Friday, November 17, 2017
X-men Supreme Issue 160: Unholy Man Part 2 PREVIEW
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but sometimes those measures can be foolish, extreme, and downright cruel. The X-men have found themselves in many situations like that over the course of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. From cosmic battles against the Phoenix Force to the global crisis with the Cambrian, the X-men are no strangers to desperation. They’ve often found a way to beat the odds against the likes of Magneto, Sinister, and the Mutant Liberation Front without resorting to extremes or cruelty. Reverend William Stryker does not share that kind of reservation.
The ongoing Unholy Man arc has put Reverend Stryker in a dangerous, albeit tragic position. He has been a major source of conflict for the X-men ever since his arrival in the District X arc back in X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope. He embodies the worst kind of religious zealotry, painting his bigotry and hatred of mutants as some sort of holy crusade. That kind of religious extremism has all sorts of painful parallels in the real world. Those are the kinds of parallels that help X-men resonate, as a story. Like real life, unfortunately, that zealotry has led to serious atrocities.
For reasons not yet clear, Reverend Stryker attacked and seriously wounded Father Ryan Hansen.
Like Stryker, Father Hansen is a man of great faith and one of the few original characters in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, alongside the likes of Captain Freeman and General Grimshaw. However, he stands in stark contrast to Reverend Stryker. Since his arrival in X-men Supreme Issue 111: Divine Intervention, he has become a close ally of the X-men. Instead of hatred and bigotry, his faith inspires hope and love between humans and mutants. While it has resonated with some mutants, including X-men like Rogue, it has only provoked men like Reverend Stryker.
His attack on Father Hansen hasn’t just hit the X-men on a personal, spiritual level. It has also revealed another looming crisis in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. It’s one that I’ve actually been building towards since the events of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. The events of Unholy Man simply represent the first shot, of sorts. In the attack that decimated Reverend Stryker’s Purifier army, this unnamed threat has made its presence known to this fanfiction series. The identity and goal of that threat is one that should inspire a mix of reactions among X-men fans. It’s also going to test the X-men, right down to their souls.
Since the beginning of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, I’ve charted a course for the X-men and their rivals in X-Force. The ongoing dissention surrounding the Mutant Monitoring Initiative remains unresolved and promises to get more heated. Charles Xavier still believes he is doing the right thing. Cyclops and Wolverine still believe they’re doing the right thing as well with X-Force. They’re about to encounter a threat that will test their beliefs and the conclusion of the Unholy Man arc is just the beginning. As always, I’ve prepared an extended preview of the unholy action that awaits.
“My god…” gasped Professor Charles Xavier as he pieced together the gruesome details from Reverend Stryker’s thoughts.
“No, Charles Xavier…this wasn’t your god,” said Stryker coldly, “Only evil could produce such carnage. Only evil tainted by your kind’s cursed blood.”
It had been a long time since Xavier had been in the middle of such a bloodied battlefield. During his travels as a young adult, he had seen many horrific scenes. Even those paled in comparison to what he saw before him. If Stryker’s twisted thoughts were accurate, then the source of such carnage utilized some ominously familiar methods.
For Phoenix, Storm, and Captain Freeman it left them feeling sick. As they followed Professor Xavier to the central area, they passed by rows upon rows of bodies. On each body, they could make out the distinct claw marks that were so familiar to them. It raised many disturbing questions that were sure to have equally disturbing answers.
“There’s no way Wolverine or X-Force did this. They couldn’t!” said Storm as she looked over the bodies.
“Maybe they wouldn’t, but I can see Weapon X doing this sort of thing every other week,” said Phoenix angrily.
“I agree. This kind of brutality is practically their business card,” said Captain Freeman as he investigated some of the bodies.
“But I thought Weapon X was finished after the death of John Wraith,” said Storm.
“It wouldn’t be the first time Weapon X defied its own demise,” said Professor Xavier as he remained focus on Reverend Stryker, “This wasn’t just a slaughter. It was a statement. Someone wanted to demonstrate their lethal capabilities.”
“And they did,” said Reverend Stryker, now standing shirtless before a pile of dead bodies, “They slaughtered my flock. To ensure their evil spreads, they spared the women and children. Their traumatized stories will fill all those who receive God’s truth with terror. It is a direct affront to God. As such, I cannot allow it to stand!”
“If you think that’s an excuse for shooting Father Hansen, then you’re worshipping the wrong God, reverend,” said Captain Freeman as he caught up with Professor Xavier.
“Don’t you dare claim to know God better than I do! I’ve endured the scars of sin. I’ve dedicated my life to repenting…not just for myself, but for all humanity. Father Hansen was just one of many false prophets that you X-men have allowed to propagate. He will burn, as well the rest of your corrupt brethren.”
“Enough with the preaching. We get it. You hate mutants,” said Phoenix, “What is shooting an innocent man and luring us here supposed to accomplish anyways?”
“I don’t think you understand what took place here,” said Storm, “There’s no need to make this tragedy any worse.”
“Shut up! I understand perfectly,” said Reverend Stryker sternly, “God tested Job with many hardships on his path to salvation. I’m nowhere near as holy as Job, but if God sees fit to test me then I shall pass with flying colors…even if it requires sacrifice!”
This man was both distraught and determined, almost to the point of madness. There was no making sense of what happened to his Purifiers. Reverend Stryker had drawn his own conclusion.
He wasn’t going to accept any aid from the X-men. It didn’t matter if attack was carried out by Weapon X or Satan himself. He was prepared to retaliate. As the emboldened holy man stood before the X-men, he took out a small device from his pocket and held it up.
“Ah hell, is that what I think it is?” groaned Phoenix.
“He’s rigged this place to blow!” exclaimed Captain Freeman, “Hurry up and…”
“Too late, X-men,” seethed Reverend Stryker, “May god have mercy on our souls!”
With this holy proclamation, Reverend Stryker pressed one of two large buttons on the device. A deafening explosion followed, shaking the mega church to its core. In an instant, chaos turned to darkness as the roof of the building came crashing down.
There are plenty of upheavals to come in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Expect plenty of action, drama, and strain. Hearts will be broken and mended. Spirits will be crushed and strengthened. The X-men are at their best when they face overwhelming odds and dramatic conflicts that test more than their strength. I intend to embody that struggle in this fanfiction series and make it as awesome as possible.
As such, it’s critical that I continue to get feedback. When I planned out X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, I did so knowing that I would be taking this fanfiction series in a controversial direction and at a time when the X-men comics are going in the opposite direction. I also did so believing that this direction would have a huge payoff at the end, one I intend to make awesome for every X-men fan. To reach that goal, I still need feedback. Either contact me directly or post comments directly in the issue. Either is fine and I’m happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!