Friday, September 11, 2015

X-men Supreme Reflections: Sage PREVIEW!

Throughout the history of X-men, there are certain characters who simply slip into obscurity. They're not neglected or negated. They're just set aside and forgotten about. Given the size and scope of X-men, that's to be expected. But sometimes, that means potentially great characters don't get a chance to realize their greatness. WIth the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I hope to provide opportunities to some of those characters. I was able to do it with Thunderbird back in X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers. He's a character who was unceremoniously killed off in the earlier days of X-men. I took him and made him a vital component to the development of the X-men in X-men Supreme. Now, I want to do something similar for Sage.

There was a time in the early 2000s where Sage was a semi-major character in the X-men comics. But, like so many other X-men characters, she fell to the wayside and slipped into obscurity. I always felt she had more potential than Marvel attempted to realize. So I wanted her to have a major role in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series at some point. She eventually found that role as Hank McCoy's secret love interest. This role emerged out of the events of the Uprising arc in X-men Supreme Volume 1: Mutant Revolution. It caused significant strain between Beast and Storm, who had been dating at the time. Eventually, that strain proved to be too much and that relationship ended during the Cajun Chaos arc.

However, the strain Sage caused for Beast eventually became something more meaningful. They continued corresponding over the internet for a while. Then, it finally blossomed into something deeper. They finally came face-to-face in X-men Supreme Issue 54: District X Part 3. On that fateful moment, Sage and Beast became romantically involved. As such, her story became entwined with the X-men.

Throughout this tumultuous process, I've revealed a few bits and pieces about who Sage is in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. In addition to aiding the X-men through Beast, she's also one of the founding members of District X, the mutant community in New York City. With her telepathy and computer-like mind, she helps manage this community with Bishop, Jubilee, and Multiple. That makes her an important ally to the X-men. She seeks to aid mutants and foster peaceful coexistance with humans. However, this is only a sliver of Sage's story in X-men Supreme.

During the events of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths, I began digging a little deeper into Sage's personal journey. It happened in the Civilization No Longer Lost arc. In a side-story that took place in conjunction with the Nova Roma conflict, it was revealed that Sage had close ties to Sebastian Shaw and the Inner Circle. She admitted outright to Beast that she once navigated this dark world. Moreover, she did it willingly. She did it out of greed and ambition. These activities eventually led to the development of Fantomex during the Weapon Plus arc. These developments have put a significant burden on her in a way that even her powerful mind can't process.

But what led to that burden? Why did Sage enter the dark world of the Inner Circle in X-men Supreme? After what she went through in X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths, I think this is the best possible time to explore her character in the pages of X-men Supreme Reflections. So for those Sage fans who haven't gotten a lot from Marvel, this is for you. I've prepared a preview that should offer some insight into who this woman is in the world of X-men Supreme.

Hank McCoy has it figured out. Even if the equation of life is unsolvable, he’s solved more of it than I ever will. He’s a brilliant man, but he’s able to balance that brilliance with a powerful sense of humility. He can be feral one moment and intellectual the next, never fully losing control of his faculties. I once tried to calculate the chances of me meeting someone like him. The sum had so many digits I got a headache. I then tried to calculate the chances of me falling in love with him. That number was incalculable, even for me.

At one point in my life I thought I wasn’t equipped to love. That’s not to say I was bitter or anything. I just didn’t think I had that program loaded into my brain. Hank McCoy changed that. He’s reached me on an intellectual and emotional level I never thought possible. It’s not like I was incapable of emotion. I just had it turned off most of my life.

Only a handful of people know the details of my life. Hank is among the elite few. I live a life under two names. Most of the world knows me as Tessa. That’s the name I chose for myself. That’s the name I’ve gone by for most of my teenage and adult life. Sage is the name I was born with. It’s actually not my only name. I was born Diana Sage Fox. It’s a name you won’t find in many databases or records. I’ve worked very hard to keep it that way. At an early age, I learned the value of anonymity.

I was born into a war torn world. My father was a diplomat and my mother was a computer programmer in what was once Yugoslavia. I arrived just in time to witness the waning years of the Soviet Union. I barely had a chance to meet my father. He was killed by a Serbian sniper when I was three. I don’t remember much about him so I didn’t have time to get attached. It sure turned my mother off. She always seemed detached, as if she had turned off her emotions. It was a trick I would later utilize in a more advanced fashion.

My whole childhood was a progression of chaos and conflict. I lived with my mother in a small one-room apartment. It was in the middle of an area wrought with ethnic wars, guerrilla attacks, and political strife. My mother used to work for the old Soviet government. When that went under she got a job working for the failing Yugoslavian government. It was like being a janitor on a sinking ship. She never felt at ease. She was always looking over her shoulder. I remember one time when I was five I dropped a dish onto the floor and it shattered. My mother reacted like it was a live grenade and rushed me into a nearby closet. It took a while for her to be convinced that it was nothing serious. It would set the tone for a very sheltered life.

While my mother was paranoid, she did find ways to keep me out of trouble. Since there weren’t many toys to play with, she gave me old computer parts to fool around with. I didn’t know what they were at the time. I would just take them apart, put them together, and plug them in to watch the blinking lights. It wasn’t the most entertaining activity in the world, but it did begin my fascination with computers. It was a fascination that would become a big part of my life.

I never made my mother’s life difficult. I let her be paranoid while I learned as much as I could about computers. By the time I was seven, I created my first integrated circuit. By the time I was nine I was writing my first programming codes. By the time I was twelve I made my first full working computer. In many ways my computer was my best friend. It was so ordered and predictable, based in the cold facts of math and physics. It was a welcome reprieve from the chaos that had consumed my surroundings.

I never developed much of a social life. I wasn’t a complete recluse, but I did come off as strange to other kids my age. I spent so much time around computers that I acted like one at times. I was like a machine, disciplined and focused.

I remember one time when my mother took me out to the markets, we passed by a field with a bunch of kids playing soccer. My mother asked if I wanted to play. I told her I didn’t. We kept walking. Then one of the kids kicked the ball so hard that it flew over the goal and hit me right in the head. My mother overreacted of course, but I shut it out. When two boys came over to get their ball, they apologized. I told them it was no big deal and gave them their ball back. They were a little troubled by my demeanor because I had a rather noticeable bruise on my head. Boys being boys, they poked at me and asked if it hurt. I told them it did. I wasn’t wincing or anything so they didn’t believe me. From there it got ugly.

They started teasing me, trying to make me express the pain I was feeling. It was definitely there, but I didn’t allow it to process. Soon those boys were cursing me out, calling me a freak because I couldn’t understand the concept of pain. My mother had to forcibly restrain those boys to get them to stop. The whole time I didn’t show a lick of emotion. It didn’t just disturb those boys. It worried my mother as well.

Perhaps I should have been concerned. It seemed like an anomaly, a girl walking around with the demeanor of a machine. It was the first sign to me and my mother that I was not normal. It didn’t bother me because I was still young. I hadn’t learned to process the finer details of human social norms. That would be a challenge for most of my life. It was that failure to process my own humanity that led me down a very dark path.

There are a lot of characters like Sage in the X-men mythos who haven't really had a chance to shine. By giving them more prominent roles in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, it helps me set this world of X-men apart from the ongoing story in the comics. There's are so many characters and stories to explore. I doubt I'll ever be able to get to them all. But that's not going to stop me from trying. And that's not going to stop me from making characters like Sage as awesome as they can be. But in order to know if I'm making them sufficiently awesome, it's important that I get feedback and reviews from readers. Either contact me directly with your comments or post them in each issue. Either way is fine. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!



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