The start of this new direction for “X-Men Legacy” under Christos Gage and David Baldeon sounded promising. “X-Men Legacy” has gone under many directions in the past few years, but a Rogue-helmed team of characters has worked rather well. With this final chapter of “Lost Tribes,” though, Gage has the characters seeming a little disappointed. I can’t say I blame them.
The big battle against Exodus concludes this issue with some of the students from Utopia joining in as promised in the previous chapter. The problem is, there’s a remarkable lack of originality in this fight. It feels like little more than a pile on with more and more characters thumping the heck out of Exodus until he’s defeated. (I’m pretty sure no one actually expected him to kill Cyclops in a book Cyclops doesn’t normally appear in.) Once Exodus is stopped, we’re still left with half of an issue to go and that’s when things get positively strange.
The rest of the issue feels like a big gripe-fest with a lot of sniping between characters about how things went down and a lot of reiterating the schism between the two X-Men groups. It’s a strange combination of exposition and angst and it doesn’t hold up at all. Gage is normally much more subtle about his character beats (which feel very loud and obvious here) and his hints toward the future (and having Blindfold walk on panel and point-blank state that prophecies are not yet fulfilled is anything but subtle), which makes “X-Men Legacy” #263 rather disappointing. Add in the general moping nature of the wrap-up of “Lost Tribes” and it’s making me rethink my interest in “X-Men Legacy” if this is the tone of the book in the months to come.
Baldeon’s pencils also feel a little more erratic in places than I’ve remembered in issues past. Rogue’s face often looks squashed and out of proportion, especially when she grabs Exodus’s head to steal his powers and the white streaks of hair seem to actually be growing from one panel to the next. There’s also a lack of facial differences with Hope and Rogue having the same face in multiple panels and Wolverine gets some awfully extended torso action on occasion. Glancing back through the previous issues of “X-Men Legacy,” these problems don’t seem to be on display, so hopefully this was just a hiccup this time around.
The new creative team for “X-Men Legacy” initially looked promising, but this was an extremely weak ending to their first big story. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come. After five years of Mike Carey building up “X-Men Legacy” to have its own voice, it would be a shame to see it all come crashing back down.