Friday, June 26, 2015
X-men Supreme Issue #124: Dark Legacy Part 4 PREVIEW!
Some of the X-men’s most defining moments have come in the face of a terrible loss. Major stories like the Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past became iconic because of the impact that such a loss had on the X-men. There have been losses in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Professor Charles Xavier lost his first real student in Kevin McTaggart during the Proteus arc. It was a deeply personal loss that hit him and his X-men hard at a time when they were already vulnerable. Now, as the events of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths has unfolded, the X-men face a new kind of vulnerability. And this time, the losses will be much greater.
It’s always a risk, having characters endure a loss of some kind. The X-men have lost plenty over the years in the comics. The deaths of Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, and most recently Wolverine are just among the few. However, I’m of the opinion that Marvel goes overboard with this at times and I’m not just talking about the tendency for characters to come back to life. I think resurrecting characters is nowhere near as demeaning to a story than an overly callous plot. The death of Jean Grey in the Phoenix Saga was an intensely emotional moment for the X-men. That’s what made it so powerful. Jean Grey’s eventual resurrection didn’t change that. And if the X-men are going to suffer losses in X-men Supreme, I want it to be just as powerful.
At times, I’ve been overly careful with this fanfiction series. I write X-men Supreme with the assumption that the characters are the most valuable components of the story. So I’ve avoided some of the shock tactics that Marvel has been employing with stories like the Death of Wolverine. But for an arc like Dark Legacy, I can’t afford to be that careful anymore. This is an arc that is reshaping the way the world of X-men Supreme functions and it’s doing so under the weight of a terrifying atrocity by Sinister. Like any atrocity, there will be casualties.
So with the final issue of Dark Legacy on the horizon, I’m comfortable announcing that a character will die in this story. This death will have a significant impact. It will profoundly affect the X-men and a few other supporting characters that, for spoiler reasons, I cannot identify. I can only say that the millions of deaths caused by the Legacy Virus will take an emotional toll on many characters. Some will end up losing more than others. This will not be the same as the death of Wolverine or even the death of Jean Grey in the Phoenix Saga. This will be a shared loss within a story that has had many. As always, I’ve prepared a preview that puts the X-men right in the heart of Sinister's madness.
“Prepare to be enlightened, X-men. You’re in for quite a treat!” proclaimed Vulcan, the mysterious lesions bulging on his body.
“Fair warning…that treat may include a certain level of pain,” added the Goblin Queen, “But as our uncle says, all progress comes at a price!”
“Is part of that price your sanity, Madelyn?” questioned Phoenix, “What the hell have you done to yourself?”
“And what have you done with Wolverine and mah mama?!” exclaimed Rogue, her attention focused on the two infected figures in front of her.
“Let’s just say in terms of enlightenment, they’ve got a head start,” quipped Vulcan.
The lesions on their faces flashed. In doing so, Wolverine and Mystique’s bodies started moving against their will. Both were infected with the Legacy Virus and now it was manifesting in a new way. The X-men watched them rise up as if they were puppets attached to puppet strings. At first they stood tall and stiff. Then the lesions flashed again and they took defensive stances. Wolverine growled, trying to fight it the whole time. Mystique’s face remained confused and weak, showing immense strain.
“Okay, I’m officially confused,” said Thunderbird.
“That makes two of us, comrade,” said Colossus warily.
The threat became more pressing as Wolverine’s claws were drawn against his will.
“Errrrrrr! Get away!” warned Wolverine.
“Leave us, Rogue! Something is…controlling us,” grunted Mystique.
“To hell with that! Ah ain’t leaving!” said Rogue strongly.
“None of us are,” said Storm strongly.
“Come on, you two. Fight this!” encouraged Cyclops, “Don’t let it…”
The X-leader didn’t get a chance to encourage them. Wolverine’s body acted on its own and attacked, hitting Cyclops with a punishing drop kick. Then he turned his sights to Storm and struck her as well, kicking her right across the face and sending her falling to the ground. Mystique involuntarily attacked as well, slugging Rogue across the face with right cross and hitting Thunderbird with a roundhouse.
“Whoa! So much for that approach,” said Phoenix as she and Colossus narrowly avoided an attack from Wolverine.
“You almost sound shocked,” grinned the Goblin Queen.
“Maybe this will help you focus,” added Vulcan.
Vulcan and the Goblin Queen joined the battle. Their bodies were soon consumed in a bluish halo. Vulcan unleashed a massive energy blast and the Goblin Queen attacked with a powerful telekinetic burst. It looked no different than their usual attacks. But when they struck, both Phoenix and Colossus were in for a painful surprise.
Colossus was hit first. In his metal form he could usually resist these kinds of attacks. This time it sent tumbling across the area, his metal skin warping under the strain. He even felt some bones in his arm and side break, something he never experienced in this form.
“Arrrggghhhh!” he cried out.
“You thought you could resist that,” taunted Vulcan, “Surprised?”
“Hnn…you sooka,” was all the Russian could get out.
While Colossus was reeling, Phoenix experienced an equally punishing impact. The moment her cousin attacked, she instinctively put up a telekinetic shield. Usually this was sufficient, but this time she got knocked back at least ten feet. The Phoenix Force immediately came in to assist her, using cosmic energy to hold back the Goblin Queen.
“Ungh! That…hurt!” grunted Phoenix, her face already sweating from exertion.
“It’s…uncanny. Even I can’t sense where it’s coming from. It’s as if her power isn’t coming from one person. It’s as if…”
“An entire army is attacking rather than just one?” the Goblin Queen finished, showing little strain in her attack, “That’s the power of a collective. Where one may only move a rock, many can move mountains!”
“A…collective?” grunted Phoenix as she resisted her cousin’s onslaught.
“Yes, dear cousin. That’s the true essence of the Legacy Virus. It’s only when Sinister showed us that we understood its full potential,” proclaimed the Goblin Queen.
“The millions that are dying aren’t dying for nothing,” Vulcan added, now standing by his lover, “Through suffering, their collective genome is being compiled. Once enough information is processed, those who survive can taste their fruit and thrive.”
“Eventually the virus ceases to consume and begins to connect,” said the Goblin Queen, talking as though she and Vulcan were completely in sync, “One become many. The individual becomes the group. The virus connects the minds and DNA of all those imbued with it. From that connection we share knowledge, strength, and above all…survival. And for mutants like us, it comes with a little extra boost!”
“Through death, we are united,” said Vulcan, “Working as one, petty differences shall cease. There is no more selfishness or ego. There is only us.”
They sounded even more deranged than usual, but the believed every word of it. Somehow being in this collective mindset made them okay with the death and destruction Sinister had unleashed. They were long past the point of reason so Phoenix chose not to argue with her cousin. She wouldn’t have had the strength either way. All her effort was focused on resisting the Goblin Queen’s telekinetic blast.
“What they say…it sounds so wrong yet so pragmatic. I’m having a hard time understanding.”
‘I’ll point out all the flaws later. Right now, I need you to trust me Phoenix. Use some of that cosmic punch to keep Maddie from turning us into a telekinetic pancake.’
While Phoenix fought with cosmic fury against Vulcan and Goblin Queen, the rest of the team had their hands full with Wolverine and Mystique. They weren’t in control of their bodies, but they attacked with the same ferocity and skill that made them so deadly. Thunderbird and Rogue were forced to oppose them. Rogue was hesitant to strike back against her mother, but Thunderbird was more inclined to fight back when Wolverine landed a few slashes against his durable form.
“You’re hitting harder than I remember, Wolverine. Have you been working out or is this Sinister’s voodoo at work?” grunted Thunderbird as he struggled to block Wolverine’s attacks even with his strength.
“For now…let’s say it’s both,” said Wolverine as he did a back-flip and tried to stab the Native American mutant in the face, “Just stop me already. Repay me by buying me a round after this…or several.”
“Deal!” grinned Thunderbird as he narrowly avoided the stabbing attack.
Thunderbird attempted to subdue Wolverine, using his strength to shoulder-tackle the feral mutant away from him. Somehow the Legacy Virus made him more resilient because he barely stumbled before unleashing another barrage of claws slashes. It forced Thunderbird back on the defensive. Even with Wolverine’s permission, ending this fight would be difficult.
It was even more difficult for Rogue, who refused to strike her mother or absorb her. Once weakened by the virus, now she was hitting with force that Rogue had difficulty blocking. It had been so long since she had seen her mother and now she had somehow got herself caught up into Sinister’s affairs.
“You been workin’ out, mama. Since when do you team up with guys like Sinister?” grunted Rogue as she brushed off several jabs and a roundhouse kick.
“It’s a…long story, Rogue,” groaned Mystique, still unable to control her body, “If I make it out of this…I’ll tell you everything.”
“If you make it out?” questioned Rogue, ducking to avoid a jump kick from her mother.
“I’m not…in control. My body…is failing me,” she said, each word sounding like a struggle, “Please…you must drain me.”
“Now you wanna humble yourself? No chance in hell!” exclaimed Rogue.
Mystique sounded overly eager to subject herself to more punishment. That was not the hard-nosed mother that Rogue knew and clashed with so many times before. Something was different this time, but she couldn’t make sense of it in the heat of the battle.
Rogue still refused to strike her mother. All her moves were defensive, blocking Mystique’s barrage of attacks. But this strategy could not deflect every attack. While Rogue was trying to back away, Mystique managed to get in a couple of shots to the head. While disoriented from the blows, Mystique threw in a kick to the knee that threw her off balance.
“Ugh! There goes mah knee,” groaned Rogue as she clutched her leg.
“Do it, Rogue! Absorb…me,” grunted Mystique as she narrowly missed striking Rogue in the head again.
“Talk to meh, mama. What’s going on? Let meh help you!”
“I…can’t. No…time,” she struggled, “Listen to your mother…for once. Take me…down. It’s the only…”
I understand that many comic fans are somewhat desensitized to character deaths these days. As soon as Marvel or DC Comics kill a major character, the countdown until their inevitable return begins. That’s not going to be the case here with X-men Supreme. This death will stick. In the same way I avoid using time travel and parallel universes, I will avoid callous resurrections for the same reason I avoid callous deaths. This fanfiction series is entering a dark period in its history, but it’ll also be a defining period. As such, it’s very important that others provide feedback so I know I’m doing the right things with the X-men. Some have been very generous with their comments. I’d like to hear more like them. Please feel free to contact me any time or post comments in the individual issues. I’m always happy to talk X-men or comics in general. Until next time, take care and best wishes.