In these kinds of alternate reality stories, one character always works against great odds to put things right. This time it’s Rogue, or as she’s known here Legacy (except when they just call her Reaper). Confused yet? Time to pay attention, then…
It’s important, when setting up alternate realities, to hit the ground running as far as the major conflict of the strange new place filled with strangely familiar people. Pegging down who they are, even when transformed, is a necessity. It’s a bit of a chore with “Age of X” because Clay Mann unfortunately draws rather generic figures. You need the dialogue in each case to work out who we’re looking at. Still, it’s clear that he and Carey have done the prep work to re-envision everyone they’re using completely, and they do all have new costumes. This story may not be the most original concept to ever hit the X-Men — it’s like Age of Apocalypse before the mutants took over, but this time they’re on defense rather than offense — but so far it’s a solid and entertaining version.
“Age of X” boasts a massive cast, running in six installments (give or take a few bookends) alternating between New Mutants and X-Men Legacy, but the creators know exactly what’s different about all the major players and presumably why they chose each one. And they’re unfolding those transformations to us, bit by bit.
There’s a fun efficiency to the storytelling, as the relative short-range planning leaves little room for rambling sprawl. It’s only issue #3, but Rogue/Legacy/Reaper — I don’t get the mutability of her identity; mostly fear of her abilities, I think — has known something was up from the start, and narrows in on some oddities like why Remy LeBeau seems so drawn to her, what’s going on with Kitty Pryde and her camera of blank images and why a certain psychic baldy is being kept sedated in captivity.
In fact, from issue to issue it seems more and more like Magneto — the father figure leader drenched in (ironic) white — might know much more than he’s letting on. This issue also treats us to a powerless but still reliably bitter Wolverine as well as the return of several characters from the dead: Box, Moira, Karma, Legion — the list goes on, and I’m pretty spotty on who’s alive and who isn’t anymore, anyway. It’s been quite some time since I bought an issue of Legacy, but this story has pulled me back in with resonant small touches like those. I do think it’s a fun concept, and it looks like the Reaper, in her singular determination to defy Magneto, may finally be picking up some allies by issue’s end on her reality quest.
Rogue and Magneto have had a love/hate thing going on ever since their time in the Savage Land, so this may be one more warped chapter in their saga. Leinil Yu’s exuberant cover captures some of the energy Carey and Mann have brought to this diverting new way of seeing our familiar friends. For one thing, I can’t wait to see Cyclops/Basilisk cut loose.