The four-year long story arc that began with the Red Skull stealing Charles Xavier’s telepathic powers in “Uncanny Avengers” Vol. 1 #1 has finally come to a conclusion.
After taking mental control of the Unity Squad, Rogue and Deadpool were able to defeat the Red Skull, and in “Uncanny Avengers” #22, they brought the villain to former X-Man Beast (the furry, former-Avenger version, not the time-tossed teenage incarnation) in order to perform brain surgery to remove Xavier’s stolen brain fragments.
This joyous occasion was interrupted when S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new director and former Unity Squad leader, Captain America, requested that Rogue hand over Xavier’s brain. In Cap’s eyes, the brain is a weapon of mass destruction that the X-Men don’t have to resources to safeguard. On the surface this may be true, but for those who have been keeping up with the developments in “Captain America: Steve Rogers” know, another more devious possibility is Steve Rogers wants to use the brain to further his secret Hydra agenda. Cap doesn’t get the opportunity as Rogue flees with Xavier’s brain and has the Human Torch set it ablaze. A depowered Red Skull is one less adversary for Hydra Cap to worry about, so chalk this up as another success in his win column.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the biggest twist in “Uncanny Avengers” #22. That distinction belongs to what appears to be a new romance developing between Unity Squad teammates Rogue and Deadpool. After the team celebrates its victory with a few drinks, Deadpool attempts to sneak away while everyone is otherwise occupied. Someone is paying attention, however, and Rogue confronts Wade Wilson, asking if he hates her for beating him to a bloody pulp while she was mind-controlled by the Red Skull. Deadpool dodges the question in his typical self-deprecating style until Rogue takes matters into her own hands (literally), shutting Wade up by flying the two of them into the skies above the city, and planting a kiss on the Merc with a Mouth.
If you’re wondering where that kiss came from, you’re not the only one! Deadpool has been a loyal soldier for Rogue ever since she took up the leadership position for this incarnation of the Unity Squad, even risking the scorn of his idol, Steve Rogers, when he aided Rogue and Cable in breaking some laws and working with criminals Sebastian Shaw and Toad in search for a cure to the deadly M-Pox disease. Perhaps we should have paid closer attention to this act; considering that Wade is supremely loyal to Captain America, for him to go against Cap in that manner shows how much he believes in and cares for Rogue.
Deadpool does his best to convince Rogue that hooking up with him is a bad idea, including how she absorbs his skin condition and horrific memories of a loved one’s death. Rogue confidently tells Wade that having him inside her head is a palate cleanser after the Red Skull, to which the newly-single merc remarks, “That is the most romantic thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
Since this is comic books, the romantic ending is interrupted by the surprising (unless you’ve seen the covers for upcoming issues) return of Simon Williams, the Avenger known as Wonder Man.
A brief recap of Wonder Man’s relatively recent history: when the Uncanny Avengers faced off against the Celestial Executioner, Rogue absorbed the powers of various superheroes, including Wonder Man, to defend Earth against its attack. The number of abilities Rogue took on was too much for her body to handle, and it left Wonder Man’s powers and psyche a part of her. She has used Wonder Man’s powers as her own ever since, with Simon providing dialogue in Rogue’s head from time to time.
Now, it would appear that in absorbing Deadpool’s powers, Rogue has been weakened or changed enough to allow Wonder Man to escape and take his energy-filled form once again. With Rogue unconscious, Simon turns to Deadpool to ask what’s going on — an unusual development, considering that Wonder Man has shown an understanding of what’s been developing around him since his physical disappearance, as exhibited by his occasional dialogue with Rogue inside her head.