Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Clay Mann
Collects: X-Men Legacy #238-241
I'm just going to preface this review by saying that it's kind of nice to actually read a recent X book that was - shock of shocks - fairly enjoyable, even if it's not really remarkable.
This is pretty much Mike Careys book at this point. As I understand it he's been on it for something like six or seven years (jumping on somewhere in the 180's, I think). It's changed focus a few times, initially having Careys pet character Rogue take over the book - at the time leading a motley crew of mutants - then focusing on Professor X and now back to the southern belle. Nobody seems to talk about it, but most everyone seems able to at least enjoy it.
I jumped into this one cold, which I thought was a bad decision at first because it quickly becomes clear we're dealing with old plotlines from way back in Careys run. Shockingly, aside from the fact that I had no clue what the powers of the kids were supposed to be, I managed to get through without much confusion.
To keep a long story short, one of the young mutants Rogue currently mentors is called back to his homeland, which is besieged by electrical storms of some sort. Magneto - currently an X-Man because Cyclops is a raging moron - finds this particularly interesting, so he tags along. Rogue - who has control of her powers now, it seems, after about twenty freaking years of the no touch thing - is sent as a chauffeur. They quickly find themselves neck deep in trouble.
Apparently, the villains, The Children of the Vault, were stopped by Rogue at some point in the past. This apparently lead to the deaths of some of their own. They're not the forgiving sort, it seems, as it seems they would prefer she stop breathing. If you know anything about Rogue at all, you know her response will probably be a few broken jaws.
Carey offers no help to anyone who may just be jumping on - one thing the other X books have actually done right recently are providing quick captions that run down power sets and who a character is when they show up - but despite that he manages to keep things moving*. His Rogue actually feels like a strong woman; able to take care of herself and get the job done herself. Maybe I just haven't been reading the right books, but it feels like it's been a while since she's been that way.
But, to be blunt, there's really nothing else of note here**. It's a fairly competant, enjoyable read in an era where that seems to be in short supply for the X-Men. It's really not something that's going to grab you so much you'll remember fine details years down the road, but in an era where dumping an entire race on a rock that everyone who hates them knows they're on is treated as a smart, logical thing to do, I'll claim victory just for not having to sigh heavily and wonder why I keep trying.
Oddly, I didn't have as much of a problem with Magnetos presence, either. Carey at least keeps Magnetos terrorist past at the fore and Mags even comments on things hes done himself at times. In other words, he's still a collosal dick, which is kind of refreshing instead of "I'm totally a good guy now, really!" I still felt like he was trying a bit too hard to make him cool, however, but that may just be me. Oh, and going by an exchange midway through the book between the two, apparently Magneto suddenly wants to bone Rogue. This felt kind of random - mostly Rogues comment about it - but I'm going to just assume this is something that Carey's been working in prior to this.
Rogue at least says there's nothing between them, but even the idea is kind of an "ick" moment.
As for the art, it gets the job done. Clay Mann turns out pretty clean and detailed work here. It's not going to reinvent the business, but it doesn't need to. Fairly clear storytelling and some eye pleasing work round off the most enjoyable recent X arc that wasn't a one shot.
The Score: 7 out of 10
So hey, this is pretty decent. If you're not particularly happy with the X books these days, this is a pretty safe bet. Aside from a glimpse of Utopia and Cyclops, there's little to do with the then current status quo. I may check out some future volumes, who knows.
*There are bios of the characters, but they're way in the back. This might just be me, but that would have been great info to have before I started the story. An indicator at the front maybe?
** Well, for me anyways. It DOES work on it's own well enough. But it's another one of those books that I imagine would mean a lot more to someone who'd read the other story where Carey created them. But hey, it happens; you can't go into a television show halfway through a season and expect the revelations to have as much weight for you either.