Friday, March 6, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue #116: Weapon Plus Part 4 PREVIEW!

Some of the greatest X-men stories ever told are stories that are emotionally driven. Many of the X-men’s most defining moments have had a powerful emotional impact. The original Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont is by far the most memorable and well-known. I’ve tried to capture those emotions in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I committed to those emotions while I was writing the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga. While not every story can have that level of emotional depth, there is plenty of room for that kind of drama in this fanfiction series. And that’s exactly what I’ve tried to do with Weapon Plus.

The seeds of the emotions in this story were planted back during the Civilization No Longer Lost arc. While the rest of the X-men got caught up in the crisis on Nova Roma, Beast and Sage carried out their own personal mission to confront some shadows from Sage’s past as Tessa. It got very emotional at times. Sage admitted that as Tessa, she became intimate with Sebastian Shaw in order to further her own work. It led to an emotionally charged mission and one that set the stage for Weapon Plus. Now the X-men have to deal with a different kind of mission in stopping Fantomex. However, the emotions that Sage dealt with are still raw and now they may end up destroying her.

The Weapon Plus arc wasn’t just my way of introducing Fantomex to the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I saw it as a natural progression from the story that began with Beast and Sage. Their emotions during Civilization No Longer Lost helped give this conflict weight. In the same way the Phoenix Saga emerged from the emotional struggles of Jean Grey, Fantomex is a product of Sage’s emotional journey. They’re inextricably linked in this fanfiction series. That means that the final issue of the Weapon Plus arc will solidify that link in the world of X-men Supreme.

Fantomex has already outsmarted the X-men. He tricked them into taking him to Genosha. He has Sage and Jubilee as prisoners. He’s also armed with a vast array of powers, fueled by the techno-organic material that Sage herself created. He’s already broken free from the whims of Weapon X, but he still seeks to be the ultimate living weapon. It’s going to be up to the X-men and a few unexpected allies to stop Fantomex. The final battle is coming and the emotional stakes are going to be high. The world of X-men Supreme is about to take another turn and it’ll have a major impact on a few key characters. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the final showdown between the X-men and Fantomex.

“Hnn…Henry?” groaned Sage as she emerged from unconsciousness.

“No, dear creator. Not Henry,” said an oddly toned voice.

Sage opened her eyes to find herself in a place she had only seen on a computer screen. It was the World, the culmination of the ambitious research she conducted in another life. In the time between when she passed out and when she awoke, Fantomex turned it from a concept to an actual structure.

She was under the center of a massive dome. The entire surface along the outer wall was brightly lit with advanced circuits. They were very complex, having integrated the alien technology of Warlock into its surface. Within this array were rows of pod-like compartments. They were all about the size of a refrigerator and most of the components fed into these pods. Within them, Sage could see figures standing in suspended animation. They were duplicates of Fantomex, minus the wounds and disfigurement. There were hundreds if not thousands of them. It was a horrific display, but it was only the second most vital part of the World.

Sage then noticed she was standing right in the heart of this perverse creation. Fantomex propped her up in a web-like set of restraints. From the smooth white floor, a series of cables and wires shot up and trapped her so that she hung a few feet off the floor. These cables fed into an array of box-shaped pods that encircled the central area. They were like massive server farms and every one of them was linked to her. Fantomex seemed proud of what he had done, standing before her like a child trying to impress a parent.

“Does my work please you, Tessa?” he asked her, “The World has finally taken form and substance. I based the design off your plans for the Mark III. As you can see, I’ve made a few adjustments. I had to scale it up in order to accommodate additional hardware.”

“The pods…you’re cloning yourself?” said Sage.

“Cloning is such a messy and slow process. The duplicates you see come courtesy of one Jamie Madrox. I sampled his abilities for a reason. His mutant powers will be what allow me to complete my mission.”

“Whatever this mission is, I want no part of it,” she said strongly, “I don’t know if it’s you or EVA who has malfunctioned, but this is madness!”

“No…not madness, my creator. This is what’s necessary.”

He sounded like a cross between a madman and a glitchy computer program. Fantomex was oblivious to any sense of order that had been programmed into him. Neither she nor Weapon Plus had any control over this perverse mission.

“Fantomex…EVA…something has happened to you. I can fix it if you let me!” urged Sage, trying to reason with her creation.

“There’s nothing to fix. I’ve calculated every possible scenario. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that this will accomplish my mission,” Fantomex proclaimed, “I am a product of your ambitions, Tessa. You saw through the prejudices of humans and mutants alike. You understood that the only way to forge order from this chaos was through knowledge. That’s what the World is about…knowledge.”

“After what you did in District X, I don’t find you very knowledgeable,” she replied.

“All knowledge comes at a price. You already understand that better than most. You programmed me to understand that as well. Humans and mutants fear one another because they don’t understand one another. Knowledge is the key to overcoming that fear. To gain that knowledge, every human and every mutant must be processed.”

“By processed I take it you mean by force?”

“If that is what is necessary for the mission, then so be it. That is why I have created my army of duplicates. They will go out into the world, sampling the blood of humans and mutants alike. Once we have this information, the World will compile it into a single database. With such knowledge, we’ll be able to contain the traits that are calculated to be too destructive.”

“And how do you plan on weeding them out? By killing them?” surmised Sage.

“I am a weapon. Containment is an unfortunate part of the process. Rest assured, it will be guided by logic. As I absorb the information on every human and mutant, I shall leave a trace of my techno-organic blood within them. This way, EVA won’t just be able to monitor every man, woman, and child. She’ll be able to share with them this vast wealth of knowledge. Think of it as a network of enlightenment, uniting them under one mission…our mission!”

“On paper, that might be logical. But in practice, it’s insane,” she retorted, “I once believed in the power of cold logic. The problem is it leaves little room for choice and compassion. Those feelings can’t be processed. They can’t be controlled. EVA was supposed to understand that. That’s how I know you’re flawed. If this is what EVA calculated, then I know this mission is a perversion of my work.”

Fantomex stood before Tessa with a hardened demeanor. He was truly hurt. This woman was his creator. She more than anyone should have appreciated what he was doing. Yet she refused to embrace the grandeur of what he created. Dismayed or not, his mission was too vital to leave unfinished.

“Clearly, you’ve been deluded, my dear creator,” he said flatly, “No matter. That’s why I have arranged to make you the heart and soul of the World. Once the main systems are up and running, every bit of information that governs this complex will go through you.”

“I would rather die than be your personal flash drive,” scolded Sage.

“Your mind is a computer. Like any computer, it requires an upgrade. As soon as the World comes online, EVA will work all those little bugs out of your system. To make sure you remain cooperative, I’ve also made sure to add extra incentive.”

Fantomex turned to his right and gestured towards one of the box-shaped structures. The structure then structure turned around to reveal a ghastly sight. It was Jubilee. The young woman had been bound and restrained by a series of cables that resembled a spider-web. And unlike the ones restraining her, Jubilee also had a few running into her body that were filled with grayish fluid.

“Jubilee…” Sage gasped.

“I apologize for this ghastly setup. However, I calculated that you would not cooperate unless given an incentive. Miss Lee here shall fill that role. Should you resist, I will inject her with a dose of techno-organic material that will dissolve her internal organs.”

I admit this has been an unusual challenge. I am not all that fond of Fantomex in the comics. He’s not exactly the most likable character and he doesn’t inspire the same fanbase as Wolverine. But I still want to make him a strong, appealing character in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. One of my goals with X-men Supreme is to give every character a certain level of care and development. And there are so many more characters to explore. Fantomex is just the latest. As I prepare to complete his first story in X-men Supreme, it’s very important that people take the time to provide feedback. I want to make sure my version of Fantomex and every other X-men character is as awesome as possible. So please take the time to provide feedback. Either contact me directly or post it in each issue. I’m always happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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