Friday, September 5, 2014

X-men Supreme Issue #103: Shifting Tides PREVIEW!

One of the most endearing appeals of X-men are the relationships between the characters. Some call it shipping. I call it a reflection of everything that appeals about romance. Throughout the history of X-men, there have been many diverse relationships and romances. I've captured plenty of them in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. For a time, I had Wolverine and Jean Grey be romantically involved in a way that never occurred in the comics or movies. For a time, I also had Wolverine and Storm involved, another common pairing that has shown up in the comics in recent times. And since X-men Supreme Issue 34: Sinister Intent Part 3, Cyclops and Jean Grey have been an ongoing romance, as they are considered by many to be the most iconic romance in the history of X-men. But there's one romance that has been developing behind the scenes and it involves Rogue and Gambit.

In many mediums for X-men, especially the 90s cartoon, Rogue and Gambit have been one of those romances that defies the usual traditions. There was always plenty of chemitry and I've certainly gone out of my way to capture that in X-men Supreme. But they've always had a lot of forces pulling them apart. Whether it's Rogue's inability to touch or Gambit's questionable loyalty, they've struggled to forge a solid relationship. In X-men Supreme, they did have a chance to get together for a time. Then due to the efforts of Sinister, Rogue lost control of her powers. Even though this didn't stop them from getting closer, it eventually caught up with them when Gambit got together with Psylocke after the events of The Lotus and the Warrior.

The current situation for Rogue and Gambit in this fanfiction series couldn't be more difficult. Rogue left the X-men along with Nightcrawler, partly due to the lingering emotional strain between her and Gambit. However, I never intended her to stay out of the picture for long in X-men Supreme. I also never intended to negate this popular and often controversial relationship. While they have a lot of forces separating them, those same forces will lead their paths to cross again in the next issue of X-men Supreme. It's an issue that provides the first clues of the next big event in this fanfiction series and it's going to involve more than a few familiar foes. Once again, I’ve prepared an extended preview of this new conflict between this classic, yet complicated couple.

Philosophy was one of those rare human endeavors that attempted to encompass everything about everything within a single framework. It didn’t just sound like an impossible task. It was an impossible task. Some of the smartest men throughout history dedicated their lives to this task. It was a field that Remy Lebeau was woefully under-qualified for at times. Ye he remained engrossed in it past the point of frustration.

‘Dang! Didn’t Remy already read this chapter? Is it possible Remy is so sleep deprived that he read it and completely forgot about it? Maybe Remy should have Jean and Betsy probe his mind to see how crazy I am.’

Remy was running on empty. He hadn’t slept in nearly two days. Nobody really noticed either because everyone in the X-men was operating on extremely limited sleep at this point. Since the missions at Colorado Springs and Shaw Industries, the team had a lot on their plate. Somewhere along the way they still had class. It was supposed to be their least stressful duty, but for Remy it took on the rigors of several Juggernaut battles.

Remy had been staring at his books for nearly four hours. He practically tuned out Mr. McCoy’s lecture a few hours ago and had since tuned everybody else during the study period that followed. Scott, Jean, and Betsy were in the middle of a few make-up assignments. Kitty, Bobby, and Piotr took a test earlier with Miss Munroe and had since left. Remy was supposed to go with them, but he remained stuck on one of his philosophy assignments that involved theories about human emotion. Unfortunately, this was one field Remy had been struggling with a lot lately.

‘Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke. Some femme named Lynda Barry said that. Remy guesses she had some problems in her love life as well. Wish I could come up with an insight like that. It be a heck of a lot easier than stayin’ up all night tryin’ to make sense of this shit.’

With a tired yawn, Remy sat hunched over his desk. He was the last person who should have been studying emotions. Emotions like love led to Belladonna’s death. Emotions like hate drove him away from his family. Then there were the emotions surrounding Rogue and Betsy that didn’t fit into any category. This should have been an opportunity. He and Betsy had been having problems lately. Their relationship had stalled and neither one of them seemed to be trying very hard to get it going again. It didn’t help that he still talked to Rogue constantly. He wanted to make things right. But if this was an opportunity to do so, then he wasn’t making good use of it.

“Remy…hey Remy!” shouted Jean from a nearby desk.

“Huh?” said the Cajun, jolted from his daze.

“Are you going to answer it or what?”

“Uh…answer what, cherè? We takin’ another pop quiz or something?” asked Remy incredulously.

Jean responded by telekinetically lifting up one of his books and batting him on the head with it in a not so subtle manner.

“Ow! What the hell was that for?!” he said, now fully alert.

“To wake you up,” replied Jean, “Your phone has been ringing for the past five minutes on your desk. If you’re not going to answer it, could you at least set it to vibrate? I need to make up a test and that ZZ Top ring tone is undermining my grade-point average.”

While Remy was rubbing his head, he looked down at his cell phone to see that Jean was right. He had been in such a daze he didn’t notice that his phone had been ringing. On the screen it said he had three missed calls, all from the same number. Remy immediately recognized the number and when it started ringing again, he answered it.

“Uh…Bonjoure?” he said under his breath.

“Dang it, Remy! What the hell is goin’ on over there? Ah’ve been tryin’ to call you all morning.”

“Rogue? You ain’t be callin’ Remy in the middle of the day just to yell at him, non?”

“If that’s what Ah wanted, don’t you think Ah would have called sooner?”

She sounded pretty upset. Something clearly was very wrong so rather than try to charm her out of her mood he gave her a moment to collect herself.

“Talk to me, Rogue. What’s goin’ on?”

There was a brief silence over the line before Rogue replied, but he could still hear the strain in her breathing.

“Ah…Ah need to see you, Remy. Ah don’t mean soon either. Ah mean right now.”

“Is this something we can’t talk about over the phone?” said Remy, trying to be tactful so as not to invoke the curiosity from the others.

“No…Ah need to tell you in person. How soon can you get to downtown Westchester? Ah ain’t far from S&L Barbecue.”

Remy looked at his stack of books and then down at his watch. His lack of sleep and constant frustrations with his assignment quickly faded. Rogue sounded desperate and her safety took priority over everything else.

“Hang on, Rogue. Remy will be there in fifteen minutes tops.”

“Thanks sugah. Just hurry the hell up!”

Of all the topics discussed among X-men fans, character relationships are often the most heated. I understand that there are a lot of fans that are very passionate about these pairings, so much so that it often makes it difficult to develop these relationships in a meaningful way. When I began X-men Supreme, I wanted to place a special emphasis on making the relationships between the characters compelling and believable. Even if the relationship didn't last, I wanted it to be something that fans and critics alike of the pairing could appreciate. I did it with the likes of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Now I seek to do the same with Rogue and Gambit.

But if I'm going to do justice to these relationships, it's very important that I continue to get feedback from the fans that support them with such passion. I'm open to hearing from fans and critics alike of every pairing. Please take the time to contact me directly or post comments directly in the issue. Either way is fine and I take every word seriously. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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