marvel. Triumph, tragedy, an attempt to build a new and happier life in San Francisco, shattered one summer’s night by an ambush, a battle to death with quarter neither asked nor given, as Rogue attacked her and stole her powers, personality and memories.
Rossi hears Rogue screaming and runs to her side, seeing her crouch on the beach and wondering what happened. He asks if she is okay. Panicked, she orders him to stay away and not to touch her or she may do to him what she did to Carol! What was that? he asks. With tears in her eyes, Rogue admits she stole Carol’s life. When she absorbed her powers and memories, she destroyed her as surely as if she’d put a bullet in Carol’s head. And in the process, Rogue may have destroyed herself as well! She never realized how much Carol lost because of her. She took not just the memories, but the emotions that were bound with them, all the things that give life and self meaning. Now when Carol looks at Rossi or her folks she may know who they are thanks to Professor X’s therapy, and how she should feel towards them, but Rogue is the one who feels the emotion. Rossi was right. They never met, but inside her are memories of when he and Carol were in love. They fool her, she gets confused. She reacts to them as if they are her memories and emotions.
How could she have done such a thing? he demands horrified. Why?! Ignorance, Rogue admits. She didn’t know the full extent of her powers. Also hatred, vengeance. They’d fought a few months earlier and she’d almost been killed. She wanted to get even. She guesses she got her wish. Carol is a strong woman, though. She won’t quit. The Carol side of her keeps trying to take control. At first it was so bad she went crazy, but with Xavier’s help, she finally got a handle on things.
But tonight, she was so tired from her flight home from Japan, her defenses were down. She heard Rossi’s voice and that was that. Carol’s knowledge enabled her to infiltrate the heli-carrier and find him. She knew she was Rogue but was reacting as Carol. Still is. She can’t help caring for him, she adds, calling him Ace.
He orders her not to use that name. She doesn’t have the right. So what happened to Carol? She is Carol, Rogue insists, in all the ways that count!
No! Rossi screams and strikes her in the face. Cowering, Rogue apologizes. He doesn’t believe her, Rossi announces, and he doesn’t care. Before God, he wishes there was some way to make her pay for what she’s done! He walks away. He wished he had the power to kill her. So do I, my love, Rogue cries in a soft voice. So do I.
Later, Colonel Nick Fury has returned to the heli-carrier in answer to the urgent summons by one of his chief aides, la Contessa Valentina Allegro de Fontaine. The Contessa has led him to the bed of the injured guard and he fills him in. The guard tells him that she smashed her way into the detention area, tearing down armored doors like they were made of paper. And she killed Price and escaped with the prisoner. He assures Fury he tried to stop her.
Fury tells Garwood he understands. He knows he did his best. Forensics put together the identikit of the woman based on his description.
Val states that they still haven’t identified the prisoner, but the woman is Rogue of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, though lately she has been affiliated with the X-Men. Silently, she wonders why Rogue, who has superpowers, would shoot Price.
Fury announces he doesn’t care if Rogue has joined the girl scouts. He won’t have his people murdered. He addresses operations, calling an all-points alert for Rogue. She’s to be considered extremely dangerous. If she resists, he authorizes the use of deadly force.
Price (SHIELD agent)
Garwood (SHILED agent and undercover Hellfire Club agent)
as astral projection:
In Rogue’s / Carol’s memories:
Shaw meets the New Mutants in New Mutants (1st series) # 17.
It is odd that Shaw doesn’t recognize Rossi, as the Inner Circle helped him in Classic X-Men #7. (though the Classic X-Men issue was published many years after this one)
This Issue has been reprinted in:
Essential X-Men Vol. 5 (Trade Paperback)
Classic X-Men #86
Issue Summary written by: Ruth