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THE X-MEN PROJECT: CHAPTER 20 – THE THREE FACES OF ROGUE

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Chapter 20

What’s up with that skunk stripe? If you’ve been following the X-Men for years, then you realize that Rogue’s origin had many conflicting versions. That’s why I’m here to hammer out the most logical approach to these complicated characters. Rogue was born into a back-to-nature hippie compound to young parents. She was raised as a Naturalist who just lived having a good time in the Southern Wilds. Everything’s going great until she kisses her first love interest and she puts the poor boy into a coma. Fearing that she’s a cursed demon from Hell, Rogue runs away from home where she finds Mystique and Destiny willing to take her in. Destiny had foreseen where Rogue’s future laid and she was willing to create a new home for the special mutant.

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Over time, Rogue forgot about her past as a Southern kid named Anna Marie and became the mutant terrorist known as Rogue. Originally, she was meant to appear in Ms. Marvel, but the book was cancelled before she got to debut. Needless to say, Chris Claremont saved her for an Avengers Annual fill-in where he had Rogue screw up with her powers and steal Carol Danvers’ persona, powers and everything else that wasn’t nailed down. She freaks out, but it keeps it together long enough to use her combined Ms. Marvel and Rogue powers to fight the entire Avengers team. The X-Men are called in to help out, after it’s revealed that Carol is near death and can barely remember who she is and what happened. A few weeks after the fight, Rogue would come to learn that the Ms. Marvel powers had become a permanent part of herself as she held the connection to Carol Danvers for far too long.

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Rogue would grow to become a trust member of the X-Men, but several incidents during this time would lead the Carol Danvers persona to become stronger and begin taking over Rogue’s life. The attempts became apparent during Rogue’s attempts to save S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mike Rossi and during her sexual assault by the Genoshan Press Gang. Both incidents gave Danvers the opportunity she needed to assert control and began usurping Rogue’s life. Rogue’s costume quickly became a copy of the old Ms. Marvel getup and her style started to resemble Carol’s old ways. After Rogue/Carol went through the Siege Perilous, the personality battle took on a whole new fight until Rogue asserted full and final control. What I forgot to mention was that it took Magneto’s intervention and the Carol Danvers persona had been given life due to the intervention of the Shadow King.

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The first time I saw Rogue’s power in full use was from one of my favorite Classic X-Men back-up stories. Watching Rogue defy Mystique as a teenager and heading out to kiss her crush was horrifying, just in the way the story was framed. The body Cody would spend a decade in a coma until he was kill by Gambit’s ex-wife as a means of taking revenge on Rogue. His spirit would later forgive Rogue because it’s comics, people. Time would march on and the fear of skin contact would become a staple of the Rogue character. Things would change following the Messiah Complex crossover, where certain events caused Rogue’s powers to be reset. She could touch people and steal their memories/powers. However, it was most temporarily and she had become purged of her traditional Ms. Marvel powers. No more flight, no super strength or near invulnerability had changed the Rogue that most casual fans had known into something new.

Around this time, Rogue’s on/off relationship with Gambit became strained as he became a Horseman for Apocalypse. This ended quickly and events kept spiraling and spiraling until Gambit became so far removed from the person that she knew, that Rogue ultimately gave up on him. Rogue worked with her new powers on Cyclops’ base on Utopia, but she eventually left to join Wolverine and the others at the Jean Grey School. Rogue remained neutral during the Avengers vs. X-Men standoff, but she chose to intervene when the Phoenix powered Magik had begun torturing Carol Danvers. Magik banished Rogue to another dimension for getting involved, but the X-Men got her back. Rogue returned and kept going out of her way to stay in the realm of the good.

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Still, there’s that tinge about Rogue that suggests she can still turn bad. As a member of the Uncanny Avengers, Wolverine forbids her from killing anyone. But, when she has the means and ability to take care of Scarlet Witch for causing M-Day, she guts Wanda Maximoff without hesitation. Rogue is then killed by the Grim Reaper for what he did, but this is shortly before the Celestials destroy the Earth and reality gets rewritten. That is about the long and short of it for Rogue in the comics. Most of you reading this will know her from the Anna Paquin’s performance in the X-Men films or the FOX KIDS cartoon. Both performances weren’t bad takes, but they just amplified the character as specific moments in time.

As we close the first volume of the X-Men Project, that’s ultimately what this has been about these past few weeks. I want to show non-comic fans, the rich history that these characters enjoy and have produced over the years. In the next few days, I’ll offer up the beginning of an Essential X-Men Chronology with direct links back to the material that I’ve referenced in each chapter. Hopefully, this starts you on a long path into enjoying the best of the Marvel mutants.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s coming next:

Chapter 21  – Rachel Summers

Chapter 22 – Longshot

Chapter 23 – Psylocke

Chapter 24 – Forge

Chapter 25 – Jubilee

Chapter 26 – Gambit

Chapter 27 – Cannonball

Chapter 28 – The Operation Zero Tolerance Team (Joseph, Marrow, Maggott and Dr. Cecilia Reyes)

Chapter 29 – Generation X (Chamber, Husk, Skin, Synch, M)

Chapter 30 – Oddities of the 00s (Stacy X, Sage, Lifeguard, Slipstream)

Chapter 31 – Bishop

Chapter 32 – Cable

Chapter 33 – The Eve of Destruction Team (Omerta, Frenzy, Northstar, Wraith, Sunpyre)

Chapter 34 – The White Queen

Chapter 35 – Xorn

Chapter 36 – The Juggernaut

Chapter 37 – Deadpool

Chapter 38 – Mystique

Chapter 39 – Sabretooth

Chapter 40 – Alpha Flight (Madison Jeffries, Aurora, Puck, Guardian, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Snowbird)

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