Tattooed with the “Avengers Vs. X-Men” banner, “X-Men Legacy” #268 opens up with an image of Cyclops-Phoenix hovering above a battlefield and laying waste to equipment and terrain. It’s a quite splahsy splash page, but also the last time we actually see any substantial sign of “Avengers Vs. X-Men” in this comic. The battle is mentioned, mutantkind’s (temporary) dominance is asserted, but “X-Men Legacy” #268 is all about Frenzy from that point on.
Christos Gage immediately depicts how absolute power corrupts absolutely as the “Phoenix Five” have dispersed their X-Men compatriots across the globe with the sole purpose of reshaping the world. I find it disturbing that not only do the X-Men (and former X-Men) comply with their “orders” but that those orders go against every liberty the mutants have previously fought for. Instead of toppling regimes and liberating people, they are now liberating people but replacing regimes with the shapes that Cyclops demands. No one questions it or seems to be concerned about the totalitarian sweep implemented by the Phoenix Five. The politics that are being muddled with at the behest of the Phoenix Five seem like minutiae compared to what they should be addressing.
Seemingly against the grain of the character Gage has established to this point, Frenzy falls in line with orders and confronts a pocket of resistance. Throughout her struggle, we bear witness to Frenzy’s origins. Gage empowers artist David Baldeon with inker Jordi Tarragona and colorist Brian Reber to depict those flashbacks in deep red tones filled with pain, anguish and cliches. Baldeon’s characters present a wide range of emotions and add emotion to this tale. The setting for the story limits the need for background detail, further enabling Baldeon to focus on the characters. The artist does just that to tie imagery together through flashback and present day, placing the story clearly on the characters’ shoulders.
“X-Men Legacy” #268 is the least “X-Men” of any issue of this series since Gage took over. Focusing on the responsibility that is supposed to accompany power, this issue never really delivers a solid message. Instead, we find the characters wallowing between thoughts and intents without ever committing fully to any one. Frenzy makes a statement toward the end of the issue, but it’s rather dubious that anything will come of it. Without a hard stance on the issues at hand, “X-Men Legacy” #268 is simply another comic tie-in to the latest event, instantly forgettable when it could have been so much more.