Friday, June 23, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 153: Youth Revolt PREVIEW!

The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is entering a tenuous period. The first few issues of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided have established a very different, very divided status quo for Charles Xavier, the X-men, and their new competition, X-Force. Led by Cyclops and Wolverine, X-Force opposes the Mutant Monitoring Initiative that Charles Xavier crafted with President Kelly and General Grimshaw. They believe that this initiative means Xavier has compromised his dream and X-Force is trying to preserve that dream. Xavier is just as convinced that the Mutant Monitoring Initiative will benefit humans and mutants alike.

It’s a tough situation, one that has already tested both the X-men and X-Force. The first major arc of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, Volatility Sensibility, had both teams clash over a mutant struggling with a potent combination of bad luck and volatile powers. It’s the kind of conflict the X-men have dealt with throughout this fanfiction series and with much fewer complications. From Rogue’s arrival in X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit to Kitty Pryde’s recruitment in X-men Supreme Issue 16: Pryde and Prejudice, these kinds of conflicts are supposed to be easy for the X-men.

That’s not the case anymore, though. The simple act of helping a troubled mutant has become a lot more complicated. Charles Xavier understands this more than most. Cyclops, Wolverine, and the rest of X-Force understand it as well. They just see vastly different implications for the future of humans and mutants alike. In the grand scheme of things, Volatility Sensibility was a minor conflict involving one unlucky mutant, Nitro. Given how much the X-men and X-Force struggled with that issue, it doesn’t bode well for the larger conflicts that lay ahead. Some of those conflicts are already unfolding and within familiar places.

At the end of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation, the X-men underwent a major shift in their team lineup. Two of the X-men’s youngest members, Iceman and Shadowcat, left the team to join Emma Frost’s Academy of Tomorrow. They made their debut in this fanfiction series back in X-men Supreme Issue 104: School Daze and were supposed to represent a simpler form of heroics, the kind the X-men used to practice during their earliest days. After the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, though, their purpose has changed. The Academy of Tomorrow has become a dumping ground for troubled mutants, much to the dismay of its founder, Emma Frost.

While Emma is fighting the changes to her school with X-Force, the rest of her students are about to take matters into their own hands. As the X-men and X-Force struggle to adopt to the changes imposed by the Mutant Monitoring Imitative, another conflict is emerging within the walls of the Academy. Being veteran X-men, Iceman and Shadowcat are about to don their uniforms again. What they and their younger cohorts in X-Factor uncover will have major implications for X-men Supreme moving forward. Some of the danger will be familiar to X-men fans. Some will be very different. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of just how different/familiar those implications will be.

“Can’t escape like this. I won’t outrun a mosquito, let alone the MSA,” he groaned.

Beak panted heavily, hoping that the discomfort would pass. As it lingered, time was ticking by. For all he knew, Sunfire had informed Emma Frost and Dr. Nemesis. They in turn would inform the MSA. He couldn’t afford to be caught. The only way he stood a chance was if he took another outrageous risk. Looking at the vials of Kick in his suitcase, he could think of only one option.

“Fuck it! Watered down or not, I need a boost,” said the ailing mutant.

With shaky hands, Beak retrieved one of the vials. Through labored breaths, he reached for a syringe that he kept under his bed. Without checking the needle or cleaning it, he drew a full dose. He was prepared to inject it, but he hesitated for a moment.

He remembered what this stuff did to him against Rockslide. He originally took a dose just to make sure it was real. It gave him the strength to lay out a mutant that was bigger, stronger, and tougher than he was. He would need that kind of strength to escape.

“Here goes nothing,” Beak groaned.

He was about to stick the needle in his arm when he heard an ominous snikt behind his door. The next thing he knew, his bedroom door was sliced open and kicked in. It started him so much that he nearly dropped the needle. As he clutched it firmly, he turned to see a very unnerving sight outside his bedroom.

“See how much time we save when we skip knocking?” growled X-23 as she entered the room.

“Point taken. I’ll save it for bathrooms and Emma Frost’s office only,” said Hellion as he followed her.

“I think we got the message across,” said Iceman, his body now covered in an ice shell, “Barnell Bohusk, we need to talk.”

“By talk he means drop the needle be smart,” said Shadowcat, who wore a new variation of her X-men uniform.

In an instant, the Beak’s discomfort was overshadowed by dread. His outburst on the softball field wasn’t exactly subtle. In a school with two former X-men, this made him a target in more ways than he expected.

There was nothing subtle about this intrusion. The team arrived in full force. X-23 led Hellion, Iceman, Magma, Shadowcat, and Colossus right to Beak’s room. Along the way, they linked up with Sunspot, Cannonball, Surge, Mirage, and Metldown. They were all in their old X-Factor uniforms, including their masks. If this was as volatile as they were led to believe, then they were going to confront it as a team. Such a strong show of force put Beak in an even more desperate position.

“Don’t let the costumes fool you, Beak. We’re not here to fight,” said Cannonball as he emerged from behind.

“Listen to him,” urged Iceman, “You’ll save us all a world of trouble.”

“Trust me, you want that,” said X-23 in a threatening tone, “I can already smell what’s in that syringe! It’s Mutant Growth Hormone, isn’t it?”

“How…how do you know about that?” demanded Beak.

“That’s for me to know and you to forget,” she barked, “Now do your limbs a favor and drop the damn needle!”

Her commands were harsh, more so than X-Factor would have liked. Iceman, Shadowcat, and Colossus couldn’t help but cringe. It was exactly the kind of provocation they didn’t need.

“It’s just like working with Wolverine again,” commented Colossus.

“Oye, this won’t end well,” groaned Shadowcat.

“Ten bucks says he doesn’t give up the needle,” said Meltdown.

“No deal. I can see where this is going,” said Sunspot.

X-23 wasn’t about to wait for an answer and Beak wasn’t given much time to consider it. As she clenched her fists in anticipation, Beak closed his eyes and jammed the needle into his arm, injecting the drug in the process. As soon as the reddish fluid entered his system, it had an immediate affect.

“Oh no you don’t!” growled X-23 as she lunged for Beak.

“No Laura! Don’t!” exclaimed Hellion.

There was no stopping her. The former living weapon followed her battle-hardened instincts, lunging towards Beak in an all-out attack. She had every intention of subduing him regardless of the wounds it would incur. However, she wasn’t the only one acting on instinct.

Just as X-23’s claws were within inches of Beak, he got up and revealed that the extra dose of Kick had a more profound effect. He made this effect painfully appearance as he took a deep breath and let out an ear-splitting screech that was coupled with a concussive wave of force.

“GO AWWWWAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!” he roared through the sonic assault.

“Arrgghhh!” X-23 cried out as she was blown back by the force.

“My ears!” exclaimed Surge.

“That’s a new trick,” groaned Mirage.

“Just like old times indeed,” groaned Iceman.

The powerful noise was incapacitated X-Factor. They were all forced to cover their ears and fall back. In addition, they had to get out of the way of the concussive blast. Beak’s roar was so loud that it blew a ten-foot hole in the wall, breaking lights and shattering his own desk in the process.

Hellion tried to divert some of the shrapnel with telekinesis while catching X-23. This didn’t prevent some from incurring some light wounds in addition to the assault on their ears. It was an impressive show of force from a mutant who wasn’t known for it.

“Damn! That’s more like it,” said Beak upon halting his assault, “No way that shit was watered down.”

“What? Is he saying something?” exclaimed Cannonball, still rubbing his ears.

“I think he just told us to piss off, but I’m not sure,” said Shadowcat, whose ears were bleeding.

Shadowcat, Iceman, and Colossus struggled to reorient themselves along with the rest of X-Factor. Their ears were reeling, but they didn’t need to hear in order to understand what was going on. They could see what was happening with Beak.

In addition to a new skill, the drug he just injected was giving him a new appearance. The veins in his neck and arms weren’t just throbbing. They were growing. His muscle mass increased three-fold, going from a somewhat scrawny teenager to a heavily muscled young man. In addition to his muscles his skin changed in a profound way, forming a thick layer gray feathers. This layer of feathers extending to his face, making it so he looked like a perfect half-man/half-bird.

The once obscure mutant was seething with a new rush of energy. This change in his body and his powers quickly filled him with a new mentality. He was no longer the feeble freak that his parents threw away. He was his own creature and nobody was going to push him around any more. With X-Factor still dazed, he secured the remaining doses of Kick and closed his suitcase.

“I didn’t want to make a scene, but I’m glad you guys made it necessary,” Beak taunted, “You have no idea how hard it was to get this shit.”

“Whatever you’re planning, I’m pretty sure it’s a mistake,” said Iceman.

“Says you!” scoffed Beak, “This stupid initiative gives you guys plenty to look forward to. But for guys like me, I got nothing! I don’t give a damn if it is breaking the law. I’m making my own law from here on out!”

As I develop the story around a divided X-men, there will be numerous plots and conflicts to manage. This may very well be the most complicated this fanfiction series has ever become. I knew in the early days, going back to X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers, that the stories I had planned would add complications. I’ve tried to minimize them so that X-men Supreme doesn’t become as bloated as the X-men comics. It has been difficult and X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided marks my biggest challenge to date.

As such, it’s vital that I continue to get more feedback from readers. I need to know whether I’m managing this challenge well or screwing up completely. Whether you’re a die-hard X-men fan or just a casual observer, I want to hear from you. This site has been subject to an annoying amount of spammers lately. I’d like to hear from actual readers so I don’t have to sift through so much crap. Either contact me directly or post your comments directly in the issue. I’ll try to find a way to filter out the spam. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!



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