Friday, June 15, 2018

X-men Supreme Issue 170: High Evolution Part 2 PREVIEW!

One of the biggest appeals of the X-men, whether it’s comics, movies, or cartoons, is how their fight for peace and understanding a global impact beyond saving the world from invading aliens. Sure, the X-men deal with plenty of aliens and I’ve included that in this fanfiction series with arcs like Outer Limits, but some of the X-men’s most compelling struggles occur when humans and mutants alike are impacted. X-men Supreme has had plenty of conflicts like that, Dark Legacy probably being the most profound. However, High Evolution may end up being even greater.

X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided has just begun its final major arc. The culmination of the divide that began in X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide is starting to unfold. What started as a bitter disagreement between Charles Xavier and Cyclops has become a huge liability for both the X-men and X-Force. They’ve been clashing and arguing, leading to some pretty damaging results that played out in events like Drug War and Crimes Against Inhumanity. The potential damage this time, though, is unprecedented for this fanfiction series.

Magneto is back and he’s not alone. After an absence that began at the end of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear, the Master of Magnetism has returned alongside the mysterious Dr. Wyndham, whose name should be familiar to X-men and Marvel fans, alike. He’s brought with him the ultimate failsafe to ensure the survival and prosperity of the mutant race. He calls it Asteroid M, carved out of the same asteroid that almost doomed the whole world in the Overlord arc. It’s not just a safe haven like Genosha. It’s a whole new world for mutants.

However, Magneto has never been one to limit his vision. That vision fell short with Genosha. He has no intention of making the same mistakes as Asteroid M. This time, however, he’s not looking to wage total war on the human race. He claims his vision for humans and mutants has evolved. He’s now opening that vision to other humans, provided they evolve within this new world and not just in their thinking. It’s the kind of act that promises to complicate the efforts of the X-men, General Grimshaw, and President Kelly.

It certainly doesn’t help that the world is still in a very vulnerable state, due to the events of Crimes Against Inhumanity. The damage to global defense systems have left humans and mutants alike feeling unsafe. They can no longer trust their government or the X-men to protect them anymore. Now, here comes Magneto offering a chance to escape. Given their experience with him, though, expect Professor Xavier and his X-men to be skeptical, even in their divided state.

The situation is evolving and devolving. Expect it to get worse before it gets better. Like the final arcs of every other volume in this fanfiction series, I intend to leave the world X-men Supreme forever changed by the end of this arc. I’m not just talking about a resolution to the schism between Charles Xavier and Cyclops, either. There will be huge changes, heavy losses, and massive upheavals. Once again, I’ve provided a preview of some of those changes and how the X-men will attempt to confront them.

Wanda Maximoff had a lot riding on her shoulders. She was leading both the X-men and X-Force into a trap on a planetary scale. Like many others, she heard the reports of the chaos her father’s announcement had caused. She didn’t have time to hear all the stories of determined people fighting for a spot on Asteroid M while equally determined people tried to thwart them. She assumed the chaos was part of a larger plan.

‘Once again, I’m caught in the middle of your madness, father. This time it may not even be your fault. I hope it isn’t because this is getting old. I can’t keep doing this for you. Something has to give this time. You must decide…your madness or your family.’

Wanda maintained her strength as she, the X-men, and X-Force were transported to the designated coordinates for the transport pod. They arrived in a series of Chinook helicopters. The ride aboard was tense.

A group of MSA operatives continued to surround Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Domino, and Nightcrawler. Phoenix, Beast, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Psylocke, and Colossus remained close as well, but remained silent. The tension between the two teams was still apparent. Captain Freeman made it a point to sit between them so they didn’t worsen any lingering wounds. Everyone needed to prepare themselves for what they may face on Asteroid M.

Once the helicopters landed, they were greeted by a military convoy that had already surrounded the area. In a clearing near the lake, they could see the metal transport orb waiting for them. The MPs had already cleared out every civilian within a five-mile radius. Once X-Force and the X-men stepped out of the helicopters, the MSA operatives pulled back. That left General Grimshaw to lead them to their destination.

“Looks like everything’s in place,” announced General Grimshaw, “This is where we cut you loose and expect you to do your jobs.”

“You sound like you’re expecting us to blow you off, General. Do you really think we’re that dishonest?” said Cyclops.

“I hope that’s a rhetorical question, Summers,” said Captain Freeman under his breath.

“Once you’re up in Asteroid M, you’ll be a long way away from our jurisdiction,” said the General, “If I was in your position, I’m sure I would be tempted.”

“You’ve got nothing to worry about, General. We consider ourselves honest deviants,” said Emma Frost.

“As if hanging out on a floating rock with Magneto is that appealing,” said Domino, “I don’t care how enticing he made it. So long as he’s running the show, it ain’t paradise.”

“Keep in mind we don’t know if he’s running anything,” added Professor Xavier, “That’s part of what we’re supposed to uncover.”

“Yet we have no idea on what that other part may be,” Psylocke stated, making it clear that this didn’t sit well with her.

“Guess we’ll have to play it by ear and cut up anything that gets in our way,” said Wolverine, “If there’s something or someone out there tough enough to pull Magneto’s strings, I’d love to meet him. So would my claws.”

“That makes two of us,” said Wanda strongly.

There were certainly plenty of issues to resolve on Asteroid M. Both teams were eager to uncover the turth as they stood ready to depart. General Grimshaw signaled the military personnel to clear out. The MSA operatives had already returned to the helicopters and the convoy that had arrived before them was starting to leave.

Upon reaching the pod, they encountered one large military jeep. As they approached, the doors opened and two familiar figures stepped out. One was Abigail Brand of SWORD, who had been in the driver’s seat. The other was James Proudstar, now back in his X-Force uniform and looking ready to join the battle.

“James!” exclaimed Storm as soon as she saw him.

“I see you got paroled, Warpath. You get off for good behavior?” teased Domino.

“They flew me here in a fancy jet and let me ride in the front seat. Guess I was good enough,” said Warpath with a grin as he was greeted by X-Force.

“It’s good to see you back in action, Warpath,” said Nightcrawler as he shook his teammate’s hand.

“Before we go any further, I think we owe you an apology,” said Cyclops.

“For what? Leaving me behind after I did something insanely reckless?” the Native American scoffed, “There’s nothing to be sorry for. You did what you had to do. I did what I had to do. And I’d do it again.”

Warpath turned towards Storm as he said this, shooting her a brief smile that made her blush. It looked as though prison hadn’t embittered Warpath. It didn’t make what he did any less reckless. Chances were, they might end up having to be reckless for again.

“Even if you do, don’t expect to get this lucky again,” said Abigail Brand, who was carrying a large metal case, “Your buddies may have spared you months of legal rambling, but the fine print on your pardon says you still have to earn your freedom.”

“You really have a grudge against other peoples’ self-esteem, don’t you?” said Warpath dryly.

“In this line of work, we can’t afford to be all touchy feely,” said Agent Brand sternly, “When the world is turning to shit, we need to be a little harsh.”

“No wonder you’re so dang good at your job,” muttered Rogue.

“It also helps to be resourceful,” added General Grimshaw as he approached Agent Brand, “Did you bring it with you?”

“You think I would have left my office if I hadn’t?” she said as she held up the large case, “SWORD is already undermanned and overworked. I didn’t have anyone I trusted enough when I retrieved this little gem.”

“What is it this time? You expect us to carry a bomb with us?” said Phoenix dryly.

“Do not give them any ideas, Phoenix,” said Colossus.

“As if you’re the first to suggest that,” quipped Agent Brand, “Lucky for us, there are those with functioning brains. Those brains tell us that certain symbolic gestures leave more of an impact than any bomb.”

Without going into further detail, Agent Brand set the metal case down on the hood of the jeep and opened it. When the X-men saw what was inside, they could already feel the impact that Agent Brand had described.

“Is that…” began Beast.

“My father’s helmet!” exclaimed Wanda.

“I thought it was stolen from Genosha,” said Gambit.

“It was. I was there,” said Wanda as she took the helmet from the General, “Some masked man calling himself Renegade took it. My father tried to track him down, but he never found him.”

“Yes, I remember hearing about that,” said Professor Xavier, who had to hold his tongue since he already knew the details.

“How did you even…” began Nightcrawler.

“I can’t tell you and you don’t want to know,” said General Grimshaw, “How we obtained this helmet is irrelevant now. The important part is using it for your mission.”

One of the biggest challenges in developing X-men Supreme involves maintaining a commitment to world-building on the scale of the X-men comics. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding. As a life-long X-men fan, I understand that it’s not enough to just focus on the many uncanny characters within the X-men. It’s important to treat the world they live in as a character as well. That’s what I try to do with this fanfiction series and it’ll be even more important with the High Evolution arc.

To date, I’ve gotten plenty of wonderful feedback on how I’ve handled certain characters, including a few I’ve significantly changed compared to the X-men comics. To all those who send me that feedback, I am forever grateful. I hope it continues as X-men Supreme enters another critical stage, but I still need more to ensure that this latest effort at molding the X-men’s world is sufficiently awesome. Whether you’re a fan of the character or the world they live in, I want to hear from you. Please send me your comments via by contacting me directly or post them in the issues. Either way is fine. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


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