eXellent X-Men

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A Guest Pitch By Marius Niederas

Pitch

“We have to be more than great. We have to be excellent.” – Emma Frost

While the Terrigen Clouds kept X-Men and mutants busy fighting for survival, new and old enemies rose up under their shadows. Now without the dangling threat of extinction, a new team of X-Women, drawn together by chance, takes on these enemies to make the future brighter for mutants and humans alike.

The first arc:

After the events of Death of X, Selene feared she would lose her favorite source of nutrition: the life force of mutants. She gathers a new Inner Circle and begins capturing mutants. Blink, still fueled by vengeance against Selene after she was manipulated by her during Necrosha, makes a move against Selene’s prison and rescues Emma Frost and Frenzy. Together they free a possessed Sage, who functioned as a prison ward, and set out to fight Selene. They confront her and two familiar mutants she uses as trackers: Rachel Summers and Michael Pointer (Weapon Omega), but only with the help of Magik, they manage to cleanse Rachel of Selene’s influence, while Selene and Weapon  Omega manage to escape. Emma, Rachel, Frenzy, Sage, and Blink group together and swear to end Selene. Magik rejects the other women, fearing she is too unstable to be near a team after her confrontation with the world eater and Emma offers telepathically to stop her, should she ever lose control. Together the women move into the deserted New Charles Xavier School and christen it the Scott Summers School, in honor of the fallen.

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The Cast:

emma_thumbEmma FrostDeath of X showed: Emma Frost needs to be in an X-Book, so she was the first character I wanted to use and built the pitch around her. She will be a co-leader of the team and a mentor for most of the other members, especially Frenzy and Husk. She is driven by the desire for revenge against Selene, who captured her and locked her up, However, she also recognizes the potential in the younger women and she tries to guide them into a role where they can take charge for themselves and other mutants, so Emma can one day give the burden of leadership into the hands of the next generation.
Emma and Rachel will have tensions between them, but mostly it will be about the handling of the main object of the team. They both respect each other and support each other in honing their abilities.
In the battles to come Emma will mostly stand back, asserting the situation, communicating with Sage about the strategy and dealing telepathic blows. With Frenzy and Husk on the team, she only uses her diamond form for defense.

rachel_thumbRachel GreyRachel is a character I feel has been underused in the last years. Though she ends the first arc with a trauma, being once again used to track mutants, she will overcome it and fight for herself and other mutants. She and Emma were sometimes at odds which each other, but now with a common goal ahead they develop a strong connection, that isn’t in any relation to Scott Summers or Jean Grey.
With her abilities, Rachel will be the field leader. She will overview the fights, as the only flyer on the team, and use her telekinetic abilities to strike at enemies or protect team members from incoming blows. With her telepathy she will scan the battlefield, looking for targets or communicate with the others.
Later in the series Rachel, together with Frenzy and Blink, comes at odds with Emma and Sage. They are frustrated with the lack of progress in finding Selene and her main base of operations.

sage_thumbSageSage is the mission control of the team, since she had the most insight to Selene’s operations while under her control and she is best suited for it due to her powers. But Sage will also be an enigma. Although she is the member who knew Professor X the longest, her time as an X-Men is relatively short compared to Emma or Rachel and while she is working to find Selene, she will pursue other missions along the way, like building a network of allies or going after criminals with only Blink and Husk at her side. Revenge isn’t the only driving force Sage has and she is already planning for the time after Selene’s removal, when other battles need to be fought.

blink_thumbClarice Ferguson, BlinkBlink is the catalyst for the whole team to come together and she will form a close friendship with Frenzy, since both have the same goal: To redeem themselves and become heroes. But soon she will clash with the other members, mostly Emma and Sage. In her opinion, they don’t make enough progress with finding and ending Selene. She gets put on the back-burner during missions, as she is the only way of evacuation during emergencies.
She is important to the team, since she is the fastest way of transportation, but the other women have to learn not to overuse her because of her abilities, but to respect her for the person she is.

frenzy_thumbJoanna Cargil, FrenzyFrenzy chose to walk a different path after the events of Age of X and unfortunately we only got a few glimpses of that. In this book she will learn how to be a hero and while she is won’t admit it openly, she will look to Emma for guidance, since she is a former villain herself. Even when they clash on the field, since Frenzy has a different approach to fights than Emma, she holds her in high regard, since Emma was the one who respected Frenzy’s wish to keep her memories of Age of X in the first place.
Frenzy will be the coach for physical combat for Husk and Tubarãa and will form a friendship with them. Frenzy and Rachel will bond over the experiences of Age of X, which both women remember, but regard differently.

husk_thumbPaige Guthrie, HuskHusk is discovered by the team while she is fighting Selene’s goons to protect a group of mutants. She almost forces herself on the team and they let her join. Afterwards Paige storms furiously into every fight, matching Frenzy’s pugnacity. Unbeknownst, after the events of Necrosha, a sliver of Proteus’ psyche stayed in Husk, deep buried in her mind. Her body reacted to it, but Beast wrongly diagnosed this as a second mutation. Now Proteus is subconsciously controlling Husk into using her powers as often as possible, since with every layer she rips away he gains more control over her.
When the Proteus crisis is solved, Husk will be devasted, but with the help of Emma, who has been her mentor before, and her new friends Tubarãa and Frenzy, she will focus again and train to become a leader herself, since she has all the right requirements.

tubaraa_thumbIara dos Santos, Tubarãa (formerly Shark Girl)Tubarãa joins the team later in the run. She loses control of her powers and gets captured by Atlantians. They discover that she is a mutant and deliver her to the eXcellent X-Men on behalf of King Namor. First she is hesitant to be near people or join a team, but she realizes that she needs help to control her powers and agrees to stay and learn under the other women. She will take on a new codename, Tubarãa, because it makes no sense for a brazilian woman to call herself Shark Girl.
In an issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, Iara was name dropped as the leader of a version of X-Force and here starts her way to be this person. At first she is reluctant around the others, as she has spent a lot of time in the ocean as a wereshark, but with the help of the telepaths and Frenzy as a trainer, she soon becomes a valuable fighter. With her claws and healing factor, her role during combat will be similar to that of Wolverine or Sabretooth.
Tubarãa and Husk become good friends in the run of the series. They bond over common ground. Both lost control over their bodies and both their powers have an ugly feel to it. Husk has to rip parts of her skin away to use hers and Iara turns into something considered monstrous.

Things to come:

  •  The overreaching arc of the book will be the search for Selene and taking her and her Inner Circle (Weapon Omega, Astra, Chimera, Ruckus, Phantazia, Glob Herman) out. The teams will clash occasionally, usually over mutants the Inner Circle wants to bring to Selene. On multiple the eXcellent X-Men will dispute over the right direction to achieve their goal. While Emma and Sage want to plan for the long run, like setting traps for Selene to come out of her base, Rachel, Frenzy and Blink want to follow a more aggressive route.
  • Proteus, who is influencing Husk, will reveal himself and attack the X-Men, taking them, starting with Sage. It’s up to Tubarãa to fight back, since Proteus can’t access her wereshark brain. He will be defeated, freeing Husk once and for all.
  • While looking for Selene, the X-Men get trapped in a laboratory of Mister Sinister, who has teamed up with Arcade.
  • Quentin Quire will be another villain of the book (because I like him more as a villain than a reformed bad boy). He starts mind controlling other telepaths, adding their power to his own and thus building a swarm of drones to his commands and amassing vast amounts of telepathic power. The telepaths of the eXcellent X-men have to fight through layers of psychic defenses to reach and stop him, while the other members have to deal with Quire’s ground forces.
  • When her whole team disappears and reality changes, Rachel has to team up with Magik and Cable, the other time sensitive mutants, to look into this. They discover that Tempus has gone back and time and extracted a version of Matthew Malloy that she uses a weapon to find a way back to the alternate future where she had a family. Only Tempus knows, where and when she stored Matthew in the time stream and Rachel, Magik and Cable have to coordinate their efforts across past, present and future to stop her before a mistake from her destroys the whole Multiverse.

Disclaimer: The art models were created with http://www.dolldivine.com
The logo was created with http://eu3.flamingtext.com
The background of the cast page was drawn by Chris Bachalo for Uncanny X-Men #2.

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 eXcellent X-Men. Tune in tomorrow for  X-Men Gold.

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Joël says:

    Hello. First. Do you plan to use Ahab … That’s a while we didn’t see him. But with Rachel as leader, I think you cannot use him. Next, the Sage probleme. The rules was to not use Died Characters. The last time I see Sage was in New Exiles where her spirit was meld to the Timebreaker systeme & was the new one. The Parker’s Exiles explain the last team was in KO statu (Nothing on Sage I think). For your Villain Weapon Omega he is if I’m remeber right with Mimic. One of them in a comatose state, the other guarding him for when he woke up. So Mimic have to be close to the villain or ally with your team (Or Maybe always comatose).

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    1. Joël says:

      Cannot not use him

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    2. loz says:

      This is from wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt but…. “As of the conclusion of the “X-Termination” storyline Sage returned to Earth-616.” She’s out there somewhere and very much alive as far as we know.
      I remember the last time we saw Omega and Mimic it was with the two interacting with Forgetmenot. But things change you never know what might have happened to them presently. In an alternate universe, post IvX, this pitch happened.

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    3. Marius says:

      As Loz pointed out, Sage appeared in X-Treme X-Men, vol. 2 und returned to the old 616-Universer after the conclusion of X-Termination. She hasn’t appeared since then, as far as I know.
      I have to admit I don’t have plans for using Ahab, because he is dead. He was killed by Magneto in Uncanny Avengers, vol.1 #25.
      I haven’t thought about Mimic, mostly because I don’t like him ;-). I only used Weapon Omega because of his powers. I think he would make a terrifying mutant hunter. Maybe Selene ambushed both and killed Mimic, thus intensifying the pain Weapon Omega experiences.

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  2. Matt says:

    Great pitch, Marius! I have to admit I think an all female team makes for a great premise as that was what made adjectiveless X-men so interesting. The ladies hold the real power, so I’m glad you took this route! 🙌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marius says:

      Thank you! I didn’t plan an all female team at first, but then the characters I wanted the most where women, so I chose the rest accordingly. And I have to say that romantic relationships may be one my least favorite part in the recent X-Men stories and I hate how fabricated some of them are (Husk & Toad, Rachel & Sublime), so these ladies get to have a break from men.

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  3. Psychodad says:

    I like the idea of an all female team but I think it’d be interesting for the various pitch’s to be in the same universe and thus how does Emma work considering this pitch and the 1st one (I think it was from Craig and Matt?). It would also be interesting for a final pitch to involve a crossover between all the pitched teams.

    That being said, I love giving Rachel a lead role because, as you said, she has been underutilized for years and she needs a chance to come into her own. I would love to see Ahab as a main villain for her to fight. Maybe a return to an alternate future. I would also love to see her struggle with her having been returned to a hound status.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. loz says:

      None of the pitches are in the same universe as each other. You’ll find a few more instances where specific characters are used by multiple pitchers.

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      1. Psychodad says:

        Maybe for Pitch Week III you could coordinate? I think that’d be a neat idea and would love to see a collaborative pitch for a crossover.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. loz says:

        That would be cool. I’m definitely game.

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      3. Marius says:

        Before I knew the rules, I thought we would do our own pitches for the ResurrXion books and I had some crazy shit for the Jean Grey book in mind.

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  4. Tubaraa is a much more fitting codename, yes!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert says:

    Sounds pretty interesting for the most part. I really cannot get with using Sharkgirl though or the inclusion of Glob Herman, Quentin Quire or Tempus. The all women team concept is pretty cool I guess.

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    1. Marius says:

      I included Sharkgirl because I think she has potential and her powerset is near to Logan’s and I think an X-Men team needs to have a character with his powers. Glob Herman is in this because I hate him and he dies very soon. I feel the same about Quentin Quire. In his original appearance he was full-blown villain, but then turned into a bad boy with a conscience. I like him more as a villain. The same goes with Tempus. She is incredible powerful, but went through a lot of shit and I just imagine her as a character who loses her moral integrity.

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  6. One detail: there’s no such thing as Tubarãa, in portuguese. Shark in portuguese is “Tubarão”, which is considered an epicene pronoun (gender-neutral) in that language. That means that both male and female of this species is called the same: Tubarão. The name Tubarãa doesn’t exist, but I really appreciate that you chose to translate her codename into her native language.

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    1. Marius says:

      I have to admit I don’t speak portugese and don’t know anyone who does. Thank you for clearing this up!

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  7. Wow, I really liked the pitch of this team. Specially the long run on Selene and the Proteus subplot, giving Hust a better development. Usually, readers’ pitch tend to overlook the fact that you need a diverse cast regarding personalities and powers, but yours is a great and diverse team, I really enjoyed that!
    If I may, I’d like to make a feel questions and sugestions about the team and plot, it’s very hard not to elaborate scenarios with an interesting pitch!

    – Why is Rachel bold? I don’t see a good reason why she’d shave her hair like that, maybe a very short military cut would be more convincing? Or is there a reason in story for that?
    – What if Rachel had some problems with her telepathy, from the time she was possessed by Selene? This way, we won’t have two telepaths on the same team without a good reason. Emma may be helping her get her power back on track and you’ll get a good dinamic, simmilar to what Emma had with young Jean Grey in All New X-Men.
    – How did Selene get to capture so many A-listers? Could there be a flashback story explaining that, with a plot twist revealing one of them is a mole/still under Selene’s influense?
    – Maybe Proteus is defeated by some mental trick created by Emma and Rachel during her training sessions (when Emma helps Rachel), since mental possession is a bad thing to happen to a telepath and it happened twice already with Rachel! Telepaths being controlled is a recurring plot in your pitch, so one thing may be a buildup to another (Proteus being defeated may help the team prepare for Quire’s hive mind.
    – Btw, can we finally make Weapon Omega and Mimic relationship canon?! Is there any other possible queer character on this book? Maybe Cargil… There’s been a lot of subtext about rachel’s sexuality in the past. Has Clarice have any relationship in past stories? What are your plans for love interests and relationships?

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    1. Sorry, some typos on my comment: *Husk and *bald

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      1. *few questions
        OMG! Hahaha

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      2. Marius says:

        Thank you for your reply. It’s nice to know that my little pitch inspired someone to think about X-Men this much ;-). I have a few plot developments in my mind, but I didn’t want to write them down because I thought it would be too much. So, here they are:
        – Selene started with Weapon Omega, who I imagine is an easy target for manipulation and controlling because of his instability and with him in her thrall, she went for the other characters one by one. Since he can absorb the abilities of others, they were more or less defenseless against him and Selene combined. I also thought about for Sage to be a double agent for Selene, but I couldn’t find a reasonable explanation for this.
        – I imagine that either Selene shaved Rachel after capturing her to humiliate her or Rachel shaved her head after she was freed from Selene’s possessing to conclude her time as a hound. I think it suits her, especially as the flyer on the team. Now she doesn’t get hair in her face. For the same reason I ditched to coat. Why do you want fly around with this thing?
        – I was thinking about nerfing Emma’s or Rachel’s telepathy, but I was not happy with the “We lost our powers” story Cyclops, Emma and Magneto went through after AvX. Another thing I thought about was that Proteus is defeated by possessing Emma and Rachel telepathically switching on her diamond form, thus trapping him in Emma’s body, which would have taken her out as a telepath. I decided against it, because it would’ve been to similar to the Void story after Utopia. But then again, I never spelled it out in the pitch, so it’s still possible. Ultimately I want Emma and Rachel to act as equals on the team, becaue I think they are many things they can learn from each other and having the same powerset active at the same time underlines this.
        – I also thought about setting up the story with Quentin Quire via the victory over Proteus, like a sliver of Proteus’ conscience escaped and is possessing him. I didn’t spell it out, because I didn’t want to have too many recurring villains.
        – One of the reasons I didn’t have any men on the team is that I didn’t want to come up with a romantic relationship. That being said, I’m not a supporter of heteronormativity, I just had no interest in coming up with couples, at least in the first year. I could imagine, that if I had to write down second year stories, Rachel and Joanna would be become a couple, after a very confusing time for Joanna, since she still has the memories of her feelings for Cyclops from AvX.

        I hope there are some satisfying answers in there for you 😀

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    2. loz says:

      Hey Thiago. You won this day’s Commenter Prize. Email me at mahmusecomics@gmail.com to chat about how I can get your prize to you.

      Like

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