Featuring Storm as you’ve never seen her before in this special super-sized, weekly story arc! How will this warrior fare when she is forced to endure the brutal combat of the gladiator ring? Guest-starring Yukio and Callisto.
A newly transformed Callisto arrives to challenge Storm for the championship of the Tokyo Arena. In a brutal fight, Callisto proves victorious and the mastermind behind the whole deal is revealed to be a newly transformed-into-a-female, Masque. Storm attacks while Yukio, Koga, Strong Guy, and the other members of the Tokyo Arena escape to Lila Cheney’s AI house. Storm is graphically tortured by Masque and her associates, Pleasure, Posterboy, and Purge. Masque attempts to break Storm of her strong moral character and make her into a monstrous champion of the Arena. Enduring each painful transformation and torture, Storm is finally let loose into the Arena and fights, defeats and nearly kills her friend, “Yukio.” Storm refuses to kill “Yukio” and is once again tortured. It is revealed that “Yukio” was really a transformed Pleasure. Masque plans her revenge on Storm and Callisto.
The covers to this storyline have been hit or miss. Part 1 was beautiful, Part 2 was cheesy. Salvatore Larocca returns to form with a beautiful cover of Storm in the rain with lightning in the background.
If you are the type who loves to see action-packed battles, then they don’t get more brutal than the battles between Storm & Callisto and Storm & Yukio/Pleasure. Storm can easily hold her one with these tough fighters and shows she is not only powerful with her mutant powers, but she is just as dangerous a fighter. This was reminiscent of her first brutal battle with Callisto. Even though, she is defeated, she held her own.
The issue is deep on the physical and psychological torture, but it does show how to break a person down and also shows her Storm is a strong-willed and won’t be easily broken.
Yukio and Strong Guy are portrayed well. Yukio, wanting to do anything to save her friend, and Strong Guy as the practical person knowing it is better to escape and return another day, while still believing in Storm’s sense of honor and responsibility.
Where to begin….the torture of Storm. This was rather graphic with images of Storm dripping blood from all over her body, being kissed by Masque and little demonic heads popping out of boils on her body, being whipped by Purge, and Storm apparently crying and begging afraid of Masque and Purge. It is brutal and may say something about people’s mental state on the torture of women and images of women screaming and crying while being whipped. This is Storm being beaten at her worst, at least to my recollection.
The flashback scene of Storm and Professor X is very awkward with Xavier apparently punching Storm in the stomach. I do not recall when that originally happened. I am thinking it may have been Cassandra Nova when she assumed control of Xavier’s body, but I don’t recall able Xavier being to stand at that time. It seemed very out of continuity and presented the Professor as a jerk.
Masque, Masque, Masque…Again, they don’t get more evil than the presentation of Masque in this issue, but there is a MAJOR continuity problem. Masque in all other issues and has always been male and has never been able to use his morphing powers on others. And there is never an explanation for how he became female and his next appearance after this arc is he is once again male. And his previous appearance before this arc, he was “killed” by X-Force, so major issues there. Claremont messed up on this one and would have been better to present this female Masque as a completely new character.
I grow tired of the S&M costumes in this storyarc. Pleasure, Posterboy, and Purge look straight out of a S&M based porno!
I’m giving this one a 3/5, a lower score due the graphic nature of the torture and the complete mess-up with Masque
Review by Joe