Friday, March 20, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 117: Fate and Uncertainty PREVIEW!

The X-men have always fought for progress in the face of constant destruction. There are a lot of enemies working against them, human and mutant alike. I've utilized more than a few of those enemies in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Each enemy has done more than their share of destruction. Magneto overthrew an island government and turned it into a mutant nation. Sinister and Selene attempted to usurp the power of Mount Anton in Nova Roma. Graydon Creed attempted to turn a man into a living Sentinel named Bastion to destory all mutants. In each conflict, the X-men stopped the crisis. However, it still left plenty of damage. That damage has changed the course of this fanfiction series at times and the end of the Fantomex conflict will be no exception.

Once again, the X-men had to take on a very cunning enemy. Colonel Wraith, Reverend Stryker, and Graydon Creed aren't like Magneto or Sinister. They don't carry themselves with a larger-than-life persona. They don't try to overthrow the established order either. They try to take it over. Colonel Wraith and Reverend Stryker tried to do just that by creating Weapon Plus. The X-men naturally got caught in the crossfire and not just because of their history with Weapon X either. They made this conflict personal for the X-men because of Fantomex's connection to Sage, Wolverine, and X-23. Old scars were opened. New wounds were created. Some finally began to heal. However, the impact to the world of X-men Supreme will go far beyond personal.

Fantomex did damage on a scale that threatens to disrupt the already-fragile environment within this fanfiction series. One of the major themes in X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths is built around the fragile peace that was created after Magneto's disappearance at the end of the Time Bomb arc. The X-men, President Kelly, and General Grimshaw tried to coordinate with Wanda Maximoff and the Brotherhood of Mutants to forge a new peace between Genosha and the rest of the world. Fantomex completely undermined that peace when he got Genosha involved when for once, Genosha had nothing to do with this conflict.

It's the kind of collatoral damage that will cause more than a few upheavals in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. That damage has to be confronted on both a personal level and in terms of the bigger picture. How will the X-men and General Grimshaw maintain peace when they just gave Genosha a very good reason not to trust them? That's going to be their next challenge as they pick up the pieces from Weapon Plus in the next issue. Once again, I’ve prepared a preview on this blog to offer a glimpse at what Weapon X's latest failure will bring.

“Colonel Jonathan Wraith built his career on living weapons,” mused General Nathan Grimshaw, “He caused so much pain and ruined so many lives, but when the time comes to hold him accountable…he dies.”

“I’m not sure if you’re disappointed or relieved, General,” said President Robert Kelly.

“I’m guilty of both, sir. Although personally, I’m a lot more disappointed.”

It was not every day that crime scene investigators arrived at the White House to document a murder. The local authorities joined with the FBI, the CIA, the Defense Department, and Secret Service to investigate the death of Colonel John Wraith. It came as a surprise to many, even President Kelly. Colonel Wraith had escaped justice many times before. He tried to do so again after failing to activate a failsafe on Fantomex. But this time he failed. When he tried to escape, the President put the White House on lockdown. It lasted only 30 minutes, ending after the Secret Service found his dead body.

Colonel Wraith’s devious endeavors were over. A number of Secret Service agents and soldiers from the Pentagon cordoned off the room while a team of investigators documented the scene. Wraith’s body was covered in a white sheet, but his mangled neck could still be seen. Whoever killed him had done so with their bare hands. It was an inglorious yet fitting end. Even in death, John Wraith left quite a mess.

“I won’t say this is a tragedy, but it sure does complicate things,” said President Kelly, “Wraith’s work on living weapons is highly classified. We can’t put out a report that he died because he was involved with some secret (not to mention illegal) program.”

“I hope that means you won’t give him a full military burial, complete with flowers and a twenty gun salute,” said General Grimshaw.

“Hell no! But we can’t just dump his body in the Potomac. We’ll have to fudge the details a bit. Make it sound like a long-festering illness finally caught up with him.”

“That’s not entirely false, Mr. President,” said the General.

“Half-truths to be far more tenable than outright lies. Although in this instance, I don’t think it makes a difference. The damage has been done.”

President Kelly bowed his head and turned away from the body. He couldn’t stand to look at it anymore. He couldn’t even watch as the EMT’s placed Wraith in a body bag so that he could be shipped off to the nearest morgue. Instead, he turned his attention to a nearby window. As President of the United States, there weren’t enough half-truths to make this incident more bearable.

“Mr. President, if I may…” began General Grimshaw.

“I’d rather you not, General. I’ve got enough on my mind,” sighed President Kelly, “Captain Freeman sent a report from Genosha ten minutes ago. All it said was the X-men and the Maximoff Twins were able to stop Fantomex. They didn’t kill him or bring him in. They just stopped him.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

“It should be. Who knows what kind of horrors he would have unleashed? But it doesn’t just relate to Fantomex. The MSA in District X also informed me that Wraith was working with Graydon Creed, who was supposed to be in federal prison. Hell, Wraith probably helped him escape!”

“At least we’ll have someone alive that we can hold responsible,” made Grimshaw.

“Even so, it adds a darker taint to something that was tainted to begin with. Between Weapon Plus and Graydon Creed’s involvement, Wanda Maximoff has a long list of reasons to be upset with us. And this time, we’re the ones who brought danger to them. Not the other way around.”

“Considering the stunts Magneto has pulled, I wouldn’t say we’re even just yet,” the General pointed out.

“People have a short memory, General. Circumstances are always changing. Genosha is a vital ally. It still has the technology the rest of the world has come to depend on. Now every mutant on that island has more reason to re-think that deal.”

“I doubt they’ll abandon it. This is a case of stepping in a pile of political cow-pies. It will require we show some humility, but in my experience shit is easier to clean than blood.”

“It’s not humility that concerns me. I’m willing to apologize for giving men like Wraith a forum for his sadistic vision,” said President Kelly distantly as he gazed over the Washington DC cityscape, “The part of this that will keep me up at night is why I allowed it to happen.”

“It wasn’t just you, Mr. President,” the General pointed out, “You were as upset as I was after the prison break at Fort Leavenworth. We were so upset that we questioned our ability. So like lazy Americans, we looked for a quick fix.”

“Don’t try to dilute the blame, General. The buck still stops with me. I still gave a chance to a man who should have been court marshaled decades ago. What’s that say about me? What does that say about the precedent I’m setting? I wanted to confront this threat before it blew up in our faces. Now it just seems adding more fuel to the fire.”

General Grimshaw was silent. President Kelly had always distinguished himself as a politician by speaking more truth than his colleagues. This was one of those cases where the truth was harsher than any lie. But he as a general was as guilty as everyone else. He was so upset with the X-men and his inability to carry out his duties for the MSA that he actually gave credence to Weapon Plus. He sought an easy solution when he should have been working harder on the current solution.

This rare taste of humility was bittersweet, but it had the right impact on both men. They were in positions of great influence. The decisions they made had great impact. It wasn’t as easy as expecting the sheer weight of their authority to get the job done. Everything they did had consequences and at this level, those consequences could be severe.

“So how do we move forward, Mr. President?” asked General Grimshaw, breaking the silence.

“That’s a question that doesn’t have a clear answer, General,” said President Kelly, “We have to mend things with Genosha, clean up in District X, and reclaim confidence within the MSA. We have to work a little bit harder to show we don’t need something like Weapon Plus to solve our problems.”

“Sounds like a tough sell. And this from someone who’s always up for a challenge.”

“We’ll have to rise to the occasion. This is one of those incidents that cast doubt along with a new perspective. For once, it wasn’t some mutant zealot like Magneto who brought this on. It was entirely on our shoulders.”

“You think maybe humanity might be as big a problem as mutants in the grand scheme of things?”

“I wouldn’t go quite that far, but we should always be open to the possibility,” the President sighed, “History is never on the side of the aggressors. Fate tends to draw us down the easier path. But nine times out of ten, the harder path tends to be the right one.”

The damage done by the Weapon Plus arc brings X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths closer to its defining moment. That moment has been building for quite some time now, going back to some of the earliest issues of this fanfiction series. I go to great lengths to create a rich, compelling narrative for the X-men. And with arcs like Weapon Plus, it's important I know that work is bearing fruit. So please take the time to provide feedback for X-men Supreme as it unfolds. either contact me directly or post your feedback in the issues. Either way is fine. I'm always happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!



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