X-Men Vignettes, Chapter Forty-Four (1990)

X-Men Vignettes #44 (1990)
“Her First & Last”
Writer – Ann Nocenti
Pencils – Kieron Dwyer
Inks – Hilary Barta
Letters – Joe Rosen
Colors – Glynis Oliver
Edits – Edelman, Harras, DeFalco
From: Classic X-Men #44 (February, 1990)

Somebody queue up Kenny Loggins, cuz… This is it! Today is the final chapter of X-Men Vignettes… well, sorta.

Thanks to the tip from our great friend, Chris U, I now know that there was supposed to be a back-up story in Classic X-Men #45… which, all we fake-ass X-Historians know… didn’t appear there. Well, I didn’t know nothin’ bout any’a dat! What’s more, I didn’t know that the story meant for Classix #45 would eventually see print in the pages of Marvel Fanfare #60 (January, 1992)!

So, with this newfound information, I took to the mean streets, added around 150 miles to my odometer… and, came up with bupkis! Ya see, what I didn’t realize about Fanfare #60 was, a) it was the final issue and evidently, rather underprinted, and b) it has Black Panther on the cover, who just so happens to be one of the more exploitable Marvel characters of current year!

So, what’s a fella to do? If you’ve been with me for awhile, you’ll be familiar with many of my hunts… the Lady Cop issue of 1st Issue Special, Vartox’s appearances in the pre-Flashpoint Power Girl, DC’s New Talent Showcase… there’ve been a bunch. Well, here’s what I did… I asked one of the guys at a nearby comic shop if he might have a copy “in the back”. Now, “in the back”, as it pertains to comic book back issues, is a pretty nebulous locale… as it could mean several things. Maybe it’s literally in the back room of the shop… maybe it’s off-site not yet rotated in to the shop’s stash… maybe they’ve got a warehouse, or at the very least a storage unit… maybe it’s their own personal collection… or, maybe they’ll just find it on eBay and sell it to me for twice what they paid for it? I don’t ask for the specifics… cuz, honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me, so long as I get the thing in my hot li’l hands.

All this to say… I’m about 85% sure that I’ve procured a copy of Marvel Fanfare #60. Just waiting on a call to swing in and pick it up. So, while this is the end of the Vignettes “proper”, it ain’t the end of our time cuttin’ it up here together. Be on the lookout for the “missing” Vignette in the coming days!

Now, this does leave us with a question… it’s that usual “end of a project” question. What’s next?

Well, it’s time for my usual “end of a project” answer… which is to say, I dunno…

What I do know is that I’ve gotta get back behind the mic for a bit. For folks who’ve been with me from the start, you’ll likely be somewhat familiar with my content creation “origin story”. Well, of late I’ve been in discussions with… and ultimately welcomed back into the Weird Science family — where I’ll be doing a bit of X-Content, including coverage of this summers A/X/E: Judgment Day crossovent. That said, I’m going to have to “get current” on “current”. As it stands now, I’m around a dozen or so shows (and books) behind where X-Lapsed needs to be… and so, I gotta start spittin’ again.

That’s not to say we’re done here… not by a longshot (and, no, I’m not about to start covering Longshot… yet). There’s still plenty I wanna write about — got some long abandoned blogging projects that may need some love and attention… and, of course, I’m always down to discuss any of the “forgotten” Vignette-y X-Men stories. We already covered a few Wolverine solo ditties from Marvel Comics Presents… maybe an X-Focused return to MCP could be our next thing?! We’ll see, eh?

Anyway, that’s enough vampin’ from me — thanks for joining me on this odd little trip thru the X-Men’s Days of Forgotten Past… I hope you enjoyed!

Today’s story is Rogue-centric… and it opens with her hanging out with her buddy/pal/sweetheart, Cody. Err, he’s “Freddy” here, but… c’mon, we know it’s Cody. Rogue plays tough… kinda like one of the boys… and just as our visit begins, she’s thrown from the handlebars of CodeFred’s bike. She lands gracefully, “Good as a cat”, sayeth our slackjawed friend. He chases her, scoops her up… and goes to give her a kiss. Naturally, she fights him off, giving him a good judo toss to evade the lip lock. Her “mother” sees this all play out, and is not at all pleased. CodeFred tells Rogue that “Kissin’s fun”, before hoppin’ back on his bike and pedalin’ on down the road.

Mystique approaches Rogue to warn her that she’s gotta be more careful. Ya know, skin-to-skin contact is kind of a no-no for her… hence the odd bodysuit she’s wearing. Funny, Codefred didn’t seem to care, or even notice, that his gal-pal is covered neck to toe in fabric. Anyway, rogue stomps off, claiming that she wants to play and have fun… and she’s done doing “missions” with her weird parents.

On the porch, Mystique is joined by Destiny… who advises caution in how to deal with Rogue. Ya see, she’s not like them… and she will leave them when it becomes clear that their Brotherhood has “darker ways” of doing business. Further, Destiny suggests that Mystique might be jealous of Rogue. Jealous of what, exactly? The uncontrollable powers that keep her isolated? The fact that she’s barely a teen-ager and already has white hair? Her slackjawed boyf? I dunno…

From here we jump to a nearby cliff, where Rogue and CodeFred are taking turns defying death by swinging on some rope that’s dangling over the edge. Sounds like fun, eh? Our boy once again attempts to force himself on Rogue… and gets swatted away. He’s starting to become frustrated, and asks her why she won’t do this one thing. Now, I know this is a “coming of age” story of romance… but, I swear “current year” must be majorly effing with my mind, cuz now I think I’ve been trained to see this as the early stages of a sexual assault. Oy. Anyway, CodeFred decides that he’s got one last ace up his sleeve… he’s going to DARE HER to kiss him. Well, he probably should’a lead with that, cuz that was all it took! Rogue plants a kiss on our boy.

And the next three pages are a collage of everything Rogue sees in CodeFred’s life. His experiences, his fears, his joy… ya know, his everything. Things Rogue wanted to know… but, not the way she wanted to find it all out. She’s been robbed of a proper courtship… she wanted CodeFred to share these things with her willingly… not have them (literally?) sucked out his mind.

Rogue runs off while our boy is still a bit dazed. He was kayoed for a bit, but doesn’t end up in a coma. I guess that was a late addition to add a bit more trauma to Rogue’s story…

From here, Rogue rushes back home… where it would appear she’s had an entire change in attitude. She’s suddenly gung-ho to go out on the next Brotherhood mission… and gleefully jams down a pile of chocolate chip cookies (wow, are these home-baked?). This is where we leave her… and the Vignettes project!

A somewhat “lighter” story to wrap up the Vignettes Initiative… especially when compared to the last few chapters, which were positively dripping with angst. I quite liked it. I feel like this hits the “sweet spot” in as far as how these backups should be treated. We’re adding to a characters’ backstory in a way that doesn’t break any of the (then) current-day toys. It’s a profound moment in Rogue’s life… but, doesn’t… I dunno “insist upon itself”. Definitely not a day Rogue would forget… but, also not a day she’d talk everybody’s ear off about. Does that make sense?

This is a story I think many of us seasoned X-Fans are at least tangentially familiar with. I mean, it even got play in the Animated Series. I think the telling might’ve been a little bit different — like that her powers actually manifested at the time of the kiss… and the kiss leaving poor Cody-Freddy in a coma, but at its core, it’s the same little ditty… and it’s well-told.

I appreciate how Rogue’s change of demeanor was presented. Having just seen firsthand what her powers can do… she kinda buries her grief and sadness. She knows that she’s been robbed of an experience she was really looking forward to in learning bits and bobs about Freddy as their relationship grew and developed. She cried out in the beginning of the issue that she wanted to be “normal”. Now, more than ever, she realizes that… that’s just not in the cards for her. It’s heartbreaking. And so, rather than dwell on it… or, at the very least not tipping off Mystique that she dun goofed — she becomes very enthusiastic about the Brotherhood’s next mission. Red flags? Sure… but, to a confused pre-teen/teen-ager, she’s not thinking about any of that.

As far as the “mission” is concerned… well, since the Nocenti-Rogue story that appears in Marvel Fanfare #60 is called… “The Mission”, maybe we can assume that there’s more to tell? I suppose that’s something we’ll find out together… in, hopefully, just a few days!

Oh, last thing before we put a pin in this one — I do wanna say that I really dug the art. I feel like it suited the story quite well.

Please follow and like us:

One thought on “X-Men Vignettes, Chapter Forty-Four (1990)

  • May 5, 2022 at 3:12 pm
    Permalink

    The thing I found weird with this story was the fact that everyone is calling her Rogue like it was her birth name and not a codename. You would think this would have been a good place to reveal her actual name, but no. Maybe Nocenti didn’t want to step on Claremont’s toes by giving her a real name before he did.
    I really think that the change in direction to telling multi part stories of the formative years of the X-Men before they were X-Men was supposed to reinvigorate sales of this series, but it ended before it even got started. The fact that issue 45 was supposed to be part 2 of this Rogue story almost confirms it to me. Anyway, I hope you get that Marvel Fanfare issue to give this project a propper ending.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.