13
Jan
2012
X-Men Legacy #260.1
Review
Chris
X-Men Legacy #260.1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: David Baldeon

Those who follow these reviews regularly know by now that I am no fan of Marvel's .1 initiative. If you want to know how to advertise a "new reader friendly jumping on point issue" right, look to Avengers Academy #21 which signified the beginning of a new story arc by slapping a giant #1 on the cover, followed by the text that clarified it was the first issue of a new story. However, every once in a while Marvel gets it right.

Christos Gage had big shoes to fill stepping onto X-Men Legacy, the title that had been Mike Carey's home for the past five years resulting in an impressive 73 consecutive issues on the title (if you include the issues before the name change, which you should). I think this will be a polarizing issue, especially among fans of Carey's fun, as Gage is not Carey, and his first issue of the title suggests a direction less introspective and cerebral than Carey's work. What we get instead is a fun, character driven, action heavy tale that should serve well as a companion to its sister title Wolverine and the X-Men by giving more screen time to some fan favorite characters.

The issue serves as a primer for the current status quo of the main cast as well as a recap of what has been happening with the Wolverine side of the X-Men. A game of football, X-Men style, is interrupted when the demon N'Garai are released from the portal to their dimension located in the X-Men's backyard (I hope the Xavier clan took the "portal to demon dimension" into account when haggling on the price for acquiring the property). Rogue rallies fellow faculty members Gambit, Frenzy, Rachel Grey, Iceman, Cannonball, and Husk to defend the school and ensure that the students' "normal" school day is not interrupted.

Fans of Rogue will be happy to see that Gage is continuing the title's focus on her and allowing her to come into her own as a leader, brimming with confidence. In addition to the glimpse into Rogue's current mindset, Gage also introduces a few subplots involving sibling friction between Cannonball and Husk, and a love (or lust maybe) square involving Rogue, Gambit, Magneto, and a new player.

David Baldeon steps in as the new regular artist on the title. His clean style is well suited for a classic super hero story. His pencils bring a certain flair to some of the more wild looking students and their power displays. While emotion and facial expressions tend to lean toward the melodramatic end of the scale, and the composition of the final splash page made the moment look a bit awkward, on the whole, he is a welcome addition to the title.

While the issue isn't nearly as nuanced as Carey's work on the title, Gage displays a deep understanding of and affection for his characters. One also has to admire his sense of economy, crafting an enjoyable one and done issue that both recaps what has come before and charts a course for the titles, I would say, bright future.

Grade: A-

Notes:

-Nice to see Rockslide and Anole getting some face time this issue. Their dynamic is always enjoyable and has been missed ever since they faded into the background of the larger X cast.

-Frenzy, one of Carey's rare missteps is made much less annoying in the hands of Gage.

-"Holy Badassness!"

-"Rachel, alert the faculty we're bin' invaded by demons. And it's not gonna disrupt the school day."
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