Friday, July 8, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 138: Outer Limits Part 2 PREVIEW!

The X-men are taking one giant leap for mutant kind in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Ever since X-men Supreme Issue 46: Paradise Mystery, a conflict has been brewing in the stars. A war is raging within the Shi’ar Empire. That war already became very personal when Lilandra Neramani’s alien heritage was revealed in the Starcrossed arc. Now, that war finally finds its way to the X-men. The Outer Limits arc has begun and this fanfiction series is about to enter a bold and dangerous new era.

It’s a different kind of conflict for the X-men, but one they have faced before in X-men Supreme. They’ve shown in the Phoenix Saga that they can go head-to-head with a cosmic power and win. Jean Grey, in particular, has demonstrated her uncanny ability to wield the cosmic power of the Phoenix Force. It proved instrumental in the battle against the Cambrian in the Cambrian Explosion. It has also been growing within her and throughout the history of the X-men, this rarely turns out well.

However, what unfolds in the X-men comics won’t necessarily unfold in this fanfiction series. X-men Supreme is about to explore the breadth of the Shi’ar Empire, but don’t expect to see the same Shi’ar that has been depicted in the comics or cartoons. When I wrote X-men Supreme Issue 46: Paradise Mystery and the Starcrossed arc, I had a very specific vision for the Shi’ar. I didn’t want them to just be a reason for the X-men to go on cosmic adventures, although that is a nice bonus. There’s a larger story at work here and one I’m finally exploring with Outer Limits.

The first issue of this arc hit the ground running by having Lilandra Neramani return to Earth with help from Corsair of the Starjammers. Since the Starcrossed arc, she has been on the run constantly from her sadistic half-brother, D’ken. As the legal heir to the Shi’ar Empire, she is the greatest threat to his power. At the moment, D’ken is uncomfortably close to eliminating that threat once and for all. Once again, Lilandra will need to rely on the X-men and a still-ailing Charles Xavier to save her.

But why exactly is D’ken so determined to destroy any threats to his power? Why did his Imperial Guard seem so reluctant to come to Earth in the Starcrossed arc? Why does it seem the Shi’ar have an intimate familiarity with Earth? These are all pressing questions and the answers are unlike anything the X-men comics have ever attempted before. I hope to break new ground with the X-men and their cosmic adventures here in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. The Outer Limits arc is just first step, but it will definitely be the most important. As always, I’ve prepared an extended preview of the X-men's latest cosmic journey.

“Charles,” said Lilandra, finally breaking her silence, “Why would he do this to himself? Did my leaving have something to do with it?”

“No Lilandra. This wasn’t because of you,” said Jean.

“I don’t believe that, Jean. You may think you know him, but when you love someone that deeply…well, you can make the connections.”

Jean was about to counter this point. She decided not to. In her experience with Scott, she knew first hand what those connections were like. Lilandra’s love for Xavier was strong, much more so than she thought she understood.

“Charles once told me that his health always humbled him,” she said sadly, “It reminded him that he was living on borrowed time. He felt that having survived cancer, his body would eventually turn on him again. He was always so intent on making the most of this time. It makes it easier for him to justify taking such foolish risks!”

“I admit it was foolish. Who’s to say he wouldn’t have done it if you had been there?” asked Jean.

“Because when I was with him, it didn’t feel like borrowed time. He once joked that perhaps he survived because he was destined to meet me. We both laughed, but I didn’t think it was funny. He may have been right. If only I had been there for him, he may have thought twice.”

“Or it could’ve been worse. We don’t know. We can’t know,” added Jean.

“In either case, I just…I wish I could have been there. He’s not the only one who has been in pain. I went from a simple activist to the last hope of an alien civilization. Billions of aliens as innocent and scared as any human now expect me to stop D’ken. I’m not sure I can be that royal savior they expect me to be. I know if Charles was by my side, he would give me the strength.”

“I wish he was here as well. I’m sure he would say all the right things,” said Jean with another comforting gesture, “That gives us all the more reason to get through this. Look at it this way. By the time you defeat D’ken, the Professor should be better. Then you’ll be able to bust his chops over all his foolish decisions.”

“As appealing as that sounds, I’m not sure I can defeat D’ken at this point,” she said, “He’s working on something big…something I can sense, but cannot understand. For all I know, he’ll have succeeded by the time we fix the Starjammer. How can we have so much at our disposal yet still be so powerless?”

Jean didn’t offer an answer. Nobody seemed to have an answer. It was enough to give Lilandra another headache. This was something Charles was good at dealing with, being powerful in some ways and limited in others. For all she knew, she may not see him again. It was difficult to contemplate. Turning back towards Jean, she tried to carry herself with greater strength.

“I’m sorry for brooding, Jean. I just feel so helpless in that…”

The Shi’ar royalty stopped in mid-sentence when she saw a strange look on Jean’s face. She was clutching her head as well, but it looked much worse than a headache. It was as if something was attacking her from outside and she was trying to shut it out.

“Jean? Are you alright?” asked Lilandra with more concern.

“What’s going on?” said Logan, who noticed as well, “What’s wrong with Jeannie?”

“The crystal…it’s getting stronger. We cannot stop it if we continue wasting time!”

“Whoa! That didn’t sound like Jean,” said Rogue, the rest of the team taking note as well.

“It isn’t,” dreaded Hank, “It’s the Phoenix Force!”

“Does that mean it’s about to get worse?” dreaded Lilandra.

“I’ve little time to explain. I must push the limits of my power once more! Hang on, X-men!”

A blinding white flash erupted through the ship. Lilandra and the rest of the X-men covered their eyes as Jean casually floated up in her seat, now surrounded by cosmic flames. They had seen her utilize the Phoenix Force before, but not like this. These flames were different. They were white hot, burning with a different kind of intensity. Some of the X-men tried to get up, but were telekinetically forced back into their seat.

“Jean! Phoenix! What are you doing?” exclaimed Ororo.

“What needs to be done.”

In another blinding flash, Jean’s Phoenix uniform changed. It shifted back to the full body outfit that she wore when the Phoenix Force first manifested in her. However, instead of green or dark read, the outfit was white. It seemed to match the white hot flames that were surrounding her. While the X-men were watching this in amazement, the Starjammer was suddenly jolted by a new round of turbulence.

“What the hell is going on back there?” yelled Corsair from the cockpit, “The power core just surged and none of the controls are working!”

“That’s because I am in control right now. It is only through the cosmic power of the Phoenix that we have a chance at stopping the coming destruction.”

Corsair wrestled with the controls. He ended up getting telekinetically shoved back into his seat, his limbs held down as if they had a hundred pounds of weight bearing down him. He could only watch as the Starjammer was completely engulfed in white flames. As more turbulence surged through the ship, it started moving at even greater speeds. Back in the passenger area, the rest of the X-men held on through the added G-forces.

“Whoa! Does stopping destruction have to be this rough?” groaned Bobby.

“Do you really need to ask?” muttered Rogue.

“This discomfort is necessary. We will arrive at our destination in under two minutes. Do as I say and you might survive.”

“Might?!” exclaimed Corsair.

“Do not argue with the Phoenix Force, Corsair! It is a losing battle!” said Hank, who gripped his seat tightly, “She knows what she’s doing! Let us see where she takes us! She may lead us to the answers we seek!”

There’s a lot of doom, gloom, and sterilization going on in the X-men comics right now. More than ever, I want to tell a different kind of story in X-men Supreme. There is no time travel and there are no clones. Where else will you get an X-men story like that these days? As such, it’s important that I continue to receive feedback on this fanfiction series. Since it is so different from the comics or cartoons, I want to make it as awesome as possible. I can only do that if I continue to get feedback and support from X-men fans of all kinds. Either contact me directly or post your comments directly in the issue. I’m always happy to chat and I’m certainly open to criticism of all kinds. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!



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