Friday, October 3, 2014

X-men Supreme Issue 105: Bleeding Hearts PREVIEW

In every great comic book series and every great story in general, there are certain villains that raise the stakes just by being present. Since I began the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I've utilized many major X-men villains. I've used plenty of familiar faces like Magneto, Weapon X, the Inner Circle, and Mr. Sinister. I've even created one unique to X-men Supreme in the Cambrian. A big part of what makes X-men such an endearing mythos is the quality of their villains. But there's one villain in particular that I think has a very powerful presence, yet hasn't been heavily utilized in X-men. That villain is Selene, the Black Queen.

She's been part of a handful of stories in the X-men comics. However, her character and her motivations have not been heavily explored. Since I introduced Selene in the Phoenix Saga, I've given her history and the threat she brings to the X-men a bit of an overhaul. I've only lightly touched on that history, but it's about to take center stage in the X-men's next major challenge. Their still struggling to find their place in this world governed by a fragile treaty between Genosha and the rest of the world. They got a much-needed boost from Emma Frost and her new Academy of Tomorrow. But every now and then, the X-men have to face a much less complicated threat and this is one of them.

The first hint of this threat has already reared its head. In X-men Supreme Issue 103: Shifting Tides, the X-men found out that Sinister was up to no good again. He put Rogue, Gambit, and Psylocke in a difficult position in the middle of the day in a busy public street. And it was already revealed back in X-men Supreme Issue 71: Election Day that Sinister and Selene were working together in more ways than one. One has vast mystical talents. The other has vast scientific talents. Put them together and you've got a very volatile threat that will test the X-men in ways they've yet to be tested in this fanfiction series. And that threat begins in the next issue. As such, I've prepared a preview of what can be expected from this familiar yet daunting threat.

“Okay Maximoff, how did I piss you off this time?” said Logan, “Make it quick. This place still stinks of your old man.”

His entrance drew the attention of Wanda, Pietro, Blob, and another mutant with bronze skin that Logan didn’t recognize. They were all anxiously huddled around a table in the corner and the former living weapon’s entrance did little to help.

“Does this guy even understand the concept of a simple hello?” said Blob.

“This isn’t Texas, Freddy. Not everyone is keen on manners,” grumbled Pietro.

“If you’re not used to it by now, then you’re not trying hard enough,” said Wanda as she turned around to confront the feral mutant, “And unfortunately, we need him for this.”

“Says you,” scoffed the speedster.

Wanda ignored Pietro and Blob’s comments. Neither seemed too happy about this meeting. However, Wanda didn’t appear enraged like she usually was when she called for a private meeting. Logan still assumed it involved something that could get really bad really fast.

“Thank you for coming on such short notice. You know I wouldn’t invite you unless I was completely out of options,” said Wanda.

“Nice to see you too, your highness,” said Logan dryly, “So what’s this about? If you ain’t yelling at me yet, I’m guessing you’ve got a hell of a problem.”

“Indeed we do, although I’m not sure how bad it is at this point,” she said, “It involved one of our acolytes, Scanner. She was assaulted early this morning.”

“Assaulted how? We talking about a spat over the latest shipment of Swiss chocolate or something worse?” said Logan.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you. Blob found her lying unconscious outside a restaurant. She didn’t have any marks on her, but she was clearly hit by something.”

“I ain’t saying she wasn’t, but people get hit every day. What makes this Scanner girl so special? She got something that makes her an easy target?”

“For one, she’s a vital part of our team. Her powers allow her to scan for and detect mutants through their unique psionic signature. We need her to keep track of all the mutants on our island and others beyond our borders. That’s why we’ve had our resident healer, Elixir, treat her. But as you can see, the results have been mixed so far.”

Wanda led the feral mutant to the table where Elixir, Blob, and Pietro were watching over the young mutant. While Elixir was trying to heal her, Scanner lay completely still and looked very pale. Whatever Elixir was doing, it didn’t seem to be working.

This mutant, Scanner, certainly looked like she had been on the wrong end of a fight. She appeared weak and the clothes she was wearing were a bit tattered. It reminded him somewhat of how he looked when he had been on the receiving end of Cyclops’s optic blasts. However, that wasn’t the most telling clue.

“Something doesn’t smell right,” he said as he whiffed the air around her.

“You gonna tell me what I ate for lunch again or something?” scoffed Blob.

“I ain’t got that kind of time, lard-ass,” said Logan as he turned to Elixir, “Bronze boy, you say you’ve been healing her?”

“Uh…yeah, as best I can,” he said, sounding nervous in the face of an X-man.

“I take it you got some powers that help you heal most folks from bumps, bruises, and that sort of thing. So if someone comes to you with a shaving cut, you can make go away quicker than any overpriced aftershave, right?”

“I like to think my powers are better than that, but yeah. That’s what I do,” he said.

“So pretend for a sec you’re a doctor and not some kid who lost a fight with a tanning bed. In your professional opinion, is her body fully healed?”

Elixir hesitated briefly. This was Wolverine he was talking to. His exploits were as legendary as his temper. Answering incorrectly was foolish at best, but not as foolish as lying. So with this in mind, he answered as honestly as possible.

“In terms of pure physiology…yeah, her body is the picture of health,” he answered.

“That’s all I need to know from you. And assuming you ain’t full of shit, that means it ain’t just her body that got attacked,” said Logan as he turned back towards Scanner.

“What do you mean? Are you saying someone attacked her mind?” asked Wanda intently.

“We have a psychic who can deal with that sort of crap. Quentin Quere is a douche-bag, but he would notice and make a big deal of it,” said Blob.

“It ain’t her mind that got hit,” said the feral mutant, “More like her spirit.”

“Spirit?” scoffed Pietro, “Are you a Jedi now or something? What could possibly attack her spirit?”

“Not what…who,” he snarled.

Ignoring the speedster’s skepticism, Logan leaned in to capture more scents. Whatever still lingered was limited at best. However, some scents lingered more than others. One of them was this cold, nauseating musk that hung over her. It smelled like a mix of fire, brimstone, and death. It was very distinct and evoked a deep anger in him, as if his nose remembered it even though his brain did not.

He kept following the scents intently. As he did, Scanner finally emerged from her unconscious state. She was still clearly very weak. However, some strength had returned to her and she let out a faint gasp.

“The Black…Queen.”

Logan didn’t need to sniff anymore. Those words told him everything he needed to know. Now he knew who was behind this and it could only mean trouble.

“Black Queen? What the hell does that mean?” said Pietro.

“That like an evil version of Dairy Queen?” said Blob.

“Do you have to relate everything to food?” said the speedster dryly.

Ignoring her brother’s remarks, Wanda took this more seriously.

“Do you know what that means, Logan?” she asked him, “If there’s someone running around my island attacking spirits, I need to know about it.”

“It’s worse than that. This shit just got a lot bigger than your damned island,” snarled the feral mutant.

“What do you mean? Who is the Black Queen?”

Logan didn’t have time to explain who the Black Queen was and why she was bad news. Whenever she made a move, nothing good came of it. There was no telling what kind of madness she was up to, but it likely involved something that needed stabbing.

“I need to call the X-men!” said Logan as he stormed out of the throne room.

“You’re not seriously running off without giving us any answers, are you?” said an annoyed Wanda Maximoff.

“Watch me!”

In addition, I've also been keeping busy with non-X-men related projects. This includes my first ever major DC Comics story, "Strangers In Paradise." I haven't been updating it as frequently as I have X-men Supreme, but it's a story I intend to make as awesome as possible. So in case you missed it, here's the latest update on this ongoing story.

There are so many diverse threats that the X-men take on. I didn't want to limit those threats here in X-men Supreme. I want this team of X-men to take on the dangerous humans, mutants, aliens, and mystical beasts that have helped shape them into the icons they are today. It helps create a rich diversity within this fanfiction series that I hope adds to its appeal for X-men fans and comic book fans of all types. In my efforts to make sure that the X-men Supreme fanfiction series appeals to as many people as possible, it's vital that I continue to get feedback from readers. If I slip up somehow, I want people to let me know. Please do so by placing comments in the comments section in each issue or contact me directly. I'm always happy to chat and I try to respond to every single email I get. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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