Friday, September 30, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 142: Paranoid Paradigm PREVIEW!

What happens when the X-men disappear for six weeks? That’s a distressing question to ask. Take away X-men Supreme’s main heroes and what happens to the world? How bad can it get? It’s a disturbing question to ask, but one that has to be answered. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series took an extended trip to the cosmos with the Outer Limits arc. The X-men battled the Shi’ar, reunited with Lilandra Neramani and the Starjammers, stopped D’ken, and saved the universe. That’s all well and good, but they were gone for six weeks. A lot can happen in six weeks, especially in a world without X-men.

It’s not like the X-men left Earth in an overly-stable condition to begin with. The world is still recovering from the wave of attacks orchestrated by Toad and the Mutant Liberation Front. This has put increasing strain on the X-men’s relationship with President Kelly and General Grimshaw. While the X-men were able to stop Toad, the threat created by the Mutant Liberation Front didn’t end and the damage they caused left some scars. It certainly didn’t help that Charles Xavier had to step down from his role with the X-men to combat an addiction to pain killers, leaving the trust between the X-men and their allies tenuous state at best.

Then, there’s Genosha. How many times has a crisis come out of Genosha? It’s not enough Cameron Hodge once used this island to make Sentinels. It’s not enough it became the host for the Cambrian either. It’s not even enough that this is where the X-men had their first encounter with the Shi’ar back in X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope. Throughout the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, Genosha has been ground zero for multiple crises. This time is no exception, but for a very different set of reasons.

Genosha is a powder keg right now and for once, it has nothing to do with Magneto. Wanda Maximoff has already endured her share of struggles in running this country in her father’s absence. She actually worked with the X-men and General Grimshaw to create a treaty that would foster peace by selling Genosha’s alien Warlock technology. For a time, it worked and the X-men did their part to help make it work. Then, the Mutant Liberation Front came along and attacked. Wanda Maximoff’s half-sister, Polaris, died because of that attack. She’s already in a vulnerable state. On top of that, one of the Warlock factories on the island got blown in the Outer Limits arc, leaving Genosha vulnerable.

So what happened after the X-men’s fateful and unplanned departure that left Genosha so shocked? What happened over the course of the next six weeks and how bad did it really get? What happens when the X-men are caught up in a mission that makes them disappear for this long? These are all tough questions to ask and they tend to get overlooked in the X-men comics. I won’t be overlooking them in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. That’s why I’ll be crafting the next issue entirely around this six-week gap.

That’s right. No waiting over a year to find out what happened off-panel. X-men Supreme does things differently. It doesn’t something so callous and crude, like skipping ahead a full eight months and killing a major character off-panel. The next issue will answer that. It’ll touch on what happened with Genosha, the Scarlet Witch, Mystique, General Grimshaw, and President Kelly. It’ll also set the stage for the next major challenge in X-men Supreme. As always, I’ve prepared a preview that should offer a hint of just how bad things got in the X-men's absence.

“Mr. President, we need to formulate a measured response,” said the Secretary of State, “Genosha is operating under the assumption that the alien craft was an attack of sorts.”

“How could they possibly blame us for this?” asked one of the Joint Chiefs, “Do they think we’re in league with aliens or something?”

“It’s not as unreasonable as it sounds,” said Agent Brand, “We didn’t warn them of the incoming threat. It resulted in them losing one of their biggest Warlock facilities.”

“Which could effectively derail the recovery process we worked so hard to organize,” said the Secretary of Defense, “They’ve already ceased the export of all major Warlock components. They claim they need that technology for themselves now.”

“I’ll believe that when Congress votes against their next pay raise,” said another Joint Chief dryly.

“Forget the technology for a moment,” said President Kelly, “What did we find out about that alien ship? It wasn’t here on a sight-seeing trip. Was its sole purpose to fuck up the entire geopolitical landscape?”

“That’s doubtful, sir. These things never show up without a reason,” said Abigail Brand, who had more experience with this than anyone in the room, “From what we’ve gathered, this alien vessel was likely a rogue of sorts. We suspect it may have been damaged. That’s why it went to Genosha. SWORD concluded long ago that the Warlock technology that Magneto unlocked was alien in nature.”

“We don’t know that for sure, Agent Brand,” said the Secretary of Defense skeptically.

“It makes the most sense, which says quite a lot. This incident seems to confirm it,” said General Grimshaw, “I suspect the leadership of Genosha knows this as well, even though they’ve been coy about it.”

“If they’re aware of these aliens, why would they accuse us of plotting against them?” wondered the Secretary of State.

“Perhaps they’re afraid of losing their leverage,” surmised General Grimshaw, “They know that Warlock technology is a valuable asset. The world is becoming more dependant on it now that their technology has been plugged into the power grid. They may think we’re trying to make contact with the aliens so we can gain control this asset ourselves.”

“It would be so brilliant if it wasn’t utter hogwash,” sighed President Kelly, “Do we have any hope of convincing them that we’re not conspiring with aliens?”

“Well when you put it like that, it sounds simple,” said Agent Brand, “The problem is we’re not just dealing with Wanda Maximoff anymore. We’re dealing with Alex freakin’ Summers and he’s not nearly as reasonable.”

“For crying out loud, the kid’s a punk! How can we expect him to be reasonable?” exclaimed the Secretary of Defense.

“He’s also the younger brother of Cyclops from the X-men. He has a pedigree for this sort of thing,” General Grimshaw reminded, “He once rallied District X into a full blown riot. He knows how to lead and to provoke. We would be wise to take him seriously.”

“So then why don’t we call up the X-men and have them talk some sense into him? Don’t we still have Xavier on speed dial?” asked one of the Joint Chiefs.

“That’s where it gets a little dicey,” said Agent Brand, “I tried contacting the institute the moment that alien anomaly started heading towards Genosha. I got no answer. Then a little over a week ago, I get word from one of their former students that Xavier and his students are MIA.”

“That’s a hell of a coincidence. The X-men disappearing right after the shit hits the fan?” said the Secretary of Defense skeptically.

“I doubt it’s a coincidence. I also doubt they’re in any position to help. So I’m assuming they’ve abandoned our partnership,” said President Kelly.

The President felt both betrayed and frustrated. His patience for the X-men had been shaky long before this incident. Now it was practically shattered. He trusted Charles Xavier to be a responsible partner. Then he did irreparable harm to his credibility by getting himself hooked on pain killers.

That wasn’t just a stain on his reputation. It was a stain on the United States government. Every time they gave the X-men a chance, they found a way to slip up. This was not a situation where they could afford a wrong move.

“Mr. President, I’m compelled to remind you of all the times the X-men have come through for us,” said General Grimshaw.

“I haven’t forgotten, General,” said the President, “But I don’t have the luxury of waiting for their excuses here. The X-men are clearly caught up in something and are keeping us out of the loop. So it’s only fair that we do the same. In some ways it might be a good thing. We can show the world that we can confront mutant threats without the X-men.”

“I’m not sure if that’s optimism or cynicism, but I hope there’s a plan behind it,” said Agent Brand.

“The plan is still coming together. For now, our best bet is to show this Summers kid that he’s in over his head,” said President Kelly as he turned to his Joint Chiefs, “Get me in touch with our naval forces around Genosha. I also want a secure line to the captains of the Russian, Chinese, and British ships in the area as well. I want to tighten the hold around the island. Nothing gets in or out until this kid backs down.”

“You’re talking about a full-blown embargo,” said General Grimshaw, “Need I remind you that we tried that kind of embargo on Cuba five decades ago and we’re still waiting for it to pay off?”

“Enough with the reminders, General! I’m the President. This is my decision.”

The room fell silent. The President’s frustration had boiled over. He had been compromising and negotiating at every turn. The results were never permanent. Every resolution was more fragile than the last. He no longer had the patience to watch another compromise blow up in his face.

General Grimshaw could appreciate his sentiment. However, he had been trained to never let his frustrations cloud his judgment. Looking around the room, he saw that the President and his advisors were overwhelmed. This alien anomaly had thrown everything into chaos. The absence of the X-men only made it worse. There was nothing he could say to make the President more reasonable so he had little choice but to carry out his orders.

“I’ll get right on it, sir,” said General Grimshaw.

“I’ll organize an emergency meeting with the UN Security Council as well,” said the Secretary of State, “Should I send Genosha an invite?”

“Don’t bother. As of this moment, all diplomatic relations with Genosha will cease,” said the President, “There will be no more imports or exports from the island. We will no longer allow mutants to immigrate to the country, nor will we allow any of their residents to visit abroad.”

“Sounds like we’re getting ready to declare war,” said the Secretary of Defense.

“I’m just trying to be proactive,” he said, “I want to resolve this as quickly as possible. Between mutant threats and alien visitors, we need one less thing to worry about. Heaven forbid if some other crisis comes up to make everything worse.”

We’re at a time with X-men comics where time skips and off-panel oversights are a bit too common. I don’t want X-men Supreme to fall into those same habits. Since I began this fanfiction series, I wanted to capture the finder details that often get overlooked in the X-men comics. That means filling in time gaps and being extra careful with major character shifts. Like the comics, there will be some major upheavals with certain characters down the line, but I intend to handle these upheavals with the utmost care.

In order to do that, I need to know that I’m not screwing up. That’s where reviews and feedback come in. Make no mistake. They really are important. I take feedback and reviews very seriously. I want X-men Supreme to be as awesome as it can be. I need feedback and reviews to ensure this. So please take the time to review X-men Supreme. Either contact me directly with your comments or post them in the issue. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


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