Friday, January 12, 2018

Jokes And Harsh Truths: Batman: White Knight #4

The following is my review of Batman: White Knight #4, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


If any competent therapist were to sit down with most superheroes not named Superman, then it's very likely they would diagnose them with some form of mental illness, be it a chemical imbalance or personality disorder. It says something about the persona of superheroes that part of what makes them who they are requires some sort of psychological aberration that drives them to do what they do.

While some heroes carry themselves better than others, it's hard to argue that Batman is the picture of mental health. So much of what he does and why he does it is built around the trauma he experiences as a child. In a sense, Bruce Wayne is the mask he wears in that it hides just how tortured he is by that trauma. Batman is his true persona and no licensed therapist would dare call that healthy. It's one of those unspoken truths that often hides within the Batman narrative. Part of what makes the Joker his greatest enemy is his efforts to expose why pretending he's sane is the greatest joke of all.

That's exactly what makes the premise of Batman: White Knight so intriguing. Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth skip the part where they try to find a novel way for the Joker to poke Batman beyond the strict limits he imposes upon himself. Instead, they remove the limits that hold the Joker back, treating his insanity as a barrier similar to the ones on Batman. Absent those barriers, he becomes something far more menacing than a clown armed with exploding whoopee cushions.

Without his insanity, the Joker becomes a threat unlike anything Batman has ever faced before. He's no longer out to just expose his efforts as one elaborate joke. He's out to subvert the entire concept of Batman. Batman: White Knight #4 acts as an indictment of how both Batman and the Gotham City Police operate. In a sense, by being sane, the Joker makes it abundantly obvious just how much of a joke those operations are in practice.

Joke or not, nobody is laughing and that's exactly what makes the narrative so compelling. The Joker, now operating as a public advocate in Jack Napier, uses the same charisma that gets henchmen to wear clown makeup to rally support from the media and the population. What he does is devious, but not in the sense of pumping laughing gas into a crowded warehouse. Rather than make people laugh with hard truths, Jack Napier shoves the truth in everyone's face in a way they can't ignore.

It's haunting in its effectiveness. It comes off as something that could very well play out in the real world, minus the costumed villains and exploding pies. Conceptually, Gotham City has always been a metaphor for a troubled city plagued by crime and corruption, but the only method for confronting those troubles comes from Batman. Jack Napier dares to offer an alternative, one that brings to light the inherent flaws in Batman's approach.

It doesn't help that Batman ends up playing into Napier's hands throughout the course of Batman: White Knight #4. His reactions come off as self-destructive at times, which is understandable given the complications Bruce Wayne is dealing with outside the mask. There's a sense that the trauma that drives Batman is finally catching up with him. Jack Napier is just accelerating the process by putting him in the worst possible situation and without even cracking an insidious smile.

Napier doesn't just go after Batman's principles and sanity. He even goes after his support structure within the Batman family. He does what few have dared to do and offer an alternative to simply letting Batman operate freely with no accountability or oversight. He actually makes an offer to Nightwing and Batgirl that's both intriguing and practical. He doesn't just try to undermine Batman. He tries to one-up him by doing what he's trying to do, but more effectively. That ends up making any effort on Batman's part to cling to his old approach an even bigger joke.


That, in many ways, is the most brilliant part of Jack Napier's plan. He's still doing what the Joker has been attempting to do for years, but without the clown makeup and insane plans that involve exploding novelty gags. He's trying to expose Batman and the injustice around him as a joke and it's working with terrifying efficiency. Nobody is laughing, but there's still plenty of intrigue.

That's not to say everything Jack Napier does in Batman: White Knight #4 goes flawlessly. He does encounter complications, as anyone operating in Gotham City would expect. There are still deranged criminals running around and not all of them wear clown makeup. With or without Batman, these are problems that nobody can ignore for too long, even a reformed Joker. However, the way he handles it is a testament to just how charismatic he can be, even without the makeup.

With every issue of Batman: White Knight, Batman's credibility crumbles and Jack Napier's efforts make more and more sense. Batman: White Knight #4 makes clear that these two personalities cannot coexist, regardless of how sane or insane one of them is. At some point, one of them has to fall and every conceivable force is now working against Batman.

The conclusion of Batman: White Knight #4 opens the door even more distressing truths that will strike Batman to his core. With every truth, what Bruce Wayne does and why he does it becomes less a joke and more a tragedy. The extent of that tragedy, of which much of Batman's motivation is built from, is entering new and distressing territory with Batman: White Knight.

However distressing it may be, the implications are both compelling and revealing. If a superhero's greatest villain can expose the serious flaws in their approach for seeking justice, then what does that say about superheroes in general? It's not an easy question to ask in the first place, but Batman: White Knight's attempt at answering it offers some dark possibilities.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Sexy Side Project Update: Next Story To Be Released In THREE Weeks


I know it's been a while since I announced anything regarding a sexy side-project. Since "The Red Queen Chronicle: The Holidays," I haven't had much to update and there's a good reason for that. It's not just because things tend to get hectic around the holidays. I had the added complication of going through a very tedious move to a new place. It's only within the past week, or so, that I've gotten back to some semblance of normalcy.

As a result, my ability and opportunities to work on sexy side-projects suffered. I actually did have a story in mind that I hoped to post after New Years. I ended up falling behind significantly during my move. As a result, this latest project won't be ready for three weeks. Beyond the time and energy necessary to ensure that this story is up to the same sexy quality as those that came before it, I also had to work overtime just to ensure that X-men Supreme was updated on time.

Now, I hate delays as much as the next guy who'd hoped that Half-Life 3 would be out already. However, I make it a point to ensure that extra time goes to good use. I intend to take next several weeks to complete and refine this next sexy side-project to ensure it's worth waiting for. I won't continue hiding the details either.

This next side-project is actually one I thought about posting last month, but opted for a more holiday-themed story. It still takes place in the world of "The Red Queen." However, it takes a step back to revisit the original catalyst for this whole series that began way back with "Spider-Man and the Prostitute." More specifically, it's going to flesh out the evolving relationship between Spider-Man and Mary Jane in the overtly sexy way that many have come to expect from this series.
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I feel as though this is necessary for the continued progression of the story. A lot of what has happened in the world of "The Red Queen" is because of how Spider-Man and Mary Jane have affected one another in this series. I've spent more time lately on developing some of the other corners of this sexy world, but I can't forget about those who helped create it.

The name of the story will be entitled "The Red Queen Chronicles: The Promise." If you're a Spider-Man/Mary Jane fan in any capacity, this is a story that should keep you warm for the rest of the winter. Even if you're not, it'll cater to others with more kinky tastes in sexy side-projects.

I don't want to give away too much more. I'll just say that this is a story I believe Spider-Man/Mary Jane fans will really appreciate while maximizing their sex appeal. I'll also make clear that I do have other side-projects in mind as well so there are more coming. Rather than risk turning that into a very dirty, albeit fitting joke, I'll just urge everyone to be patient with this latest sexy side-project.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reborn and Revitalized: Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1

The following is my review of Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


A lot can change in the span of a year, especially in a world full of cosmic cubes, infinity gems, and deals with Mephisto. One year, Wolverine is an Avenger, Spider-Man is married, and the Fantastic Four are still relevant. The next, Captain America is a Hydra agent, Thor is Jane Foster, and Spider-Man is sleeping on his Aunt May's couch again. Things change very fast, very quickly in the Marvel universe, often within the span of a single year. Go back even farther, say 14 years ago, and it may as well be a different multiverse.

That's because 14 years is how long Jean Grey, the non-time displaced version of her, has been dead. In December of 2003, during the tail end of Grant Morrison's famous run on New X-men, she dies at the ends of Xorn, who is actually Magneto, but is also an imposter. At that time, land lines are still common, YouTube doesn't exist, and people are actually excited about the release of a new Fantastic Four movie.

So much changes within the real world that it's impossible to overstate how different things are in the comics. The fact that Bucky Barnes comes back to life before Jean Grey in that span says a lot about the impact of her death. However, her being Jean Grey, the same character who attracts cosmic forces with a propensity for resurrection, it was only a matter of when and not if she returned.

After 14 years, multiple crossover events, multiple relaunches, and a takeover by Disney, the wait is over. Jean Grey is finally set to return in Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1. After so much time and so many complications along the way, Matthew Rosenberg has both a privileged and responsibility in crafting this narrative. He gets to bring Jean Grey back, but he faces a challenge in doing it in a way that doesn't feel predictable or contrived, which is no easy feat for a character associated with a cosmic force.

His approach is one that relies heavily on mystery elements while also bringing every major X-men team into the picture. From a situational standpoint, that makes sense. Jean Grey coming back, and likely bringing a cosmic force with her, is bound to require more than a few veteran X-men. However, Rosenberg doesn't throw everything into the story all at once. That may work for the Cables, Deadpools, and Wolverine knock-offs of the Marvel universe, but Jean's story requires a different kind of nuance.

A big part of Jean's appeal, both as a character and as a catalyst for a major story, is how her stories are built around significant emotional undertones. The original Phoenix Saga itself is an emotionally-driven story, one that has a major impact because it makes the losses and emotions feel genuine. Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 already sets Jean up for a similar impact. While the situation is very different compared to previous stories, but when a character has been dead for over a decade, that's understandable and somewhat necessary.


This is where the mystery elements of Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 really shine. In the same way it avoids putting the X-men at ground zero of another Phoenix-powered clash, it establishes a series of unknowns that puts Jean and the X-men in a volatile situation. It doesn't start off with a cosmic bird, but it doesn't take long to hint at one. Even with those unknown, it makes clear that the X-men's path is eventually going to find its way to Jean.

Like going up the first steep hill of a roller coaster, it's fairly obvious what Jean and the X-men are about to face. Anyone who knows anything about the stories surrounding Jean and the X-men can sense it, but the subtleties of the story still find a way to make it enticing. Rosenberg doesn't try to use old formulas that involve cocoons, time travel, or evil clones. His approach is different, even if the themes are similar. That big drop at the top of the hill is still coming and it promises to be every bit as thrilling and dramatic as other Jean Grey stories before it.

Beyond just setting the stage for the X-men's reunion with their beloved friend, Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 also takes the time to acknowledge classic elements of Jean's story. There are references to the original Phoenix Saga, End of Greys, and even some of the lesser-known aspects of Jean's history. There's a sense that both the past and the present matter, which is difficult to do when it's just so much easier to use time machines, clones, and Skrull agents.

In a sense, the outcome of the story is already established. Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 makes clear that this isn't going to be a tease like Phoenix Endsong. Jean Grey is, indeed, coming back. It's just a matter of how volatile, dramatic, and impactful that return will be. Any story involving Jean Grey is bound to be emotional to some extent and Rosenberg puts everything in place for those emotions to shine.

The final page, alone, effectively guarantees that hearts will be broken and spirits will be wounded. The presence of Jean's loved ones, of which she has many, also guarantees that the drama will be intense. The narrative sets all these important themes up without utilizing a single clone or cocoon, which counts as an accomplishment.

While these nuances work beautifully for anyone familiar with Jean Grey's history and the dramatic undertones that her stories inspire, there are times when her prolonged absence hinders some of the impact. When a character is dead for so long and the world changes so much, it's hard to fit them into the bigger picture. In a sense, Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 is starting behind the curve in terms of creating impact on the larger Marvel universe. After multiple civil wars, a Skrull invasion, and a take-over by Hydra, Jean's return almost feels out of place.

However, even though the Marvel universe has gotten used to functioning without her, Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 does plenty to generate excitement for her overdue return. Her being dead for so long may have limited her impact, but it does little to diminish her place in the X-men and the Marvel pantheon of heroes. She still is, even after 14 years, the heart of the X-men. The team just isn't the same without her. No amount of time travelers or alternate universe versions can change that.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Friday, January 5, 2018

X-men Supreme Issue 162: Crimes Against Inhumanity Part 1 is LIVE!


I hope everyone had a supremely awesome New Year. I certainly did and I’m looking forward to making 2018 another awesome leap for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Every year, I’ve tried to raise the bar in terms of quality and vision. Given that this fanfiction series has been going on since 2010, that gets more challenging year after year. I think I’m up for it in 2018 and I’m ready to hit the ground running with the biggest arc since the big split that occurred in X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide.

I keep referencing that issue for a reason. It’s not just because that’s the issue when Charles Xavier and Cyclops began the bitter dispute that fractured the team between the X-men and X-Force. It’s not just over the fundamental issues that have emerged with Xavier’s effort in pursuing the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, which is still at the heart of the divide. This split is important because by dividing the X-men, the entire world of X-men Supreme is more vulnerable. It really was only a matter of time before someone took advantage of it.

Throughout this fanfiction series, the X-men have struggled to deal with powerful foes, even while at full strength. They barely overcame the Mutant Liberation Front in the Natural Disorder arc and struggled just as much against the ancient Cambrian within the Cambrian Explosion. Now, they’re up against a threat that has been operating behind the scenes since the events of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths and even a little bit before that. I’ve been dropping hints, many of which involve Wolverine and Mystique’s mysterious past, and the events of Drug War offered the first major strike.

Most seasoned X-men fans, especially the Wolverine fans, recognized Daken when he showed up in the battle against Sebastian Shaw. As the colorful, albeit devious son of Wolverine, his history in the X-men comics is a complicated, fluid one and not just because of his flexible sexual preferences. Daken is not like his father in that he is willing to cross lines that Wolverine won’t. While I intend to tweak some elements of Daken’s origins in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I intend to preserve those critical elements, much of which will reveal themselves in the next arc.

This arc will shake the foundations of the entire mission for the X-men and X-Force. Both Cyclops and Charles Xavier will find their visions tested in ways they never expected. They’ll also learn the hard way that a divided X-men makes for a dangerous world. It’s a hard lesson that the X-men seem to learn every other month in the X-men comics. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series will be no different. Both the nature of the threat and the impact it’ll incur will strike Xavier, the dream, and everything in between.

The arc is entitled Crimes Against Inhumanity. It’s one of those core arcs that will help mark an important turning point in X-men Supreme. Those arcs are a challenge to craft, but make for some of the most satisfying moments in this fanfiction series. From the Phoenix Saga to Overlord to Outer Limits, I put extra effort into making these arcs more awesome and I hope it shows. It starts with this issue and it’s one that I hope X-men fans, especially Wolverine fans, really appreciate.

X-men Supreme Issue 162: Crimes Against Inhumanity Part 1

As always, arcs like this especially important in terms of maintaining the quality of X-men Supreme. In my effort to make 2018 another step forward for this fanfiction series, I want to make Crimes Against Inhumanity an important milestone. This year is already set to be a big year for the X-men with the return of Jean Grey and Wolverine in the comics, as well as the release of three X-men movies. I know X-men Supreme will never have that kind of profile, but I still want to match the effort.

In order to do that, I need to keep getting regular feedback from the wonderful people who have supported X-men Supreme since its inception in 2010. You guys are wonderful and I can’t thank you enough for all your support. I know it has been a long, arduous road for this fanfiction series and it’s only going to get trickier in 2018. I want those challenges to make X-men Supreme more awesome. That’s why it’s vital that I continue to get regular feedback. Either post your comments directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!

Jack

Friday, December 29, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 162: Crimes Against Inhumanity Part 1 PREVIEW!


I hope everyone had fun and supremely enjoyable holiday. I also hope you worked up an appetite for more X-men Supreme in 2018. Yes, I know there are just a few days left of 2017, but this fanfiction series is already poised to move forward. That’s saying something, given all the huge upheavals in X-men Supreme over the past year. The disillusion of the X-men in X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide might very well be the most traumatic event the team have experienced in this fanfiction series and that’s including their encounter with Deadpool.

At the heart of the division is the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, the bold partnership that Charles Xavier formed with General Grimshaw and President Kelly after their clash with the Mutant Liberation Front. For once, they weren’t just dealing with someone like Magneto trying to subdue humanity through force, as he did in The Cambrian Explosion and Overlord. Even Sinister, who attempted to wipe out humans and mutants alike in Dark Legacy, wasn’t as daunting. X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation put the X-men in a unique position.

The Mutant Liberation Front turned the X-men’s battle into a struggle of ideas and after what happened in arcs like Proactive Regression and Natural Disorder, it became clear that Charles Xavier is losing that battle. His hopes for peace and understanding clash directly with new tactics meant to render humanity helpless, rather than subdued. Even though the X-men managed to stop the likes of Toad and Stryfe, the damage was done.

Now, as X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided has unfolded, Charles Xavier and his divided X-men attempt to regain the trust of the public and the authorities. So far, their efforts have had mixed results. Despite chaotic destruction in Volatility Sensibility, the X-men and the policies of the Mutant Monitoring Initiative helped them take down Sebastian Shaw in the Drug War arc. On paper, it was a major victory. Behind the scenes, though, it showed a new vulnerability that has been festering for quite some time.

A divided X-men, as we’ve seen in the X-men comics with events like Schism, is often a bad combination for everyone involved. Whether it’s Charles Xavier, Cyclops, Storm, or Doop leading the X-men, a lack of unity often opens the door for a devious enemy to strike. That time has come and this latest arc of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series will pit the X-men against a powerful enemy that X-men fans should recognize. That enemy has yet to make their debut in X-men Supreme, but it’s one I’ve been planning for quite some time.

This next arc will trigger a major shift in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. It’ll also hit the X-men and X-Force at their most vulnerable. Charles Xavier, Cyclops, Wolverine, and so many more. The wounds left by this arc will be deep and the impacts will send X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided on a collision course that will leave nobody unaffected. It starts with the next issue and as always, I’ve prepared a preview that should give a telling hint as to just how impactful this arc will be.

“You!” snarled Logan as his muscles barely twitched.

“Yes, it’s me. The latest object of your rage. As if you don’t have enough as it stands,” said Daken dryly.

“I’m telling my body to rip you to shreds for all your bullshit, but apparently you found a new way to fuck with me! I get enough of that shit as well!” grunted Logan.

“Yes, well we can’t have that volatile temper causing such a mess. I understand you’ve been known to leave quite a mark on anyone that dares to capture you.”

“Then save yourself the trouble and turn off whatever the hell you did to me,” said Logan, “If you do, I promise I’ll make it quick.”

“Now why would you want to do that? I was hoping we could spend some quality time together. You know, the kind that a father is supposed to spend with his son,” said Daken as he loomed over the paralyzed figure.

Logan growled upon hearing those words. For once, Daken didn’t talk in a snide or condescending tone. He was dead serious, which almost seemed uncomfortable to him. That helped lend credibility to what he was saying. He was his son. A revelation like this usually triggered all sorts of chaotic emotions within Logan.

As this revelation sank in, Logan felt his body move on its own. He didn’t know if Daken was controlling it or if someone else was pulling the strings. He rose from his bed and stood up before this ominous young man. Now looking at him eye-to-eye, Daken glared at him with emotions that had been decades in the making.

“You’ve had time to process my scent. You’ve looked me in the eye and you’ve seen the signs. I hope you’ll skip the denial part so we can get to the heart of this matter,” said Daken, his tone focused with a unique kind of anger.

“You think this is the most fucked up revelation from my past? Hell, this ain’t even top five,” scoffed Logan.

“So finding out you have a son with a lifetime of reasons to despise you isn’t a big deal?”

“Of course it’s a big deal! I don’t hesitate in the middle of a fight unless it’s a big deal!” barked Logan, “Your scent wasn’t enough. It’s your eyes that sealed the deal. I’ve seen them before, except they were on a beautiful woman that I used to love. Not some dirt-bag punk with bad hair.”

“Well, now they’re mine,” said Daken firmly, “My darling mother was kind enough to impart them on me. It’s a shame she never got to see them. You ended up slaughtering her before she ever got to hold me.”

Now Daken was the one fuming with anger. Logan matched that sentiment every step of the way as he recalled the woman who once had those beautiful eyes. The image of her embracing him as she tried to tell him some important news played over in his mind again. That image was followed by a gruesome memory of him holding her bloody body in his arms. From here, the truth was obvious.

“That’s what she was going to tell me. She was pregnant,” said Logan, “It was just before everything in the Yashida Clan went to Hell.”

“And you didn’t stick around to find out. It would’ve been pathetic if it hadn’t nearly killed me,” said Daken in a cold tone, “That dead body you held in your arms had company. I was still in her womb, underdeveloped yet still alive. You could have stayed longer, tied up all the loose ends, and made sure you left nothing behind. But you didn’t.”

“Kid, if you’re gonna hold a grudge against me for not even knowing you existed, that’s a damn lousy reason,” barked Logan.

“As if causing the death of my mother isn’t valid enough,” Daken retorted, “But that’s not my only reason for resenting you. Our family issues go much deeper than that.”

Daken took a step closer to Logan so he could look him in the distinct eyes that so reminded him of Mariko. The bitter resentment soon gave way to a more serious demeanor.

This was both personal and logistical for him. Daken had plenty of reasons to seek out his father years ago, if for no other reason than to honor his dead mother. However, he was not like his father in one key aspect. For him, vengeance wasn’t enough to justify a moment like this. There had to be something greater at stake.

“Just look at yourself, father. Look back through those broken memories of yours. Let them tell you about the kind of man you are,” said Daken in a scathing tone.

“Bub, if you even understood half the memories I got floatin’ around in my head, you’d know what a dumb ass question that is,” quipped Logan.

“I know more than you think. I know where you’ve been, who you’ve killed, and how you’ve conducted yourself,” Daken went on, “You have all the trappings of a monster, but I don’t believe in monsters. I only believe in pitiful men who follow their anger, negating every other passion along the way, unless it’s convenient.”

“You trying to lecture me? Because if you really are my son, then you got the roles ass backwards.”

“If not your son, then who else?” Daken retorted, “Who else could point out what an inept man you are? You reflect the absolute worst of our family. You fight endless personal battles in both the past and present, never truly realizing the kind of damage you leave behind. And for what? Has it brought you peace?”

“Depends on your definition,” snarled Logan.

“Seeing as how you haven’t stopped fighting, I’ll take that as a no,” snorted Daken, “In many ways, you’re a metaphor for the world as we know it. Every day there’s more needless fighting. People like you simply refuse to move forward. You just wallow in your anger. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, both you and the world been certifiably demented for centuries.”

“Is there a point here, kid?”

“Perhaps not, but unlike everyone before me I’m prepared to do something about it.”

Daken backed away from Wolverine and walked over to the door. He then gave it a hard pound with his fist, signaling whoever was on the other side to enter. The door swung open to reveal Sabretooth and Laura. Logan grunted in anger at the sight of Sabretooth being anywhere close to Laura. However, he noticed something different. Like him, they didn’t seem to have control over their own bodies.

“Heya, old buddy,” said Sabretooth snidely, “I see they stuck you with that annoying drug too.”

“Sabretooth! Only you could make a shitty situation like this stink worse,” barked Logan.

“Consider yourself lucky. If your fruity little bastard here hadn’t stuck me with a needle, these walls would be painted with your blood by now.”

“You deserve to stuck with much worse,” said Logan, “I swear if you so much grazed my daughter, I’ll…”

“It’s okay, Wolverine. He didn’t,” said Laura, who was in a similar paralyzed state, “Although he certainly tried. He thought he could rough me up before you arrived. That’s when Daken injected him with the same drug he injected into me.”

“Seeing as how none of you can control your violent impulses, I figured it was necessary,” said Daken.

Logan’s expression tensed as much as it could in his paralyzed state. More pieces fell into place. Daken and whoever else was behind this elaborate operation wanted the meat of the Weapon X program. Laura was bait. Sabretooth was a puppet that didn’t notice the strings until it was too late. His presence was sure to complicate thingg.

“Here’s some fatherly advice, kid. Hiring Sabretooth ain’t ever necessary,” said Logan, “He’ll screw you over and smell like shit every step of the way.”

“Why you…” grunted Sabretooth, only to be cut off by Daken.

“That’s enough, you two. Somebody should have said that to you decades ago,” he said, “You may not be able to handle Sabretooth, but we can. So long as you promise him a chance at tormenting Wolverine, he’ll agree to anything. As it just so happens, we need him as well as X-23.”

“I told you not to call me that. My name is Laura!” barked Laura.

“You’re lucky you can identify with any name. I could have just let Sabretooth do what he wanted with you,” quipped Daken, “Like any animal, he simply had to be tamed.”

“Kid, as much as I hate Wolverine, I’ll gladly spare some for you,” snarled Sabretooth, “You and that asshole boss of yours are gonna pay!”

“What boss?” questioned Logan, “Tell me who’s pulling the strings in this joint. That way I know who to stab when this drug wears off.”

“That’s where the insanity I mentioned earlier comes into play,” said Daken as he turned back towards Logan, “Someone goes through the trouble of putting you all in the same room, having to resort to exotic drugs to ensure that you behave. Yet again, your first inclination is to stab each other. You’re not even the least bit curious on how and why of this endeavor.”

“There ain’t much to understand,” scoffed Logan, “The story never changes. Some asshole wants a few meat puppets to do their dirty work. Why should I expect anything less from this shit?”

“Because this is different, James Howlett…very different,” came an ominous new voice.

The whole room fell deathly silent. Logan, Sabretooth, and Laura felt their bodies moving again. Despite their ardent resistance, they turned around and stood side-by-side to greet a powerful new figure. Even for former living weapons, it was a presence that struck them in a profound way.

The figure was a man that stood an imposing seven feet tall. His whole body was heavily muscled, covering a broad form that rivaled even Sabretooth. He wore a large cloak that covered a body suit not unlike the one Daken wore. As he pulled back his cloak, he revealed a face that bore a striking similarity to Logan.

He had the same wild hair and burly complexion except most of his hair was gray. Also like Logan, he had a very feral demeanor. His penetrating eyes implied they had seen many battles. As he looked down at the three paralyzed figures, they all growled defiantly. Daken grinned at their resistance as stood beside the imposing man.

“That voice…I’ve heard it before,” said Logan, feeling more old memories surface from the depths of his mind.

“Me too!” grunted Sabretooth, who experienced something similar.

“It’s good to know your memories aren’t completely damaged,” said the man, “You’ll definitely want to remember what you’re about to become a part of.”

“To hell with being part of this shit!” barked Laura, struggling harder against her paralysis, “Who the hell are you!”

“That is not an easy question to answer,” said the man as he approached the three former living weapons, “I’ve gone by many names. Some have called me Night Wolf. Others have called me the One Man Army. Most know me as Romulus, the founder and visionary of White Cell. However, a select few have even called me the Mentor.”

“Mentor,” mused Logan, “So it is you. You’re the guy that trained Team X.”

“That is only a small part of a much larger story,” he said, “It is a story I hope to finally end soon. I’m glad to see that Daken has succeeded in the first critical step.”

“I’m sure you had no doubts, honorable grandfather,” said Daken proudly.

“Grandfather?” exclaimed Logan as it quickly dawned on him, “That means…”


There’s a lot of upheaval going on in X-men Supreme and the X-men comics. Both Jean Grey and Wolverine are set to return from the dead in the pages of Marvel comics. There are a total of three X-men movies se tot debut in 2018 as well. Between that and the pending merge between Disney and Fox, things are looking up for the X-men. I hope to build on that with the X-men Supreme fanfiction series.

I can’t make X-men Supreme as prominent as a major movie or comics relaunch, but I like to think I can channel the same spirit that will make X-men great in 2018. To ensure I channel enough, it’s critical that I continue to get feedback from the wonderful readers of this fanfiction series. Either post your comments directly in each issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!

Jack