The Web, Part Two: 'We are not Avengers'

The Web, New York

‘Can I get you anything?’ The Iron Spider asked. ‘A drink? Something to eat?’

‘You can start be telling me what the Hell is going on,’ Martinique said, her hands placed firmly on her hips.

‘Yeah, who are you people?’ Andy joined in. He’d meant to sound tough, but his voice cracked on the final word. Way to look macho. The woman glared at him, and he blushed.

‘All in good time, Martinique. You should at least change into something more comfortable and less… prison-y,’ said the Iron Spider, settling into one of the chairs around the large table.

‘If you head through that door and turn left, you’ll find a room with some clothes laid out,’ the man pointed to an inconspicuous door to one side. ‘The same goes for you, Alpha. Second room along.’

‘Why me?’ Andy asked, as the woman flounced out of the room.

‘Because at the moment your costume is associated with those hideous phones. You may even want to change your codename, but there’ll be time for that later. The Web requires something more subtle. Why use a machine gun when a scalpel can be so much more delicate?’

‘Uh,’ Andy said.

‘Just go,’ the man said, waving his hand dismissively.

‘Not the most promising start, is it?’ Dragon Man asked, sitting next to his companion. The chair had been designed specifically to hold his weight, and the steel still groaned slightly beneath him.

‘Oh, I don’t know,’ the Iron Spider said. Dragon Man suspected that if he could see beneath the mask, the man would be smiling.

‘I think there’s something we can work with.’

Utopia, Off the Coast of San Francisco

She stood on the rocks, allowing the sun to soak into her skin. It had been, what, four days since she’d last seen the sky? She sighed, pulling her dirty brown hair back from her face as she turned it upwards.

‘Torpid? Laura, what are you doing?’ She spun round. Bugs stood in the cave entrance, his mandibles chattering in anxiety. It scuttled forwards, keeping low to the ground.

‘Get back in the tunnels, before someone sees you,’ he said, picking up her gloves with one limb and handing them to her.

‘Like who? No-one comes anywhere near here anymore,’ she said, slipping the gloves over her oversized hands.

‘You can’t know that. SHIELD have eyes everywhere,’ Bugs said, pulling her gently underground. ‘It’s safer to stay below.’

‘What about the monster?’ she asked, hesitating at the cave entrance.

‘Come on, Torpid,’ Bugs said. ‘Even the x-men don’t come here anymore. We’re the only monsters left on this island.’

‘I know what I saw,’ Torpid muttered, as she followed him into the shadows.

The Web, New York

‘This had better be some sort of joke,’

Andy returned to the large room to find that Martinique was already there, her palms pressed against the table as she glared at Iron Spider. The orange jumpsuit was gone, replaced by a tight-fitted white jumpsuit. A fur-lined coat, also white, was flung over one chair with- Andy did a double-take- a gun in a white holster.

‘I’m no White Queen,’ the woman snarled at Iron Spider.

‘And why not? Miss Frost is no longer using the name, and you do have family connections with the Hellfire Club,’ Iron Spider said.

‘Emma Frost is a psychotic dominatrix, and my father was probably the worst person I’ve ever met. What makes you think that I’d want anything to do with either of them, or the secret society that tried to use a mad space bird to take over the world?’

‘Hmm, fair enough. Would you prefer something in black?’ Iron Spider snapped his fingers, and Martinique’s outfit turned from white to grey to black. Only the fur collar of the jacket remained white.

‘Wow,’ Andy breathed.

‘Ah, Alpha,’ Iron Spider said, turning to the boy. ‘Good of you to join us. You’re not going to complain about your costume, are you? This isn’t a tailors, you know.’

‘What? Oh, no. It’s fine,’ Alpha looked down at his own body. The costume was almost the same as his original, with the green panels replaced with red. There was a black mask, which was a welcome addition, with a red ‘alpha’ symbol over the right eye. Finally, Iron Spider had added a belt, with the same ‘alpha’ symbol forming the buckle.

‘Well, that’s a relief,’ said Iron Spider. He gestured to two of the empty seats at the table. Martinique and Alpha took their seats. There were two more, both left empty.

‘I suppose we’re waiting for someone else?’ Martinique asked.

‘Hmm? Oh, no,’ Iron Spider said. ‘We will hopefully be adding to our roster later, but all things in good time.’

‘So, this is the part where you tell us why we should trust you?’ the woman asked.

‘You should trust me, Marty, because if not for me you would still be in a prison cell, awaiting trial indefinitely for undisclosed crimes,’ Iron Spider said. Martinique glared at him.

‘And what about me?’ Alpha asked.

‘Oh, you’re here because you’ve got potential, my boy,’ said the Iron Spider. ‘No-one else may be able to see it, but I certainly can. Together, we’ll-’

‘We’ll what?’ Martinique interrupted. ‘We’ll rule the world? Destroy it? Save it?’

‘Third time’s the charm, my dear.’

‘May I?’ Dragon Man cut in, speaking for the first time.

‘Absolutely,’ Iron Spider said. Dragon Man rose to his feet. Alpha blinked. Up close, the creature was much taller, possibly eight feet tall, not including the wings.

‘I began life as what most of you would consider a villain. That was my purpose; it was how I was created, and how I acted.’ Dragon Man pressed a button concealed on the table’s surface, and the screens that covered one wall lit up. Alpha recognised the Fantastic Four and the Future Foundation. The largest image was a close-up of Reed Richards with a blond-haired girl sat on his lap.

‘However, a few years ago I was inducted into Reed Richards’ Future Foundation, an organisation designed with one simple purpose: ‘Fix Everything.’ In the process, my mind was… evolved by Richards’ daughter, Valeria. Specifically, I was designated as an extra guardian, a teacher and protector for the children of the Foundation.’ Dragon Man paused, his gaze locking on the Iron Spider.

‘I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for them. For Bentley and Valeria and all of them. How many times did Richards fail us? How many times did his secrets leave us vulnerable? How many times did his actions put us in jeopardy? No one seems to see it except for me. The rest of the Future Foundation and the Fantastic Four are too in awe of his intelligence to see his faults. Dr Doom is too consumed by jealousy and rage to acknowledge the bigger picture. Someone has to be there, to step in when Mr Fantastic finally goes too far. And if that person has to be me, then so be it.’

‘Are you insane?’ Alpha broke in. ‘You want to kill Mr Fantastic?’

‘No one’s killing anyone,’ Iron Spider said. ‘Not yet, anyway.’

The images on the screen changed. Alongside the Fantastic Four were the X-men, several teams of Avengers, even figures that Alpha vaguely recognised as belonging to Alpha Flight and Excalibur.

‘The world is full of heroes,’ he said, as a slideshow began, with different lineups and teams appearing in turn on the screens. ‘Men and women of incredible power and bravery. People sworn to protect humanity at any cost. And that’s part of the problem. At. Any Cost.’ The photos changed, one by one, until all showed scenes of destruction. Alpha could make out the wreckage of Atlan in the Hudson river, the ruins of Utopia of the West Coast, and several other destroyed towns.

‘Sometimes the means doesn’t justify the ends. The Avengers have lost sight of what’s important. They think themselves gods, not men. Every day, they put people in danger. And that cannot be.’

‘So you want to take down the Avengers?’ Martinique asked.

‘No, no,’ Iron Spider shook his head, laughing. There was something oddly mechanic about the sound from behind his mask.

‘I want to save the world from the Avengers.’

Utopia, Off the coast of San Francisco

‘We need to find something to plug that leak,’ Bugs said, as they dodged around the thin trickle of water in the middle of the passage.

‘With what?’ Torpid asked.

‘We’ll find something,’ Bugs said. ‘Stuff’s always washing up on the shore. I’ll go out tonight to have a look.’

‘Or we could just look now?’ Laura asked.

‘You want to end up in a SHIELD cell?’

‘At least it would be dry,’ she muttered. There was a crash behind her.

‘Bugs?’ She spun. A section of the floor had caved in behind her. It happened all the time; Utopia had never been the most stable of structures, and without the constant upkeep of the X-men, the former mutant sanctuary was quickly deteriorating. But it was fine; Bugs could climb, better than Spiderman. Or so he claimed.

‘Bugs?’ she called into the darkness. Something stirred beneath her.

‘Bug? Are you ok?’ The ground trembled, and Torpid leapt backwards as the hole widened.

It rose towards her, a huge tentacle of flesh and twisted metal.

Torpid screamed.

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The Web, Part One: Come Into My Parlor

All characters are property of Marvel Comics. Rated T for possible future violence.

The Raft, Mastermind

Breakfast had been served about an hour ago, by Martinque’s reckoning. She sat on her bunk, an old paperback book open in front of her. She read a page, slowly, trying to savor the feeling of each word in her mind. When she had finished, she closed the cover, and leant her head back against the wall. She was only allowed access to the prison library once every two weeks. If she read a single page every hour, the book would last her until then.

She could hear one of the wardens moving slowly down the corridor outside, calling out the names of prisoners lucky enough to be allowed- and to receive- mail. Martinique closed her eyes.

‘Jason, letter!’ Martinique sat up on her narrow bed as the slim envelope was slipped through the hatch to land with a soft thip on the stone floor of her cell. Plain white paper. She tore it open slowly, savouring the sensation. The message inside was written in the same hand as the address on the front; completely alien to her.

Dear Marty,

How are you? Silly question, I know, but I’ve felt so bad about not coming to visit, and I don’t really know where to begin with all this. Just don’t go crazy. I hope they’re treating you well; some of the stories about what happens to mutants in jail are so terrible. They say that some inmates can’t even go to the exercise area, or that they don’t even have a window in their cell. I suppose all I can really do is tell you how I’m doing.

Well, I’m fine and dandy. I managed to escape all of that madness between the x-men and the avengers, and I’m living in Madripor now. You wouldn’t believe it, Marty. It’s like a mutant paradise here. A proper one, without everyone looking over their shoulders every five minutes in case of a sentinel attack. I’m even working with the island’s government. You’ll never guess who’s in charge; our old pal Raven. I know, right? I’m going to try and pull some strings to see if I can’t get you out early, or at least transferred over here. Of course, it’s a new government, and the US isn’t the best about extradition. Still, I’ll do my best, so be ready to go.

Please write back to me and let me know that you’re ok. I’ll send you some chocolates or something, if you tell me what you want.

Your loving sister and friend,

Regan.

Martinique glared at the paper. Regan hated her, and the feeling was mutual. She had been in prison for nearly two years now, and this was the first time her sister had made contact. And ‘Marty’? What was she trying to pull?

Martinique started to crumple the paper into a ball, and paused. No one had called her ‘Marty’. Ever. Her eyes flickered over the page again. She blinked. The ink had faded where she had touched it, leaving holes in the type. She placed the letter on the floor and knelt down in front of it, carefully drawing her hands across the paper. With each pass, more of the writing vanished, until only a few words remained:

Dear Marty,

coming to visit,

go to the

window

five minutes

I’m going to

get you out

Your friend

Martinque blinked. Then she was up on her feet, scanning the room. Prisoners weren’t allowed much in the way of home comforts, especially mutant prisoners. She swept the few toiletries she owned into a bag, and retrieved a worn diary from beneath the thin mattress. She pulled an old photograph from the wall, slipping it between the pages of the book.

The first explosion rocked the building as she closed the book. It was followed shortly by a second, and a third. Feet pounded down the corridor outside, nearly masked by the high-pitched wail of the sirens that began to scream through every room in the building.

Well, whoever this was, they were hardly being subtle.

Martinique turned to the window to see that a green, glowing mist was pouring between the bars. The fog stopped a few feet from the window, forming a sphere that was just large enough to fit one person. Another explosion hit the building, sending a small shower of concrete dust from the ceiling.

She hesitated for barely a second. On the one hand, she had no idea who- or what- might be waiting for her if she stepped into the mist. On the other, she was a prisoner, held with only the briefest of sham trials, and who knew how long it would be before they let her go?

Martinique stepped into the mist.

For a moment her whole body was weightless, the sounds of the sirens and the yelling outside of her cell fading to nothing. She felt calm, blissful, beautiful.

And then her body lurched to the side, and she screamed as waves of hot and cold ripped across her skin. It was like she was freezing and burning all at the same time. She was being spun round, and she clamped her jaw tight to fight the urge to vomit.

She landed on her knees, her whole body shaking, gasping for breath.

‘Hello, Marty,’ said a voice. It was not one that she knew. Martinique forced her eyes open, looking up into a pair of golden eyes that reflected her own terrified face back at her.

‘So nice of you to join us,’ the man said.

New York, Alpha

‘Spider-man,’

‘Huh?’ Andy said, looking up from his phone. Something was happening with the Avengers on Mars. He tried not to think about it. Mike sat opposite him, toying with the remains of his iced coffee. It was the first decent day of the year, and Mike and Sophie had invited him to the local coffee shop. And it wasn’t like Andy had the luxury of picking and choosing his friends.

‘Worst superhero ever,’ Mike said. ‘It’s got to be spider-man.’

‘What about those kids on Murder World?’ Sophie asked. She brushed her electric blue hair out of her eyes, her gaze focussed on the skateboarders across the street.

‘You mean the kids that ended up killing each other, and then ran off to join the Masters of Evil? They don’t count,’ said Mike.

‘Why not?’ said Andy.

‘Um, because they killed each other and joined the masters of Evil. Not heroes, villains.’

‘Still, Spider-man sucks,’ Sophie said.

‘Not as bad as that Omega kid,’ Mike said, slurping his drink noisily.

‘Who?’ Sophie asked. Her gaze flicked to Andy, whose head was already buried in his phone.

‘Omega,’ said Mike. ‘Remember, the one who was advertising those crappy phones a few years ago?’

‘You mean Alpha,’ Sophie said through gritted teeth.

‘Nah, it was definitely Omega. Right, Andy?’ Mike turned to the other boy.

‘Uh, sure. Whatever. I’ve gotta go,’ Andy shrugged his jacket on and left the table.

‘Dude, you’re such an idiot,’ Sophie said, when the other boy was out of earshot.

‘What?’ Mike asked.

‘Seriously? You want to ask Andy- Andrew Maguire- if Alpha is the worst superhero ever?’

‘Yeah? So?’

‘So, Andy is Alpha,’ Sophie grimaced. ‘Or was, anyway.’

‘You’re kidding,’ Mike said.

‘Nope,’

‘Well,’ he said, watching the blond figure disappear into the crowds. ‘Damn.’

Somewhere Else Entirely

Her bare feet crunched in the snow. The sky above her head was solid black. It was too cold to snow. It was cold enough to kill a man. Luckily, she was no man. In the distance something began to howl.

New York, Alpha

The sirens were getting louder.

Andy stood at the corner, waiting for the lights to change. There was a girl coming down the opposite street, sweat beginning to soak through her shirt as her trainers pounded along the pavement. He tried not to stare. Around him, people were craning this way and that, trying to work out where the noise was coming from. He knew from experience that people were as likely to run towards a disaster zone as they were to run away from it.

Andy clenched his fists, and turned the music up. It was no use, he could hear the noise of the approaching police cars through the pounding music of his headphones. He had liked having powers once, but now he hated it. Every time his enhanced strength accidentally crushed a glass, every time his super speed wore a hole in his shoes, it all came screaming back to him. And the worst thing was that he still wanted it. Deep down, a hero was all he’d ever wanted to be. And he’d thrown it all away for the chance to be the face of a crappy phone company.

The van screeched past him in an off-white blur, followed by a pair of police cars. Andy watched as they raced towards the end of the street, weaving between Saturday morning traffic. Let them get on with it, he thought. It’s none of your business. Just let them-

The girl wasn’t looking at the street. Like Andy, she was plugged into her headphones, her gaze alternating between the pavement in front of her and face of her sports watch as she sprinted towards the curb. She stepped off-

Andy slammed into her, knocking the girl out of the path of the van. They carried on across the street, smashing through the window of a clothes store. Andy turned his body so that he hit the glass first, the girl cushioned against his chest. They landed in the middle of the store, the girl on top of him.

‘You-what-’ the girl stammered, her headphones falling from her ears. Outside, the van and police cars carried on oblivious, disappearing around the corner.

‘What,’ Andy looked up into the cold face of the store manager. The store was full of customers, all of them staring at the wreckage. ‘What the hell did you do?’

‘I-I-’ Andy stammered, clambering to his feet.

‘You destroyed my store!’

‘No I-’

‘I think my wrist’s broken,’ the girl said, sitting up and clutching her hand. She started to sob quietly, and then louder.

‘I’m calling the police,’ the manager said. But Andy was already gone.

The Baxter Building

‘Come one, we need to get going,’ The Thing called from the cockpit. ‘Five minutes until the eggs hatch.’

‘Susan, send a message to Dragon-Man,’ Mr Fantastic said, as he slid into his seat. ‘He’ll need to take the kids to the park.’

‘He’s not in the building,’ his wife said, looking up from her own screen.

‘Four minutes until the eggs hatch,’ The Thing said.

‘What?’ Reed Richards turned to look at the Invisible Woman.

‘He’s not in the building,’ Susan repeated.

‘Come one, guys,’ The Human Torch said, drumming his fingers on the dashboard. ‘Immanent invasion of hatchling alien monsters.’

‘We can’t just leave the kids unsupervised, Johnny.’

‘H.E.R.B.I.E. and the Mom-bots can handly it,’ Ben said. ‘Let’s go!’

‘I’ll see if Ms Thing or Squirrel Girl can check in later,’ Susan said, her fingers flying across the keyboard.

‘Where the hell is that dragon?’ Mr Fantastic muttered, as the fantasticar rose out of the hangar.

New York, Alpha

Andy slammed the door behind him, dropping his rucksack in the cramped entrance hall and pushing his way into his bedroom.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. He wasn’t a hero. He Couldn’t be a hero. Every time, something went wrong. He could have killed that little girl. He’d promised Parker and Spiderman that he wouldn’t-

Andy stopped, his stomach dropping through his knees. The green and black uniform was laid out on his bed. Unable to bring himself to throw it away, he’d hidden the suit in the back of his closet. There was a business card on the chest of the suit. Andy picked it up, brushing the sticky strands that kept it adhered to the fabric. A simple web pattern covered the front. There was an address and a time printed on the back in block capitals. Beneath, two words:

BE THERE

Somewhere Else Entirely

She was tired. Her body ached with hunger and cold. She clutched her arms to her side, desperately trying to keep warm. The creatures prowled nearby, always out of sight. They could have been wolves. She knew how to deal with wolves. Except that there were no wolves here.

There was a growl in the darkness, and the first of the creatures sprang at her.

New York, Location Unknown

Andy- Alpha- hung over the building. He pulled at the fabric of the suit. It had been over a year since he’d last worn it, and the fabric was uncomfortably tight. He descended slowly, landing in a crouch on the building’s edge. A nearby door was open invitingly, with a staircase that led into the building below.

The stairs ended in a large hall. A table stood in its centre. One side of the room was covered in electrical equipment, with several large screens showing the exterior of what looked like a prison. A man stood dressed in a familiar red and gold suit. Behind him stood a… thing. Andy blinked. The creature was massive, with purple skin, a tail, and a pair of leathery, bat-like wings. He recognised it from somewhere. Something to do with the Fantastic Four, or was it the Future Foundation.

The view on one of the screens changed. It now showed a prison cell, with a pretty, brown-haired woman in an orange jumpsuit standing in its centre, reading something. Andy hung back in the shadows, watching as the woman began to move around the room, before heading towards the small window at one end of the room.

There was a flash of green light, and the woman vanished from the screen, appearing in the centre of the room. She swayed slightly, falling to her knees.

‘Hello Marty. So nice of you to join us.’ said the man in the red and gold uniform. He turned towards the door, and Andy shrank back into the shadows. ‘You can come in, Alpha. We’re all friends here.’

‘What’s going on here?’ Andy demanded, in what he hoped was an authoritative voice.

‘Wh-who are you people?’ the woman murmured, struggling to her feet.

‘Ah yes,’ the man said. He flicked his wrist, and the room was suddenly filled with light. Andy saw, for the first time, that the table was decorated with a spider web pattern, like a bull’s-eye. The light glinted off the gold highlights of the man’s armour.

‘My apologies for the subterfuge,’ said the Iron Spider. ‘Welcome to the Web.’

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The Tomorrow People: First Day, Part 1 (An X-men Fanfic)

First Day, Part 1

Rated: T - contains fight scene with mild violence

Spoiler: It’s the first day of a new school year, and Raven Darkholme and Henry McCoy prepare to welcome the first students to the new Xavier School for Gifted Children. But who are the Disciples of the Mutant Messiah? And what do they want with Jean-Philippe, Kurt, and Martha?

Disclaimer: The X-men, and all related characters, are property of Marvel. I don't own any of them (unfortunately). However, this story is mine. Please don't steal my ideas, or my words. ‘You sure you don’t want me to take you right up to the house?’ The taxi driver asked, as they pulled to a stop. The tall, slender boy in his mid-teens shook his head, sending his floppy black hair dancing in the early morning sun.

‘No, thank you. I’ll walk.’ He said, handing his fare to the man and watching the car drive off.

He turned his attention to the large wrought iron gates in front of him. There was a keypad next to them, with a call button to ring the grand house that could be glimpsed at the end of the long, winding gravel drive. But he didn’t know the code, and he was reluctant to push the buzzer.

The boy looked around. The house was the only building on the road, facing a wide field. Beyond it, he could make out the buildings of the nearby town, perhaps a half-hour walk away. The only living creature in sight was a horse which moved lazily back and forth across the field, cropping the grass without much enthusiasm.

The boy turned back to the gate. The wall was a good ten feet high, topped with a row of iron spikes. The owner of the house evidently valued their privacy. He readjusted the strap of his backpack, took a deep breath, and leapt into the air. He hung above the

He landed on the other side of the wall, kicking up a small cloud of dust from the gravel drive. He smiled to himself, and began to make his way towards the house.

The boy hadn’t taken two steps before a piercing screech filled the air. An innocuous patch of grass parted, and what looked like a large camera rose out of the ground. The boy just had time to dive to one side as a blast of purple energy shot past his head, exploding against the stone wall.

‘What-?’ he didn’t have time to finish the question, as three metallic spheres flew towards him. He leapt into the air and the balls followed him, arching upwards towards the sky. He dropped down, skimming just above the grass, the objects close behind him. He swerved around a tree, dodging out of its way at the last moment. The spheres weren’t as fast, and collided with the tree in an explosion which sent shards of metal and chucks of wood hurtling through the air.

The boy smiled despite himself, letting out a whoop of excitement as he headed back towards solid ground. His initial panic had worn off, and he was starting to enjoy himself. His elation was short lived, however, as the gun fired a second shot, narrowly missing his shoulder. Unbalanced, he fell from the sky.

He rolled forwards as he hit the ground, and launched himself towards the gun, dodging the blasts that it sent towards him. He tackled it with his full strength, seizing hold of the box-shaped head in a bear-hug. There was a sound of tearing metal, and the gun was lifted up into the air and crashed to the ground. It gave a pitiful whine, and the light on its side died.

The boy stood up, brushing grass and dust from his front. The alarm was still sounding in the distance, and was joined by the sound of machinery whiring into place. He turned, to see that four more guns had appeared out of the ground, all pointed towards him. At the same time, six more metallic spheres came into view over the tops of the nearby trees, hurtling towards him. The boy swore; whichever way he moved, he was going to be in the path of danger.

There was a loud beep, and the alarm abruptly stopped. The guns slid back into the ground, vanishing without a trace. The metal spheres veered off, vanishing once again behind the trees. In the distance, a bird started singing.

‘What,’ said a female voice behind him ‘do you think you’re doing?’

The boy turned, to see a tall, dark haired woman in a crisp business suit walking towards him across the grass. The woman was beautiful, in a cold, remote way. Her features had a symmetry that he found slightly disturbing in its exact perfection. She held what appeared to be a remote control in one hand.

‘I-I’m a student here, miss. Jean-Philippe. You came and interviewed me in Ontario, remember?’ he asked, taking a step backwards.

‘Of course I remember. I also remember that you were instructed to use the intercom when you arrived, so that you could be let in. I do not remember telling you to break into the school and damage our property.’ The woman raised a single immaculate eyebrow, while the rest of her face remained motionless.

‘Oh, sorry.’ Jean-Philippe said, glancing guiltily at the destroyed gun. ‘I didn’t realise that there would be guns, Miss Dalkholme.’

‘No, why would you? What kind of school has energy guns and explosive droids as a first line of defence?’ The woman asked, striding back across the lawn.

‘Ah-’ He began, unable to finish.

‘That was a joke, Jean-Philippe. And call me Raven, please.’ She said, as he fell into step just behind her.

‘Oh, yeah.’ Jean-Philippe said.

‘You’re other bags have already arrived.’ The woman said, leading the way into the building. It was even more impressive inside than out; all thick red carpets and wooden panelling. The furniture that decorated the hall was sparse, but matched the grand surroundings. A sense of age and grandeur pervaded the space. They stood for a moment in the large entrance hall; Raven waiting patiently as Jean-Philippe drank in his surroundings. He had never been anywhere so grand, so large, so-

‘Kurt! Martha!’ Raven called, breaking into his reverie as she moved out into the large, empty hall. She turned and smiled apologetically at Jean-Philippe. ‘I did tell them that you would be arriving today. I’m sure that Dr McCoy is tucked away in his lab, but the others should be around somewhere.’

‘It’s fine, really.’ Jean-Philippe began. The building itself was so overwhelming that he didn’t mind the fact that it seemed to be deserted. Indeed, at the thought of meeting the other students he felt a knot of anxiety tighten in the pit of his stomach.

‘Ah, Kurt, there you are.’ Raven said. A figure had appeared at the bottom of the stairs, his hands buried deep in the pockets of his jeans. He was slightly shorter than Jean-Philippe, although it was hard to tell as he was strangely hunched over, as though there were a problem with his posture. It was impossible to make anything else of his physical features, as he entire face was hidden in the pool of shadows of his large, hooded sweatshirt.

‘Kurt, I’d like you to meet Jean-Philippe, our newest student.’ Raven said, smiling from one boy to the other.

‘Hi,’ Jean-Philippe said, smiling nervously at the other boy. Kurt remained as he was, without moving or speaking, or giving any sign that he’d heard anything.

‘Now, Kurt, don’t be rude.’ Raven chided. The figure let out an exasperated sigh, and pulled back the hood. Jean-Philippe tried to control his emotions, and could only pray that the shock which flickered briefly across his face had gone unnoticed by the others. Kurt’s face was entirely blue. His eyes were a sulphurous yellow. He smiled nervously at Jean-Philippe, exposing a row of white fangs.

‘Hello.’ He said, in a thick German accent.

‘That’s better.’ Raven said, smiling encouragingly at the two boys.

‘Kurt, would you mind showing Jean-Philippe up to the dorm? You two will be sharing, at least for now.’ Raven asked, walking away without waiting for a reply. She disappeared behind one of the doors leading out of the hall, leaving the two boys alone in silence.

‘Right, come on then. Try and keep up.’ Kurt stooped to pick up one of the bags that had been left by the door. Jean-Philippe had travelled light; his whole life fitted in to one rucksack and two medium sized suitcases.

‘Not a problem.’ Jean-Philippe said. A gust of wind hit Kurt in the face, and he blinked rapidly to clear the water from his eyes. As he cleared his eyes, he saw that Jean-Philippe and the remaining suitcase had moved to the foot of the stairs.

‘Huh. Race you.’ Kurt said, his face splitting into a mischievous grin. He vanished, enveloped in a cloud of purple smoke. Jean-Philippe coughed, waving at the air to try and clear the smog.

To Be Continued...

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Should former mutants be repwoered following AvX?

Since Hope and Scarlet Witch used the power of the Phoenix Force to undo the events of Decimation, new mutants have started popping up across the Marvel Universe. Several of these characters can now be seen in Wolverine and the X-men and Uncanny X-men. However, as far as I'm aware, this has had no effect on the former mutants such as Marrow and Danni Moonstar. It seems that while the part of the spell that stopped new mutants from appear has been reversed, the aspect which supressed/ removed the powers of pre-existing mutants is still in effect.

Is this really the case, or are we just seeing a delayed reaction in these mutants resurfacing? I for one would rather see some of the former mutants reappearing than some of these new characters (what exactly is the point of a boy who's only power is that he's covered in eyes?) who appear to serve no real purpose in the world of the X-men.

So, a two-part question for you:

1. Do you think that former mutants should be repowered?

2. If so, who would you like to see running around with a reactivated X-gene?

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X-Men: Ressurection. Fanfiction Ideas

Another idea for some x-men fanfiction, let me know what you think.

A group of deceased x-men find themselves inexplicably returned from the dead. Together, they set out to find the answers for their resurrection, and confront the changes that have occured in their world. As they investigate, they discover that all of the teamate's graves are empty (with the exception of Jubilee, who has no grave), and that genetic and telepathic screening cannot determine whether they are clones, AU counterparts, or something else entirely. Having visited both Utopia and Wolverine's School, the team decide not to settle in either location, instead moving from place to place. The team roster is as follows:

Charlie 'Cerebro' Xavier

As a man of science, Professor Xavier never put much stock in the idea of an afterlife. However, whatever he expected to encounter after dying, it wasn't to be ressurected a few months later, half-way around the world and in the body of a teenager (complete with a full head of blond hair). Taking on the new codename 'Cerebro', Xavier faces the knowledge that he was murdered by one of his first students, and adapts to life in a world in which his dream has apparently failed. For Charlie (as he now calls himself), a part of the challenge is the fact that he is now apparently only 16 years old, and, despite having the mental age of a grown man, he still has the instincts and impulses of a young man. As the team live on the move, Charlie has developed a portable version of Cerebro which forms a backpack and lightweight headset, allowing him to tap into the Cerebro systems around the world.

Jubilation 'Jubilee' Lee

The last thing Jubilee remembers before her death is being attacked by vampires during the 'Curse of the Mutants' storyline. Now, not only is she back, but her mutant powers, lost to her since M-Day, have returned. Unlike the other members of the team, Jubilee faces a unique challenge. Upon arriving at Utopia, she iscovers that there is already a Jubilee on the team. With both girls certain that they are the true, original Jubilee, tensions soon begin to rise. Horified by what she has become, Jubilee vows to hunt down and destroy every vampire she comes across.

Kevin 'Mimic' Sydney

The first x-man to fall in battle, Kevin has spent years in the afterlife, making several attempts to return to life and gain his revenge on his former teamates. Now that he's back, however, he seems to be more interested in finding who is responsible for screwing with him. As such, he has set aside his hatred for Xavier and joined his team, at least for the time being. Strangely, Mimic is the only member of the team whose powers have been effected by his ressurection. His shapeshifting powers now work at a molecular level, allowing him to transform any part of his body into anything he wishes, although this is a power which he initially has a lot of difficulty conrtolling.

John 'Warpath' Proudstar

Having already been ressurected once before, John is used to being confronted by the changes which occur in one's absence. However, his lasting memory of his time as Selene's undead slave was his destruction at the hands of his own brother, the x-man Thunderbird. Taking the new name 'Warpath', John joins Xaviers team in the hopes of finding who has ressurected him. However, he has vowed that he won't return to his grave until he gets his revenge on his brother.

Kurt 'Nightcrawler' Wagner

Kurt, as a lifelong Catholic, was always sure of the saving grace of Heaven. Although he refuses to speak of his time while dead, it is clear that the experience has shaken Nightcrawler to his core. Kurt's final action was saving the mutant Messiah Hope Summers from Bastion. Returned from the dead, he is horrified when he realises what the Utopian x-men, and his former friend Cyclops, has become. Moreover, he is shocked when a visit to the new Jean Grey School reveals that, in a cruel twist of fate, his Age of Apocalypse counterpart is alive and well. Kurt is thus faced with the knowledge that, while his own pacifistic ways have led to his own death, his counterparts near-homicidal passion for violence have kept him alive. Challenged in every way, Kurt is forced to completely reavaluate every aspect of his life.

So I've got the team, but not much in the way of a plot. What do you think?

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Generation Hope #14-16: A lack of art continuity

First of all, I love Generation Hope. The characters, the plot, and the art are all top-notch. However, over the last couple of issues, I've noticed some... rather odd problems with the continuity. This isn't a problem with the stroy itself, but rather with the art and how it matches up to the narrative taking place. The only thing that bugged me about Gen. Hope lately is that the artist- Takeshi Miyazawa- doesn't seem to really know what's going on.

Last issue, we saw Gabriel race off to rescue Pixie from where she was being held prisoner. This was despite the fact that we had just seen her in a portable prison strapped to the back of a man less than five metres away from the group. Gabriel actually ran passed Pixie on his way to find and rescue her! Then, on his way back, now carrying Pixie, he claimed to have passed the army as he was returning fromf reeing her. Obviously, the writing calls for Pixie to have been absent in the first part of the scene, in order to add the drama of the approaching military forces to the story. Either the wrtier didn't make himself clear on this point, or the artist just forgot about it when drawing the pannels.

Then, when the group returned to Utopia in issue 16, we saw Bliss spontaiously switch from looking like a copy of Jean Grey to being a copy of Storm. For those that don't know, Bliss's physical form was altered by the Morlocks so that she could infiltrate the x-men several years ago, first as Jean, and then as Storm. The shift in the character's appearance made me feel that the artist had no idea what was actually going on. I know that minor characters can be tricky to keep track on, but some basic research would have shown exactly what Bliss should have looked like.

Finally, in this month's issue, Kenji and Hope are walking down a hallway. They pass several mutants whose faces aren't seen, including one with blue fur, a tail, and pointed ears. WHAT? Nightcrawler is dead, remember? And even if it was his Age of Apocalypse counterpart, what the Hell would he be doing on Utopia? It feels to me that Takeshi Miyazawa either doesn't know much about the x-men's history, isn't paying proper attention to the story he is illustrating, or he doesn't care enough to make it coherant.

Of course, I may be being too harsh on Miyazawa. It could be that James Asmus simply wasn't clear on what was meant to be going on. Either way, someone, either one of the editors or producers, should have picked up on these issues before the book went to print. I know that these are only tiny details, but they seriously detracted from my enjoyment of an otherwise stella story.

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X-Men: Regenesis, a few ideas

This is just a random collection of things that I think should (and hope will) come about as a result of Schism and Regenesis in the X-men books.

Character development.

Too many characters in the X- mythos have been stuck in characterisation hell for too long. Hopefully, with the teams a bit more spread out, we'll be able to see some of the characters developed further without them stepping on other people's toe. It already looks like we're going to see character development in Iceman, who seems to be exploring his powers a bit more in Wolverine and the X-men. Likewise, in Generation Hope, the Stepford Cuckoos (specifically Phoebe) seem to be going through the beginning of some interesting character changes, gaining more individuality now that they're free of the Phoenix Force. Hopefully we'll get to see a bit more of minor (but awesome) chraracters in other books.

New Relationships

Regenesis would also be a great time to see some new character combinations. Personally, I think the relationships between Storm and Black Panther and Emma Frost and Cyclops are holding the female characters back. While I have nothing against Storm's marriage, it doesn't seem to add anything to the stories other than as a reason why she's not always present. As for Emma.... well, I just don't really see why she's with Scott, or vice versa. Previews from Exalted and Uncanny X-men are hinting that we could soon see a mix-up, with Storm and Emma kissing Cyclops and Namor, respectively. I'm also quite exited for the love triangle (who doesn't love a love triangle?) between Hope, Velocidad, and Pixie, and the blossoming romance between Zero and No-Girl. With characters like Shadowcat and Collosus, and Psylocke and Angel (apparently) breaking up, seeing them in new relationships could be interesting, too.

New Outfits

Some of the characters have been wearing the same outfits for years, and ti feels like its time for a change. The students at the new Jean Grey Institute are wearing school uniforms, but none of them really had a distinctive look to start out with. I'm thinking more in turms of long-time characters. Psylocke has been wearing the same swimming costume for ages, and it could really use with being traded for something more practicial. Likewise Storm. I mean, she's meant to be a queen, for goodness sake! Could you imagine the outcry if Kate Middleton went around in an outfit like Ororo's? It just feels like Storm's costume could do with being a bit more dignified, is all I'm saying. Likewise Magneto; the red and purple is iconic, true, but maybe a slightly new look (with a few added 'x's' maybe?) would help tie him in with the rest of his team-mates.

New Characters

Kid Omega, Kid Gladiator... Kid Apocalypse?

Wolverine already has some new recruits in the form of Broo and Kid Gladiator, but a mutant school filled with aliens seems like a contradiction to me. We still don't know how the recruitment process is going to work for new mutants. With Scarlet Witch's return in Young Avengers (?), will we see a new mutant baby-boom? Since Decimation, several mutants have regained their powers (Magneto, Chamber), while a handful of new mutants (Five Lights, Omega) have emerged. Is it time that we saw an end to 'No More Mutants'? And how will Wolverine and Cyclops decide who goes where? The most sensible thing to do would be to send mutants under a certain age (say, 16) to the School, while those older are given the choice of going to Utopia. But how would Hope react to that, as it would have a major effect on her mission to find and help newly emerging mutants? For that matter, what's going to happen to the clone of Apocalypse that's been appearing in Uncanny X-Force? Could En Sabba Nur have a place in Wolverine's school?

New Villains

For years, the majority of the X-Men's enemies were other mutants. However, since Decimation, there simply haven;t been enough mutants left for them to ristk extinction by fighting themselves. Many former villains are now either depowered (Blob, Quicksilver) or dead (Sabertooth). Even more have, for one reason or another, joined the X-men (Magneto, Avelanche). We've already seen new enemies in the form of the under-aged Hellfire Club, but will there be more? The previews have hinted (less than subtly, in some cases) at the return of the Phoenix Force and Skrulls, but what else to we have to expect? Perhpas some new, evil mutants are on the horizon.

So many questions, so few answers. Well, I guess that's what Regenisis is all about, right?

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X-Men: 10,000 BC

Ok, so while reading X-Men: Regenesis, I was inspired by the images of Scott and Wolverine fighting each other while dressed as cavemen, with the other x-men standing on either side as they chose who to follow. I thought the style was cool, and the idea has sat in my mind ever since. Over the last couple of weeks, I've begun toying with the idea of a spin-off/ fan-fic concerning the x-men, but set several thousand years in the past. Here's a vague idea of how I think it could work. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We already know that the x gene exists as a result of the Celestials visiting Earth thousands of years ago and experimenting on early humans. So, the potential for prehistoric mutants has already been there, and there's n reason why they shouldn't ahve been. Of course, there is sometimes the argument that the high number of mutants over the last few decades is a result of the x gene being triggered by radiation, but what about solar flares? Or meteorites? Or naturally-occuring radioactive substances in the Earth's crust? All of these things could help trigger mutations. Adn besides, there doesn't ahve to be a lot of mutants in this story- in fact, it works better if there's only a very small handful. Apocalypse and Namor are generally accepted as being the first mutants. However, just because they are the first recorded, powerful mutants, doesn't mean that there weren't any before. In fact, I seem to remember Dr. Nemisis saying that Namor wasn't the first mutant, but merely represented the beginning of the first Mutant Baby Boom. Thus, we could have mutants present in small numbers centuries before En Saba Nur was born. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Characters +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Scott Summers's Acestor- let's face it, in almost any X book you care to mention, there's at least one character that's related to the Summers family. Havok, Vulcan, X-Man, Cable, Hope, Ruby...Even Apocalypse, in some versions, is meant to be related to Cyclops. How about a character who ahs Cyclops's power, but on a much smaller/weaker scale? Or maybe something more like Bassilisk in New Mutants, capable of creating blasts of light, rather than concussive force, from his eye? +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Phoenix- Now, we know that Jean Grey isn't the first character to posses the Phoenix Force. In fact, she's not even the first human. This could be a good opportunity to show the Phoenix arriving on Earth for the first time, and maybe explain the entity's fascination with humanity. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Nightcrawler and Angel- Both characters have been described as coming from races of mutants- the first demonic, the latter angelic- that have existed since Biblical times. So we could have an interesting interaction between two (or more) characters from these tribes. Romeo and Juliet, anyone? +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Wolverine and Sabertooth- Now, I'm not a massive fan of Wolverine (ok, ok, put away the torches and pitchforks!). I just feel that he's a little overused. However, in Wolverine's solo comic, the character of Romulus is stated as being a member of 'Lupus Sapiens'- a race which evolved from wolves instead of apes. The story introduces the idea of a war between blond- and dark-haired lupine warriors which have fought each other for thousands of years, thus explaining the emnity between Wolverine and Sabertooth. We could see the beginning of this war in X-Men: 10,000, or maybe a continuation of it. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Storm- It's been said before that Ororo comes from a long line of powerful magic users with dark skin and white hair, so perhaps we could see how this line of witches/priestesses/goddesses came about. I'm thinking a character with Storm's looks and personality, but with a backstory and powers similar to Magik or Pixie. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, what do you think? Obviously it's going to take a bit of work to flesh it out, but how do you like the basic premise? Oh, an apologies for the way this is laid out- I'm being told that my browser doesn't allow editing on this site...

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Ultimate Comics X-men


 The new Ultimate X-men was meant to launch two days ago, but I haven't heard (or seen) anything about it except for a couple of teaser images. While searching for some info on the web, I came across these preview pages on comicbookresources.com.
 First we have a dark-haired woman who may be Karren Grant, the new alias of Jean Grey in this universe, visiting an unknown red-haired woman. Next we see Colossus apparantly imprisoned and undergoing torture, while Carol Denvers- the head of SHIELD in this reality- holds a press conference. Next, Rogue flees what appear to be army soldiers, only to run headlong into Nimrod. Finally, we see Ultimate Kitty Pryde (using her increadibly cool Shroud identity), Iceman, and Human Torch (who's not a mutant, dammit!) getting ready to spring into action.
 
 
 
 
The solicitation reads as follows:  
  

"Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Ultimate Comics X-Men #1, from rising stars Nick Spencer & Paco Medina! Iceman, Kitty Pride and the Human Torch discover the true history of the x-gene as the divide between Mankind and Mutantkind grows deeper than ever before! Who are the X-Men and how will they handle the fallout of this universe shattering discovery? Find out in Ultimate Comics X-Men #1 this September, as Ultimate Comics Universe Reborn continues!"


 
What this preiview doesn't show is where new characters Jimmy and Derek are. Who knows what they're getting up to while all this is going on? Anyone know anything more about what's happening in the Ultimate Universe?
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Which Side Are They On?

     
 

X-Men; Schism is well under way now, and everyone's wondering the same thing; who will side with Cyclops, and who will go with Wolverine? The list below is not official in any way, it's just my idea of how the teams could, potentially, work out. Likewise, it's not exhaustive; if I tried to go through every single character from the x-men books, I think my head would explode (also, I probably wouldn't be finished before Schism ended, either).

 Uncanny X-men

Cyclops has been in charge of the X-men for a while now. The question is, when push comes to shove, who's staying with him (I'm guessing that Uncanny X-men are still going to be based in Utopia) and who's heading off with Wolverine. 
 
Emma Frost. Right now, Emma is the love of Scott's life. They've been through a lot together (hell, he risked getting Mind-R***d by the Void to save her) anjd seem to be going strong. Although we know that Schism is meant to shake things up, I think the White Queen's a fair certainty for Cyclops' team. 
 
Stepford Cuckoos. They were the joint leader's of The Corsairs (Cyclops' training squad), as well as being Frost's cloned daughters. The smart money says that they'll be in with the Uncanny crowd. 
 
Frenzy. A relatively minor character so far, she's been in love with Cyclops since Age of X. If Scott and Emma do split up as a result of Schism, Fenzy could easily be Cyclops' new love interest. And even if they don't, it would be interesting to see a x-men love triangle which isn't foccused on Jean Grey.
 
Iceman. One of the original X-men, Iceman has been on Cyclops' team since day one. Morevoer, Emma's been training him on further controlling his powers, so this could be a great opportunity to expand on both his power set and character. 
 
.
's future looks a bit iffy at the moment. But if he survives to the end of the current Dark Angel storyline, chances are he'll be on Cyclops' team in the end, if only for the same reasons as Iceman: Angel (when not being brain-washed by Apocalypse) has been on Cyclops' team since forever. 
 
Namor. My guess is, Namor's fate depends largely on that of Utopia; after finally finding a new city for his peoople to inhabit, I doubt that he'll just walk away. If Cyclops does retain control of the former asteroid, then I'd place Namor on his team. Of course, there's a chance that Namor won't pick any side in the upcoming fued, as he's never really been a big team player.


Wolverine and The X-Men 
 
Wolverine.
 So far, there's no clue as to where Wolverine's going to be based, although there's always a chance that he'll head back to Graymalkin, or even the old X mansion in . 
 
X-Force. Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke. Just as Iceman and Angel are almost certainly loyal to Cyclops, X-Force are Wolverine's people through and through. Now, I know that some people are going to argue that Psylocke needs to stay with Angel, but that's one relationship that I wouldn't bank on surviving beyond Schism. Even if survives his current  arc, I think there's a good chance of Psylocke and Fantomex getting together in the near future.  
 
X-23 is a tricky one. On the one hand, she's Wolverine's clone. However, that doesn't mean that she has to have much love for the man. Moreover, it would make sense for the writers to divide the mutants equally. By having X-23 in the Uncanny X-Men, Marvel could potentially have a Wolverine-esque character in both titles.
 
Shadowcat. Wolverine has been something of a surrogate father to several x-girls in the past. As such, I'm placing Shadowcat on 's new team. 
 
Colossus. Piotr is the love of Kitty's life. Let's face it; where she goes, he goes. 'Nuff said. 
 
Rogue. Like Kitty, Rogue has had a strong relationship with Wolverine at times. However, whether or not she'll be joined by Gambit is another question entirely...
 
Northstar. It took Wolverine's special brand of persuasion to get his fellow Canadian to join the X-men in the first place. If  goes, so will Northstar. 

The Unknown

 
Naturally, there are some big time players that I have absolutely no idea what to do with. There's a lot of students still running around on Utopia, not to mention the X-Club, etc. etc. I don't have the time or energy to go through every x-men character, so I'm only going to mention a couple more. 

Hope and The Five Lights. Everyone's been trying to mould her into their own imagefor a while now, but what does Hope actually want? Yes, she is officially a Summers, and was raised by Cyclops' son in an alternative timeline, so that coudl counnt for something. On the other hand, she's never exactly seen eye to eye with either Scott or Emma, and Wolverine seems to be the only major player in the books who ISN'T trying to use her for his own purposes. If anything, I wouldn't eb surprised it Hope headed off in a completely different direction to both teams. And of course, the other Lights will almost certainly follow their Messiah to the ends of the Earth (Or will they? Duh, Duh, DUH!)   

Storm is another tricky one. Right now I'm not really sure where she stands; on the one hand, I'd like to put her on Wolverine's team, as they have quite a serious history together. On the other hand, as queen of Wakanda, she has the well-fair of her people to consider. In the end, she may stay well out of the events of Schsim. 
 
Beast. I'm not really sure what's going on with Hank. He left Utopia because he dissagreed with Cyclops' methods, but does that mean that he'll automatically side with Wolverine. Liek Storm, he may be another character who manages to avoid the coming fallout. 
 
 So, do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Is there someone on this list that you think I've completely misjudged, or forgotten about entirely?

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