X-Men Legacy #245

X-Men Legacy #245

A-

No one does alternate realities quite like the X-Men, from the classic “Days of Futures Past” to the “Age of Apocalypse”—though, I’d have to say, the Authority gave them some good competition while they were around—and here writer Mike Carey and artist Clay Mann team up to bring us a doozy of a tale featuring a dystopian alternate reality for mutantkind. You have to admire the way Carey dives right into the story with no preamble about where we are or how we got there. Some of the faces we see are instantly recognizable, others take some consideration and then hit you with the joy of recognition, and frankly that’s what makes this, the first chapter in “The Age of X”, so much fun.

From the very first page we find ourselves in the middle of the action as a band of weary mutants defend Fortress X against the daily attempted invasion by human aggressors. This, we find out, is a world where the x-gene has been declared illegal, Charles Xavier’s X-Men never existed, and Magneto has rallied mutantkind to his fortress to make their stand for survival. There’s also a hint of a pretty shocking revlation—it came either in this issue or in New Mutants #22, the 2nd chapter of “Age of X,” they both came out this week—about what tragedy it was that caused mankind to fear mutants and outlaw the x-gene, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mike Carey will delve more deeply into this juicy tidbit as way of background.

I’ve always enjoyed X-Men Legacy even if, at times, I haven’t always understood the exact purpose of the series. Mike Carey is the writer who really drew me back into the world of X-Men comics with his “Supernovas” storyline. Lately the focus of this series has been Rogue, and her new mentor-like role to some of the younger mutants who have taken refuge on Utopia. One of the better twists, I’ve found, on Carey’s run was his plot device to grant Rogue full control of her powers. No longer is she unable to come into physical contact with anyone for fear of stealing their memories and/or abilities, she can now manage a touch and the control to use her powers at will. I found this to be a very well thought-out plot twist from Carey and it’s allowed Rogue greater use as a mentor who can guide young mutants in the use of their power by experiencing them for herself firsthand.

Anyways, I bring up Rogue because she seems to be our main protagonist in “Age of X.” In this alternate world she goes by the name of Legacy, or at least she’d like to. Others in Fortress X refer to her as the Reaper, as her powers are mainly used to absorb the memories and abilities of those mutants who lay dying from the defense of their stronghold, thus preserving their—dare I say it?—legacies. I really liked this plot point and found it to tie in very nicely with what’s been happening lately in X-Men Legacy overall back on good-old Earth 616. The main arc of this first issue—besides offering up a glimpse of life for mutants in this reality—involves Rogue coming into contact with Kitty Pryde, who had escaped from Fortress X and was attempting her way back inside. After her capture by Magneto we see Rogue, or I should say, Legacy as she comes across a digital camera Pryde had left behind and it is upon viewing its contents that she first gains the inklings that something may not be entirely right with her world. This, I believe, sets up the main conflict that will define “Age of X.”

I’ve praised Clay Mann’s art before on Nerdy Nothings and this issue appears to be another very strong step forward for him. I really believe that he could become one of the heavy hitters at Marvel, and I’m hopeful that he stays with the X-Books for some time to come. All in all, an excellent start to what looks to be a very interesting and entertaining arc.

tags: age of x, clay mann, mike carey, x-men, x-men legacy

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