Friday, June 17, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 137: Outer Limits Part 1 PREVIEW!

It’s another vital part of the X-men mythos. It’s a huge element of their appeal. It’s something I’ve been building towards since X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope. Well, it’s finally about to happen. The X-men are about to take a cosmic journey in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. The Shi’ar, Lilandra Neremani, the Starjammers, and the Phoenix Force are set to converge in one of the biggest, most sci-fi arc to date of this fanfiction series. It has taken a while, but I hope to make it worth the wait.

This is one of those plots that I’ve had brewing in the back of my head for quite a while now. I first introduced the cosmic elements of the X-men when I had Cyclops and Wolverine uncover a crashed Shi’ar ship on Genosha in X-men Supreme Issue 46: Paradise Mystery. That ship offered the first taste of a much larger conflict that has been unfolding in the background of this fanfiction series. It’s a conflict very different than the cosmic themes developed in the X-men comics. I had a very specific idea in mind for the Shi’ar when I began X-men Supreme. While that idea has been tweaked a number of times, the core theme is still the same. That theme will finally manifest in this critical new arc, which I’ve dubbed Outer Limits.

The seeds were already sewn in X-men Supreme Issue 136: Stranger Things. Jean Grey got her first clue as to a larger cosmic conflict, courtesy of the Phoenix Force and Stranger. The Starjammers also entered the picture again, namely Corsair. He and Lilandra are on the run from Lilandra’s devious half-brother, D’ken. Fans of the classic Phoenix Saga will remember D’ken and the extent of his madness. Expect X-men Supreme to take it to a whole other scale.

The timing of these cosmic elements entering X-men Supreme is no accident. There’s a reason I’m revisiting it now and hopefully, that reason will become clear as the arc progresses. It isn’t just the Phoenix elements that I’ve been developing with Jean Grey. This arc will also be critical for Charles Xavier’s ongoing arc. Lilandra’s return couldn’t have come at a worst moment for him. He’s not dying of cancer, but he is still recovering from his crippling addiction to pain pills. He couldn’t be in a worst state to take on a cosmic threat, but that’s exactly what he’ll have to do.

There will be a lot of important characters in this arc. Charles Xavier, Lilandra, the Starjammers, Jean Grey, and the Phoenix Force all have their roles. More importantly though, this arc will reveal a few unique dynamics within the larger context of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. There are certain elements that I want to mix up and tweak to help this fanfiction series stand out from the comics, movies, and cartoons. This arc is just another step in that process, but it’s an important step. What happens in this arc will tie into other major conflicts down the line in X-men Supreme, but it begins here. As always, I’ve prepared a preview that should set the stage for the X-men's cosmic journey.

“I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever get a break of any kind ever again,” groaned Bobby, “It’s like rapid fire! We defeat the Mutant Liberation Front and then aliens decide to attack again!”

“They’re not attacking, Bobby. They need our help,” said Piotr, “We should be willing to give it to them. This is far bigger than the Mutant Liberation Front.”

“Remy’s all for charity, but ain’t we got enough bad cards in our deck?” made Gambit, “I ain’t forgotten the whole Star Wars deal these Shi’ar got going on. Is it really a good idea to get caught up in that shit?”

“Ah’d like to spend the week lounging by the pool mahself, but that ain’t our style. Aliens or no aliens, when there’s a problem we don’t run away from it,” said Rogue.

“I do not think we can,” added Piotr, “Comrade McCoy says that this message came directly from Lilandra Neramani. Is she not a friend to which we owe a great deal?”

“She’s gone out of her way for us on more than one occasion. If it wasn’t for her, President Kelly would have ridden the whole anti-mutant bandwagon into the White House. So I guess we owe her,” said Kitty, “She’s also Professor Xavier’s unofficial girlfriend so we’re kind of stuck in the middle.”

“That reminds me. Does she know about the Professor’s condition?” asked Bobby.

“Somehow Ah doubt that came up when she was screaming out her distress call,” said Rogue.

“Well she’s probably going to ask why he’s not here. Who wants to explain that he’s rehabbing from a crippling addiction to pain killers?”

“Not it!” said Kitty quickly.

“Come now, Katya. I expect that from Bobby, but not you,” said Piotr with a slight scold.

“Not it!” said Remy as well, earning a scold from Rogue as well.

It was a sensitive issue, but one that could not be avoided. Lilandra was going to notice Charles Xavier’s absence. She had no idea what he had been going through since she left. It was sure to be devastating. Nobody wanted the grim task of breaking the news to her. No matter how dire her situation, Professor Xavier’s personal problems were bound to effect them.

This was not lost on Hank or Jean as well. They had been keeping in touch with Lilandra and the Starjammer. When they received the signal, it was encrypted in a way that only the computers in the Xavier Institute could decipher. Having worked with Shi’ar technology before, Hank equipped a phone with advanced electronics so they could use it as a beacon. Lilandra told them that they would swing by and pick them up in the ship. She sounded like she was in a major hurry. While they waited, Jean helped him get in touch with the rest of the team.

“Okay, we’ll meet you both there in under a half-hour,” said Jean, who was on her phone talking to Logan, “Make sure you, Betsy, and Miss Munroe are out of the city. We don’t need people reporting any crazy UFO sightings…no, we don’t want that either. I also called Scott. He’s going to be waiting for us on Genosha…yes, he’ll have to be involved. We’re already working out a plan. I’ll fill you in on the details once we pick you up…I will. Tell Betsy she can resume her search for Warren later. We need everybody for this.”

“That’s an appropriate assessment if ever there was one,” said Hank, who was making a few tweaks on his phone.

“Try explaining that to them,” said Jean as she put away her phone, “Logan didn’t appreciate having to cancel his day with Laura. I think I heard thunder in the background so Ororo isn’t too happy either.”

“She’s still involved with James Proudstar, isn’t she?” said Hank, his tone shifting a bit.

“You sound worried,” she pointed out, “Even when alien conflicts are catching up with us again, your ex-girlfriend still gets your attention.”

“I apologize if my mindset is a bit fragile. I could say the same for you too, Jean.”

The young psychic did a worse job hiding her anxious state than Hank did in hiding his concerns for his ex-girlfriend. Everyone had noticed it. She had been pretty detached since before this even began. She couldn’t blame it on a lack of sleep anymore. Her dreams about Stranger and the connection she felt to this conflict all too apparent.

“If you can handle it, so can I,” said Jean, “Where are we with the Starjammer?”

“I appreciate you changing the subject to something more pertinent,” said Hank as he turned his attention back to his phone, “According to the beacon, the Starjammer is on it’s final approach. It’s heavily cloaked so it won’t draw attention from the authorities. However, that may be somewhat superfluous assumption.”

“What makes you say that?” asked Jean warily.

“Corsair and Lilandra are assuming that the best human technology can’t keep up with a Shi’ar cloaking device. I don’t think they got the news that humanity gained some additional ground when Genosha started selling it. So there’s a chance that someone was able to pick up on the Starjammer.”

“Well I don’t see any black helicopters. That counts as a good sign, right?”

“That’s still assuming too much,” said Hank, “Near as I can tell, it hasn’t caused any anomalies on the electromagnetic spectrum. That doesn’t mean they’ll go completely undetected.”

“Let’s hope everyone is still hung over from the Mutant Liberation Front,” said Jean, “If we’re lucky we’ll link up with Lilandra, help her out with whatever she needs, and be done with it before J. J. Abrams makes a movie about it.”

“Did you really just use the world lucky in a sentence, Jean?” said Kitty, “I can tell by your tone that even you don’t believe it’ll be that easy.”

“Is it so much to ask for?” she said, tensing at the idea of more complications.

“I would say so,” said Hank as he put away his phone, “Lilandra said the Shi’ar rebellion was in peril. Her half-brother, D’ken, has become desperate in a way that would make even Magneto nauseous. She needs our help getting the Starjammer fixed so she can get back to the rebels. She may also need our help dealing with whatever D’ken is preparing.”

“If that means going into space and playing Luke Skywalker, I think we’ll need a fair warning,” said Bobby, “We have a hard enough time dealing with psychotic tyrants here on Earth.”

“We may not have a choice,” said Hank ominously, “If what Lilandra told me is accurate, D’ken’s madness could affect Earth as well as countless other worlds. There’s no telling what sort of nefarious forces he’s conjured!”

“We have a better idea than we think,” said Jean, her eyes flaring with cosmic flames.

“What do you mean?” asked Piotr, who noticed this flare along with the others.

Whenever Jean flashed the Phoenix Force unexpectedly, it was usually a bad sign. She had already been acting strangely. If there was something as dangerous as a cosmic entity involved, it was almost too terrifying to contemplate. Hank was about to ask her again when a sharp gust of wind blew through the area.

“They’re here,” said Jean, her eyes still flashing.

The X-men looked up and saw a large area of the sky become wavy and distorted. Within moments, it revealed the imposing form of the Starjammer. The cloaking device that had shrouded its re-entry was lifted. It kicked up more wind as it hovered over the area, the vertical thrusters rustling the nearby trees. From the underbelly of the craft, an entrance ramp opened to reveal a figure standing within the ship. It was Lilandra and she looked even more beleaguered than she did before she left.

“It’s good to see you again, X-men,” she greeted, “I don’t mean to sound bossy, but you must get in! We need to pick up the rest of your teammates!”

“I’m okay with skipping the formalities,” said Kitty, “Unless Jean isn’t done freaking us out.”

“Ungh…not a good time, Kitty,” said Jean, clutching her head.

“You sure you’re okay, sugah?” said Rogue with a concerned glance.

“I’m fine!” she said, shaking it off, “She’s right. We should get going.”

“Much as I enjoy arguing with a stubborn psychic, I’m inclined to agree,” said Hank, who was already making his way up the ramp, “We had best stay on the move if this marvelous piece of alien engineering is to avoid detection.”

“If you say so, teach,” sighed Remy, “Never you mind how much bad voodoo be following us.”

“Does voodoo even apply to aliens?” said Bobby dryly.

“Call it what you want, Drake. At some point someone’s gonna have to stop and think about what’s going on. That way we ain’t so shocked when it bites us in the ass.”

It was all happening so fast. Lilandra wasn’t giving them much time to take in their new role in this alien plot. She rushed them onto the Starjammer, eager to make up for lost time. Remy, Bobby, Rogue, Kitty, and Piotr followed Hank onto the ship. Jean needed a brief moment to gather herself.

In addition to being rushed, this ordeal was not helping Jean’s strained mind. For a moment the Phoenix Force flared in a way she hadn’t experienced before. It was not unlike the feeling she experienced in her dreams with Stranger. Looking up at the ship, she felt the same chill down her spine. It was like Lilandra’s unexpected return was connected to Stranger’s warnings. The feeling lingered as she followed the others on board. Along the way, she confronted the older woman’s anxious gaze.

“Where’s Charles? Are we picking him up as well?” asked Lilandra intently.

These cosmic elements of X-men are just one of the many methods for making the X-men Supreme fanfiction series a more complete series as a whole. There are so many elements that go into making the X-men mythos great. While there’s no way for me to capture every one of them into a single fanfiction series, that’s not going to stop me from trying. So as I explore the cosmic side of X-men in X-men Supreme, it’s vital that I get feedback on my efforts. Is what I’m doing working? Am I failing miserably? Please tell me! Post your feedback directly in each issue or contact me directly. I’m always happy to chat and learn new ways to make X-men Supreme as awesome as it deserves to be. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!



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