Note: Although this pitch is inspired by Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men run, it was written before the publication of Uncanny X-Men #17.
Months ago, the X-Man Monet St. Croix fell under the influence of her brother, the parasitic mutant vampire known as Emplate. Struggling to escape his influence, she has fled into the shadows, but even she doesn’t know the grim future that awaits her. The precognitive mutant Blindfold foresees a time when the Emplates will go to war against the human race.
But changing the future isn’t a simple thing, as Blindfold soon learns to her cost. Anti-mutant forces use the growing number of Emplates to justify a campaign against mutants, and they draw Hope Summers – once the Mutant Messiah – out of hiding. It’s only when Blindfold allies with the time-traveling Shard that she learns Hope is the real threat – that the Mutant Messiah has the power to influence every mutant created since Avengers v X-Men, and that Hope herself will become thrall to Emplate…
BLINDFOLD – The central character of Extreme Measures, Blindfold is a strange and eccentric figure who manipulates others into allying with her. Terrified of this dark future, Blindfold struggles to control her visions; she’s no longer able to sleep without dreaming, and she’s growing fatigued and exhausted. That just makes matters worse, as she fears making mistakes. Meanwhile, her habit of talking to a psychic presence no-one else can see is leaving her friends pretty freaked out…
While Blindfold’s costume is a clear homage to her traditional X-uniform, I’ve darkened it and added a cloak. I feel this represents the darker tone of the book, and also shows a woman who’s becoming more of an individual – and even a leader.
PIXIE – Blindfold’s first recruit, Pixie is an essential member of the team – largely because she’s the transport! Pixie finds herself thrown into a darker world than she’s comfortable with, and begins to understand just how dangerous the future may be for the mutant race. Where many would be broken by this knowledge, though, Pixie surprises the more experienced X-Men by digging into reserves of strength they never believed she had. She’s not to be underestimated!
I’ve chosen something of a Goth look for Pixie, as I feel she’s a strongly individualistic character, and really needs to ditch the traditional X-uniform.
PSYLOCKE – Feeling responsible for everything that happened when she and Monet sided with Magneto, Psylocke has taken point in trying to find her old colleague. She’s already been looking for Monet, but her quest takes on new urgency when she’s contacted by Blindfold.
I want Psylocke to keep the current UXM uniform, as a homage and to establish continuity.
SABRETOOTH – Caring more about Monet St. Croix than he cares to admit, especially to himself, Sabretooth has allied with Psylocke in hunting for Emplate. This naturally leads him to become one of Blindfold’s team, but he’s not an ally she’s particularly comfortable with; the Inversion that made him a hero is beginning to wear off. Two minds battle for control of Sabretooth – one the hero, the other the brutal villain. Will Sabretooth regress, and become a monster once again? The X-Men don’t know, but his hyper-senses are essential to finding Monet…
Again, Sabretooth should keep the current UXM uniform, as a homage and to establish continuity.
MONET ST. CROIX – How the graceful are fallen! The beautiful and elegant Monet has abandoned civilized company and lives on the streets. She’s battling against her brother’s possession, but has no idea that he controls her while she sleeps; with the mutant race restored, Emplate is building up an army. As he feeds, so his strength grows, until one horrific confrontation with Blindfold when Emplate completely subsumes Monet’s psyche and takes full control…
You can see Monet’s look in the featured image, which is the cover of Uncanny X-Men #17 (the solicit inspired this entire arc).
HOPE SUMMERS – The Mutant Messiah, Hope was one of the first mutants affected by the Terrigen Mist. She was healed by Elixir, and has gradually awoken. When fear of the Emplates drives the US Government to pass anti-mutant legislation, Hope begins a campaign against both the Government and the Emplates. She soon learns that she has the ability to influence the minds of mutants born after the events of Avengers vs X-Men, just as she used to be able to influence the Five Lights. This makes her a deeply attractive target for Emplate – and when she finally meets Monet St. Croix, she makes the mistake of mimicking Monet’s powers. This makes her vulnerable to Emplate, who chooses Hope as a far more attractive host…
Hope’s redesign took a lot of work, actually; while I wanted the greens to still be present, I also wanted to change her colorscheme enough to make the character visually distinctive (her previous designs have, in my view, been Phoenix-lite and too much a homage to Jean Grey).
SHARD – Traveling from Bishop’s twisted timeline, Shard gives Blindfold the final pieces of the puzzle. Shard knows that Hope Summers will be possessed by Emplate, and will use her powers to enthrall almost the entire mutant race – leading them into a war against humanity!
Traveling from the future, Shard would wear her traditional XSE costume.
LEGION – The Omega-level son of Charles Xavier, Legion erased himself from reality – but left a fragment of his psyche inside Blindfold’s mind. Legion manifests in an astral form, visible only to Blindfold, and conversations between the two leave the other X-Men worried about Blindfold’s sanity. As matters worsen, Legion realizes just how powerful Hope Summers is – and comes to believe he needs to be restored to existence, as he may be the X-Men’s only chance against her!
X-Men: Extreme Measures is very much a spiritual successor to two books: Cullen Bunn’s current Uncanny X-Men, which sets the groundwork for the major arc, and Simon Spurrier’s tremendous X-Men: Legacy, which focused so much on Legion and Blindfold. (The continuity with UXM is why Psylocke, Monet, and Sabretooth haven’t been redesigned.) Where the other pitches have included the first arc, this book is designed to be a two-year story that divides into four sections:
- The first arc sets up the themes, with Blindfold gathering her first allies – Pixie, Sabretooth, and Psylocke. Monet’s status quo is gradually established, and the arc culminates in a disastrous confrontation where Emplate takes complete control.
- The second arc features worsening mutant / human relations in light of the growing Emplate threat, with the US Government preparing mutant camps to protect from Emplates. The Sentinel program is re-initiated. Hope begins to work against the Government’s strategy.
- This third arc is where things really go wrong, with Blindfold taking the team on a side-mission to recruit Shard. It’s then that Blindfold learns Hope is the real threat, but the team are too late – Hope encounters Emplate, and is possessed by him.
- In the final arc, Emplate prepares his growing army, and the X-Men are reluctantly forced to ally with the government’s anti-mutant task-forces. The team make one final attempt to prevent an all-out war between Emplate’s army and the anti-mutant task force (and Sentinels). Emplate foolishly feeds upon Blindfold, and in so doing leaves himself open to Legion’s influence. Legion taps into the residual energy of the Phoenix Force to begin the process of reshaping reality once again, and he returns to existence. Monet is able to tear Emplate out of Hope’s body, and Legion and Hope destroy Emplate. As they do so, Legion declares: “Yer a demon, Emplate. And you know why we have demons? To conquer them.”
Extreme Measures is designed to explore two specific themes. Firstly, there is fear of the future; what would you do if you knew, positively knew, that the future was bad, and everything you tried to do to change it made it worse? Fear of the future is a massive societal issue, especially in the wake of recent political events, and this is a truly topical question.
The second theme is the idea of facing our demons. Several of the key characters are plagued with personality conflicts; Sabretooth literally has two psyches inside his mind, Emplate is initially a dark side to Monet who then repeats the process with Hope, and Blindfold’s mind is host to a guest. The final battle is designed to feature each demon being conquered: Emplate cannot make Sabretooth his thrall, as Creed is used to fighting a demon; Legion is manifested as a reality once again; Monet is the one who tears Emplate out of Hope; and Hope and Legion co-operate to destroy Emplate.
. ~ .
As we mentioned yesterday, you could win a prize for commenting. In conjunction with MahMuseComics.com, and The All New Wednesday Warriors, comic store Dr. Volts is sponsoring pitch week and is giving away one X-men themed prize to one random commenter each day. So, enter the discussion, ask the pitchers questions, engage them in conversation about the pitch and you could win. Hope you enjoyed X-Men: Extreme Measures. Tune in tomorrow to vote for your favorite of this week’s pitches!