Despite the huge number of X-books on the market, “X-Men Legacy” sometimes feels like the only one that actually has free rein to explore its characters and tell a story that isn’t dependent on crossovers and events. While “Uncanny” comes close under Fraction, it still shoulders the burden of being the “main” X-Book. “X-Men Legacy” has no such demands made on it, and is all the stronger as a result. It almost feels like old times, and I mean that in a good way.
In this arc, Rogue, Magneto, and a few of the X-kids have travelled to India, where they’ve encountered the Children of the Vault, villains from much, much earlier in Carey’s run. This issue is the final act, and that means it involves a lot of punching, but when it’s punching as well-written and choreographed as this, it’s hard to complain. Carey packs in the character moments for Rogue, Magneto, and Indra, and, in using the Children of the Vault, fleshes their overall agenda a little more, too, moving them closer to becoming genuinely interesting villains.
Although Carey’s writing is good, Clay Mann and Tom Raney share the artwork, which damages the issue a little. Neither artist is bad — far from it — but the styles jar with one another. Storytelling is strong, the coloring is restrained with the palette evoking a dry, dusty feel appropriate for the location, but there’s also a noticeable lack of scale in the artwork in general. Since the story involves Quitado (the Children of the Vault’s floating city) partially merging with Mumbai as a result of shifting phase, it would be nice to get a bit more of a sense of what that actually means. We get a few shots that show what’s happening on a rather macro level, but nothing which illustrates the sheer enormity of what’s going on from street level (or above it).
Beyond that, there’s little to say about the book. It ticks over nicely, sets up a few new subplots — Remember those? Stories that weave between storylines. I know, I was surprised too. — and knocks down a few, then brings the plot home with a neat little twist. The spread of characters means that fans from all eras of the X-Men should find something of interest to them, and Carey takes the opportunity to give characters like Indra the time in the spotlight they’ve been denied thus far. “X-Men Legacy” feels like a real X-Men fan’s X-book, devoid of hype but high on storytelling and character, and it feels like it’s only going to improve as long as Carey’s in charge.