Friday, September 9, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 141: Outer Limits Part 5 PREVIEW!


Big moments lead to big changes. Big changes lead to upheavals. Upheavals lead to new conflicts. That’s how the X-men Supreme fanfiction series has evolved over the years. Small moments lead to big changes. Sometimes it happens quickly. Sometimes it takes time. There have been many changes with Genosha alone. It began with Magneto leading an invasion of the country in Uprising. He then took control of it in Overlord, only to lose control (and his mind) in Time Bomb. Genosha still factors heavily on the landscape of X-men Supreme, but it all started with that one big moment during Uprising.

The X-men encountered something similar with the Shi’ar. It began way back in X-men Volume 3: War Powers. In X-men Supreme Issue 46: Paradise Mystery, Cyclops and Wolverine uncovered a crashed Shi’ar ship that hinted at an alien agenda. That agenda has unfolded gradually over the course of multiple volumes, but it’s only here in X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation that the scope and scale of that agenda finally unfolds.

Unbeknownst to the rest of the world in X-men Supreme, there’s an alien war going on with the Shi’ar Empire. For years, it has been at the mercy of D’ken, a cruel and ruthless tyrant who came to power in a harsh, warlike culture that values strength through war. In the X-men comics and cartoons, there’s not much depth to D’ken. I knew that if I was going to use him in X-men Supreme, I needed to dig a little deeper. Now, as the X-men confront him in the waning moments of the Outer Limits arc, the full scope and scale of his plan is revealed.

D’ken may be a tyrant, but he’s also very much a result of endless war and hatred. In this fanfiction series, he’s just seen one too many bloody clashes. He’s so broken and hardened that no amount of bloodshed phases him. No amount of cruelty is too excessive. In many respects, he is the ultimate byproduct of all the hate and conflict that the X-men fight to prevent. If the X-men fail, then someone like D’ken is the result.

The stakes literally couldn’t be higher. Outer Limits is poised to become one of the biggest arcs to date for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. It’s an arc that will have long-lasting impacts moving forward. However, that all assumes the X-men will be able to stop D’ken from usurping the minds of every sentient being in the universe. With the power of the M’krann Crystal and the entire Shi’ar Empire at his disposal, that’s easier said than done. So this final issue of Outer Limits is not one you’ll want to miss. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the final showdown in this cosmic conflict.

“Are you ready, Jean?”

“Yes…I’m ready,” she said upon parting from Cyclops.

“Do what you have to do,” he told her, “I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

“As will I,” said Professor Xavier, “Now hurry! The crystal is destabilizing rapidly!”

Having made her fateful choice, Phoenix turned away from her lover and her mentor. She pushed aside all lingering fear as she approached the glowing crystal. Its energy kept radiating at an increasingly volatile pace. This energy soon mixed with her white flames, causing them to grow to a level that soon engulfed the shining structure. As her flames grew, she slowly rose up. In the process her body took on a new fiery form. Using this form, she entered the crystal. Within moments, it changed colors. It became bright orange, as if it was on fire.

The powerful relic was undergoing a great change. Cyclops and Xavier could feel it. The X-men and the Imperial Guard felt it as well. The massive conduits feeding into the crystal sparked erratically. Power lines were severed and lights flickered as the energy within the chamber swirled rapidly. It was as if the energy the crystal was radiating was turning around. The white flames of the Phoenix swirled with this energy, engulfing the M’krann Crystal in a column of cosmic grandeur. The only one not taken by this sight was D’ken.

“YOU ARROGANT HUMANS!” he exclaimed, “YOU’VE KILLED US ALL! SHE’S UPSET THE POWER FLOW! SHE’LL RIP THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE APART!”

“She knows what she’s doing,” said Cyclops, never taking his eyes off the crystal, “She’s cleaning up your mess whether you like it or not.”

“NO! I WON’T ALLOW IT!” seethed the Emperor.

D’ken finally wrestled free from Mastermind’s grip, kicking him the head shoving him off like the feeble old human he was. Now free, he set his sights on reclaiming what he worked so hard to attain.

“IMPERIAL GUARD, HEED MY CALL! COME TO ME! SLAY THESE HUMANS AND HELP ME EXTRACT THE PHOENIX FORCE!”

Down below on the lower levels, Gladiator heard this order. He along with Starbolt, Smasher, Hussar, Flashfire, Neutron, and Oracle were obligated to fulfill it. They turned back towards the X-men, who were prepared to fight again.

“Seriously? You’re going to listen to that psychotic nut job?” scoffed Rogue.

“You heard what the Phoenix said! You must let her do this!” urged Storm.

“What your friend says does not matter. We only heed the emperor,” said Hussar.

“No matter what we think, we must obey D’ken,” said Neutron.

“Even if it means risking the entire universe? If so that’s pretty bloody stupid,” said Psylocke.

“Our loyalty is absolute,” said Gladiator, clenching his fists in frustration, “We must listen to the emperor.”

“Guess that means it’s time for round two!” snarled Wolverine.

The X-men were prepared to fight the Imperial Guard once more. They had to keep them away from the crystal so Phoenix could work. Wolverine drew his claws and prepared to deliver the first blow. Then a new presence entered the chamber and stopped everything.

“Halt!” said the commanding voice of Lilandra Neramani, “By the order of the Shi’ar Imperium, you are to stand down immediately!”

“Whoa…Miss Neremani is cutting this close,” said Iceman.

“Does this mean what I think it means?” asked Colossus.

“What are you humans babbling about? Who dares mock the authority of our emperor?” said Smasher as he and the other guardsmen turned around.

“I dare! As is my right under the bylaws of the royal bloodline!” she said strongly, “Moreover, I have something that officially usurps the authority of D’ken.”

Lilandra boldly stepped into the chamber, walking with a poise worthy of an empress. Behind her emerged Beast and an army of Warlock drones, each heavily armed and ready for battle. However, they did not fire a single shot. Instead, Beast casually walked up behind Lilandra and handed her a decorative metal scepter. It had golden feathers at the top and a string of Shi’ar symbols lining the sides. When she held it up, the Imperial Guard immediately fell back.

“The Staff of the Majestrix!” gasped Oracle, “She wields it!”

“That’s what it looks like? Remy’s seen fancier jewelry at Mardi Gras,” said Gambit.

“Be kind, X-men. This relic that we went to such lengths to retrieve is of great importance,” explained Beast, “Now that Lilandra wields it, the reign of D’ken is officially over.”

“It should not be possible!” said Starbolt, “The Staff is linked to the emperor! No one, even a blood relative, should be able to even lift it!”

“The Staff of the Majestrix is capable of processing much more than who wears the crown,” Beast went on, “Written in it are the bylaws of the Shi’ar Imperium. These laws are as old as the empire itself. It has noticed the actions D’ken has recently undertaken.”

“As such it made the decision long ago. It needed only a piece of the bloodline to make it official,” added Lilandra, “I am that piece. The Staff has accepted me. As such, I am now the rightful ruler of the Shi’ar Empire. You know what that entails.”

The Imperial Guard exchanged glances. This was an unforeseen move, yet it came as a relief in some ways. They too had seen D’ken’s tyranny inflict untold damage on their empire. Their loyalty prevented them from ever having any second thoughts. Now a new empress had ascended. This meant their obligations to D’ken were nullified.

“What is thy bidding, my empress?” said Gladiator as he loyally knelt before her.

“Damn! So much for round two,” said Wolverine as he withdrew his claws.

“You’ll pick another fight soon enough, Wolverine,” teased Storm.

“I think we’ve all had enough fighting. It stops today!” said Lilandra firmly, “You can begin the rebuilding process by standing aside and letting the Phoenix Force undo the damage wrought by my brother.”

“If that is your wish, then so be it,” said Oracle as she and the others knelt as well.

The X-men let out a sigh of relief. They would no longer have to oppose the Imperial Guard. It meant they could catch their breath, if only briefly. The end of D’ken’s madness was not yet complete.

“The antennas on both worlds are malfunctioning on every possible level,” said Beast as he joined up with the X-men, “May I assume D’ken’s efforts were thwarted?”

“Our brains out melting through our ears, so I guess that part has been stopped,” said Shadowcat, “But it’s not over yet! We’ve still got a cosmic-level problem on our hands.”

“And we can’t do anything to help at this point,” added Rogue, “It’s all on Jean’s shoulders now. Best we can do is watch and hope.”

“And without popcorn no less,” said Iceman.

Everyone turned their gaze back to the M’krann Crystal. Now that the Imperial Guard were under Lilandra’s rule, D’ken was utterly out of resources. His bold ambition to end all conflict was over. He saw Lilandra enter from below. When his Imperial Guard knelt to her it was like being punched in the gut. He had nothing with which to fight.

“My own blood…betraying me once again!” seethed D’ken, “DAMN YOU, LILANDRA! DAMN YOU ALL!”

“I’d behave if I were you. I don’t think your people will rally behind you after what you’ve put them through,” said Professor Xavier.

“If you’re lucky, they’ll still have a world to rebuild once the Phoenix Force is finished,” said Cyclops.


There’s a lot at stake here. There are a lot of personal and practical upheavals to deal with. At the very least, these upheavals don’t involve sterilization plots or time travelers. That alone should give X-men Supreme some appeal to X-men fans. I know I joke about that a lot these days, but it’s no laughing matter for many X-men fans. The current comics have killed off some of the X-men’s greatest characters and gone to great lengths to marginalize the X-men from the greater Marvel universe. I want X-men Supreme to act as a reprieve of sorts and I want to make it as awesome as possible. As such, I strongly encourage reviews and feedback. Please take the time to contact me with your remarks or post your comments directly in the issue. I’m always happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior

Jack

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