Friday, February 3, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide PREVIEW!

The end is upon us. I’m sure a lot of people have been saying those words over the past couple weeks. I say it only because it applies to upcoming conclusion of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. For the purposes of this fanfiction series, I hope to keep it in that context. I want X-men Supreme to be a reprieve from the harshness of reality and not a reminder. Given the recent events in X-men Supreme, going all the way back to the initial attacks by the Mutant Liberation Front, that’s going to be a challenge.

The X-men are in the midst of the greatest upheaval since the Uprising arc back in X-men Supreme Volume 1: Mutant Revolution. The Brotherhood of Mutants is gone. The entire nation of Genosha has been abandoned, courtesy of a fateful decision made by Havok during the Proactive Regression arc. The X-men, President Kelly, General Grimshaw, and everyone in between are scrambling for answers. There’s so much uncertainty about what this means for humans, mutants, and the world as a whole.

It was during this extremely vulnerable time that Stryfe launched one final attack on the X-men. In many ways, X-men Supreme Issue 147: Vengeful Anarchy marked the final victory for the Mutant Liberation Front. While he didn’t succeed at unleashing his attack on an anxious world, he did manage to work with Avalanche just enough to destroy the Xavier Institute. Now, the X-men aren’t just without answers. They’re without a home as well.

This puts Charles Xavier in a difficult position, but one that he’s uniquely equipped to confront. Unlike past upheavals, Xavier can do much more than just act as a mentor and a guide. The events of the Outer Limits healed both his legs and his mind, which had been ravaged by various health issues from aggressive cancer to crippling addiction. He now has as healthy as he’s ever been in both mind and body. This means he has the energy to do more than he ever dared before. This is what will set the stage for the biggest upheaval to date in X-men Supreme.

Professor Charles Xavier is about to make a decision that will change the X-men forever. He’s prepared to cross lines and compromise principles to an extent that he’s never dared before. In doing so, he will risk alienating his X-men in ways once thought unthinkable. He’s already on shaky ground with some, namely Cyclops and Wolverine, who aren’t too thrilled with his recent shifts in rhetoric. The rest of the X-men have their own concerns. They know to some extent that there will be changes. The question is just how profound will these changes be?

The final issue of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation will start to answer some of those questions. I don’t doubt for a second that some X-men fans aren’t going to like those answers. Charles Xavier is putting his credibility as the visionary behind the X-men on the line here. I expect some X-men fans, especially those who haven’t been thrilled with recent events in the X-men comics, will be quite anxious about this. Rest assured, I intend to proceed carefully with this latest upheaval. It’s going to shake the foundations of X-men Supreme, but in a way I feel will make this fanfiction series better. As always, I’ve prepared a preview that should offer a hint as to what kind of upheaval the X-men have before them.

Scott turned to this middle-aged holy man, amazed that he could smile at a time like this. He gazed up at the stain-glass window that dominated the front of his church. It was the window with an image of a crucified Christ imposed over a pair of DNA strands. He seemed to understand how bad it was for mutants. Yet he showed no reservations about his role in this struggle. It was a certainty that Scott couldn’t help but envy.

“You almost sound optimistic,” said Scott, “Or did you not see that graffiti on the front of your church calling all mutants the anti-Christ?”

“It’s nothing a new layer of paint can’t fix,” shrugged Father Hansen, still in good humor.

“Do you think there’s an easy fix for what’s happening with mutants right now? I’m sure you’ve heard the news. Professor Xavier is merging the X-men with the Mutant Security Agency. He’s ditching the whole teaching-confused-mutants-to-use-their-powers part of his dream and focusing entirely on policing mutants…although I doubt policing will be the only duty.”

“I’m well-aware of what Charles Xavier has announced. I had to cancel my sermon this morning because my congregation was so eager to discuss their uncertainties.”

“Wish I could have been around to listen. I’m sure a lot of people were angry about it.”

“Anger wouldn’t be the right word. Fear wouldn’t be appropriate either,” said Father Hansen, “I don’t think any one word describes the current state of affairs. This change in policy is more a source of confusion. I don’t think anyone knows what to make of it.”

Scott’s demeanor sank again. It seemed nobody had a firm grasp of what was going on. The X-men as they knew it was falling apart. The mutant conflict was changing in ways that nobody could keep up with. It put Scott in a very difficult position.

“That’s where I get stuck,” sighed Scott, “The problem is I do understand where Professor Xavier is coming from. The X-men have been fighting against all these threats. We never needed government authority. Just being heroes was enough.”

“Overcoming great obstacles is rarely that simple,” said Father Hansen.

“I didn’t buy into it because it was a quick fix. I understood there would be hardships. I was always willing to endure them because Professor Xavier taught me to never lose sight of our principles. At times, I did have concerns. But I never doubted the man. He always did the right thing even when it wasn’t easy or popular.”

“It sounds like what he’s doing now is quite difficult,” Father Hansen commented, “What makes you think it isn’t right?”

“Because he’s compromising his principles for the sake of politics!” said Scott, getting more worked up, “He’s giving the X-men over to the people who have been a big part of the problem!”

“You don’t think that working with the authorities will make them less a problem?”

“I think working with the authorities will negate much of what the X-men stand for,” the X-leader clarified, “This plan is arrogant, risky, and potentially dangerous…turning the dream into a wing of the government. I can take risky and dangerous, but arrogance? From Charles Xavier? I just can’t accept that!”

Scott was almost shouting at this point. The church was empty so his voice echoed through the pews. It reinforced the frustration and doubt that had consumed him. He was so worked up that he had to stand up and step away for a moment. Father Hansen remained seated, his compassionate gaze never leaving the X-leader.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” he said in a calmer tone, “I’ve tried talking to the Professor, but he’s already made up his mind. He’s going through with this Mutant Monitoring Initiative.”

“What about your fellow X-men? Do they feel the same way?” asked Father Hansen.

“They have their concerns, but they all seem to agree. The Professor has convinced them that this will work out. Even my girlfriend is starting to buy into it.”

“But you are not,” said the priest, “You know it to be wrong. Of this, you have no doubt?”

“I wish I did. It would be easier,” groaned the X-leader.

“It would be easier, yes. But it wouldn’t be right now, would it?” he reminded.

“Guess we can never know that,” grumbled Scott, “Not when everything is this complicated.”

“I disagree. I’ve never bought into the notion that circumstance changes what is right and what is wrong. That isn’t just because I’m a man of God. That’s because I’ve experienced enough circumstances to see that no matter how blurred certain lines become, they never completely disappear. They’re difficult to grasp for a reason. You can’t always use logic to identify them. It takes real heart to see what others cannot.”

Scott was still silent, gazing off into space while he mused over these problems. Father Hansen got up and approached him. His spirit was being pulled in so many different directions, yet it was still intact. That told Father Hansen everything he needed to know about Scott Summers.

“I know my opinion on this matter is not relevant,” he went on, “I have my place in this conflict. I already know the role my church will play. I can tell you don’t know your place yet, but perhaps that’s because you haven’t considered every option.”

“What do you mean? What other option could there be?” asked Scott.

“That’s something you’ll have to figure out. I’ll only add that the options we tend to overlook are the ones that require the most sacrifice. Jesus understood that. Abraham, Moses, Mohammed, and the Buddha all understood it as well. That’s what makes them holy. They know the true value of sacrifice. When you know what’s right in your heart, it’s the only option that has meaning.”

It was a powerful and distressing prospect. Scott had already sacrificed a lot. He sacrificed control of his abilities. He sacrificed his life for the woman he loved. He lived a life that constantly required sacrifice and now he was trapped in a dilemma for which there was no clear solution. He could either compromise everything he came to embrace or sacrifice his place in a world he had come to love.

Father Hansen left him to his thoughts, having nothing else to say. Scott soon found himself alone again. The church was dark and quiet, like the calm before a major storm. The X-leader looked up at special statue of the cross. The idea of sacrifice was starting to sink in. It opened the door to an option he once never dared contemplate.

‘Sacrifice...maybe that’s what I’m missing. I can’t be a holy man or call upon divine powers, but I can still lead when there’s a mission on the line. I can’t keep waiting for Professor Xavier to come to his senses. This is one mission I’ll have to take care of on my own. I know I said I wouldn’t resort to praying, but I’ll say it anyways. God help us all.’

I’ve said before that I want X-men Supreme to be an outlet for X-men fans who are dissatisfied with the current direction of the X-men comics. I still mean that. I still have every intention of developing the X-men Supreme fanfiction series with that sentiment in mind. However, I know I’m taking a chance here by putting X-men Supreme through this kind of upheaval. For a while, it may not sit well with some fans. I would ask those fans to trust that I have a plan in place for this fanfiction series. I have every intention of making that plan work. It’s a plan that I believe will make X-men Supreme more awesome down the line.

As such, I still want to hear from my readers. I want to reassure them as best I can without spoiling the future of this fanfiction series. Please take the time to send me your comments and feedback. Either contact me directly or post comments in the comments section of each issue. I’m always happy to chat with X-men fans, anxious or otherwise. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


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