Friday, February 9, 2018
X-men Supreme Issue 164: Crimes Against Inhumanity Part 3 PREVIEW!
The most compelling villains are the ones with a vision. Part of what makes villains like Magneto so intriguing is the understanding that he doesn’t just do what he does, taking over entire countries or holding the world hostage with an asteroid attack, for personal gain. He genuinely believes that his vision for the world will do the most good for mutants, the X-men, and everyone who has been oppressed. Given some of the things that have happened to him in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, can you really blame him for having such a vision?
Magneto may be missing for the moment in this fanfiction series, but the X-men have plenty of other threats to deal with. In fact, Magneto’s absence hasn’t reduced the amount of threats. It has just opened the doors for others. The Mutant Liberation Front did a lot of damage in X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. In many respects, they helped set the stage for the eventual division between the X-men and X-Force that began in X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide. However, even with all these threats, neither the X-men nor X-Force could know that there was another threat looming behind the scenes, seeking a vision of his own.
For those who know Romulus only through the X-men comics, that vision may seem strange. I don’t deny that I really changed things up for Romulus in this fanfiction series. For certain characters, that’s somewhat unavoidable. Someone like Magneto is already iconic and established. You can’t change too much about him and expect him to be the same character. With Romulus, however, there’s not nearly as much history or too many iconic moments that undermine his persona. In fact, more than a few X-men fans that I know have called Romulus a failed character.
Maybe that’s the case for the X-men comics. For X-men Supreme, though, one character’s failure is an opportunity for this fanfiction series. I’ve had a plan for Romulus since the latter part of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. No part of that plan involved following the similar path the comics did with Romulus. Other than a role for a few key moments of Wolverine’s life, there was never much vision for Romulus. His connection to the X-men, Wolverine, and everyone in between just never got fleshed out. Most importantly, though, his character never had much a vision.
That’s not the case in X-men Supreme. In the first few issues of Crimes Against Inhumanity, I’ve established that Romulus isn’t just someone who has been manipulating Wolverine all his life and run the mysterious organization, White Cell, which I introduced way back in X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers. He’s a very old man with a very ambitious vision. He’s a warrior who only knows how to fight wars.
All that fighting, though, has left him broken and hallow. He’s ready to stop fighting. He’s ready to end it all and he’s willing to use Wolverine, his own son, to do it. It’s a bold vision that seems so impossible to most, but with White Cell, X-Force, and centuries of experience, Romulus is in a position to do it. He has already showed the power of his army in the Unholy Man arc. Now, he’s ready for a much larger attack. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the extent of that attack and just how far Romulus is willing to push it.
“Warning. Atmosphere anomalies detected. Signal output below 30 percent. Psionic uplink compromised. Initiating defense protocols.”
The blaring alarm was the latest in a series of warning signs that further frustrated Romulus. The disturbance on the surface clearly hadn’t panned out. The elite units were still offline and the alpha unit wasn’t checking in. While Romulus maintained control of X-Force, he had to divide his attention between keeping them uncomfortable and continuing his vision.
“These disruptions are becoming quite annoying,” said Romulus as he wrestled with jumbled signals, “Regardless of what your friends did to my elite forces, this sudden change in weather is starting to slow my operation.”
“That would be my ex-girlfriend and Warpath’s pseudo-girlfriend raining on your little parade here,” said Wolverine, grinning through the pain.
“Pseudo-girlfriend?” grunted Warpath.
“Be thankful, Warpath. That’s as polite as Wolverine vill be vith you,” commented Nightcrawler.
“You think this will stop my attack? My warriors have sufficient protocols to guide them through their respective missions,” said Romulus, “It should give me plenty of time to clean up this mess you clearly brought with you.”
“You’re giving yourself too much credit, Romulus. Clearly, you’re not as in control as you think you are!” scolded Cyclops, who vehemently resisted the paralysis, “It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been planning this. Just look at what you’re doing! Is it really war you hate? Or is it not being able to control the outcome?”
Romulus’s scowl hardened as he worked swiftly to ensure his warriors could handle themselves while he took care of this inconvenience. They couldn’t coordinate properly if these disruptions continued. With growing frustration, he turned away from the core and narrowed his gaze on Cyclops.
“My age may have made me a patient man, but even I have limits,” said Romulus firmly, “Your resistance as well as your attitude has worn on my last nerve!”
“Welcome to my world, paps,” commented Wolverine, “It’s about time Summers put that charming personality of his to good use.”
“That may be the nicest thing Wolverine has ever said to me,” made Cyclops, “That proves how little control I have over him. And if you made your warriors in his image, what chance do you have?”
“You speak of control as if I don’t already have it,” seethed Romulus, “You think with all this time I don’t have a firm grip on my own vision? If so, then allow me to prove you wrong.”
Romulus raised his gauntlet and clenched his fist and issued a series of commands to psionic substance that controlled the X-Force leader’s body. Despite Cyclops’s fierce resistance, he found himself turning his head and placing his hand on his visor. He was now staring directly at Angel, who was kneeling right next to him. As Cyclops felt this, a new wave of horror came over him.
“No! I won’t…let you…use me!” he seethed, resisting with all his might.
“You don’t have a choice. Not anymore,” said the old warrior.
“Uh…Cyclops, I don’t mean to add any extra pressure, but could you at least try apologizing?” said Angel warily.
“It’s too late for penance. You’ve no one to blame but yourselves,” seethed Romulus.
Despite his best efforts, Cyclops couldn’t prevent what happened next. Under Romulus’s control, he fired an optic blast that hit Angel dead on. It hit him so hard that it blew him across the lab and into one of the examination tables they had been lying on earlier. Due to the setting on his visor, it was sure to leave him seriously injured.
“NOOOOO!” exclaimed Cyclops as he fired the blast.
“Angel!” exclaimed Emma as she watched on in horror.
“You son-of-a-bitch!” yelled Wolverine.
It was Cyclops’s worst fears taking form and substance. He couldn’t control his powers and someone he cared about got hurt as a result. He was left feeling so sick that he tried to throw up, but his paralyzed body wouldn’t let him. The X-Force leader’s resistance collapsed and he fell to his hands and knees, leaving Romulus utterly vindicated.
“He’ll live…for now,” said Romulus stoically, “I believe I’ve made my point.”
“Yeah…you’ve proved you’re a total asshole!” yelled Hellion.
“That’s not helping, Julian!” scorned Warpath.
“What difference does it make?” argued Domino, “He has control. He can use us however he wants.”
“Is zhat how it’s going to end, Romulus? You’ll have us do zhe dirty work so you don’t have to?” questioned Nightcrawler angrily, “If so, zhen I don’t see much honor in it!”
“I wasn’t planning on ending you. I was planning on having you witness the world that would emerge from the ashes of this battle,” Romulus replied, “But since you insist on being so arrogant, I’ve changed my mind.”
Bringing controversial characters like Romulus into X-men Supreme is always tricky. Twisting the history, connections, and backstories of other more established characters is even trickier. I’ve already done plenty of that with characters like Mystique. Chances are I’ll be doing plenty more of it as this fanfiction series continues to evolve. I know that carries risks for X-men fans, but I’m willing to take those risks in order to make X-men Supreme as awesome as I want it to be. In order to ensure those risks are paying off, though, I need feedback. Please take the time to tell me what you think of how I’ve been handling the tweaks to X-men Supreme. Either contact me directly or post your comments in each issue. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!