The strong points of “X-Men Legacy” #270 by Christos Gage and David Baldeon are the moments when Rogue and Ms. Marvel get an opportunity to work together, see eye to eye, and — without a load of exposition — to patch up long damaged issues between them. Unfortunately, it’s a very small part of the book and nothing else works in its favor.
Most of this issue is spent with Magik, in her new Phoenix host persona, dumping page after page of exposition on Rogue about her little “Limbo Prison” brought to earth. Gage spends an obscene amount of time laying all of this out; what Magik has created, how cruel and unusual many would think it (they’d be right), how impossible it is to escape, and how each prison is tailor-made for the prisoner (read: Avenger) it holds.
Despite the exposition, there’s at least an opportunity here to cut away to see these prisons and to marvel at each Avenger’s personal hell. However, short of Spider-Woman’s “caught in web, giant spider” coming at her, most of their “personal hells” don’t make much sense. Carol’s has some recognizable figures — a bizarre version of Rogue, some brood, some Shi’ar, but Luke Cage is under a big rock with demons coming at him and Quicksilver is fighting demons as well — these are their personal hells? Hard to believe their imaginations are that dull and their fears that similar.
When Magik is called away, she leaves Rogue at the prison (to “test her” apparently) and Rogue naturally tries to break out Carol, as she reminds us in her over-written narration that she swore to take down the X-Men if she found them abusing their power. At that point, what could be a truly interesting visual scene is completely botched either by Gage, Baldeon or both. As Rogue tries to take over a demon’s form so she can camouflage herself, the demon fights back and tries to take over Rogue. The artistic choices made here are utterly confusing. The demon looks like Rogue, evident by her notorious hair, but she’s apparently trapped inside, but the art (and writing) skip over how that actually happened and then we flip back and forth between what I assume is a battle inside the creature’s mind for control and what is actually happening as the demon/Rogue descends deeper into the “Limbo Hell.” But we’re given no visual clues to understand what is happening. It’s a scene that given the right consideration could have been mind-blowingly cool, but comes off as confusing, rote and one more battle we’ve seen a million times before.
Rogue and Carol are unsuccessful in their escape, which is the only surprise in this story, and Magik delves into another round of exposition banishing Rogue to another dimension. That’s the only reason to show up for this issue, the cliffhanger of what might happen in future installments.
Overwritten and unimaginative at every point that truly matters, there is the germ of a good story completely mishandled in its execution. It’s a particular shame that these last issues have been so disappointing — as an X-Man and Rogue fan, I’ve been waiting a long time to see Rogue and Ms. Marvel share the page in a significant way. Clearly I’ll have to keep waiting.