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UXM #359: It Takes a Mother's Touch
The Original Script of Uncanny X-Men #359

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X-Men as Morality Play

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The Invitation

Joe Kelly's original story for #359:


We open with an open air performance of a Shakespeare play. We pick something that has some resonance to the story, i.e. loss, power, etc. It's a bad performance, actors reading from cribnotes, the crowd yawning and picking their noses. Suddenly, there's a disruption off stage, a SCANTILY CLAD WOMAN emerges from the wings... And STAGE DIVES INTO THE CROWD!!!


ROGUE is said woman, smiling wildly as she leaps from the stage, sporting a SPORTS BRA, with her TUNIC COSTUME tied/arranged around her waist. It's not the leap itself that's so exciting, but rather the fact that she's caught by eight or ten PAIRS OF ANDS, which cradle her body, SKIN TOUCHING SKIN. Everyone is cheering, the actors are stunned. (*** IMPORTANT PROP: THE AGEE BRACELET. You'll see what this is in a few pages! ***) This should not be happening, but it is...


ECU on DOCTOR'S EYE looking through that zygomatiscope thing, tells his patient to swallow... Nothing. DOCTOR (*** MARK, should this be Mike Twoyoungmen for some cool continuity, or not?***) goes down a checklist, asking about seizures, hot flashes, flashing lights, etc. OP voice answers no to all questions. DOCTOR closes his clipboard, resigned, "Well... That only leaves one explanation," he smiles, "You must be a mutant!" REVERSE ANGLE to show JEAN sitting on the EXAM TABLE, her head against SCOTT'S CHEST. He's cradling her head, as if she's been in extreme pain, although at this moment, they both stare at the DOCTOR with wide eyes. "Excuse me?" THE DOCTOR claps SCOTT on the shoulder apologetically, "Sorry, son... Just jokes." "That's not funny." "Not to you..." The DOCTOR goes on to explain that the news has been reporting a few cases like JEAN'S around the world. People suddenly experiencing headaches, nosebleeds, etc. Jean's initial symptoms sounded worse, but right now, she's just like the rest... No physiological problems at all. The DOCTOR wonders if it's one of those natural phenomenon... Like the lady who passed out when she heard Mary Heart, or those kids in Japan with that Cartoon. SCOTT interrupts him, asking if he can be alone with his wife. The DOCTOR leaves, telling them he'll prescribe some heavy duty Advil, but otherwise, they can leave. SCOTT and JEAN have their moment's alone. SCOTT is optimistic, though curious that others had the same problems. He looks up to see... JEAN CRYING. He asks her what's wrong, whether or not she's in pain. Silent moment where she touches his face,then she tells him..."My mind, Scott... My psionic powers... They're all gone... I don't feel anything... Not even you." SCOTT is shocked.


There are PROTESTERS out, the usual. Leave some room for narration about this place, abomination and miracle at the same time...

INT. AGEE INSTITUTE: We see DOCTOR AGEE packing some PRESENTATION MATERIALS into a special BRIEFCASE. Primarily these are REPORTS, videos, etc. AGEE is excited, as he's going to meet a possible backer. Leave some room for exposition/dialogue, as he's speaking out loud to someone OP. AGEE is hopeful that this meeting will go better than the one at MUTOPIA last week, as he's running short on funding, and now, with such exciting results, he needs help more than ever... REVEAL that he's speaking to two of SEBASTIAN SHAW'S MEN (Mark, how do we play them? In Victorian garb? As Inner circle soldiers? As two big men in black?). They sincerely hope that Agee can do what he claims... As the "Boss" does not take kindly to his time being wasted. AGEE reaches for a shiny object on the table... "Oh, I can do as I claim..."

REVEAL THE AGEE BRACELET: He stares at it, wide eyed, telling the Hellfire guys, "I can end mutations... permanently... I have proof."

MONTAGE SEQUENCE: We see ROGUE doings things around town that she never dreamed she could do... also, from one scene to the next, maybe we see A FIGURE trailing her (Wolvie, though we shouldn't give it away yet) -- Playing a rough game of pick-up basketball as one of the "Skins" (No one has a shirt on) -- Nose kissing a little BABY, who smiles brightly up at her... -- SHAKING HANDS with a HOMELESS GUY as she hands him ten bucks, "Even grime feels good, compressed between two hands..."

CUT TO: MASSAGE PARLOR: ROGUE is lying down on her stomach, getting the rub down of her life on her bare back. She's luxuriating in every touch. Prominent in the FG should be the AGEE BRACELET on the wrist of the arm propping up her head. Leave some room for exposition, and narration about how great she feels. The MASSEUSE, a strong woman, tells ROGUE to relax. She's never seen someone with such tight muscles. ROGUE makes a sly comment about the stress she's been under... And that there was a time that she was afraid of touch... She'd go so far as to say that she was sick...

PAGE 7-8: ROGUE closes her eyes, and her mind starts to drift..."But Now... Ah'm better... Cured... Ah still can't believe it..."

FLASHBACK: During the scenes in the flashback, ROGUE is narrating a very different version of how events played out than what we see. Later, we'll find out that it was due to drugging... -- ROGUE remembers going to confront AGEE for her sample back, and his doing the sweet talk routine again... "A visited Agee, not sure that his way was f'r me, but we talked about mah fears..." -- But this time, she's not having it. She threatens him, smashing some equipment. He acquiesces... "And I decided that he was right. I never felt so happy t'make a decision like that..." -- Offering her the DNA SAMPLE that he took a while back. She reaches for it... "I asked him what Ah needed t'do next, and all of a sudden..." -- And he clamps the BRACELET on her! ROGUE'S BODY arches in pain as strange ENERGY ripples around her body. (The BRACELET should actually IMBED something into her skin.) "It was done, simple as that, easy as pie..." -- AGEE approaches a barely conscious ROGUE with a nasty looking NEEDLE in hand, "Ah guess there was some discomfort, cause he gave me medicine that he said would help me through the pain... But ah never felt better in mah life..."

END FLASHBACK: 3 SMALL PANEL SEQUENCE: -- The MASSEUSE HANDS work on her back, ROGUE purrs that she feels great, asks about the hot oil... all of the oils... -- The MASSEUSES HANDS disappear down her back a bit, OP, and ROGUE opens her eyes suspiciously, commenting on the fact that the masseuse just got rough... -- The hands that re-enter the panel are WOLVIE'S HANDS, as he makes a comment about figuring that someone who likes to play it dangerous should like it a little rough. ROGUE starts to spin around to find... WOLVIE standing behind her, looking pretty angry. He tosses her clothes at ROGUE, "We're out of here... Now." We see the MASSEUSE in the BG, frightened.


BIG PANEL: JEAN sits in a room alone in the dark, trying desperately to reach out with her mind... But there's nothing... She grabs onto SCOTT, who emerges from the darkness, opening the BLINDS in the HOSPITAL ROOM. He tries to comfort her, telling her that whatever it is, they'll work it out together. JEAN looks up at him, and the pain in her eyes is a tangible thing. She tells him that he can't possibly understand... This isn't just like losing one of your senses... Or a limb even... SCOTT is surprised when she says, 'It's a complete loss of self." "Jean, I know this is hard, but surely... You're not defined by this power-" JEAN curls up into a ball, and we just know that at this moment, at least, she believes it. We can almost hear SCOTT'S HEART breaking, but he's also very concerned...


WOLVIE and ROGUE have it out walking down the street. Anyone in the BG is staring at the beautiful ROGUE. She's a few steps ahead of him, trying to blow him off. He's walking calmly after her, lighting up, "Normally I'd leave you to your life... But you've been acting up, i.e. touching me--" "I didn't--" "Yeah you did..." CLOSE ON WOLVIE "An I figured that carelessness or whatever, might cloud your judgement... I have a right." "Ah'm not careless, sugah..." ROGUE stops some poor MUSCLE HEAD on the street, "I'm carefree, right, gorgeous?" The guy is stunned, WOLVIE is ticked off, "Oh, come on..." ROGUE gets close to the guy, caressing his face, closing in for a kiss. She's not just being facetious as she says, "Finally free... Free to do whatever... with whomever..." The MUSCLE HEAD starts to get into this... WOLVIE gets in between them, telling the guy to butt out. When he refuses, promising to flatten the runt...POOM! WOLVIE drops the guy with a punch to the gut. ROGUE screams at WOLVIE to leave her alone... WOLVIE scoops her up over his shoulder, and drags her up a fire escape so that they can have it out in private.

ON THE ROOF: WOLVIE says that, even though he can't deny her power's in check, something is very rotten in Denmark. ROGUE yells back, "Why?!? Because I'm not a freak? Because I can do this--?!?" SHE KISSES HIM. WOLVIE looks at her dead serious, "No... Because you can do that... without thinkin' first." Wolvie asks her at what price is she willing to accept this "Gift". It's bad enough that a strong woman like her is lettin' some guy play frankenstein on her bod, but is she willing to turn her back on the fact that he's something worse? "What do you mean?" Agee is a scumbag, a user... And whatever gift he gave you... It don't come cheap. ROGUE doesn't want to believe it, but she thinks about her cloudy memory of the day. WOLVIE offers her a deal... "Let me show you one thing... Just one thing that I saw that you missed. If it don't persuade you to dig deeper, I'll let it drop."


It's obvious by a busted door frame that WOLVIE, now in his costume, forced his way in. ROGUE is frightened, more because of what she might find than the possibility she'll be caught. WOLVIE indicates a DOOR, double locked, but he can smell what they're looking for in there. Claws won't cut it... ROGUE pushes WOLVIE out of the way and PICKS THE LOCK. WOLVIE'S surprised. "Where'd you pick that up?" SILENCE. "Oh... Figured that would've gone away too-- As the door swings open, ROGUE says, "Just the powers have changed, Logan... The memories remain... " Both are shocked to finally see... The BLOB SISTER! At first, both are horrified, but then, Rogue scoffs at the "proof" before her, "How do you know she's not a mutant in need?!? Maybe that's his next patient!" Then...slowly... agonizingly... The freak scrawls "Agee Sister" with her toes on floor... And we see that she has on a more simplified version of the same BRACELET. Moment where ROGUE is blown away by this realization... Agee said that he cured his sister... WOLVIE asks, sympathetically, "The same way he 'cured' you? Maybe we ought to find out..."

CUT TO: ESTABLISHING SHOT: SLICK HIGH-RISE, which prominently features an ORNATE CLOCK. Agee is speaking.

INT. MEETING ROOM: AGEE is all set for his presentation, indicating the BRACELET, insisting that though he's had a few failures, he's recently had more successes. Explains that the treatment inhibits the X-Factor on the genetic level... With more research... REVERSE ANGLE as we see he's speaking with A MYSTERIOUS FIGURES (SEBASTIAN SHAW) who is flanked by the two MEN from the earlier scene. Mystery figure intrigued...


ICEMAN slides LUGGAGE out through the front door of the HOUSE on an ICE SLIDE over to BEAST. They're in relatively good spirits, joking around as BEAST hoists the luggage onto the top of their RENTED JEEP. (No more taxi's for them!) ICEMAN asks BEAST whether or not they should leave now. BEAST admits that he's concerned, but believes that there's nothing they can do...

INT. CABIN. WARREN says his goodbye to JEAN, giving her a big hug. She's barely responsive. SCOTT walks him out. OUTSIDE: SCOTT confides in BEAST that he's concerned, not that Jean is in danger, but about how hard she's taking this... It's as if she really is defining herself based on her powers. BEAST tells Scott that being a telepath is unlike any other Mutation, being both a mind and body mutation... He should expect her to react with difficulty. On the other hand, he adds, If she really did "burn out", then that lays your fears about Phoenix to rest, doesn't it?" SCOTT doesn't know exactly how to answer that... BOBBY and WARREN interrupt the moment with a tender display of their own, "Group hug!!" These buddies promise SCOTT that no matter what happens, they'll be there for them to help out, etc. SCOTT thanks them, and they leave in the jeep.


WOLVIE explains that he'd tracked AGEE here earlier before he found ROGUE, we see ARMED GUARDS around the building. This isn't your usual office building... ROGUE's barely listening... She can't get the image of the BLOB SISTER out of her head... WOLVIE tells her to wait. He'll pluck the Doc out and bring him here--ROGUE cuts him off. He's not going in... She is. This is her problem... She should deal with it. "With no powers? Come on, darlin..." ROGUE tells WOLVIE that she's not defined by her powers, and if she is... This is all pointless. "Please, Logan... Ah need t'do this..." INT. CLOCK BUILDING. ROGUE sneaks around, noticing that inside, this place is EMPTY. No offices, no nothing... In fact, it looks like the place has been deserted for months... When suddenly, she's confronted by TWO ARMED GUARDS. ROGUE plays up the sexy-lost girl thing, getting close enough to touch the face of one guard... Then she BEATS HIM UP, using the martial arts moves she's practiced time and again in the Danger room. She does a great job of disarming them with a minimum of noise, scooping up their WEAPONS for a nice: ROGUE AS BAD ASS SHOT.


AGEE shows slides of ROGUE getting her treatment. We see him touching her skin and smiling into the camera, "As you can see, the subject's powers have been incapacitated." The MYSTERIOUS FIGURE leans forward in his chair. He's impressed that the procedure worked on Rogue. "Where is she now?" AGEE waves dismissively, "I let her out into the world so that she could experience touch again... The second part of the procedure is rather... invasive. She needs to be willing... Don't worry... She'll be back--" AGEE, the BODYGUARDS, and SHAW (In shadow) react to the sound of GUNS FIRING outside as the CONFERENCE ROOM DOORS bust open. ROGUE busts in, looking tough, and in short order, disposes of the two BODYGUARDS. She SHOOTS one right through the leg, much to everyone's surprise, while she beats the other one senseless with the WEAPON. She corners AGEE, asking him what's the deal with his sister. He stammers, "I--I cured her... L-like you--" ROGUE turns sharply as the MYSTERIOUS GUY stands, calling her name, "You interrupted us, Rogue... That wasn't very polite..."

REVEAL SEBASTIAN SHAW as he smashes through the CONFERENCE TABLE! ROGUE is shocked, and she's got no clue how to fight SHAW if he wants to mix it up. "I have people who are very interested in the Doctor here... leave now, or being merely human will be the least of your problems." ROGUE fires the WEAPON at SHAW in a panic, forgetting about his power... HE ABSORBS the energy from the bullets... PUNCHES her across the room. ROGUE has a head clearing moment where she remembers what it's like to feel pain... to bleed... to be human... AGEE tries to slink out... ROGUE charges SHAW, and at the last second, flips over him... landing next to AGEE, whom she immediately puts the GUN on.

CLIMAX: ROGUE calls out AGEE, and puts SHAW in a stalemate. If he comes any closer, she'll perforate Agee... AGEE pints out that if she does, he'll never be able to sure her. He starts his smooth talking routine, telling her that his sister was an accident, but Rogue's treatment works... really... ROGUE knows that there's only one way to find out... ROGUE smashes the BRACELET!!! HER POWERS RETURN!! Then she grabs AGEE'S FACE, absorbing him, and sees that he's full of crap... He's using her as a guinea pig... another treatment might as much kill her as cure her... He knows nothing. As she drops the unconscious AGEE to the ground, she says, "It's all bunk... It's over." SHAW looms over ROGUE as she turns her back to him, "It's not over--" SNIKT! The CLAWS pop in front of SHAW'S FACE. "Yeah, bub... it is..." WOLVIE hands ROGUE her TUNIC TOP, "Heard the shots, darlin..." "That's okay... You didn't miss much..." ROGUE walks away from them both, "Just us muties makin' a mess is all..."


SCOTT is all ready to tell Jean what he thinks... That she's important, not her powers... Not phoenix, not anything but her... When JEAN looks up, a tear in her eyes... "I heard that." SCOTT is surprised when she jumps up, hugging him, "Faint... But there, Scott! There! They're coming back!" Almost nervously, SCOTT asks, "What did you hear?" JEAN looks up and asks, 'That you love me... Right?" SCOTT looks down into those eyes... How can he possibly bring this stuff up now?!? "Yeah, honey... of course." Pull back, the two of them alone in the cabin as she tells him that everything will be alright... Everything will be fine.


SHAW stands over AGEE, looking down, disgusted. This man wasted his time, his resources... Not to mention that he's a scourge to mutantdom everywhere... SHAW picks him up by his HEAD, one hand on either side. 'Best to take care of him now, and put him out of everyone's misery... SHAW looks back over his shoulder, surprised as he hears, "STOP." The TIME TRAVELING CLOCKWORK GUY: EPOCH stands there, his weird voice and reality warping power in full affect, "He is the one we need." SHAW protests, 'But you heard! He's a charlatan! His going to kill AGEE for wasting his time, when the Voice tells Shaw, "We want him... He doesn't know how close he is..." EPOCH snatches him up. "But--" As they FADE OUT, EPOCH, SHAW, and AGEE, EPOCH reminds his new ally, "Shaw... When you work for the Clockwork Rank... there is no buts." "Yes sir."

PAGE 24:

*** MARK, WE'LL TALK ABOUT THIS!*** Near the mansion, Rogue asks Wolvie to let her alone for a minute to think. She'll fly back. When she tries... NO MS. MARVEL POWERS!!!


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