Friday, August 19, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue #140: Outer Limits Part 4 PREVIEW!

It’s another cosmic crisis in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. The Shi’ar, D’ken, Lilandra, the Phoenix Force, and the Starjammers are front and center. The X-men, as is often the case, are caught in the middle of some cosmic crossfire. This comes at a time when Charles Xavier is ailing, Jean Grey is undergoing more transformations with the Phoenix Force, and Cyclops just discovers that his father is still alive. It’s a lot for any crisis, let alone one with a cosmic scope. It’s hard enough when the X-men have to save a world that hates and fears them. Now, they have to save an entire universe.

Cosmic conflicts are a big part of the X-men’s mythos. Early on in X-men Supreme, I briefly debated on whether I should even bring in cosmic elements like the Shi’ar. That debate didn’t last long. I’ve been reading X-men comics long enough to understand that you can’t capture the full scope of X-men without these cosmic elements. It still took me a while to bring them into the picture. X-men Supreme Issue 46: Paradise Mystery was the first and now it seems so long ago. In Outer Limits, the X-men find themselves in the middle of an interstellar war with the Shi’ar and they’re tyrannical emperor, D’ken.

That war has already brought a lot of upheavals to the X-men. That’s to say nothing about the impact their unexpected space adventure had back on Earth. They left abruptly from Genosha, leaving General Grimshaw and Wanda Maximoff understandably upset and confused. They’ll have to deal with that situation eventually. First, they need to make sure the universe as they know it is still intact.

That’s easier said than done when Emperor D’ken seems intent on killing anyone and anything he has to in order to get what he wants. So what exactly does he want? Why is he butchering his own people? Why is he willing to accept help from someone like Mastermind? Well, there is a reason for that and it’s a reason you won’t find outside the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I don’t like villains that have no motivation or reason for their behavior. Whether it’s Magneto or Sinister or Cameron Hodge, I’ve always tried to create some context for these characters. With D’ken it’s no different, but it will be challenging.

D’ken is one of those X-men characters that never got a lot of depth. For the most part, he was just a villain that gave the X-men a cosmic level threat to deal with. He’s definitely a cosmic level threat in this fanfiction series, but for very different reasons. The comics and cartoons can only do so much. X-men Supreme can do more. I want to do more. That’s how I intend to make this fanfiction series awesome. It goes beyond his rivalry with Lilandra or the power of the Phoenix Force. There’s a bigger story at work here and it’s going to be an important component of the Outer Limits arc. As always, I’ve prepared a preview that should give a hint as to just how big this story is going to be.

“We’re here, D’ken! I hope you’re as pissed as I am!” yelled a determined Corsair.

“For heaven’s sake, at least try and keep it steady!” shouted Lilandra from the passenger area, “Let’s not do my brother any favors!”

“Sorry Empress, but not this time. If this is D’ken’s endgame, I’m not about to play it safe.”

“Oye, as if my dream of being an astronaut wasn’t tainted enough,” groaned Iceman.

The Starjammer arrived in hostile surroundings just like before. Having been transported to the Shi’ar home world by the Phoenix Force, they caught the Imperial Forces completely by surprise. The massive presence of the Phoenix Force was enough to strike fear even in D’ken’s most hardened forces. Their planetary defenses weren’t even online when Squadron XB-7 began their attack on the palace.

Once they arrived, it didn’t take long for the Imperial Defense Force to strike back. The system was already on high alert. When they arrived over Chandilar, they passed by a series of patrol crafts. Corsair wasted no time taking them out with the ship’s lasers. A number of them broke off and started evasive attacks. Corsair quickly maneuvered the Starjammer around to get a better angle. This caused plenty of discomfort within the ship. It also scrambled the interceptors so that Squadron XB-7 could start taking them out.

“May the strength of the Shi’ar guide our wings!”

This was the primary battle cry that echoed through the Starjammer’s communication systems. Professor Xavier and Beast monitored the attack from a holographic computer located in front of their seats. It showed their position in relation to the rest of the imperial forces. The level of danger was painfully apparent. They were surrounded by a vast armada that guarded both the planet and the moon.

“The attack has begun,” said Xavier, “We’ve achieved the element of surprise.”

“This D’ken guy sounds pretty nasty, but even he can’t account for us having a cosmic bird on our side,” commented Iceman.

“It is a limited, yet vital advantage,” said Beast as he zoomed in on the image of the palace, “The imperial defense forces have picked up on the attack. They’re diverting their attention to the palace as we speak.”

“That means we’ve gained the necessary distraction as well,” said Xavier, “Now we can go after D’ken and the crystal.”

“You mean he’s not on the planet?” said Storm.

“No. Only the dimensional reactors and the primary antenna are on Chandilar,” said Xavier, “D’ken and the M’krann Crystal are on the moon, Chandilar-2.”

“Are you sure of this, Professor?” asked Colossus.

“He’s sure, Colossus. So am I,” said Phoenix, still radiating with white flames.

“I can feel the crystal. It’s entering a critical stage.”

“That means we’re ready to proceed with the next step,” said the Professor as he turned towards the flight deck, “Corsair, pull away from the attack and steady the ship!”

“Damn…just when I was settling in!” said the grizzled pilot.

Corsair gripped the controls and turned the Starjammer around, leaving Squadron XB-7 to take care of the remaining interceptors. They kept attacking the palace, allowing them to slip away from the battle for a moment. Once they were free of enemy fire, the ship leveled off and allowed the X-men to get out of their seats.

As the team got ready for the next phase of this bold mission, Xavier turned his attention to Lilandra. Beast stayed close as well. This was where faith factored into the plan. They each had to believe that they were going to make it through this.

“This is where we part ways, Lilandra,” said Xavier, “Now you’re certain the palace contains this family heirloom you told me about?”

“It was one of the main objectives of our first raid. I know it’s there. Freeing the Starjammers along with D’ken’s many prisoners will help,” assured Lilandra, “Now quit talking as if I’m the one with the harder job.”

“We all have our roles to play. If I could have it another way, we would defeat D’ken together,” he told her.

“It doesn’t matter who brings my brother down. So long as we end this war, I’ll settle for a secondary role. Just be sure you give D’ken my solemn regards.”

“I’ll be sure he gets the message,” Xavier promised, “To aid you in your mission, Beast will stay behind. He is familiar with Shi’ar technology and will utilize the Warlock components we obtained from Genosha. That should make your infiltration into the palace much easier.”

“I’ve put together some creative configurations with help from your fellow scientists. I think they’ll give D’ken’s forces substantial headaches,” said Beast, who had a special handheld computer with Warlock engravings.

“Breaking into the palace isn’t what concerns me. Even after our first attempt failed so miserably,” said Lilandra distantly, “As much as I want this conflict to end, I also want you and your students to come out of it in once piece. Promise me you’ll still be fighting when we rendezvous later on.”

“I promise,” he said with a loving gesture to reinforce his point, “I’ve let my limitations hurt those I love one too many times. I will make this right…for both of us.”

“Then there’s nothing less for me to say other than…be careful.”

Whether the conflicts are cosmic or local in scale, I’m still determined to make every clash in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series as epic as it can be. At a time when the X-men comics are only giving us sterilization and extinction plots, I think it’s important to ensure that X-men Supreme offers something different and not just a series where Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Charles Xavier are alive and no one is time displaced. I want it to stand out for all the right reasons in all the right ways. That’s why it’s so critical that I continue to get feedback for this fanfiction series. Any amount will help, but I can’t make X-men Supreme as awesome as I want to be without support. So please take the time to contact me directly or post your comments directly in the issue. Either way is fine and both ways help. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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