Friday, October 27, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 159: Unholy Man Part 1 PREVIEW!

In ever medium of X-men, the team deals with a wide variety of enemies, some more eccentric than others. Those enemies include other mutants like Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, humans like Reverend William Stryker, mad scientists like Sinister, killer robots like the Sentinels, and even uniquely deranged figures like Mojo. I’ve tried to incorporate as many as I can throughout X-men Supreme. I like to think this fanfiction series has done plenty to accommodate those iconic villains, even the weird ones like Mojo.

However, certain villains bring more drama to the X-men mythos than others and I want to crank up that drama in X-men Supreme. While some of the X-men’s villains leave their mark by being powerful and imposing, others present a different challenge. It’s one thing to take on Magneto and Juggernaut. It’s quite another to fight an enemy that hits the X-men with ideas that directly oppose Charles Xavier’s dream. More often than not, those threats come from humans and not other mutants.

Going all the way back to events in X-men Supreme Volume 1: Mutant Revolution, the X-men have faced anti-mutant sentiment from men like Robert Kelly. While his attitudes towards mutants became more tempered after being elected President of the United States in X-men Supreme Issue 71: Election Day, others are incapable of that kind of reform. When pushed to extremes, they’ll cross lines that even men like Magneto won’t attempt.

That’s where Reverend William Stryker comes in. Beyond being a recurring villain in the X-men movies, he’s established himself as the leading voice in anti-mutant zealotry in X-men Supreme. Beginning in X-men Supreme Issue 51: Stirring Outrage, Reverend Stryker has gone to great lengths to try and spark anti-mutant hostilities. He often does it under the guise of religion, not unlike real extremists. However, his resources and his willingness to use them are what makes him such a dangerous enemy to the X-men.

For a time, the danger posed by Reverend Stryker seemed to be a low priority. Between the Mutant Liberation Front and the Mutant Monitoring Initiative that followed, his efforts have been overshadowed in recent times. That’s about to change in a major way that will shake the X-men to their core. Stryker already found himself falling out of favor, thanks to the rising influence of General Grimshaw. However, desperation and frustration will make dangerous men do horrible things.

That’s why his return is going to present a great deal of trouble for the X-men. What he does and why he does it will act as a catalyst for the next major conflict in this fanfiction series. X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, has been steadily escalating the tensions. It’s not just between the X-men and X-Force either. Charles Xavier’s dream is about to take on a very profound complication and Reverend William Stryker is going to be the catalyst. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the unholy conflict that's about to unfold.

“Can we go yet?” said an impatient Laurie.

“Hey, show some respect,” said Jubilee with a scold, “This is important to Idie. Therefore, it’s important to us.”

Laurie shifted uncomfortably. She had never been much of a church-goer. She never intended to start even after her mutant powers completely unhinged her life. As part of her new life with Jubilee in District X, she was doing plenty of uncomfortable activities she never thought she would do.

That involved joining the others in a visit to the Church of Humanity for a full mass. After sitting through the procession, they stayed after to meet with Father Hansen privately. They had plenty to talk about and even though Laurie had been reluctant, she gave it a chance.

In wake of the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, the Church of Humanity became more active than ever. Some of it was positive. Father Hansen saw his audiences grow over the past few months. New mutants facing hardships under this initiative needed guidance and comfort. Even regular people were joining his congregation, sometimes out of curiosity and sometimes out of spite.

There were plenty of instances where some voiced concerns about the direction humans and mutants were heading. Some were a lot more vocal than others. It never changed Father Hansen’s message that God had a plan for mutants and humans alike.

For Idie, Teon, Kenji, Gabriel, Laurie, and Jubilee, it was hard to grasp that plan. After recovering from Shaw’s influence, they started new lives in District X. Jubilee was their leader of sorts. She called them the Lights of District X because they were tasked with inspiring mutants that were doubtful of their future. Having overcome the worst of Shaw’s influence, they were in a position to inspire others.

“Peace,” said Teon as he mimicked Idie’s gestures.

“Very good, Teon. I’m surprised you didn’t try to eat all the wafers,” said Kenji.

“Guess you’re extra training with him has paid off, Idie,” said Jubilee.

“Even a basic mind can appreciate the tenants of faith,” said Father Hansen as he blessed Teon with a casual gesture.

“That or he knows we’re getting donuts for lunch,” said Gabriel with a smirk, “That’s how my parents kept me going to church every Sunday since I was five.”

“Does that not defeat the purpose?” questioned Kenji.

“It worked, didn’t it?” shrugged Gabriel, “Sorry if that sounds underhanded, Father.”

“It’s quite alright. God is not opposed to incentives,” said the priest in good humor.

“Then I’ll try to provide more so we’ll come regularly,” said Jubilee, “Bishop was right. We need something like this after the whole Shaw fiasco. I would argue that mutants everywhere need it. I noticed the pews were more crowded today.”

“That’s probably because too many mutants placed their faith in Shaw,” said Laurie, “Guess that makes him a false prophet or something.”

“From what you’ve told me, I would say that’s an accurate description,” said Father Hansen, “That’s a common problem for those who place too much faith in a fallible man. In this case, that man was carrying a lot of sin. That’s why I believe the tragedy you experienced can become a blessing if you’re willing to have faith. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding man and God. Blessed beings like yourselves are the true lights of God’s children. Don’t ever forget that.”

Jubilee and the rest of the lights smiled at the priest’s encouragement. For all the scars left by Sebastian Shaw, it helped to have some inspiration to go by. District X and many mutants like them were still recovering from Shaw’s downfall. They needed to be inspirational as well if they were to move forward.

“We won’t, Father. You can count on that,” said Idie strongly.

“And if anyone needs convincing that Sebastian Shaw wasn’t worthy of faith, I can just show them my face,” said Kenji, who was wearing a hooded coat.

“I think you’ll do much more by convincing other mutants that there is a better path. You’re already on your way. I encourage you to stay true to it,” said Father Hansen, “Now go in peace. And send my regards to Isaac when you see him.”

“Sure thing!” said Jubilee as she let the Lights out of the church, “Thanks again for putting in some extra time for us. I hope God pays overtime.”

Father Hansen laughed as he waved goodbye to the six young mutants. He took great pride in helping mutants at a time like this. The controversy surrounding the Mutant Monitoring Initiative tested the faith of many. He didn’t take sides on the issue. He had his private views, but he left the rest in the hands of the Lord.

His church now empty, Father Hansen had some research to catch up on. As he turned back towards the front pews, he noticed a figure kneeling before the front altar that wasn’t there previously. It was an elder man in a black coat and he appeared to be praying.

“Excuse me, but my sermon is over,” he told the man.

“Forgive me, oh Holy Spirit. Cleans me of my sin,” said the man in a desperate tone.

With growing concern, Father Hansen walked up to the man. He appeared troubled in a profound way.

“Sir, are you alright? Is there something I can help you with?” asked Father Hansen.

“Indeed there is, Father,” said the man in a deep tone, “You can repent.”

The man then shot up and turned around. As he did he revealed a loaded Glock pistol. Before Father Hansen could react, he fired a single shot. The powerful echo reverberated throughout the church. Father Henson’s expression was frozen as he clutched his chest over where the bullet had struck. He then fell to the floor at the feet of the mysterious man. As he bled profusely, the man revealed himself as Reverend, William Stryker.

“You made a deal with evil, Father Hansen. You of all people should know the devil will collect his dues,” said Stryker coldly as he stood over Father Hansen’s body, “May God have mercy on your soul. Take comfort in the knowledge that you shall aid me in redeeming mine.”

After the Volatility Sensibility and Drug War arc, X-men Supreme is poised to step up the pace of the action. This fanfiction series is set to enter dangerous new territory that will challenge the X-men like never before while also introducing some familiar threats to X-men fans. At a time when the X-men comics are revisiting old threats as well, I think the timing couldn’t be better.

I still want X-men Supreme to be as awesome as it can possibly be. I’ve been working on this fanfiction series for over seven years now and I still think it has room to improve. I can’t do that without feedback from the wonderful people who take the time to read this fanfiction series. Please continue to do so by contacting me directly or posting comments in each chapter. Either way is fine and I do take feedback very seriously. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


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