X-Men: Armored CompleX by Guest Mike Van Wagoner
As the X-Men universe finds itself in a time when many beloved heroes dead or powerless, there’s never been a greater opportunity for someone new to pick up the torch and fight for the rights and survival of mutants and humans alike. A task easier said than done, especially for a mutant who is destined for greatness (See Runaways Volume 2, Issue 1), but has never been looked at as something more than a side-kick to a grumpy old mutant (you know who). X-Men: Armored Complex follows Hisako Ichiki’s journey to become one of greatest and most beloved leaders of the X-Men.
Hisako Ichiki (Armor): She’s a wonderful character with a lot of heart and soul. Her compassion for her fellow X-Men as well as her experience in battle makes her a great candidate for leadership. In this series, Hisako will have the opportunity to overcome many challenges and complexities that will ultimately refine her into a lovable leader.
Noriko Ashida (Surge): Her experience in the New Mutants and cultural ties to Japan make Nori an excellent choice to team up with Hisako in her adventures in Japan. Her powers are a good balance to Hisako, and will make for some interesting battle sequences. She will be a great strength culturally and emotionally to Hisako.
Julian Keller (Hellion): The ego of the team. Julian brings a strong challenge to Hisako’s attempt to lead this new group of mutants. Julian will be seen as a source of conflict within the team. His power, attitude, and strong sense of superiority will give Hisako a run for her money. Will he succeed in dividing the team? Will they all side with Julian and leave Hisako alone to wonder in self-doubt? Or will she be able to sort through the complexities of having a rival on her would-be team?
Peter (Pietro) Maximoff (Quicksilver): The good bad guy that ends up being good; just what every good tem needs: a bad boy. Not looking to take the lead of the team in a foreign land, he is content at helping Hisako succeed. He is also seen, a source of irony and humor for team, especially when he’s making fun of Julian’s arrogance and ego. Standing up His powers are perfect for stealth, espionage and sabotage.
David Bond (Hijack): On assignment with Peter and Julian, David not sure of what his role is at first, but before too long finds himself as trusted advisor for Hisako. With the threat of sentinels looming, David’s power is a must.
The first arc:
Returning to her homeland of Japan with Noriko Ashida (Surge), Hisako seeks to find out the connection with her powers and her relatives. Once there she learns the burial shrine of her ancestors has been defiled. Most of the shrine has been replaced with a duplicate and the original pieces are missing. As she further investigates, she learns that the Yokido Nakagomi Corporation (YNC) has purchase the all of regions burial grounds, including her family’s shrine. In addition to burial grounds the YNC has also investing into a sizable holding in the Trask Industries. After much debate, Hisako and Nori finally agree to investigate the new Trask Research facility of the YNC.
Upon arrival at the site, they run into Quicksilver. Peter is on reconnaissance with Hellion and Hijack. They have been following leads from America to Japan on the new joint merger of Trask Industries and the YNC. They have learned that this facility maybe in the process of developing a new type of sentinel. The lab looks more like a site of rituals and worship than of science and technology. The vast laboratory contains five prototype sentinels. The sentinels are inactive, and incomplete, but covered in ritualistic runes and markings. To her horror, Hisako recognizes elements of her family shrine surrounding one of five prototypes.
Perplexed by the discovery, that somehow her ancestor’s remains are being integrated into the construction of the sentinels, Hisako falls to her knees in sorrow. Julian takes the lead and orders the team to destroy the disabled sentinels. Conflict arises as Hisako, steps up to protect the sentinels with her psionic exoskeleton. She feels she cannot allow her ancestors remains be destroyed with the sentinels. How can she make sense all that is happening? How will she protect her ancestors while shutting down the sentinel operation?
As Hellion and Hisako are arguing, Hijack steps in as a voice of reason. While he suggests they destroy the facility and proposes stealing the sentinels and trying to uncover what the YNC is up to. As he reaches out to the sentinels with his mutant power he is able to control the sentinels and move them to a safe house where the team can figure out what’s going on.
Surprise its Azazel:
As the plot unfolds Hisako and her newly formed team learn that Trask Industries and the YNC are merely pawns in a great scheme that is being masterminded by Azazel from the dimension he had been banished to. The sentinels were being redesigned to become mobile portals to allow Azazel and his minion army to make strategic strikes against humans and mutant like, from his banishment.
First of all, let me disclose that up until a few months ago, I haven’t opened a comic book in over 25 years. I love them as a kid and mowed many lawns to earn enough money to run to my local comic store and buy my Uncanny X-Men, Batman and Wolverine comics. When I was approached by Loz to do a pitch I was intrigued by the challenge and excited to do some illustration work.
However, it quickly dawned on me how little I know about the Marvel and DC universes. A lot has happened in 25 years. Far more than I can consume in the 6 weeks that I had to work on this pitch. That being said I realize that my pitch is the least informed of the pitches this year. But I’m confident that even with my lack of knowledge, I’ve still produce a strong team with depth and personality. And I’ve enjoyed the late nights that I’ve spent reconnecting with my childhood. My hope is that at least some one else has found joy in my pitch.
As we’ve mentioned every day, 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: Armored CompleX. Tune in tomorrow for our last pitch of the event, X-Men: Extreme Measures.