“X-Men Legacy” #274 is graced with an art nouveau inspired cover that calls to mind Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.” The penultimate issue of the Christos Gage-written series centers on a heart-to-heart conversation between Rogue and Magneto, the stars of that cover.
There is a concept in sports that a team will play up or down to the level of the competition they face. In this case, Rogue and Magneto definitely play down to a threat that could be considered to be below their abilities. While there are human lives at risk in a collapsed subway tunnel, Rogue is all but begging the rescue workers to let her “borrow” their abilities and knowledge so she might become a one-woman salvation crew. I can appreciate Rogue’s desperation, but Gage has tried to show us how smart she can be to this point in the series. It greatly diminishes Rogue’s development to have her attempting to cajole others to elevate her abilities. When Magneto shows up at the site of a crisis to try and hash out their relationship, the whole thing just begins to fall apart.
David Baldeon’s artwork is clear and well constructed, with great storytelling choices that address the scenes and predicaments nicely. I noticed Rogue putting one of her gloves back on where some artists would simply choose to have that rendered off-panel. Baldeon also makes a point to have Magneto remove his helmet, which seems like a really dumb idea for a man about to head into a collapsed subway tunnel fraught with rubble and debris. Of course, Baldeon writes to Gage’s story and follows Gage’s lead when the story takes a turn and dumps an excessive amount of deception on the reader.
This entire issue is a lesson in disappointment. Magneto finds disappointment, as does Rogue. The biggest recipients of it, however, are the readers as they slog through a story that tries too hard to be gut-wrenching and sacrifices character development to pander to emotional turmoil. “X-Men Legacy” #274 stars two of the most powerful X-Men ever, but the deceptively simple task of rescuing civilians from a collapsed subway tunnel seems to suck the confidence from Rogue and the arrogance from Magneto. I get what Gage is trying to do, but the story comes across poorly executed, especially since either character could have handled this predicament easily alone. I’ve enjoyed “X-Men Legacy” more than I haven’t, but this issue isn’t one of the enjoyable ones.