Friday, February 20, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue #115: Weapon Plus Part 3 PREVIEW!

There comes a point in every story where the hard choices of the past clash with the hard choices of the present. Throughout the history of X-men Supreme, the X-men have faced plenty of these choices. The choices of Angel's father eventually led to difficult decisions during the Overlord arc. Professor Xavier's choices regarding his cancer nearly killed him in the Starcrossed arc. Many major X-men stories are built around the difficult choices these characters must make or have made. I've tried to capture those elements in this fanfiction series and it's now converging in the Weapon Plus arc.

So far, the choices of characters like Sage, Graydon Creed, and Colonel Wraith have helped create the conflict that is now fueled by Fantomex. In the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, Fantomex is a product of these choices. However, he ends up making some fateful choices of his own that have turned an already volatile situation into something much worse. The concept of Weapon Plus in X-men Supreme is built around fixing the flaws in the predecessors of Weapon X. However, those flaws simply cannot be avoided when the same choices are made. Wolverine and X-23 have had to suffer the consequences of those choices. Now Fantomex is suffering as well, but in a very different way.

The Weapon Plus arc isn't just a converging of many conflicting choices amongst characters like John Wraith and William Stryker. This arc is going to cause some major disruptions in the world of X-men Supreme. Fantomex as a functional living weapon was deadly enough. But as a weapon that has broken free from his creators' control and embraced a much bolder mission, he's become something much more. This fanfiction series has developed many familiar X-men characters in new ways. Fantomex is just the latest.

It's been a challenge because I don't find Fantomex to be a very likable character in the comics. He's one of those characters that X-men fans either hate or tolerate. He's not the kind of character who inspires sympathy or passion. He's not intended to be that kind of character. But in X-men Supreme, I make it a point to give every character a chance to be awesome. That includes characters that I'm not too fond of. And I will continue this effort with this arc and future arcs. Fantomex has a long ways to go before he finds a more respectable place in this fanfiction series, but he's going to make progress. Once again, I’ve prepared a preview that will show that more than a few characters will get a chance to be awesome.

“Hurry up! Let’s get a move on,” urged Reverend Stryker to his Purifiers, “The Exodus contingency is in full effect. We need to be out of here in under ten minutes.”

William Stryker and Graydon Creed worked quickly to purge this build of any evidence that they had been here. It became increasingly apparent that Colonel Wraith’s plan for Weapon Plus had gone horribly wrong. The news reports revealed that Fantomex was no longer under their control. The mere fact that Wraith hadn’t called them indicated that he had left them out to dry.

Without Wraith, they had to fend for themselves. Stryker and Creed still had plenty of resources to salvage for their cause. They had money and manpower to continue their crusade against the mutant race. They also had Arcade, who was still on a short leash with them. His hacking skills would be a valuable asset, although he didn’t seem nearly as concerned about escaping as he should have.

“This is getting uncomfortably creepy. Fantomex has disappeared, but we’re still linked to EVA,” said Arcade as he went over streams of data, “The mission data is reworking itself. We may still have access to a sub-channel in the AI.”

“Quit stalling, Arcade. The mission is over,” urged Reverend Styrker, “Has Wraith not made it abundantly clear that he’s screwed us over?”

“It’s not Wraith that worries me. I doubt he knew what he was dealing with when he stole this techno-organic material. There seems to be a string of encrypted code inside the system. Either this is something he wasn’t aware of or it’s something he kept from us.”

“I don’t care what that arrogant heathen knows or doesn’t know. As far as I’m concerned, his Weapon Plus program is a failure. Now if you don’t wish to fail with him, you’ll pack up your computers and follow us!”

Arcade still hesitated to leave this matter unresolved. The hacker in him never liked leaving a code uncracked. Looking around at the Purifiers as they frantically packed up their gear, it looked like he wouldn’t get a chance to decode it.

Arcade wasn’t the only one who wouldn’t be able to complete this mission. Graydon Creed had his share of unfinished business as well. While the Purifiers were doing most of the work, he remained fixated on the mutants that Fantomex had abducted. They were still bound and gagged, terrified by what was going on around them. Their terror only enraged him, knowing he wouldn’t be able to finish them off. The Exodus contingency that Stryker implemented left no room to take these mutants with them. It meant he would be leaving them alive and that was something that made him sick to his stomach.

“We should kill them before we leave,” said Creed strongly.

“Brother Creed, nothing would make me happier than to send these hapless souls back to Hell where they belong. Unfortunately, time is not on our side even if God is,” said Stryker as he passed by Creed.

“I don’t care if there’s a risk. I refuse to let these monsters just walk away.”

“They will all face divine judgment. That you can be sure of,” said the reverend, “Right now, we have to assume that the failure of Fantomex has put Wraith in a vulnerable position. He’s probably trying to weasel his way out of this as we speak and you can assume that involves making us accomplices in his game.”

“I’m not afraid to go back to prison if that’s what it takes,” said Graydon strongly.

“Be reasonable, Graydon. You won’t be able to serve our cause from behind bars. We need to get away and regroup. There will be other opportunities. Let’s not sacrifice the whole crusade for the sake of a small battle.”

Every part of the reverend’s argument made sense. Even so, Creed hesitated. The Purifiers had already gathered most of their materials and placed them into unmarked crates. They were about to wheel them up through a special passage that led to a parking garage where they could make their escape. He was expected to go with them so his money could keep funding their crusade. That still meant leaving these mutants alive and dealing with the revulsion that evoked within him.

While Creed and Stryker wrestled with the failure of this mission, Rogue and Isaac watched from the secondary entryway across the room. They arrived just in time to see the Purifiers preparing their escape. They also saw the mutants that had been abducted. They looked scared and desperate. They needed help and it was up to them to deliver.

“William Stryker…that unrepentant heathen. I should rip out his tongue so he can’t preach his false gospel!” said Isaac under his breath with simmering anger.

“Ah appreciate the sentiment, sugah. But we need to focus on saving those mutants. Ah don’t think Graydon Creed is gonna walk away without hurting them,” said Rogue, her voice just above a whisper.

“So what do you suggest? I don’t suspect another distraction will work here.”

“That fire you set earlier ain’t gonna do the trick. If the smoke ain’t reached this area yet, that means those fellas behind us were able to put it out. Now we’re basically boxed in, enemies behind us and enemies in front of us.”

“You don’t sound too worried,” commented Isaac.

“Why should I?” she said with a slight grin, “This is the point in the mission where the X-men are at their best.”

Isaac stayed close as Rogue carefully snuck through the poor lighting, staying along the walls and behind piles of building materials. The Purifiers were distracted so they didn’t pick up on her presence. She carefully worked her way along the west wall and towards the south where the mutants were being kept. Along the way Isaac clutched the cross he was wearing around his neck, gathering his strength for the next move.

About twenty feet from where the mutants were standing, a stack of plastic crates containing assorted weapons was ready to be rolled out with the others. Two Purifiers rushed over to haul them away.

“Help me with this,” said one of the Purifiers, “These are heavy and we don’t have time to make multiple trips.”

“I’ll take the back. You stabilize the front,” said the other.

The two Purifiers began coordinating, setting aside their weapons and preparing to move the crates. They were already on a gurney. Because of the weight, they wouldn’t move very efficiently. As a result, the one that got behind the stack had to push extra hard to start moving the load. The lone Purifier pushed so hard he didn’t notice Rogue walking up behind him and reach for him with her bare hands.

“Take a load off, sugah. Looks like you could use it,” she grinned.

The Purifier didn’t get a chance to express any shock. The moment Rogue touched his bare face he was drained of life energy and collapsed. This was quickly noticed by the other Purifier, who ran around to see what was going on.

“What’s happening? Don’t tell me you’re…”

“He is,” said Rogue, cutting him off as she reached for him as well.

“Huh? You-ungh!”

This time the drain wasn’t so silent. Rogue stepped out into the open as she grabbed this hapless Purifier, sending him into a deep unconsciousness. This drew the attention of the other Purifiers throughout the area. It also drew the attention of Reverend Stryker and Graydon Creed. The moment they saw Rogue, they recognized her as someone who didn’t belong here.

“Intruder!” yelled one of the Purifiers.

“Worse…an X-man!” yelled Graydon Creed.

I understand that every character has their share of fans. This is especially true of X-men, which has such a long list of iconic characters. Fantomex might not rank very highly on that list, but I still want to treat him with the same care I treat all my characters. For that reason, it's very important that I know I'm doing these characters justice. That's where feedback and reviews come in. It might not seem like a big deal, but they really do make a difference. So please take the time to provide reviews and feedback for X-men Supreme. Either post it in the issues or contact me directly. I'm always happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!




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