The inconsistencies and bizarre errors in “X-Men Legacy” #267 make it difficult to enjoy it even as the brawl it is. Christos Gage and Rafa Sandoval are just more meat for the giant pointless grinder that “Avengers vs. X-Men” has become.
There’s nothing wrong with reading an issue of fighting in a superhero comic, but if that’s all it’s going to be then it needs to be some interesting fighting, which this is not. Gage has a nice angle for this fight-filled issue — drawing nice parallels for Rogue between who she is now while fighting the Avengers today, and who she was years ago, defeating the Avengers single-handedly in her first “villain outing.” It’s a smart way to handle a story that doesn’t otherwise have much depth. Unfortunately, Gage’s take on Rogue continues to grate and he doesn’t make the most of the angle he’s chosen. It’s overwritten and predictable, and doesn’t even make much sense from a plotting standpoint.
In this issue Rogue has trouble controlling a handful of minds in her head, when we’ve seen Rogue (not so long ago) controlling so much more than a few pesky minds (even if some of them like Moon Knight are a bit…complex). In fact, in the after effects of Mike Carey’s “Age of X,” Rogue as Reaper has absorbed the dying souls of hundreds and she still carries them with her today. While obviously the remnants of a dying soul are probably not as troublesome as full bore She-Hulk, it shouldn’t cause her this much trouble. Absorbing personalities should be old hat to Rogue, and even if she’s out of practice or a bit hesitant, she should be a master of multiple personalities the same way that Moon Knight is, and anything less is to give the character far too little credit.
Additionally, in Gage’s attempt to draw parallels between Rogue’s solo battle of yesteryear; he has to knock everyone else standing by her side out immediately, which is a bit ridiculous. Cannonball is dispatched in a single panel, Frenzy appears briefly but is K.O.’d by Rogue by accident, Mimic barely does anything, Gambit looks (yet again) like a braggart and poor strategist and even Kitty, who shows up later, is ineffective at best. It makes everyone except Rogue look like a chump and while I’m a big Rogue fan, I don’t think you have to tear everyone down in order to raise her up.
The art by Sandoval, inker Jordi Tarragona and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg is hugely problematic. Rogue is inconsistently colored — sometimes appearing green (having absorbed She-Hulk in the previous issue) and then suddenly white again for a panel, and then back to green. Rogue sometimes has one glove on and sometimes doesn’t (though it’s hard to tell against her green skin). Rogue’s hair color suddenly goes all white in one panel and perhaps most egregious, when Rogue absorbs Falcon’s powers through skin-to-skin contact (and a lot is made of the moment) she clearly doesn’t touch him anywhere his skin is exposed.
Also, the dialogue implies Rogue absorbs She-Hulk in this issue for the first time — but (as already mentioned) Rogue actually absorbed She-Hulk in the last issue of “X-Men Legacy” as evidenced by her green skin throughout the beginning of the issue. It just makes no sense. On the whole the book comes off feeling like very sloppy work. On the plus side, Sandoval is getting better at drawing Rogue, and he lays out some nice battle scenes, though they’re a bit too confusing for my tastes.
Christos Gage is a fine writer, as he has proved with other strong titles like “Avengers Academy” and his excellent run on “Angel & Faith” but he just does not have a good handle on these characters, especially Rogue, and it’s showing more in every issue. In an issue like this, where the art also falls down badly, it turns this into a really unfortunate book.