Thursday, December 10, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 128: Pain Tolerance PREVIEW!

Since the Onslaught Saga of the late 90s, Marvel has done a lot to undermine and discredit the character of Professor Charles Xavier in the X-men comics. From having secret feelings for Jean Grey to keeping secrets about Cyclops’ long lost brother form him, he’s not just the paragon of peace and understanding that inspired the X-men. He’s a flawed individual and that’s fine. It’s perfectly reasonable to humanize a character like Charles Xavier. However, the X-men comics blurred the line between humanizing and denigrating. I hope to keep those lines clearer in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series.

Since this fanfiction series began, I’ve taken a very specific approach to Professor Charles Xavier. He has no secret attractions to his students. He hasn’t wiped the memories of others behind their backs. In X-men Supreme, he does have strong morals. However, he’s also painfully human in the sense that his personal weaknesses often overwhelm him. And I’m not talking about being in a wheelchair either. I made Charles Xavier a cancer survivor in X-men Supreme. There are real people in this world who have been ravaged by cancer and its effects can be felt, even for those who are in remission.

These effects have been plaguing Charles Xavier since the end of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. While his cancer was effectively cured with the help of the Starjammers in the Starcrossed arc, the effects of all the medications he took to manage his pain have once again caught up to him. Just as he did before, he tried to hide his ailments so he could continue to lead the X-men. And just as before, it ended up hurting him and his X-men.

The events of X-men Supreme Issue 127: Terror Sell marked a dangerous turning point for Charles Xavier. This was the X-men’s first major clash with the Mutant Liberation Front, a dangerous group of mutant terrorists led by former Brotherhood of Mutants member, Toad. And the X-men lost and lost badly because Xavier’s inability to manage his condition caught up with him. It’s one thing to suffer alone, but when that suffering affects his X-men, then Charles Xavier understands that it’s time to make some difficult choices.

These choices will mark the next big shift in X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. The X-men can’t afford to lose to keep losing to the Mutant Liberation Front. Charles Xavier understands this. His X-men understand this. So what will they do? How will the X-men cope with their mentor’s latest ailments? It marks a dramatic shift in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and one that’ll make the challenges ahead even more difficult. As always, I’ve prepared a brief preview here on this website and an extended preview on the X-men Supreme Official Blog.

‘The pain…it’s too much. I failed. My X-men…all those people…it’s all my fault. I need my pills. I can’t take this anymore!’

‘Sorry Professor, not this time. You don’t get to take the easy way out.’

Charles Xavier was shocked to hear another telepathic voice in his head. As the world’s most powerful telepath, his mind was always heavily shielded. It was so startling that it jarred him from his semi-conscious state. He was still in a great deal of agony. His head was throbbing just as it had before he passed out. Everything after that was a blur. When he opened his eyes, he realized he wasn’t in Cerebrum anymore. He also realized he had two very disgruntled figures standing by his bed.

Jean Grey had a lot of reasons to be in a foul mood. She had to fly all the way back from Australia while discovering that the Mutant Liberation Front had succeeded along the way. Then when she arrived at the mansion, she discovered Professor Xavier in a very defeated state. This time it wasn’t because he pushed himself too hard. There was a much less noble reason for such failure, which led her and Betsy to call Dr. Cecilia Reyes, who was standing next to her holding the bottle of pills they found Xavier grasping. When he saw her disappointed gaze, the Professor could barely look at her.

“Jean I…” he began.

“Don’t attempt to explain yourself, sir. Dr. Reyes told us everything,” said Jean, not hiding her disappointment in the slightest.

“I’m sorry, Charles. But the whole doctor/patient confidentiality agreement goes out the window when it’s overly abused,” said Cecilia with equal scorn, “I covered for you. I lied for you. I treated you for wounds you inflicted upon yourself. Now you’ve taken it too far!”

“The X-men…are they okay?” asked the Professor, still avoiding eye-contact.

“They’re okay…for the most part,” said Dr. Reyes, “They couldn’t stop the Mutant Liberation Front. Not after they lost their psychic shielding and failed to uncover Toad’s trap.”

“My God,” gasped Xavier, “That means they succeeded! They destroyed the data center! Now the infrastructure of every country in the world is at…”

“Forget the mission for a moment! Forget the damage that’s been done to human/mutant relations or all the ways President Kelly is pissed off at us!” said Jean in a harsh tone, “Let’s talk about what you did to yourself! And this time, no more lies!”

The powerful psychic used her telekinesis to rip the pill bottle out of Dr. Reyes’s hands and retrieve it. Jean was not going to be subtle. This man was like a father to her, much more so than her real father. Uncovering secrets like this was painful in way too many ways.

“When we found you in Cerebrum, you hadn’t passed out due to psychic strain! I know the symptoms of a man who tries to solve his problems by soaking his brain in illicit chemicals! And the pill bottle you were clutching was a dead give-away! I found the number for Dr. Reyes on your cell phone and she got over here as fast as the X-jet would take her! I didn’t want to believe it until I heard it from her, but I know the truth now! We all do!”

“Please understand, Jean!” urged Xavier, “I…”

But Jean didn’t give him a chance to explain himself. She telekinetically threw the empty bottle of pills onto his lap and scolded him in a way she had never scolded her mentor.

“A drug overdose! That’s what took you out of this fight?!” she shouted, “It wasn’t because of some powerful new psychic! It wasn’t because of cancer either! You were so hopped up on pain killers that you nearly drowned in your own drool! And you’re supposed to be the world’s most powerful mind?!”

“That’s enough, Jean,” said Dr. Reyes, having to hold her back.

“Did you really think it wasn’t going to be a problem? Did you really believe that you could be a drug addict and a visionary for the X-men at the same time?! Who do you think you are? A cult leader?!”

“Jean! That’s not helping!” shouted Cecilia, pushing her back.

She was on the brink of tears. This was difficult for her to digest, the charismatic founder of the Xavier Institute failing for reasons that were painfully human. Professor Xavier finally looked up at his student, ashamed of his failure. His students always held him in such high regard. He worked hard to gain their trust over the years. He had abused that trust again and this time it caught up with him in the worst possible way.

Jean continued fuming, having to step back to wipe the tears from her eyes. Dr. Reyes stayed with her a moment, offering whatever consolation she could. This was difficult for her to, but for a very different set of reasons.

“Do not lose control, Jean. I know as well as any cosmic entity that it will only make things worse.”
“I know. I’m not trying to sound like a total bitch,” sobbed Jean.

“You’re not a bitch, Jean. You’re upset. I am too,” said Dr. Reyes, “I fear that something like this would happen. I’m glad it happened now before it got any worse.”

Leaving Jean to cool down, Cecilia turned her attention back to Charles Xavier. He was holding his head low, ready to accept whatever scorn she had to give. He more than deserved it.

“I won’t yell at you, Charles. Although I admit I’m very tempted,” said Dr. Reyes.

“Feel free to yell all you want, Cecilia. I put you in this position. I hurt you just as much as I hurt my X-men,” he said sadly.

“I would rather be more productive while you’re still coherent,” she said, “While you were out, I ran some tests with Jean in the infirmary. They confirmed what I suspected may happen.”

There are many X-men fans who believe there are significant flaws in the current X-men comics. Some of those flaws go beyond the denigration of Charles Xavier’s character. I sincerely hope that those dissatisfied with the comics will find refuge in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I do not want X-men Supreme to suffer the same flaws as the comics. In order to keep this fanfiction series awesome, it’s important that I get feedback. If at any point it sounds like X-men Supreme is becoming too much like the current comics, please tell me! I need to know so I can fix it. Either contact me directly with your feedback or post your comments directly in the issues. I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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