Thursday, May 12, 2011

X-Men Legacy #248: The Big Reveal

While I haven't read my entire newly purchased pile, I did start with the ones I was most excited about, and they were rewarding enough to want to comment on.

One in particular offered an unexpected surprise that hits right at home for this particular massive character-continuity-geek; X-Men Legacy #248.


Considering the cover and the recent X-team-specific marketing campaign, I figured this issue was going to be less post-Age of X trauma resolution and more Rogue getting hardcore once again by assembling a team of brooding heroes with shady pasts (remember when she handpicked Sabretooth, Mystique, and Lady Mastermind? That worked out well.)

But no, Age of X Aftermath is exactly what we get, and it's almost more fun to see inside everyone's heads than it is to see them in an other reality as hardened soldiers. Emma Frost and the Cuckoos provide a voluntary false-memory-erasing for all the characters who can't live with the Age of X rattling in their brains, and many take them up on it. Cannonball can't deal with the loss of his family and Paige blaming him, Pixie is rather fond of her Nightmare counterpart but the not such a fan of her pretty angel wings turning into leathery bat wings on a moment's notice, and Namor and Ororo want no memory of each other's private parts.

Frenzy, however, does not want the telepathic procedure. Her conversation with Scott goes as expected, namely "I know the real you!" and "No, you really don't." And yet the clarity with which Mike Carey displays Frenzy's potent, unfamiliar feelings is rather heartbreaking. She's always tended to be a miserable, violent character, but here we see her holding onto something that gives her misery as if that's the price one pays for a glimmer of true love and acceptance. Can't wait to see what Carey does with her next.

Hmm what else happens...oh they give Legion a super-brilliant bracelet that allows him to access his many different powers without being overcome by their multiple personalities, which is rather brilliant and ingenious enough you wonder why no one thought of it before. Rogue and Gambit kind of break up but they weren't going out really before but now they're definitely not going out at least for awhile even though they still love each other for like the eight thousandth time, but at least Carey only spent 2 pages on it, before she's off kinda-flirting, kinda-fighting with Magneto, for the six thousandth time.

But none of these things is the highlight of this comic. The highlight is the unexpected reveal of this mysterious Age of X character's identity:

Revenant was Rachel Summers the entire time!!! Sure, maybe one could have guessed this, Revenent clearly being Phoenix-related, but I didn't. To be fair, there are several options for Phoenix related characters these days. She could have been a temporarily brought back, or alternate version, of Jean Grey, or, more pertinent to current storylines, a manifestation of Hope (interesting how neither she nor her Five Lights were involved.) Marvel Girl seemed the least likely choice, being stuck in limbo, not to mention such an erratic character among the X-Men.

As you'll certainly recall, having gone to space with the Professor, Rachel then stayed on as part of the new Starjammers team with Havok and Polaris in order to take down Vulcan, and after Vulcan's death (thanks to Black Bolt) they decided to go home. This was about a year ago at least and often have I wanted to know where the hell they are, considering the speed of space travel in the Marvel Universe.

Apparently she was trying to make psi-contact with someone on Utopia ("on my way home") when the Age of X happened, and not only did she get sucked into the new pocket world Moira made, but she lost contact with her own body. Now she is just the mind of Rachel Summers, disembodied but still possessing powers, only without the information Rachel had in her mind at that precise moment of contact. She had a message for Cyclops, but it was erased in the confusion.

That is to say, Havok, Polaris and Rachel (and Korvac?) are in trouble, hence their super late return to Earth.

And Cyclops is going to find them.

Best. News. Ever. This is a story I've long been looking forward to. These three characters have been missed. Havok has always been a personal favorite of mine, and by extension Lorna who, despite when Alex shacked up with the school nurse and she went evil due to post-Genosha traumatic stress, has had several brilliant character arcs revolving around possession, obsession and fierce independence. As for Rachel, I've watched her through horrible hair-dos, S&M outfits, grim futures, joyous Excalibur days, and her brief time trying to live up to her Mother's reputation. When all three were in space, the Phoenix abandoned her in an as yet to be explained phenomena (meaning it was Hope.) So it's long past time to get explaining, and have Rachel meet her step-sister-niece (not to mention an emotional reunion with Kitty and Storm and Wolvie.) Plus they all might as well be around in time for Schism.

Well done, Mr. Carey. And thank you. This is kind of exactly the reason I read every X-Men issue that comes out. And no one has a better sense of X-history than you.


Comic Book Resources has a well-timed interview with author Mike Carey about the future of X-Men Legacy, in which we see the aforementioned return of Havok, Polaris and Rachel Summers/Grey. Here's what he has to say about their current status and a beautiful pic of these recently underused X-Men joining Rogue's new team!

"The last we heard from them I believe was in "Realm of Kings" and they were on their way home. Obviously they never got there.

So in the story that begins in #254, four of our six protagonists end up in a very remote section of space. They're dealing with a crisis that arose in the aftermath of the "War of Kings" -- the war that was fought between the Kree (led by the Inhumans) and the Shi'Ar. But you don't have to know anything about the "War of Kings" to know what's going on. We're focusing on the destruction wrought in the conflict on some of the remoter parts of the Shi'ar empire. We'll be looking at what that meant for a strategically unimportant but narratively interesting part of the galaxy."

Man I love it when the X-Men go cosmic. Carey is the best writer with an X-book these days, but now that DnA have New Mutants (their premiere yesterday was a great issue) perhaps he's even taking over as the best writer of cosmic events. Can't wait.

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