By Ben Morse
In 2011, terror overtakes the Marvel Universe as Fear Itself envelops its heroes and villains.
To delve deeper into what lies at the root of this climactic event, each week in Fear Files we will speak with Marvel’s biggest creators about exactly what frightens the premiere heroes and villains whose lives they guide.
This week, we’re taking a look at Rogue, the mutant who for years had to live with the anxiety of knowing she could steal another’s abilities but also their identity with a touch, giving up some of herself each time in the process. She has gained control over her powers, but have those familiar fears faded? X-MEN: LEGACY writer Mike Carey provided his insight…
Marvel.com: What is Rogue most afraid of?
Mike Carey: I'd say her biggest fear is probably the loss of self that she experienced when she was psychically cohabiting with Carol Danvers, and then again with Mystique.
Marvel.com: How does she attempt to cope with this fear?
Mike Carey: Being Rogue, pretty much head-on. When Mystique was in her head, she was prepared to die at the hands of the Marauders—actually, Danger-designed copies of the Marauders—rather than give up her psyche to Mystique's control; having said that, we also saw her deliberately surrender to Mystique at a crucial moment in a later battle, even though she didn't know for sure that the arrangement would be temporary. She doesn't seem to let fear taint her decisions, in other words.
Marvel.com: What kind of risks and drawbacks to her effectiveness can this fearlessness lead to?
Mike Carey: I wouldn't say she was fearless, just that she factors the fear in and tries not to succumb to it. Maybe all of this arises from the way her power works, and more particularly, from the way it sometimes works against her. If you have genuine reason to fear that your own will and consciousness may suddenly be submerged in someone else's—which Rogue has experienced many times—then maybe it's natural to react to that by aggressively following your own instincts wherever you can. You could explain some of the decisions Rogue made in that “Supernovas” era, and more recently in Second Coming, by looking at them in that light. In battle she trusts and acts on her instincts every time; sometimes, as we've seen, that can put her at odds with her fellow X-Men. It can even—Cyclops has argued—jeopardize a wider strategy.
Marvel.com: How have her fears and anxieties shifted or lessened since she gained more control over her powers?
Mike Carey: In theory, the degree of control she has now means that she never has to worry about being overwhelmed by another personality in that way. She can choose how much or how little she takes, and for how long. Obviously, fear is never rational; it doesn't automatically go away when the odds against it happening increase. But I suspect she sleeps a little easier now. Having said that, it was the Kree side of Ms. Marvel's heritage that caused that particular crisis to arise when Rogue touched her—you can't really insure against unknowns.
Marvel.com: Aside from issues surrounding her powers and identity, what kinds of fear does Rogue carry in regards to her personal life and relationships?
Mike Carey: That's a more complex question. She's was in that limbo state for so long, unable to act, physically, on her emotions. I think that's taken a toll, in some ways; left her with a kind of hesitance about expressing and acting on her feelings. That's the only way to explain her not going to Gambit when she could, given that we know she still cares for him and still loves him. Her own explanation for that was that she was afraid she might lose control, when her new command of her powers depends on keeping her mental equilibrium, but I think it has to be symptomatic of something deeper.
Marvel.com: What is Rogue’s worst nightmare?
Mike Carey: Ultimately, I think her worst nightmare is being powerless. Specifically, being reduced to a passenger inside her own head forever; watching someone else control her body, and not being able to do anything about it.
Can Rogue move past the concerns of the past and forge a new life and identity uniquely her own? Find out monthly in the pages of X-MEN: LEGACY, issue #248 on sale May 11.
For more information on Fear Itself, visit the official event page.