Friday, May 22, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 121: Dark Legacy Part 1 is LIVE!

Some conflicts are the result of smaller conflicts that have built and escalated over time. Some are a result of a convergence of various other conflicts that reinforce one another. In the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I’ve created stories around both types. Magneto’s plot to use an asteroid to destroy the world in Overlord was largely a result of his failures in the Uprising arc. The events of Weapon Plus were primarily a result of Weapon X being defeated and Colonel Wraith seeking to subvert General Grimshaw. However, the conflict in the final arc of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths is a combination of both.

This is a conflict that begins and ends with Sinister. He’s already done a great deal of damage to the X-men throughout this fanfiction series. Between disrupting Rogue’s powers and tormenting Wolverine with his past, he’s shown that he’s capable of causing the X-men a great deal of pain. However, he’s usually been content to stay in the shadows. He’s not like Magneto in that he seeks a global stage. He rarely causes a conflict that require the X-men to deal with the global impact. That’s been Sinister’s style in both X-men Supreme and the comics. But that changes with this arc.

Sinister is in a dangerous state. Having lost Selene after the events of Civilization No Longer Lost, he is disturbed and unstable. He is so unstable that even his closest allies, Vulcan and Goblin Queen, have shown concern. But nothing can stop him at this point. He’s already set into motion the events that will create the conflict in this arc. And unlike previous arcs involving Sinister, this one will touch every corner of X-men Supreme. His actions will disrupt the very foundation of this fanfiction series. It’ll also lead to some far-reaching consequences that will affect some characters more than others.

Some characters have already felt it. Mystique and Wolverine were the first victims after Sinister revealed that Mystique was actually Rose, the woman that Wolverine once loved. But that revelation was only a pre-cursor. The X-men already know of a conflict brewing involving techno-organic material that went missing from Genosha. That conflict has put them on a collision course with Sinister that will culminate in this arc. X-men Supreme will never be the same and it’ll be all Sinister’s doing. And it begins here.

X-men Supreme Issue 121: Dark Legacy Part 1

There’s still a lot I want to do with this fanfiction series, even after this arc. I’m getting closer to making my decision. I have been getting feedback from some very kind readers, but it’s still limited. I’m about to do some very disruptive things with the X-men and it’s something nobody will be able to read in the X-men comics. That’s why it’s so important that I get feedback. I want to make sure that I’m doing this right, creating a world for X-men fans that they can’t get anywhere else. Please take the time to contact me directly or post your comments in the issue. I’m always happy to talk X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Secret Wars Battleworld #1

I imagine that when the world ends, I’ll either be in a bar or sitting naked in my bathtub with a bottle of whiskey in both hands. I don’t think that everyone in the Marvel universe thought that far ahead after the events of Secret Wars. They tried and failed to stop the final incursion between their world and the rotting corpse that is Ultimate Marvel. But the end of the world doesn’t mean the end of the story. The Disney overlords who aren’t content swimming in a pool of Age of Ultron money will never allow that.

With the entire Marvel universe in ruin, only Battleworld remains. This creates the kind of fucked up setting that is usually only found in a Stanley Kubrick movie. It’s like Marvel took a drunk off the streets, pumped him with tequila and meth, and had him chop up random bits of various Marvel universes into a singular clusterfuck of a world. Seeing as how I blacked out for two days and woke up in a ditch in New Orleans last weekend, I have my suspicions. But in this singular clusterfuck, there are characters from multiple worlds coming together to explore this new world. Secret Wars Battleworld #1 offers a taste of what we can expect in this singular clusterfuck of a world. Since the tequila and meth are now out of my system, I’m ready to give a fair assessment.

It goes without saying that there are a lot of fucked up versions of characters that were fucked up to begin with. I won’t say Frank Castle is the most fucked up in the Marvel Universe, not by a long shot. But he’s still a man who needs more therapy than an army of Dr. Phils. But in one nook of Battleworld, there’s a version of him whose body and soul got hijacked by Dr. Strange. In his defense, he was battling an army of vampires and not the ones that sparkle either. It still sucks for Castle, which is probably why he decided to give the finger to Dr. Droom’s rules about staying within your own damn fucked up AU. There’s not a whole lot of background info given on him or his world, but it’s just enough to make this story function without the aid of LSD.

Whatever his story or the reasons for being stuck with Dr. Strange, Frank Castle is still a guy who tends not to give a shit about draconian laws, even if they’re passed down by a unholy uber-powerful Dr. Doom. As a result, he gets a visit from a team of familiar faces representing Dr. Doom’s version of mall cops. This includes the Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider. With a team like this, Paul Blart might have actually been a watchable movie. They basically tell him that he’s been crossing borders and in Dr. Doom’s world, that’s like punching the President in the dick.

This sorcerer Punisher doesn’t have a spell that allows him to punch Dr. Doom in the dick, but he does have spells that make for a pretty awesome fight. He can still conjure guns. He can still channel his inner Rambo. But having the Sorcerer Supreme at his disposal certainly has its advantages. He’s able to de-Hulk Bruce Banner and freeze Ghost Rider. I’m sure he’s disappointed that he couldn’t do this with a big ass gun, but I think he’s learned from Tony Stark that big ass guns can cause more problems than they solve. That or Tony Stark is just a lousy shot.

It’s still nice fight that shows how the Punisher makes use of his powers as the Sorcerer Supreme. It’s still not all that epic. It feels rushed and underdeveloped. But it gets the job done. A version of the Punisher armed with the powers of the Sorcerer Supreme shouldn’t be a fair fight. Like giving Jason Vorhees a machine gun, there’s only so much would-be camp counselors can do.

But like Jason Vorhees, one victim is always going to come back to bite him. This time it’s Wolverine. After what it took to kill him in 616, the power of the Sorcerer Supreme isn’t quite as efficient in taking him out. That makes the battle between Wolverine and the Punisher a bit more engaging, but not by much. It’s not because the Punisher doesn’t have the power either. He really doesn’t try to win. Even when Dr. Strange offers to help him, he doesn’t really give a shit. So when Wolverine comes in for an attack, he opts to just use a spell that blows himself up.

If it sounds crude and unnecessary, don’t quit drinking. It is, but for a reason. It’s not a good reason, but it’s still better than any reason my landlord gives for jacking up the rent. The Punisher doesn’t care much for living under Dr. Doom’s absolute laws. He didn’t even care much for living under America’s laws. Since he can’t shoot a god-powered Doom between the eyes, he’ll settle for going down fighting. It’s still pretty crude in that it effectively ends his story in a suicide-by-cop type deal. That’s really not Frank Castle’s style, even if he is dealing with Dr. Strange’s shit. It makes for a flashy finale, but it has no real impact. It’s just one of the many benefits of Battleworld. It’s basically as flexible as fan fiction, minus all the horrible grammar.

Having blown himself up, the Sorcerer Supreme Punisher is no more. It’s probably for the best. Punisher armed with that much power would’ve created a world where quality blow was impossible to get. Wolverine even pointed out that Castle had a death wish. It further limits the impact of the fight, but in a place like Battleworld I guess that’s to be expected. With so many version of other characters running around, I’m sure some get tired of that shit real fast.

But Frank Castle’s death did have one notable effect. It freed Dr. Strange’s soul from Castle, which meant he was in need of a new host. And since Wolverine just happened to be at ground zero, he decides to hitch a ride. This way, he gets more booze and sexier women. I guess if anyone wins here, it’s Dr. Strange. He still has to tag along while Wolverine is acting as Dr. Doom’s pit-bull, but it could be worse. He could be bound to Howard the Duck’s body.

That’s the end of the first mini-story in this issue. The second involves something a little less emo, but only to the extent that someone like MODOK can go goth. Yes, this walking Mardi Gras float gets to have some fun in Battleworld too and he’s not nearly as pessimistic as Frank Castle.

In a lab in one of Battleworld’s warzones, which I’m guessing is somewhere outside a version of Detroit, MODOK has created a machine that can transport multiple versions of himself from across Battleworld. Like Frank Castle, he’s basically spitting in the face of a god-powered Dr. Doom. He would probably be better off trying to sue Apple, but it’s not like MODOK has ever fully thought his plans through. He’s designed for killing, not being proactive. He leaves that sort of shit for villains who don’t make people laugh or think someone gave them bad acid.

Careful thought aside, MODOK’s machine works. He’s able to summon an army of twisted AU MODOKs that look more like cos-players than equals. There’s one that looks like Spider-Man. There’s one that looks like Hulk. There’s even one that looks like a really fat version of Mr. Chow from the Hangover, although I imagine his dick is the same size. It’s a fucked up assortment of MODOKs, but that’s exactly what makes it work. Unlike the Punisher, it’s not meant to be serious. How can anyone take a giant floating head seriously to begin with? Unless their Power Rangers, this might as well be one of Deadpool’s dreams that don’t involve tacos.

MODOK tries to rally his fellow MODOKs into joining him in the fight against Dr. Doom. And by joining him, he basically means they should all follow him so he can basically take Dr. Doom’s place. Let’s face it, MODOK is about as subtle as George W. Bush on crystal meth and has as much charisma as Ben Stein on valium. His other selves aren’t all that inspired. Hell, they would’ve been more inspired by watching an old Mighty Ducks movie. They start bickering and arguing, as only clones and AU characters can. It’s like a sitcom, minus the cocaine in between takes.

It only gets too fucked up, even for MODOK, when he confronts a version of himself that looks like a baby. And it’s not the cute kind of baby that makes a new viral video every other day or so. This is a crazy, homicidal baby version of MODOK. It’s not nearly as adorable as it sounds. This seems to be the final straw for MODOKs duplicates. Any plan that involves a crazy baby is just too fucked up, even for MODOK. Like Spider-Man and clones, MODOK and other versions of himself just don’t work.

It leads to a massive MODOK vs. MODOK vs. MODOK brawl. It’s every bit as fucked up and entertaining as it sounds. Like giving a bunch of drunk monkies an unlimited supply of spray cheese, it’s just a chaotic and crazy scene. Like the fight with the Punisher and Wolverine earlier, it’s not a fight that’s going to have a lot of impact. This sort of shit isn’t exactly going to undermine Dr. Doom’s god-like power. But it’s still entertaining and funny. Where else are we going to see MODOK kick is own ass for once? And the guy doesn’t even have an ass in the first place. That just makes this all the more appropriate.

Eventually, MODOK and his army cause enough of a racket for Dr. Doom to take notice. That or Dr. Doom had to stop laughing his ass off long enough to send the Thor Corps to investigate. He must have been laughing pretty hard because by the time they show up, all the MODOKs are dead or defeated. The entire facility is in ruins as well. There’s only one MODOK left and he’s more than eager to surrender. He’s capable of taking on the Hulk. He’s even willing to take on the Avengers. But after a battle against versions of himself that include a giant baby, he’s done.

This issue doesn’t really move the overall plot of Secret Wars forward, but it doesn’t attempt to and it doesn’t have to in order to be awesome. The scope and scale of Secret Wars is way too fucking big for one series. Even tie-ins can only accomplish so much. Battleworld has so many domains and so many characters that trying to fit them all into one narrative would be like trying to perform brain surgery while having an orgy at the Playboy Mansion. This story gave us two short yet entertaining stories. They’re not going to do anything other than amuse Dr. Doom, but they do offer some nice insight into the workings of Battleworld.

And like any other domain that doesn’t take place in a 1950s sitcom, there are some fucked up neighborhoods. Areas that have Frank Castle as the sorcerer supreme and MODOK recruiting multiple versions of himself are like the streets in a city where all the strip clubs are based. They don’t make the same contributions as others, but they still play a role. In the same way no society can function without a place for men to get a good lap dance, Battleworld can’t function without perspective. These perspectives are easy to overlook, especially for those who don’t read their comics sober. But it’s a nice bonus level of sorts. I give Secret Wars Battleworld #1 a 6 out of 10. If nothing else, this issue taught me that if mankind ever masters multidimensional travel, then I’m better off not knowing how fucked up my alternate selves are. Nuff said!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Clear Skies and Clearer Understanding: Storm #11

The following is my review of Storm #11, which was posted on

There are certain characters whose appeal we'll never understand. Can anyone truly claim they know why Andy Dick had his own show or why Rebecca Black had a hit single? On the other end of the spectrum are characters like Storm, whose appeal goes beyond any viral video or Twitter trend. She's as much an icon for the X-men as Wonder Woman is for the Justice League. It's gotten to the point where we can accept a world where the X-men can function without Wolverine, settling instead for clones or inverted enemies. But we can't accept a world where the X-men can function without Storm. Just ask Black Panther.

In many respects, Greg Pak's has done for Storm what Grant Morrison did for Superman in his All-Star Superman series. He makes concepts like killing giant robots or humiliating the Lex Luthors of the world secondary. Instead, he focuses on fleshing out the defining traits that make us love Ororo Munroe.

Throughout this series, he's touched on many core aspects of her character. There's Storm, the dedicated teacher. There's Storm, the dedicated humanitarian. And there's Storm, the woman who just lost her lover. But no matter which Storm she is, she's a character that commands love and respect. And she does it while looking sexier than Superman ever could. She doesn't even need an obscenely revealing costume designed by Rob Liefeld either. It's one of the many testaments to Storm's character.

So before Secret Wars blinds everyone to the simpler pleasures of refined, likable characters, Pak explores one more core trait to Storm's character in Storm #11. And it's a trait that truly epitomizes the concept of the X-men as a whole. The imagery of Charles Xavier's bald head or Wolverine's chest hair might be more defining to some. But for Storm, the act of reaching out to a scared and unstable young mutant is what defines the X-men.

It's this act that Storm has raised to an art form that Pablo Picasso himself would admire. And she has to push her skills in this craft to their very limit because she has to deal with the kind of unstable mutant that wouldn't even be welcome on the set of Jerry Springer. Kenji Uedo, once the least unstable member of Generation Hope, has returned and he's still as unstable as ever. And since nobody has cared about Hope Summers since Andrew Luck's rookie season, he's taking his anger out on Storm.

In this respect, he chose the perfect target. Storm is the very antithesis of who he is. In addition to being a blatant Akira rip-off, Kenji is the ugliest manifestation of mutants. He's obscenely disfigured, exceedingly unstable, and can't be controlled. On the other end of the spectrum, Storm embodies beauty that even Hallie Berry couldn't sufficiently capture and power so balanced that it can end famine and bring joy. They're still similar in the sense that they both have the power to unleash untold destruction. The main difference is that Storm chooses to use that power to bring peace while Kenji chooses to use that power to make the world his personal toilet bowl.

Beyond just the physical and personal struggles, Kenji attempts to break Storm's spirit down by touching on all those she has interacted with throughout this series. Every struggle that has helped emphasize why she's the most iconic and beloved X-man in history is brought into the fold. It's a perfectly structured act of convergence that DC Comics should take note of. It effectively raises the emotional and personal stakes for Storm. And true to the goddess we know and love, she rises to the occasion in ways that even an army of Hallie Berry's couldn't capture.

Storm exercises every level of her strengths. First, she shows off the kind of power she has over the elements. Kenji, being an immature mutant who hasn't destroyed enough killer robots to call himself an X-man, tries to break Storm by attacking all the friends and allies she reconnected with over the course of the series. Instead of breaking, she gives Kenji a lesson that he won't get outside of an old Catholic school. In an act that would make Spinal Tap proud, she turns the volume up on her powers to 11 and creates a dazzling weather display that effectively purges Kenji's Akira-inspired attacks off the world. However, it's her second attack that is truly defining.

She was still in a position to give Kenji the kind of discipline that even the most sadistic nun wouldn't condone. She has more than enough power to make him wish he was born without skin. However, she chooses not to fight him. Instead, she and the friends she made in this series connect with Kenji. In doing so, she shows him that she too has an ugly side. She has a history of making bad mistakes and not just because of her choice in haircuts. She may carry herself with a beauty and grace that would inspire countless Sir-Mix-A-Lot songs, but she is still as flawed as he is. She just chooses to be something greater.

This is what ends up winning the battle. She doesn't have to kill or even hurt Kenji. She just has to inspire him. This is what makes Storm who she is. This is why she embodies the best of what the X-men have to offer. Cyclops may have the love of hot telepathic women. Wolverine may have the chest hair and bad boy appeal. Charles Xavier may have wisdom and likeness of Patrick Stewart. But Storm has the heart.

It is the best possible conclusion for a series. Storm #11 effectively links all the elements that have been explored throughout this series into one, concise narrative that acts as a love letter to Storm fans of every era. She is the last remaining anchor in the world of X-men that champions their ideals. She has the kind of spirit and heart that the Inhumans will never be able to match, although they'll certainly try. There are so many traits that make Storm the ultimate X-man. It's impossible for any issue or series to cover them all, but this one made a truly worthy effort.

Final Score: 10 out of 10

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #34

There comes a point where someone has had so many bad days that they just say, “Fuck it!” And I’m not just talking about the kinds of days that involve a tax audit, a parking ticket, and a bar fight that ends with missing teeth. I’m talking about the days that will earn extra therapy for some and extra whiskey for others. For the X-men, I think they’ve gotten a handwritten thank-you letter from every distillery east of the Mississippi at this point. The New Xavier School closed down. Cyclops’ students hate his guts. Emma Frost has locked her panties for the foreseeable future. And Dazzler is still fuming about being screwed over by SHIELD and Mystique. Seeing as how the world is set to end with Secret Wars, they deserve a little more than an extra case of whiskey.

There’s not a whole lot they can do at this point to avoid the cosmic clusterfuck that Secret Wars brings. But that doesn’t mean they can’t face the upcoming incursion without saying they gave the middle finger to their circumstances. At this point, who really gives a shit about the Schism or the shit that went down after Avengers vs. X-men? Are there really any fucks left to give at this point? I say no and Uncanny X-men #34 offers a previous sliver of time between now and Secret Wars to get their shit right. Some take advantage of it. Some don’t. Like everyone who thought the iPhone would fail, those that don’t have any excuses at this point.

And if anyone is good at exploiting the fuck out of a situation, it’s Mystique. If the world is ending, her only concern is how much debt she can run up in the meantime. She’s already run up quite a bit with the shit she did to Dazzler and the shit she’s doing in Wolverines. Yet she still finds time to steal the identity of a famous Bollywood actress and crash in her mansion, complete with all the luxuries that movie stars can enjoy. Say what you will about Mystique, but she knows how to enjoy herself. She would be the ultimate wingman on a trip to Vegas.

Naturally, her love of exploiting the shit out of everyone else’s clusterfucks gets the attention of Cyclops. He’s a guy who could use Mystique’s approach of not giving enough of a shit to enjoy her time before the world ends, but he’s a little more ambitious. And he’s more than a little curious about how Mystique may or may not fuck with those ambitious. Given her history, it’s probably the most reasonable thing he’s done since letting Emma Frost buy the porno.

Mystique is her usual sassy, devious self and it’s still sexy as hell. She doesn’t feel threatened by Cyclops in the slightest. In fact, she treats him the same way Game of Thrones fans treat message boards, using every opportunity to troll the hell out of him. That includes shape-shifting into his ex-girlfriends, teasing him with the Phoenix, and bringing up his recent breakup with Emma Frost. It’s basically anti-therapy. She’s trying to make Cyclops feel he needs to start shooting heroine.

To his credit, he doesn’t book the first flight to Tijuana. He’s able to endure Mystique’s trolling and stay serious. He basically asks her the same question Mystique fans have been asking since Messiah Complex. What the hell is her problem and why the fuck has she become a total sociopath? She’s not quite a King Joffrey level cunt, but she’s trying way too hard. It’s a problem because there was actually a time when Mystique had more depth than that. Cyclops even points that out to her. Since he’s in a similar state, being despised by everyone and on Maria Hill’s shit list, it’s a relevant question for both of them.

It’s slightly less relevant for Dazzler in the sense that she doesn’t really give a damn why Mystique is acting like a total cunt. She just wants payback for the shit she put her through. Mystique did more than just troll her. She knocked Dazzler out, drugged her, took her place, and used her to create MGH. Unless Mystique hated disco more than anyone else in history, she has no excuse for that shit. And Dazzler wants to bring her to justice.

Unfortunately, that means getting a favor from Maria Hill. And she tends to give out favors the same way the Gordon Ramsey gives out compliments. Lucky for Dazzler, Maria owes her one. She was so busy being angry/horny at Cyclops that she didn’t notice that Mystique had taken her place. Dazzler wants Maria to use SHIELD resources to find her. At first, Maria Hill responds as anyone at the DMV would, telling her to pick a number and be ready to fuck off. However, Maria Hill shows some uncanny understanding that is usually absent from the DMV. She gives Dazzler some info while Dazzler gives her advice on Cyclops. Basically, she tells her to keep her panties on. Whether or not she takes this advice is completely up to her.

The conversation between Mystique and Cyclops isn’t quite as tense at first. Cyclops makes some legitimate observations about their respective situation. They were both affected by the death of Charles Xavier and Wolverine. They’re both branded criminals and everyone they ever cared about now hates their guts. If this were a romantic comedy, they would be dry humping by now. However, the conversation takes an unexpected turn.

It happens when some of Cyclops’ observations are no longer as legitimate. Mystique tries trolling him again and like everyone who got into an argument with a creationist on a message board, Cyclops made the mistake of feeding her. She hints that they had a fling at one point. But outside bad fan fiction, that shit never happened and that tips Mystique off that this isn’t Cyclops. He may talk like him, but keeping a straight face at the mention of them boning is a dead giveaway.

Meanwhile, Dazzler still isn’t done asking Maria Hill for favors. Like Willie Nelson asking for an extension on his taxes, she’s really pushing her luck. But what she asks for isn’t that unreasonable. She just asks that the students from the New Xavier School get a pass. Just because Cyclops rescued them doesn’t mean they should be criminals. Maria Hill is not the IRS so she does show a rare bit of understanding. If only all government officials could be so reasonable. She even throws in some free ice cream if she can bring in Mystique. When is the last time any government employee offered ice cream? The DEA should take notice.

This deal provides all the right incentives. It leads to a beautiful convergence of sorts when it’s revealed who the Cyclops imposter was. It wasn’t another shape-shifter. It was actually Dazzler all along and the Stepford Cuckoos provided the illusion. And since the New Xavier students had an incentive as well, Dazzler brought them along for the ride. That means that for once, Mystique was the victim of deception. It’s the second greatest form of irony, ranking just behind being called an asshole by Kanye West.

It all goes downhill for Mystique from there. The Stepford Cuckoos paralyze her so that she can’t attack. Goldballs disarms her as only he can. Then David Bond uses a stereo to give Dazzler just what she needs to give Mystique the ultimate finger. It’s not as sexy as it sounds, unless you find getting blasted out the window sexy. In a world where some people find Cher sexy, I’m sure that’s a thing. But nobody is more satisfied by this than Dazzler. Hell, I’d be shocked if her panties were dry after this.

With Mystique defeated and turned over to SHIELD, Dazzler decides to celebrate. For her, that doesn’t mean a case of whisky and a bag of blow. It means performing a fucking rock concert that would make Lady Gaga herself envious. I’m not usually one for celebrations that don’t involve whiskey, but I think Dazzler has earned this. She was so badly screwed over by Mystique that she could’ve re-enacted a few gruesome Game of Thrones scenes with Mystique and she would’ve been justified. But she chose not to. She’s still an X-man at heart. She’s just an X-man who also happens to be a fucking rock star. Even Wolverine can’t say he ever had that much skill.

Once the show is over, Maria Hill catches up with her and they basically seal the deal. Dazzler did her part. Maria did hers as well. She didn’t even give her more paperwork to fill out. If only she worked for a traffic court. And since she seems to be in an unusually good mood, she offers Dazzler her old job back. I’m pretty sure that SHIELD has a clause that says nobody can be fired for being screwed over by a shape shifter. Hell, I’m pretty sure that was the first thing their union fought for.

It’s not clear if Dazzler takes Maria Hill up on her offer. But she also makes another point. She says that Cyclops is no longer the mutant that can protect young mutants. And that’s the freshest kind of bullshit there is. I guess nobody told Maria that Cyclops saved young mutants who had been wrongfully arrested for healing innocent people or were shot for no reason by cops. Where the fuck was SHIELD when that happened? Where the fuck was the Jean Grey Institute? And she says he’s not that guy? I don’t know if her rage boner for Cyclops has given her brain damage, but this is the most full of shit any government employee has been that didn’t involve parking tickets.

There’s a much more balanced conversation between the New Xavier School students. They leave the concert and get a bite to eat, which is understandable. Rocking out works up an appetite for both food and other crazy shit. They then talk about what they’re going to do now that their records are clean. They all come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that just being mutants doesn’t mean they need to be X-men. Cyclops ditched them and the Jean Grey Institute didn’t do shit for them when they were in trouble. So Hijack comes up with an idea. However, it’s not clear what that idea is. Since he looks like he just got a blowjob from Jessica Alba, I’m guessing it’s not entirely fucked. But I’ve been wrong before.

Let’s face facts. There were and still are a metric fuckton of loose ends to resolve for Secret Wars. Anyone expecting Marvel to go all obsessive compulsive and close every one of them like Sheldon Cooper on crack was expecting too much. But let’s give credit to where credit is due. This issue was able to tie up a lingering, drawn out loose end in a simple, concise way. Dazzler’s rage boner against Mystique has finally been quelled and Maria Hill’s rage boner/normal boner for Cyclops has been at least partially quelled. It was satisfying in a way that usually involves lube and weed, but this one allowed me to keep both my hands and my lungs clean.

There are still much larger loose ends to tie up, but this issue provided a template of sorts on how to do it right. Take a long-standing vendetta, mix in a little deception, and throw in some overtly sexy innuendo and the end result is a damn good story/James Bond movie. Dazzler fans can finally break out the disco ball and the roller skates. She really kicked ass in this issue. Even though the world as she knows it ends with Secret Wars, she can now go into it with the satisfaction that she kicked Mystique’s ass and taught a valuable lesson to teenagers. She couldn’t have accomplished more without access to Warren Buffet’s credit card. I give Uncanny X-men #34 a 9 out of 10. Whether she’s an outdated disco queen or a punk rock prototype found only at an Ozzy Osborne concert, Dazzler is awesome. She’s not awesome enough to make disco popular again, but she’s worth giving a shit about. Her awesome may be the only thing that fans of One Direction and Marilyn Manson can agree on. Nuff said!

Friday, May 15, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 21: Dark Legacy Part 1 PREVIEW!

The secret is out. Revelations of all kinds have struck the Marvel Universe through Secret Wars and similar reservations have struck the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. In the comics, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are no longer the children of Magneto. Angela is the long lost sister of Thor. In X-men Supreme, Mystique is not just Raven Darkhomle, the infamous shape-shifting enemy of the X-men. She’s Rose, the former lover of Wolverine and another victim in the ever-growing body count that is Weapon X. It’s a tenuous time for both worlds and the world of X-men Supreme is about to reap the consequences. It’s not on the same level as Secret Wars, but it will leave the world in this fanfiction series forever changed.

It all starts and ends with Sinister. After losing his beloved Selene during the events of Civilization No Longer Lost, he is shaken. His ambitions have always been grim, but never like this. Losing Selene has led him to abandon whatever reservations he had left. He’s not just willing to torment the X-men. He’s ready to torment the entire world. He already has the means, having stolen the ruins of the World created by Fantomex. He also has the will, which he demonstrated in the painful revelation he forced on Mystique. Now that intent is about to become destructive in a way the X-men have never faced before.

The world in which the X-men fight for peace and understanding is always changing. This fanfiction series is no exception. Often in the comics, those changes are driven by events involving the Avengers or other superhero teams. But here in X-men Supreme, the changes are driven entirely by the X-men and the allies/enemies around them. That has always been a defining trait for this fanfiction series. I want to keep the focus on the X-men’s struggles. There is still room for classic X-men themes like the Shi’ar and the Phoenix Force, but at its core X-men Supreme is about the mutant struggle.

That struggle is going to gain a major complication with the final arc of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. This final arc will once again re-shape the world of X-men Supreme. Like the events of Overlord and Uprising in previous volumes of X-men Supreme, this event will have a significant impact on the X-men and the battles they fight. If this fanfiction series continues, they will face some significant new challenges. And it all starts here with this arc. It might not be on the same level as Secret Wars. But in the world of X-men Supreme, its impact will be felt by all. As always, I’ve prepared an extended preview that will show the beginning of that impact.

“This is by far the worst locale Sinister has ever chosen to do an experiment,” groaned Arclight as she blew into her hands to warm them up.

“Worse than mission where we learned the horrors of Indian public bathrooms?” said Blockbuster, using his strength to set the last of the six smaller components into place.

“I don’t know about that,” said Riptide, “I would say this is a close second.”

“I say this is worse,” said Arclight strongly, “I get that Sinister can’t tell us the details of these experiments. There are too many psychics in this world who can rip it from our minds. At the very least, he owes us a vague explanation.”

“Even if he did, I bet you would still be bitching about it,” said Harpoon, who was hooking up a series of heavy cables.

“We’re on an active volcano, Harpoon. Don’t test me.”

There was plenty of tension. The winds picked up and blowing snow blanketed the area. Arclight toughed through the cold and helped Harpoon connect the rest of the cables while Riptide and Blockbuster installed the heavier components. The machines were already humming with activity. The high tech components were lighting up, showing little aversion to the cold. It was still a rough environment for a frustrating mission.

“You think you have the right to most pissed? I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Sabretooth not tagging along for this,” Harpoon pointed out.

“There’s only so much I care to complain about,” said Arclight as she entered some commands on the keypad of a machine, “Besides, I’d rather Sabretooth not tag along for anything.”

“I second that,” said Riptide, “I still don’t get why Sinister brought him aboard. It’s not like he’s a big help. He’s mentally unstable sociopath with the attention span of a flea.”

“I’m sure Sinister has his reasons. He always does,” said Arclight.

“Doesn’t mean they’re good reasons…or sane reasons for that matter,” Harpoon argued.

“I never said they were. There’s a lot about this plan that rubs me the wrong way. I’ll be glad when it’s over so we can get what Sinister promised us. He says this will be our last mission. He may be a deranged son-of-a-bitch, but he’s a man of his word.”

“He better be,” said Blockbuster upon finishing the last round of heavy lifting.

The Marauders were almost done. The six smaller components were set up and ready for activation. Setting up Sinister’s machines was never terribly difficult. That was the benefits of having alien technology and he really pulled out all the stops with this one. They needed all the tech they could get if they were to pull this off.

Vulcan sensed their unease as he and the Goblin Queen worked on configuring the central console. He couldn’t blame them. Sinister was using some unorthodox tactics with this mission. Even as Sinister’s godson, he had his doubts. But they didn’t stop him from finishing this mission.

The Goblin Queen used her telekinesis to assemble the smaller pieces into the main component. She even had some of her goblin minions make several tweaks around the device. Vulcan focused primarily on the central panel where he launched a series of pre-programmed operations.

“The Warlock material you obtained from Genosha is working flawlessly, my love,” said Vulcan, “The core should be ready in less than ten minutes.”

“Marvelous,” she said flatly, “Sorry if I don’t sound as excited as I should.”

“You’re not going to start complaining about the cold as well, are you? That special coat with built in heaters should keep that beautiful body of yours plenty comfortable.”

“It isn’t the cold that bothers me…not entirely anyways,” said the Goblin Queen.

“I hope it’s not our dear Uncle. He wants this mission done so that’s what we’re doing.”

“It’s not the mission, Gabriel. It’s our dear uncle’s state of mind that concerns me,” she said, her tone becoming more serious, “I get that he’s distraught over Selene. I am too. What I don’t get is why he’s resorting to something like this. It feels too…final.”

“It’s not,” Vulcan pointed out, “You know our uncle as well as I do. Nothing is ever truly final. Everything is a process with him.”

“Which is why I’m so worried,” the Goblin Queen reasoned, “He’s treating this like an endgame. He never said it overtly, but I can feel it. You heard the order he gave shortly after we took off in the jet. He’s not even trying to hide his activities anymore.”

“It’s all for a purpose,” said Vulcan confidently.

“I’m sure it is. That doesn’t mean his purpose is rational.”

The Goblin Queen turned her attention to the central core. She recalled her goblin minions. Their work was nearly complete. This machine was ready. As she traced her hand along the advanced electronics, her worries escalated. This was beyond anything Sinister had ever attempted before. As always, he kept some of the details from them. Usually, that never bothered her. This time felt different.

“What do you think this latest gizmo does, Gabriel?” the Goblin Queen pondered, “Is this so-called Legacy program really going to affect the whole world?”

“I only know what you know. Project Legacy is about gathering data…a lot of data.”

“That’s what Sinister said. I’m wondering what it means.”

“Does it matter? He says once launched the genetic information from every human and mutant on the planet will be integrated into his network at the lab. Once he has that, he’ll have everything he needs to do what he needs to do.”

“It’s not what he’ll do with the data that concerns me. It’s the time-frame he’s working under,” replied the Goblin Queen, “He’s practically immortal. He can afford to be patient. So why is he doing this all at once? What is he willing to unleash to get everything he wants all at once?”

They were not unreasonable questions. Vulcan fell silent as he contemplated the possible answers. Their uncle had really changed since they lost Selene. He wasn’t just cold and calculating anymore. He was unstable. For a man of Sinister’s aptitude, that was very dangerous. They were already taking a huge risk with this mission and all the unusual quirks it entailed.

Before Vulcan and the Goblin Queen could discuss this any further, a powerful roar echoed from the clouds. It wasn’t the wind this time, nor was it the machines they were using. Through the blowing snow and high winds, the X-jet descended over the area. The rest of the Marauders saw it as well and rushed over.

“X-men!” grunted Blockbuster, “They’re late.”

“It would be an amazing first. Usually they show up at the worst possible time,” said Riptide.

“Does this mean what I think it means, Vulcan?” asked Arclight.

“It does,” said the oldest Summers brother as he gazed up at the jet, “It seems the X-men detected my little beacon.”

“I guess that file Sinister leaked to White Cell worked quite nicely,” said the Goblin Queen.

“These family issues were bound to come up sooner or later. It might as well be now,” said Vulcan.

The powerful mutant stepped ahead of the Marauders to confront the approaching X-jet. His eyes glowed brightly as the hatch opened and the X-men came out in full force. As expected, Cyclops led the charge. He rode a telekinetic bubble with Phoenix, Iceman, Beast, Storm, Gambit, Psylocke, Colossus, Shadowcat, and Thunderbird following behind. The X-men weren’t too thrilled to be confronting the Marauders and the Marauders weren’t too thrilled about facing the X-men either. However, Cyclops appeared more motivated than the others.

“GABRIEL!” shouted Cyclops, “It’s time we had a little brotherly chat.”

As I’ve stated before, it is entirely possible that this could be the final volume of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I’m still going to write this final arc with the intention of leaving it open for future volumes. However, feedback on X-men Supreme has still been sluggish. While there are those who have supported this fanfiction series from its inception, the amount of that support has stagnated. I work long and hard to make sure X-men Supreme is sufficiently awesome and I can only know that I’m doing something right of people take the time to provide feedback. Please do so by contacting me directly or posting comments in each issue. I’m always happy to chat, especially after the recent revelations surrounding Mystique. I hope to make a decision by the end of this arc, but the readers of X-men Supreme will have a major influence. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!