Friday, August 10, 2018

The Red Queen Chronicles: The Lost Son Chapter 4 is LIVE!

There are some characters whose sexiness is overtly powerful. Nobody questions the sex appeal of characters like Mary Jane Watson, Emma Frost, or Daken. They're all pretty open when it comes to showing off their sexy side. It's part of their persona and their allure. It's a big reason why I've had so much fun writing my "Red Queen" series.

Then, there are characters whose sex appeal is understated, but overwhelming. They don't carry themselves as overly sexual. They may even come off as reserved or even most of the time. However, when you dig just a little deeper into their personality, you find that they have an immense capacity for sexiness. Most of the time, it goes unrealized. It usually takes a mix of incentives and a nudge, here and there, to help them embrace it.

That's exactly what I've done with Jean Grey in the world of the "Red Queen." When she first arrived on the scene in "The Red Queen Chronicles: The Phoenix," she was tense and conflicted. Thanks to some "coaxing" from Mary Jane and Emma Frost, she opened up in more ways than one, including the sexy ways. She and Cyclops have since expanded their relationship and their sexuality, embracing new opportunities and new lovers.

She has had to tap into that sexual potential even more throughout "The Red Queen Chronicles: The Lost Son." It has even put her into conflict with Daken, Logan's long lost son who is a bit more direct with his sexual proclivities. It led to a clash that left things a bit unfinished between them, to say the least. Now, with the final chapter of this latest sexy side-project, she and Daken will have a chance to tie up loose ends and in the sexiest way possible.

I hope you've enjoyed this colorful story of devious plots and villainous decadence. I had a lot of fun writing it and to those who sent me so much kind feedback, I sincerely thank you. A few very kind reviewers even helped me flesh out ideas for this story. You know who you are and I can't thank you enough. This story actually got more support than I expected. Apparently, stories about Jean Grey's hidden sexy side have a lot of appeal. Who knew? That's good to know and hopefully, it'll inspire other sexy stories. Nuff said!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Unforgettably Unforgotten: Fantastic Four #1

The following is my review of Fantastic Four #1, which was posted on

What is the Marvel universe without the Fantastic Four? That's a difficult question that many fans have had to answer since the conclusion of Secret Wars in 2015. Since then, Marvel's First Family has been absent, scattered, or a solemn combination of both. The reasons for their limited status are many and prone to speculation, ranging from bitter disputes over movie rights to simply not having a place in Marvel's ever-evolving landscape. Whatever the reason, there's one inescapable truth. The Marvel universe just isn't whole without the Fantastic Four.

Their absence is a glaring flaw in a world that was built on a foundation that Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben helped forge during the golden age of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby partnership. While many other Marvel heroes have seen their star rise, the Fantastic Four only ever seem to decline. Regardless of which hot new superhero emerges or who gets an overdue overhaul, it's never a matter of whether the First Family will ascend once more. It's just a matter of time, opportunity, and vision.

With Fantastic Four #1, that moment is here. Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli are poised to reaffirm the Fantastic Four's importance to the Marvel universe. Overall, they succeed in almost every meaningful way. The most important thing they do is demonstrate how much the Richards family is still missed. It's not just Ben and Johnny who miss them, either. Many of their close associates, including Medusa, Crystal, and Luke Cage, all get a chance to say how they feel about a world without the Fantastic Four. They don't need Reed's vast vocabulary to make clear how much that world is lacking.

That sentiment starts as simple longing on Ben and Johnny's part. There's this underlying sense of solemn, but uplifting kind nostalgia. They both handle it very differently, though. Throughout the story, Ben is more resigned to the idea that Reed, Sue, and their kids are gone for good. It still hurts, but he's trying to move forward with his life. He even has a chance to make an important life decision with Alicia. From Ben's perspective, the best way to deal with the lost of his old family is to build a new one.

That's not Johnny's approach, though. In fact, he's downright offended by Ben's methods. Johnny, being the literal and figurative hot-head of the bunch, isn't inclined to move forward. He resists any inclination to just accept that the Fantastic Four are gone for good. He clings to the idea that Reed and Sue will find a way, as they often do. Considering that these two can outwit Galactus, navigate the negative zone, and resist Namor's efforts to undermine their marriage, his faith in them is not entirely misguided.

That doesn't make it any less frustrating for him, though. To some extent, Johnny's anger towards anyone who accepts that Reed, Sue, and their kids are never coming back reflects that of every other Marvel fan who misses them. It goes beyond the comics themselves. The marginalization of the Fantastic Four is hard to miss, even for those who don't follow news about mismanaged movie rights. Given their importance to the history of Marvel and the way the landscape of Marvel has unfolded without them, a little frustration is more than warranted.

It culminates in a powerful moment where Slott captures that feeling perfectly through Johnny. Rather than celebrate the progress Ben makes in his personal life, he lashes out at the stars where he and the First Family got their powers. He says what so many others have thought, felt, and articulated in fan mail. Reed Richards is one of the smartest beings in the Marvel universe. No secret war, incursion, or Disney lawyer can keep him and the Fantastic Four apart. He shouldn't need a reminder, but Johnny gives him one anyways.

He does it in a way that almost makes you want to shout with him. This isn't just another superhero team that can form, dissolve, and join a super-powered civil war within the same week. The Fantastic Four are a family. No matter how many planet eaters there are, family finds one another. That's something that no Avenger, X-men, or Champion can match. In the end, both Johnny and those who share his frustration get a welcome and overdue answer. It's both a sign and a gesture of reassurance. The Richards family is coming home. The Fantastic Four will be whole once more.

That sentiment, built around the affirmation that the First Family is coming together again, is Slott and Pichelli's most important achievement with Fantastic Four #1. This isn't just a team reforming after a dramatic schism. This is a family finding itself after being torn apart by forces that literally ripped apart the multiverse. Regardless of how much or how little you missed the Fantastic Four during their prolonged absence, it's easy to appreciate that longing these characters feel to be whole once more.

Slott and Pichelli evoke the right emotions throughout Fantastic Four #1, but the story isn't without shortcomings. As a whole, it comes off as more of a prelude rather than the first issue of a larger story. Even though Reed and Sue make an appearance, there are times when the story feels more like a movie trailer than the start of a new chapter for the First Family. The inclusion of a flashback sequence didn't seem to contribute much to the plot, either.

That doesn't make the emotional weight of Fantastic Four #1 any less impactful. It still sends the message that Fantastic Four fans have been waiting to hear for years. The First Family of the Marvel universe is coming back and they've been sorely missed. While they probably won't solve every lingering problem with superhero civil wars and pushes for diversity, they'll still be together. For any family, that's the most important part of any challenge.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Friday, August 3, 2018

X-men Supreme Issue 172: High Evolution Part 4 is LIVE!

In every battle that the X-men have won or lost, there is a defining moment that determined the outcome of the battle. There have been plenty of those moments throughout the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. In Uprising, it was the Scarlet Witch’s fateful decision to save Quicksilver that set the stage forMagneto’s defeat. In the Phoenix Saga, it was Cyclops’ death that turned Jean Grey against the Phoenix Force, allowing her to wrestle back control. Against the Mutant Liberation Front, it was Charles Xavier’s fateful decision to push himself that led to the defeat that forced him to step away from the X-men.

The High Evolution arc has already had plenty of moments for the X-men, X-Force, and every being on the planet, human and mutant alike. Magneto’s return has literally hit every corner of a world that Romulus rendered painfully vulnerable after the events of Crimes Against Inhumanity. The division between Cyclops and Professor Xavier began to crack. Even General Grimshaw and President Kelly showed their frustration, making clear that they cannot afford another defeat.

Since Magneto’s return, X-men Supreme has been racing towards another dramatic turning point that will further define this fanfiction series. There have only been a handful of those points to date, despite X-men Supreme spanning over 170 issues over an eight-year span. From Jean Grey embracing the power of the Phoenix Force to Sinister unleashing the Legacy Virus on the whole world, these are the moments that require the most time, energy, and awesome. The final showdown in High Evolution promises to deliver just such a moment.

Make no mistake. There will be losses. There will be casualties. Prices will be paid, hearts will be broken, and spirits will be crushed. Magneto and the High Evolutionary have made that unavoidable at this point. The lingering division between Charles Xavier and Cyclops made it distressingly easy, as well. It’s going to get bad, but at the same time, these are also the kinds of moments that bring out the best in the X-men. The comics, cartoons, and movies demonstrate that all the time. I hope to do the same here with this fanfiction series.

I’m excited and eager to see this moment unfold in X-men Supreme. It’s something I’ve been waiting to get to since Magneto’s departure after the Time Bomb arc. I’d always planned on bringing him back into the fold. I knew that when the time came, his actions would take the X-men, their allies, and their enemies to a defining point that will send shockwaves throughout this fanfiction series. The time for teasing is over. The moment that will subsequently define X-men Supreme’s past, present, and future has finally arrived.

X-men Supreme Issue 172: High Evolution Part 4

Having worked so hard to set up the events in this issue, I’m eager to hear the reactions. I have a feeling this issue will shock some, but not others who are familiar with the X-men’s resolve. They’ve been battling Magneto for over 50 years in comics, cartoons, movies, and assorted media. They always find a way to endure, even when they suffer terrible losses. It’s part of what makes them the iconic heroes they are. More than anything else, I want High Evolution to help define the breadth of that resolve.

I sincerely hope it’s as satisfying to read as it was for me to write. I worked long and hard to guide this fanfiction series to the moments that unfold in this issue. I hope it’s the kind of moment that X-men fans of all kinds can appreciate. I had a lot of fun writing it, but it matters just as much that those reading it enjoyed it as well. Please, if you can, take the time to review this and any other issue of X-men Supreme. Either post your comments directly in the issue or contact me directly with your feedback. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to hear from fellow X-men fans. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Summer Camp Snoozer: X-men Gold Annual #2

The following is my review of X-men Gold Annual #2, which was posted on

Every great character goes through phases that don't put them in a very positive light. Some even become downright infamous, marking a dark period in their overall arc. In certain cases, those moments are best left forgotten in the same tradition as the original Clone Saga, Wolverine's relationship with Squirrel Girl, and that time time Juggernaut hooked up with She-Hulk.

Unfortunately, the recent events surrounding Kitty Pryde cannot be easily brushed aside. The events surrounding her wedding to Colossus in X-men Gold #30 are just too heavy to overlook. To say that she comes out of that ordeal looking less than heroic is like saying Mole Man needs a shower. She does herself a huge disservice, being the one to propose to Colossus and the one to break it off. In terms of superhero credibility, Kitty is near the bottom with Magneto.

That's not to say her character is beyond repair. X-men Gold #30 certainly adds complications, but not to the point of irreparable harm on the level of Hank Pym beating his wife. Kitty Pryde still stands out as once of those characters who undergoes the most growth over the course of her time with the X-men. She joins the team as a scared, uncertain teenager who just got thrust into this world of mutants, killer robots, and living weapons. X-men Gold Annual #2 takes a step back form her current melodrama and explores this critical side of Kitty Pryde, recounting less heartbreaking parts of her journey.

Seanan McGuire and Marco Failla don't try to reinvent Kitty Pryde. They simply attempt to reinforce the kind of person she already is and they don't even rely on killer robots to achieve this. Instead, X-men Gold Annual #2 recounts a younger Kitty Pryde taking a break from the Xavier Institute to go to summer camp. It's not exactly a journey through the Savage Land, but it's fitting in that it allows Kitty to feel normal for a while.

That ends up being a pretty significant theme, the act of being normal when unavoidable circumstances say otherwise. Kitty Pryde knows and acknowledges that she isn't normal. She can pretend to be normal and for a good chunk of the story, that's what she does. For the most part, it makes her happy. It gives her a chance to reconnect with old friends, enjoy traditional summer activities, and not worry about Magneto attacking every other week. For a young Kitty Pryde who has yet to get trapped in a giant space bullet, this should be cathartic.

That's not how things play out, though. Kitty learns fairly quickly that there's no use being normal. She's just not the same person she was before she found out she was a mutant. It shows in subtle ways at first. Her friends can't keep up with her anymore, she feels more restless at night, and she's a bit more willing to break the rules, which feels kind of like Wolverine's influence on her. It makes for powerful moments of self-awareness that put Kitty ahead of the curve for most teenagers. However, when mutant issues enter the picture, both the personal insight and the overall story start to falter.

Things devolve quickly for Kitty once she decides to stop being normal and exercise her inner X-men. She finds out that these friends who she gets along so well with for half the story actually harbor anti-mutant sentiments. It further shatters the notion that she can just be normal for a while. Her reaction is somewhat predictable. Her sentiments aren't much different from most expect of a teenager girl who just learns a hard lesson about the real world. She doesn't come off as Kitty Pryde, a future leader of the X-men with a thing for guys named Peter. She's just another upset teenager.

That's understandable, given her age in this story. It still hinders the overall drama. There's an effort to build more by having her cross paths with another young mutant who has to overhear the anti-mutant diatribes. It makes for a few nice moments, including Kitty's first kiss, but there's nothing iconic about it. There's no Spider-Man kissing Mary Jane on top of the Empire State Building. It's just two people who bear the brunt end of mutant hatred and help each other.

It's sweet, but contrived way to salvage Kitty's summer. Not much comes from it, though. There's some basic bullying on the part of their fellow campers. There's no nuance or depth to it. At times, it comes off as being copied from any teen drama movie made after 1987. Kitty doesn't even do anything to confront it. She doesn't change hearts or minds. She doesn't do anything to change anyone else's notion of normal. Granted, she's still young and inexperienced at this point, but the lack of ambition she shows seems out of character for an aspiring X-men.

As a result, there's no real resolution in X-men Gold Annual #2. Kitty meets up with her friends and they just apologize to her for how they reacted. It happens randomly and without any real incentive. They feel bad about how they acted and that's it. There's no greater story behind it and that limits the overall impact. Kitty doesn't even get an opportunity to be heroic or show them the error of their ways. It just happens and everyone shrugs it off. That's as interesting as it gets in the end.

That's not to say X-men Gold Annual #2 doesn't have merit. It's still a refreshing reprieve for Kitty Pryde, exploring another part of her past at a time when her present is such a mess. It even has a relevant message about being normal in a world that isn't always kind to the abnormal. Kitty tries to just fit in and ignore the things that make her weird. That's something plenty of teenagers and adults can relate to. There's a story there, but it's incomplete and downright bland at times.

Kitty Pryde still has a lot of room to grow. She's one of those characters whose journey reflects the struggles of the X-men and mutants, as a whole. It's part of what makes her endearing and likable. X-men Gold Annual #2 does nothing to undercut that, but it does little to enhance it. In the past, she's still a young woman who's destined to become a member of the X-men. In the present, she's still the one who leaves Colossus at the altar. For her, growth isn't just inevitable. It's necessary.

Final Score: 4 out of 10

Friday, July 27, 2018

X-men Supreme Issue 172: High Evolution Part 4 PREVIEW!

The first shots of Magneto’s last stand in X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided have been fired. The X-men, X-Force, and a very vulnerable world after the events of Crimes Against Inhumanity braced themselves for this moment. They all knew Magneto was capable of destruction on a global scale. Even after the events of Overlord and The Cambrian Explosion, he found way to step up that scale by bringing a new world in Asteroid M to the mix. Now, that world is about to take this fanfiction series into one of this most climactic moments.

It’s a moment that has been building since the final moments of Time Bomb. I’d always intended to bring Magneto back into the mix. He has been a guiding force in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series since its earliest days. Just like the X-men comics, he has a knack for bringing out the best and worst in Charles Xavier and his X-men. Without a doubt, they need their absolute best on all levels.

The division between Charles Xavier and Cyclops has put the whole vision of the X-men into question. It started as a simple disagreement on how to move forward after the devastation in X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. Xavier believed that the X-men had to work with General Grimshaw and President Kelly. Cyclops believed that was a mistake that would come back to haunt them in a major way. This clash has unfolded in many ways. The Drug War arc hinted that Xavier’s approach may have merit, but the events of Crimes Against Inhumanity somewhat vindicated Cyclops’ concerns.

It’s still not clear which side is right, but Cyclops and Charles Xavier agree on one thing. Nobody can afford to be wrong when Magneto is involved. His return has forced the X-men and X-Force to unite, albeit under some very tenuous circumstances. On top of that, they have to rely on the cooperation of the Scarlet Witch, someone the X-men have clashed with before during her time with the Brotherhood of Mutants.

While she has been an ally in the past as the ruler of Genosha, the Scarlet Witch has shown many times that her loyalty and love for her father shows few limits. However, the growing relationship she has been developing with Nightcrawler since X-men Supreme Issue 158: Power Brokers has added a new complication. The presence of the High Evolutionary has added another. Magneto doesn’t just have overwhelming power and a vision for his kind to drive him. He has an entire world in Asteroid M.

I’ve said before that this is Magneto's last-ditch effort. This is his Hail Mary play to win the day for the entire mutant race. He’s left nothing to chance. He and the High Evolutionary have exerted immense control over Asteroid M and the inhabitants that were promised paradise. The X-men, X-Force, and the Scarlet Witch are in his domain. Any chance at stopping him is slim at best and he hasn’t even shown the full extent of his power. This may very well be the darkest hour in the history of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, but it may help set the stage for its finest as well. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of this omega-level showdown.

“YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE!” yelled the woman.

“Ack! I’m pretty sure you don’t belong in my lungs either,” coughed Psylocke.

Psylocke was quickly rendered immobile. Five other former humans tried to go for Storm, forcing Domino, Colossus, and Warpath to pick up the slack. Domino saved herself the bullets by jumping up and using the butt of her gun to strike two of the former humans that had a plant-like appearance. The other three included a father and his two young children, each of which had malleable ink-like skin. Warpath tried to get in their way, but he was reluctant to strike the young family.

“This ain’t good parenting, pal. Leave your kids out of this!” urged Warpath.


Warpath tried to shove the trio aside. That proved messy because the two children shifted their ink-like form to become more vicious, allowing them to smother the Native American mutant.

“Ugh! Tastes…like mud,” choked Warpath.

“THIS WILL TASTE WORSE!” yelled the man.

Despite his children still covering Warpath, the man shifted his arm to form a club-like weapon. With it he slammed the Native American mutant across the face. It hit with such force that even his durable form couldn’t withstand it. He fell back, tumbling onto his hands and knees while the two children continued slithering around him in their ink form.

“James!” Storm cried out.

“He’s survived worse, Storm. Try and stay focused here!” urged Domino as she fought off an aerial attack from a few flying mutants, “It looks like they’re preparing for something and we need to be out of its way.”

As Storm looked out over the hordes of former humans, she saw what Domino meant. This coordinated attack didn’t attempt to overrun them with sheer numbers. Whoever was guiding the people wanted to keep everything focused and organized.

By now the former humans and animals were pulling back. That allowed the hundreds of other mutants to form an inescapable semi-circle around the X-men. Around that circle every mutant with firepower of some kind stood in the front, preparing to fire a simultaneous blast. Above them any mutant with flight powers along with various animals hovered above, ensuring they had nowhere to run.


“Storm, we’re out of time!” yelled Colossus, who was shoved back by a couple of sisters with gravity manipulation powers.

“I know. I’m…trying,” grunted Storm, her eyes flickering in a white hue, “These winds…are too…stubborn!”

The air around her grew hot and stale. With every ounce of strength, she tried to connect with these artificial forces of nature. They resisted her as if someone was actively pushing her back.

“Hnn…I know you’ll do it, Storm,” said Warpath, still choking on the ink-like mud that had covered his upper body, “If you can reach someone…as stubborn as me…you can make these winds your own.”

Storm’s gaze drifted towards Warpath. As she watched him fight off the inky sludge that consumed him, a new rush of determination surged through her. Asteroid M was so artificial and controlled. Trying to control it herself was a losing battle. Her only hope was to try a different approach.

‘Nature can never be controlled. It can only be harnessed. I may not be able to wrestle control away from you, Magneto. But I can still introduce a little chaos to the winds. Let’s see how your world handles true nature!’

No longer attempting to control the winds, Storm redirected her efforts. In an ominous display, her eyes erupted in a burst of white light. That did not dissuade the army of former humans unleashed their blast.

In an effort to thwart her response before it began, they unleashed their powerful attack. It included forces such as energy blasts, laser blasts, electrical shocks, fireballs, ice shards, telekinesis, and sonic waves. Psylocke, Warpath, Colossus, and Domino braced themselves for the impact. But it never came.

Before the blast struck, a powerful gust of wind swirled around Storm. From that gust, a dark cloud formed that overtook the X-men. In the process, it blew off the ghost-like woman from Psylocke and the ink-like sludge on Warpath. Once inside this cloud, the X-men were literally throw up into the wind just in time to avoid the onslaught.

“WHOA!” they all yelled out.

“It’s happening!” proclaimed Storm, her eyes still glowing.

As the X-men went flying across the lake, the winds continued to swirl. As the energy from so many different blasts converged on the cloud, it triggered a white-hot burst and unleashed an air blast that momentarily engulfed the whole lake in a blinding light.

It was quickly accompanied by a blast so powerful that it kicked up water from the lake and cause any winged being within a half-mile radius to falter. The force on the ground was even more intense, knocking waves of former mutants back and disrupting their once perfectly coordinated attack.

“DESTROY…SCOUGE…PURGE OUR…WORLD!” they all stammered as they tried to reorganize.

The cloud continued to grow, following completely random patterns that further disrupted the once peaceful lake. The swirling clouds continued to carry Storm, Colossus, Warpath, Psylocke, and Domino. It was not the smooth ride they were used to with Storm’s powers. Within moments they found themselves falling towards the lake where a group of hungry alligator-like creatures was waiting for them.

“Bloody hell…those things look hungry,” said Psylocke as she saw the creatures.

“Pull us up already, Storm! Some of us didn’t pack our swim suits!” yelled Domino.

“It’s not entirely up to me this time,” she replied.

The alligator creatures were already on the surface preparing to take a bite out of them. Then another sharp gust of wind blew in and pushed them further up into the sky. It was another disorienting blow to their senses, but it took them out of the line of fire. Some mutants from below still tried firing at them, but due to their lack of coordination they missed. They did not handle the chaos well. It was as if chaos itself was the X-men’s best weapon.

As Storm ascended with Psylocke, Domino, Colossus, and Warpath their path stabilized. They noticed the starry mosaic that made up the sky became wavy and disoriented. The once awe-inspiring sight was exposed as a fa├žade. As it faltered, Storm gained greater control of the winds.

“Ugh! Now I know how a bug in a washing machine feels,” groaned Psylocke.

“You did it, Storm!” exclaimed Warpath, “You got control of the-whoa shit!”

The X-men felt more gusts blow around them. While they were moving forward, it was by no means a smooth ride. They were not the same winds they were used to on Earth.

“It would seem that control is a work-in-progress,” said Colossus, fighting off dizziness and nausea.

“I can only manage partial control,” said Storm as her eyes kept flashing, “I’m not actually guiding these winds. It’s only when the winds are guided by chaos that I can exert power over them.”

“So you basically have to screw it up and then put it back together?” said Domino, “Sounds tricky.”

“You have no idea,” groaned Storm.

“But it’s working,” said Warpath as he shook off his daze, “I think we’re onto something here. Throw a little dirt onto this bullshit paradise and we have the advantage.”

“You think the others know that?” asked Colossus.

“We’ll share it with them when we meet up,” said Storm as she focused harder, “Get ready for a bumpy ride because I’m taking us to City X. We need to pull the plug on Magneto’s new world. We need to show him he’s vulnerable.”

“In more ways than you think,” said Domino with a smirk.

Getting X-men Supreme to this point has been a long, tedious journey. I’ve seen Magneto go on a similar journey in the X-men comics. He’s someone who often walks the line between a hero and a villain, but he’s at his best when he taps into his villainous instincts to the utmost. It has made for some of the most powerful moments in the history of X-men. I hope to set up just such a moment in this fanfiction series, one that will complete the journey Magneto began back in X-men Supreme Volume 1: Mutant Revolution.

I want that culmination to be the biggest and best payoff it can possibly be. That’s why feedback and reviews at this point are more critical than ever. Regardless of whether you’re a Magneto fan, there’s no denying his influence on the X-men and the iconic moments he has helped forge. I want to create such a moment in this fanfiction series and I need to know I’m doing that right. Please, if you can, take the time to provide me your feedback and your comments. Either contact me directly or post them in previous issues. Either way is fine and I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!