Friday, July 14, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 154: Reaching Out PREVIEW!

I take it everyone has had a chance to exercise their inner Spider-Man fan with the recent release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. I hope you’re now ready to be X-men fans again with the X-men Supreme fan fiction series. Spider-Man can enjoy his time in the limelight. X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided will continue and, much like Peter Parker, the X-men can’t expect to catch a break. After the plot revealed in X-men Supreme Issue 153: Revolting Youth, the X-men are in for a much greater challenge.

The breadth of this challenge was hinted at just a few issues ago in the Volatility Sensibility arc. That conflict revealed, among other things, that the X-men and X-Force are still struggling to adapt to the Mutant Monitoring Initiative that Charles Xavier implemented at the end of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. Beyond just being divided, there were already signs that Xavier and his X-men weren’t on the same page as General Grimshaw and Captain Freeman.

If the X-men and X-Force struggled to stop a single mutant with volatile powers, something the X-men have done with far fewer complications going all the way back to X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit, then they’re in trouble. How are both teams going to function when they face a much bigger threat? In a sense, the X-men have been pretty lucky since the end X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. There’s no Mutant Liberation Front, Magneto, or Sinister to threaten them. The Brotherhood of Mutants is still at large, but they’ve effectively disappeared since the disillusion of Genosha. It made for a rare moment for the X-men, one in which they lacked a clear and direct enemy.

That’s about to change because some of their enemies have been active, albeit in a very secretive manner. One enemy that has remained unseen for quite some time is Sebastian Shaw. After being severely wounded in the events of the Phoenix Saga, he made a clear recovery at the end of the Dark Legacy arc in X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. Given his ties to characters like Sage and organizations like the Inner Circle, it was only a matter of time before he entered the picture again.

Well, given the events so far in X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, his timing couldn’t be better. Shaw already showed that he’s been hard at work on a new project, a part of which X-Factor uncovered in X-men Supreme Issue 153: Revolting Youth. Shaw and his cohorts have been working on something modern X-men fans should be quite familiar with in Mutant Growth Hormone, also known as Kick. This potent cocktail of mutant chaos has caused a lot of damage in the X-men comics. Now, it’s about to cause even more in this fanfiction series.

This is a bad time for things to get tougher in the world of X-men Supreme. The divisions between the X-men and X-Force leave both sides vulnerable and Sebastian Shaw knows how to exploit vulnerabilities better than anyone. However, he won’t be doing it alone. There will be other threats to aid him, the kind the X-men have faced before. I would love to tease more, but I’ll leave that to the extended preview.

“My son! Is he…” said the woman breathlessly as she ran alongside Jean.

“He’s fine!” assured Jean, “Can’t believe that son-of-a-bitch would…”

“Jean!” said Shiro, who was still standing on the curb, “Vargas is escaping! I’m going after him!”

“I’ll catch up! Feel free to burn his ass off!”

“Duly noted!” said Shiro as he took off running.

Everything happenedvery quickly. As soon as Jean dropped her telekinetic hold on Vargas, he ran full speed down the opposing street. He shoved through some bewildered civilians in the process, intent on getting away no matter who he put in danger. Shiro ran after him to catch up. He was surprised that a junkie could run so fast. Then again, he might not be an ordinary junkie. Someone who dealt MGH was bound to have a few surprises.

The chase ensued for another four city blocks. The narrow roads around Fenway Park soon gave way to congested avenues near the Massachusetts Turnpike. Since it was the middle of the day, there were a fair amount of people on the sidewalks. Both Vargas and Shiro had to shove them aside. Having already shown a willingness to attack a mother and her child, it was a dangerous situation that needed to be stopped.

“I’ve run in the Boston marathon. You will not escape!” yelled Shiro.

Vargas panted heavily as he heard Shiro catching up. He tried knocking over a few trash cans and pushing over some tables around an outside restaurant to slow him down. It wasn’t enough. Shiro just used his fire powers to burn right through it.

He could literally feel the heat gaining on him. His frail body was failing him. His poor physical condition was catching up to him. He was nearing another busy crosswalk where there was no shortage of people he could throw in front of cars. However, Shiro wouldn’t allow it. He literally dived out and tackled him to the hard pavement.

“Argh!” exclaimed Vargas as he fell flat on his face, losing a tooth in the process.

“That’s enough of that, Mr. Vargas,” said Shiro, now holding him by the legs, “You’ve added reckless endangerment to your list of crimes. Do not add any more.”

Vargas groaned as he struggled within Shiro’s grip. He looked back and saw the Japanese mutant flash a few menacing flames around his head. He could easily burn him until he cooperated. Vargas was in no condition to endure it so he made another desperate move.

“I didn’t want to do this, but once again I’m too weak,” he said shamefully.

With Shiro still holding onto his legs, Vargas reached into the pocket in his sweat-jacket and pulled out a small syringe. It was already filled with a reddish fluid. As soon as Shiro saw it, his eyes widened.

“You’re…a mutant?” exclaimed Shiro.

“I wish,” muttered Vargas.

Closing his eyes, the young man jammed the syringe into his abdomen. Shiro tried to knock it away from him, but it was too late. The drug was in his system. The effect was almost immediate.

His once frail arms bulged with new muscle, indicating a new strength. Vargas seethed as the substance coursed through his system. At the same time, he noticed a fire hydrant to his left. Without hesitation, he slammed his arm right into the side. The metal was quickly warped under the sudden, causing a hole that shot out a high-pressure stream of water that engulfed Shiro and several surrounding civilians.

“Ugh!” grunted Shiro, his flames extinguished by the water.

Being blasted with water caused Shiro to release his grip on Vargas. As soon as he was free, Vargas stumbled back to his feet and ran out into the street. He happened to step right in front of a taxi cab, who promptly slammed on the breaks. Vargas showed his new strength by slamming his fist onto the hood of the car, causing the whole car to shake.

“Holy shit! What’s with your arm?’ the man exclaimed.

“Get out!” he told the driver.

The driver didn’t need to be threatened any further. He quickly stumbled out from the driver’s seat and ran as fast as he could across the street. With his muscles still bulging, Vargas got into the driver’s seat. Before he took off, he slammed his fist into the dashboard to knock out the cab equipment and GPS. He didn’t need anyone tracking him to his next destination.

“I’m coming, my queens. I will atone for this,” Vargas proclaimed.

Shiro was just emerging from the still gushing torrent of water when Vargas drove off. The tires screeched as he drove over a curb and out into the main avenue, causing a couple of minor fender benders in the process. Within seconds he was out of sight and there was no chance of catching him. Now soaked and unable to use his fire powers, Shiro could only watch as Vargas escaped.

The civilians around him swarmed around the accidents and the broken fire hydrant. Nearby police officers turned their attention to the cars in the street that had collided in confusion. It was a lot of damage for one junkie to cause. In Shiro’s mind, this man wasn’t a junkie. He was something much worse.

‘Whoever these mistresses are, they must have quite a hold on him. I wonder if they also gave him that dose of Kick. If he wasn’t a mutant, it should have killed him…unless there’s something else we’re messing.’

It was a frustrating outcome. This might have been their only lead to Sebastian Shaw and whoever else was involved. They had a name now, but if Vargas was as determined as he seemed then he would not be easy to find. They would need another approach and another stroke of luck.

Shiro groaned and bowed his head in frustration, ignoring the commotion around him from civilians and police. He was about to contact Jean Grey and see how she was doing. Then something on the ground caught his eye. While he was holding onto Vargas, some stuff fell out of his pocket. Among them was a fancy-looking business card with a distinct logo on the cover. When he picked it up and read the name on it, his frustration turned to intrigue.

‘Shiro! Are you there? The lady and her baby are safe, although the driver of the car is pissed. What’s happening on your end? Did you catch Vargas?’

Jean Grey’s urgent thoughts echoed loudly in his mind. However, Shiro barely heard them. He was too fixated on the card he not held in his hand.

‘Shiro? Please don’t be hurt or something!’

‘I’m fine Jean,’ he replied through his mind, ‘Vargas got away. He proved more cunning than expected.’

‘Damn it! He was our only lead. There may still be time to track him! I can call the Professor and he can get the MSA to…’

‘That might not be necessary, Jean. Vargas has already provided us with another tantalizing clue.’

‘What do you mean?’

Shiro was silent for a moment. This mystery surrounding MGH kept taking unexpected turns. With each revelation, the threat it posed grew more terrifying.

‘Tell me, Jean…does the name Wynegarde mean anything to you?’

Things are going to get a lot tougher for the X-men before they start improving. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is in a state of upheaval right now. There are clear divisions, obstacles, and complications. It’s all building towards something, that much I can promise. Like previous volumes of X-men Supreme, I want that payoff to be great. As such, it’s important that I continue to receive feedback from X-men Supreme readers. Whether you’re a fan of the cartoons or comics, I want to hear from you. Either contact me directly or post your comments in the issue. I always try to respond to every email sent my day so please don’t be shy. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


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