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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Fanfiction

An interesting and somewhat controversial topic. And by controversial I just don't mean the ethical/legal side of creating fictional works set in another creator's world or using another creator's characters. In what we might term authorship circles, especially communities of amateur/semi-professional writers, fanfiction isn't the most loved thing in the world, unless it is the entire point of the community in question. After all, the hard work has been done. The world is created, the big themes established and character directions and motivations are also in place. However, there is something that we could call the urge to fanfic. It is an entirely natural response to consuming a story (in any form) to, say, insert a self-avatar into the existing narrative or try and create one's own continuation of the narrative. I suppose the distinction is that these usually don't leave one's head (or, for the younger "reader" play action). But, fanfiction is also something that fans use to contend with problems in stories such as disappeared characters, what happens in time skips and, of course, epilogues (ever a risky business). I've written the odd fanfic or roleplayed in existing universes before myself. I've even read a few fairly long ones. But, mostly, I just have ideas.

These ideas are where I really want to go with this post. I mean, if you want to make a point it is often easier to do so through fanfiction. Why? Because you don't have to establish all these things... it's there. You can use the world and its characters and make the pure point without having things get in the way. I've kind of sort of had to do this as part of a drama assessment. I say "kind of sort of" because the devised pieces that we did (or, at least, how I understood them) were meant to either follow a character in a time before or after the action in the script they came from. That would have been pretty cool if I hadn't spent a whole year looking forward to creating something utterly new in a group setting a la every other devised thing I've ever done (if you accept a reimagining of Beowulf that incorporated elements of Arthurian legend as utterly new: you probably shouldn't). When it comes to comics (or graphic novels, because that's how I consume those) this is something that the actual creators love to do. There is, in some sense, only one difference. Some of the ideas are what we'd call canon. Which reminds me, these two paragraphs are thin veils to explain an idea I had to explain a massive hole in a specific character's plot arc (in real time they vanish for a few years).

Joshua Foley or Elixir is/was/will be a very powerful X-Man (i.e. a mutant in Marvel's comics). In fact, despite not being a reality warper, To use competitive gaming lingo, Elixir was what we might term broken. He was able to reverse the effects of M-Day, for instance. Although, I think it has to be said, I don't think he knew too much about that. Apparently he was also able to do some resurrection or, at least, heart regeneration. He certainly could've avoided the whole death of Wolverine thing because creating a healing factor is one of things that his power-set can do quite easily. This was probably why he disappeared. Marvel wanted him out of the way before he could remove dramatic tension too much and it was easier simply to ignore him than continually come up with reasons for his being out of action. He was broken more literally in that by the end of Necrosha healing was something he struggled with and, instead, he had started to become Wither 2.0 (which is ironic on account of Elixir sort of being Wither's foil and, certainly, his rival). Apparently, when he returned after however long in universe Elixir still had this problem. I suppose that's what happens when you put a healer in a mutant wet works team. My idea was to explain what he was doing instead of featuring in comics. With a little adaptation it can fit the two "facts" I have learnt recently... i.e. he's still Wither 2.0 and that he spent some time in Genosha.

The idea that I had isn't necessarily a good one but it is one that I thought was fairly interesting. Okay, so firstly Elixir is helping deal with the aftermath of Necrosha in Genosha. That's something I didn't know about (although how canonical it is I am not sure) but it isn't a problem. At any rate, this sort of recovery work is coming right after Elixir's spell in the black ops version of X-Force run by Wolverine. That's an arc in Elixir's life which is even closer to the whole shadow of child soldiers that X-Men likes to bring up as though it isn't really true (look at a throwaway line of Legion's before Cyclops gets his latest unit of child soldiers to take him down). So that's, to my mind, going to weigh on his mind... especially because he's struggling to get back into the heal thing. It'll also occur to him that he's effectively just fought in a war and now he's dealing with the fatal casualties in a recovery operation. To my mind, this is going to add up to one major thing in the relatively simple mind of Elixir (he may have all of Beast's knowledge these days with respect to human anatomy and physiology but the dude was never going to become a doctor by himself) and that's soldier. You see where I am going, right?

Okay, so now we've got this interesting dilemma. Is the US army going to let someone who is obviously a mutant become a soldier? Yes, I think they would when the mutant in question is pretty much exactly who you want to be next to you when you get shot. But, Elixir can't heal, right? Well.. I think it's much more interesting to view Gold and Black Elixir as a version of the Void. I mean, the colour scheme is almost correct. Elixir's power set is literally total control over the biological nature of humans (and maybe not just humans). There is no reason, given what we know, for him to not be able to, say, change himself into some 6'8" giant with red hair and pale skin or a 5'2" chick with grey hair and olive skin. I think the fact he is gold coloured in the first place his how his mind copes with what he can do. In the same way that Beast has become more Beast like, Elixir became more elixir-like... except Elixir exerted subconscious control over the process instead of falling to a secondary mutation. This is why he turns into Obsidian Man when he uses his powers for ill: it's a coping mechanism of, again, what's a fairly uncomplicated mind. On some level it's just a way of trying to figure out who he is. A once mutant hater discovers he's a mutant and, as a result, his deeper mind tries to come to turn with this by making him have a physical manifestation of his mutant nature. Under such an interpretation, he becomes stuck in his black form because he doesn't know what he is any more and it's something of a struggle with identity. But that changes with his conclusion of soldier. Soldiers aren't evil. They perform a valid but unsavoury role for societies and they also perform (especially in more defensively minded defence forces such as NZ's) a lot of quite, er, savoury functions. This is something that I reckon most people understand, and Elixir's realisation of it makes him Golden Boy again.

So, he enlists. For our purposes, it's time he's a bit more grown up but maybe the US will let under eighteen year olds join up (I don't know). At first things go pretty well for him. After all, he's used to the sort of communal lifestyle and other aspects of training. But due to his abilities he's going to get deployed by people who are more practically minded than the hates and fears us crowd. That's not exactly smooth sailing because it's a different kind of combat and Elixir's closer to it. He'll save lives and he'll get noticed. This is the issue. We know that aspects of US government departments aren't exactly Mr Nice in 616 (look at Wolverine, X23 etc.) and Elixir's going to end up experiencing something similar to his role with X-Force: medical support for dodgy people doing dubious deeds. This is going to a) put him in situations where the Obsidian Man is called for b) cause him to question his realisation of soldier and c) eventually it's going to hit the fan. By which I mean someone else will make a mistake and everyone will get blown up. Elixir will be able to save one person out of a team of, say, five and they'll get back. But the experience will, frankly, set him right back to square one. Which is, I believe, where he is before he, maybe, gets killed.

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