Friday, June 6, 2014

X-men Supreme Reflections: Wanda Maximoff PREVIEW!

When I began the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I knew I would be taking certain characters and making them very different from their comic book counterparts. In order to tell the story I want to tell with X-men Supreme, I had to sigificantly change the background and circumstances of these characters in order for them to fit into the narrative. This was especially difficult for the Scarlet Witch. She was a character who, until recently, had lost a great deal of cedibility as a hero. In Marvel's main universe, she went crazy and nearly wiped out the entire mutant race during the events of House of M. It is a crime that still haunts the Scarlet Witch to this day in the comic and one that has come to define her character. But in the X-men Supreme, she has no such burden. She also doesn't have her legacy as an Avenger in her background. So within the context of this fanfiction series, she is very much tied to the struggle of the X-men and Brotherhood of Mutants.

This has created a Wanda Maximoff that is quite different from the character that emerged in the comics. But like every character I've brought into X-men Supreme, I wanted to make sure I maintained her core persona. Unlike Quicksilver and Magneto, the Scarlet Witch is not blind with hatred. She takes a more balanced approach to the human/mutant conflict. She does not agree with Professor Charles Xavier. She does not think that peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants is possible. She is not afraid to defend her fellow mutants from aggression and she will fight with her father to accomplish this goal. But unlike her father, the Scarlet Witch does not seek to wipe out humanity or rule over them. She just wants mutants to prosper on their own without having to live under the constent threat of violence. In many ways, this makes her the balanced character in the human/mutant conflict.

But what drove the Scarlet Witch to become this unique view that exists somewhere within the divide between Charles Xavier and Magneto? What is it that makes her the kind of person that will stand by her father, but also step up to act as a ruler and a leader when she is needed? Her story is one of my proudest accomplishments in X-men Supreme. Given the recent events of the comics, I believe the strength of Wanda Maximoff's character are best displayed when she has to act as the balance between Charles Xavier and Magneto. She has so much to deal with, yet she still finds the strength to keep fighting, even after the events of the Cambrian Explosion. Because of the many recent upheavals in her life in both the comics and in this fanfiction series, I couldn't think of a better character to round out the final entry of X-men Supreme Reflections Volume 4. Once again, I've prepared an extended preview to offer a brief insight into the world of Wanda Maximoff.

After years of acquiring resources, father’s plans were finally coming together. We had our core of mutants with which to launch our uprising. For years Magneto talked about establishing a battlefront with which to begin the war against humanity. It had to start somewhere. They had to have a place where the mutants of the world could gather and stand as one against their oppressors. That’s how all great revolutions began and for this act, he chose Genosha.

I couldn’t think of a better location. This cursed island has been the scene of many wars and uprisings. For most of the century it was run by brutal dictators and Cameron Hodge was no exception. What set him apart from the others was that he used mutants as the scapegoat to rally his supporters. To my father he was the equivalent of another Hitler, looking to inflict a second holocaust on our kind. We weren’t about to let that happen. We were ready to oppose him. However, the revolution he hoped to launch did not have the outcome he or anyone for that matter expected.

Once again, the X-men intervened. Their participation changed everything. They stopped Magneto from inciting the war. They stopped what could have been an outright slaughter between our forces and Genosha’s. On top of it all, Pietro had been wounded in the crossfire and in that instant those slivers of doubt became full fledged cracks. Then after I found out that Cameron Hodge was just using our cause to further his own, which had nothing to do with mutants, that revealed to me an uncomfortable truth.

This wasn’t working. Father’s plan was not going to help our cause. He was wrong. We weren’t going to help our brethren by starting a war that was founded in lies. I was left to make the ultimate decision. I had the power to stop the fighting before it got out of hand. So I made the decision that put me in the position I’m in now. I listened to the X-men. I made my own plan for my father’s cause. I’m not sure if it was entirely right, but I know it wasn’t entirely wrong.

We all paid a high price. We all had to realize that Hodge used us and we were doing nothing more than serving the interests of the anti-mutant bigots who were just looking for more reasons to hate us. We had to be better. We had to be stronger. That’s why I was so enamored by the idea of turning Genosha into a mutant haven. It seemed more fitting. Instead of making it the front lines for a war, why not make it a homeland for mutant kind? I thought on some levels this is what my father wanted. I was willing to sacrifice and make compromises to accomplish it.

Part of the price I had to pay was watching my father get hauled off to Guantanamo Bay for his supposed war crimes. Charles Xavier promised to make sure he was taken care of. I decided to trust him because he did help save Pietro and he did prevent the militaries of the world from outright killing my father. He even exposed Hodge’s plot and helped give our new nation on Genosha some legitimacy. I still didn’t like the man, but I was willing to work with him if he could help me do what was best for our kind. Perhaps I put too much faith in him as well because like my father, he couldn’t completely deliver.

Xavier only ended up setting the stage for father’s next plan, which not surprisingly he didn’t share with me. This one turned out to be even more questionable than the uprising. The idea of using an asteroid to threaten humanity with mass extinction seems excessive even within circumstances we had to deal with. I honestly didn’t think Magneto was going to let that rock hit. Then I saw him lose his mind to the power of that machine. It was not a pleasant sight. It showed that for all my father’s vision, he still had a certain element of madness that made him no better than a tyrant.

That was the worst realization of them all. It affirmed what I had started to fear since the uprising. My father’s blind hatred was turning him into the very monster he was fighting against. It was no longer about following a vision for our kind. It was about vengeance. He was just going to do to the humans what they had been doing to each other for centuries. Yet somehow that was supposed to make mutants more superior? I could no longer blindly accept that. The mere fact he was willing to wipe out the entire human race with that asteroid is proof that this was no longer about humans and mutants. It was about hatred, plain and simple.

In this sense I’m glad the X-men stopped him. He needed to be stopped for once. My father was walking a very dark path and something or someone needed to pull him back. Between the X-men and the presence of my half-sister, Lorna, we managed to keep him from such madness. This time I didn’t do anything. I just watched as he was humbled in wake of his own madness. Lorna managed to do what I couldn’t. She reached him. I was relieved, yet still somewhat disappointed in myself because I had done nothing. My only chance was to try and make up for it as we forged a new path on Genosha, hoping that my father had learned his lesson. Now I know that I was probably hoping for too much.

Wanda turned back and faced the throne. In her mind she could still see her father sitting there, gazing off into space with that stoic look in his eye that always had a touch of resentment. His hatred for humanity wasn’t something he could forget. It was practically part of who he was. Even with Lorna in hid midst to reach that small sliver of humanity he still had in his heart, this hatred was never going to fade. Yet because this man was her father, she still trusted him in a way she shouldn’t have. That wasn’t just his fault. She bore a much larger share of that blame.

For a while we had an opportunity to really take the mutant cause to another level. Thanks to the treaties we worked out with international authorities, we were our own sovereign state. We could have been the cornerstone for a new era of mutant prosperity. If only Magneto had taken advantage of these circumstances. But no…he had to look for another killing blow to the human race.

This time he would find it in an alien ship. I admit that possibility did not cross my mind at all when it came to using Genosha as a proving ground for mutants. I was aware of the island’s mysterious history. When I found out that an alien ship played a part, I thought it was another one of Pietro’s sick jokes. Then I saw the ship for myself and I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

In a ways it made sense of a lot of things. It showed how men like Cameron Hodge could get the technology and know-how to create the sentinels. It also opened the door to some disturbing possibilities. What could my father do with that kind of technology? He was a very smart man who was very tech savvy for a man his age. I naively hoped that he would use it to make Genosha a more powerful country. Instead, he used it to fall back into old habits.

His first stunt was something I actually went along with. He used some of the knowledge from that craft to make a machine that was going to turn Senator Kelly into a mutant. I thought this was a good plan because for one, it didn’t involve killing anybody or starting a war. And secondly, it would give a man who has said some very nasty things about our kind a taste of empathy. It didn’t exactly turn out as we planned, but it did turn Senator Kelly’s son into a mutant and that did seem to make a difference. Senator Kelly is now president of the United States and he hasn’t implemented those draconian anti-mutant laws he used to champion. I thought that this would be the end of my father’s alien obsession, but the Kelly plot was just a test run for something much bigger.

As usual, I was complacent. I busied myself by my part to keep the peace on Genosha with the Brotherhood. All the while, Magneto was studying and scheming. He claimed he was doing research on improving the condition for all mutants. He wouldn’t go into details and I didn’t expect him to. I thought if he did something extreme like the asteroid incident, I would be ready to act and so would Lorna. Nobody, not even Magneto himself, could have predicted how wrong it would go.

The Cambrian essentially shattered whatever credibility my father had left in my eyes. Now he was the fool. In a ways he was a victim because he didn’t understand what he was dealing with. I don’t doubt that he believed this creature would benefit mutants, but to what end? It wasn’t just about furthering evolution. It was about power and making sure he had more than the rest of the human race. Why else would he be so reckless in pursuing this thing?

He paid a price for his greed. We all paid a price. By unleashing the Cambrian, my father destroyed all the progress we made on Genosha. He turned the world against us. It wasn’t the Cambrian that was the greatest monster. It was my father and the way this creature affected him. Lorna and Pietro believe that it was the creature, not the man that was behind that madness. I see it another way. I believe the Cambrian tapped into that hatred he still harbors for this world he can’t resist destroying.

Since this will be the last entry of X-men Supreme Reflections Volume 4, I want to treat it as teaser of sorts for the conflicts to come in X-men Supreme Volume 5. As I've stated before, it is possible that X-men Supreme Volume 5 will be the last entry in this fanfiction series. Support and feedback for recent issues of X-men Supreme have been flat or non-existant. I would like to change that and I hope that by putting a new spin on characters like Wanda Maximoff, I can appeal to X-men fans seeking a change of pace from the current crop of Marvel comics. And to make that spin as awesome as possible, it's very important that readers provide feedback. I'm always happy to hear it and discuss it. Please send it to me directly by contacting me or post it in the comments section of each individual issue. I make a concerted effort to respond to every email I get. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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