Rogue: Untouched

Author: Alisa Kwitney
Publisher: Aconyte Books

There are certain parts of Rogue’s history that X-Men fans of all levels know. She kissed a boy named Cody and put him in a coma, she hooked up with Mystique before switching sides to join Xavier’s merry band of mutants, and she and Gambit are just always…something. All of these points are hit in Rogue: Untouched but not necessarily in the order or the way you remember.

The origin novel by Alisa Kwitney reads like a cross between a What If comic and a paperback romance, complete with several shirtless Remy Lebeau scenes (hey, I’m not complaining, especially when he looks like Jensen Ackles in my mind’s eye). Anna Marie is a working girl in Caldecott County, MS and still dealing with the fallout of sending star footballer Cody into the hospital after some innocent smooching. She’s now the town pariah, but she has plans to get the hell outta there and head to New Orleans to study psychology at Tulane. She doesn’t get very far when Remy and a mysterious blonde name Lucretia visit the diner where she works. Before she can say “sugah” Anna Marie is swept up in a mutant slave ring with sexy Remy. She also soon learns Lucretia isn’t all that she seems either. It’s obvious to any X-fan who she is by the characters who surround her.

The book deftly captures the essence of familiar figures like Gambit and Rogue; while he is charming and smooth, complete with a wink and smirk, she is a muddle of emotions. Rogue is confident while unsure, scared while brave, and every other extreme that the character feels as she slowly understands that she saps more than powers when she touches you. She takes your memories and your mind, which makes her own head a little crowded.

Overall the novel is a fun read, especially if you love anything Rogue and Gambit. It’s modern (they text!) and she’s not the scared teenager annihilating the Avengers before seeking help. Anna Marie is more level-headed early on and doesn’t let too many people sway her. This version of Rogue may actually turn out alright with more control over her powers sooner if more books in this universe are written. And I’m always open for another run-in with a shirtless Remy.

Look for Rogue: Untouched on April 6.