X-Men: Legacy #240
You know what's hard to come by these days?
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end of spoilers
The swerve. Anagnorisis, The red herring. The twist ending.
And in this issue, Mike Carey gives us all of the above.
Which, of course, means I’m given the challenge of trying to tell you what’s great about this issue, and a summary, without… y’know.
Well, the Children of the Vault are back, facing down a “no extra absorbed powers” Rogue, Magneto, and three kids with pretty low-key powers in a mismatch of super-human might. They also have the element of surprise going for them, so it’s about the quickest and most brutal arse-whupping you’ll ever read. But then, someone is willing to make a sacrifice. And of all people, it’s there own runaway, Luz.
She’s willing to go back with her COTV family to their citadel outside of time and space, known as Quitado, provided that no one else is harmed. They agree, but still take Rogue and Magneto with. The former, to face trial for the deaths of Sangre and the other Children back when they attacked the mansion, and Magneto, to offer him the chance to live forever… with a catch.
And this opens the door for Mike Carey, again, to wow us. The Children of the Vault are the most arrogant, self-important superhumans around. They make Dr. Doom look modest, and humane in comparison. They make a guy like Magneto’s species supremacist views seem tame. To his FACE. It’s some of the most over-the-top villainy you’ll see in X-books. And it’s not just for villainy’s sake.
Rogue’s treatment is about vengeance. Her trial is a swift show trial, that just rushes to publicize her death amongst the citizens of Quitado as something to witness for entertainment. They have technology hooked in to her executioner, so that all its citizenry, bloodthirsty as they might be, can also be psychically experience her execution through the hands of Perro, who gets to carry it out. A slow death, ordered by increased gravity making her body crush itself from the inside.
Magneto, meanwhile, is offered the chance to contribute to their community. By being part of the energy supply for it! Yeah, the master of magnetism is told his life will be spared, but just so that he can become a part of the Angelfire, a device the requires 30 energy wielding superhumans to power it. They had 28, Magneto will be 29, and Luz will be number 30, making sure that they remain hidden, forever. Now, through the course of this discussion, you see how expendable the COTV view their own number, how much they’re willing to sacrifice for their own society, and as well, how draconic their view of other races of people on Earth are. Cadena’s talking to Magnus like he should be honored, and glossing over the fact that Quitado’s current power system is flawed for not being self-sufficient.. Magneto’s a bit less of a fan of it, since it’s what has been putting the citizens of Mumbai into comas. But to Cadena? That’s a trifle of no concern. She just hooks Luz and Magneto into the machine, and sets to business.
While all this drama’s going on, Papa Gandaskar is going off about how the most important thing for Indra isn’t to rescue his friends (who he hates anyway), and that he should fulfill his duty and marry his new fiancee, Vaipala. And, to make sure he can be free to rescue Rogue and Magneto, Indra grants his father his wish, rushing into a wedding (even though he hasn’t the slightest idea of how to even begin to rescue them). Anole and Loa are pretty annoyed by the proceedings, but Indra knows what he must do in order to go be a hero, so he’ll do it.
Luckily for him, as his wedding ceremony nears its conclusion, things are made much simpler for him. Quitado’s power system has a critical failure (of sorts), and starts phasing back into reality as its known, from its resting place outside of time-space. It's crippled, and easy pickings for a rescue.
Hopefully, this review won’t spoilers:
end of spoilers Mike Carey has created a fascinating new character study in Luz, and given more depth to Indra than I thought possible when this story came out into solicits. He also made the right call in presenting villains who clearly are monstrous in their beliefs, so that they make a guy like Magneto seem heroic when locking horns with them. Seeing the students forced to rescue the teachers probably the most surprising aspect of all this. I mean, what are they going to do with a gay lizard kid, destructo-Kitty Pryde who likes ice cream, and a pacifist armory kid against the Children of the Vault? Can they pull this off?
spoil the pleasant twist, which I still won’t convey in this review.
I’m wondering. And that’s a good thing.
Clay Mann, for his efforts here, also has his hands full. How do you show the heart of a technologically-advanced city of the future, then cut to a Mumbai wedding, and then back to a torture/execution? Not easy, but he does a damn fine job of it. Seeing the shift in coloration, to indicate the tone is a bit jarring, but it hammers home that one place is much brighter and filled with hope, and the other, lifeless and cold at its core. Some panels do seem a bit rushed, like seeing Quitado existing outside of reality, with nothing behind it but the slightest of energy ripples, or the stark blackness of Rogue‘s trial. Bare walls lie in other places. And yet, other wide shots have so much tedious detail, you understand where his effort went.
More Serafina couldn’t have hurt (personal bias). Ah, forget her for a moment. What's important is, seeing an entire issue of your main two cast members kidnapped is a bit of a downer. You’re waiting for something positive to happen, to get you to stand up and cheer. And then… just when you think this whole story’s about to be a downward spiral of pain and suffering for them… you get a big reason to grin. And not from where you’re expecting.