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Provide Some Answers – Why the Legacy Virus Plotline Turned Out So Poorly

by  in Comic News Comment
Provide Some Answers – Why the Legacy Virus Plotline Turned Out So Poorly

This feature is basically a counterpart to our Left Unresolved feature. That feature is for plotlines that were, well, left unresolved. In this one, though, we spotlight examples of long unresolved stories that WERE ultimately resolved by later writers. The only rule is that at least four years have to pass between the plot point being introduced and it being resolved.

Today, in a slight variation of the typical theme of the feature, we’ll look at the resolution to the long-running Legacy Virus subplot of the X-Titles, but also examine just why the whole thing petered out so much before it was finally resolved.

The Legacy Virus debuted in the epilogue of the X-Cutioner’s Song in X-Force #18 (by writer Fabian Nicieza and artists Greg Capullo and
Harry Candelario), when Mr. Sinister had an aide open up a canister Stryfe had traded to Sinister earlier in the crossover, telling Sinister that it contained Summers DNA (which is to Sinister what Trix was to the Trix Rabbit or Lucky Charms were to Lucky the leprechaun). After Stryfe seemingly dies, the canister was opened and it didn’t look good…

It was first hinted at in Uncanny X-Men #298 (written by Scott Lobdell, drawn by Brandon Peterson and Dan Paonsian), when Colossus’ sister (who had just moved back to the United States with the X-Men after her parents were murdered) comes down with an illness…

The virus was further fleshed out in Uncanny X-Men #300 (by Lobdell, Peterson, Panosian and Milgrom) (even as Nicieza had one of the Dark Riders, Apocalypse’s enforcers, come down with the virus in the pages of X-Men) and X-Factor #90 (by Lobdell, Aldrin Aw and Al Milgrom).

In X-Factor #90, the team visits Genosha, where the mutant nation is being stricken by the disease…

And in Uncanny #300, Profeossor X and Moira MacTaggert discuss the disease…

In X-Factor #91 (by Scott Lobdell, Joe Quesada and Al Milgrom), Jamie Madrox exposes himself to the virus in a touching sequence…

So in Uncanny X-Men #303, perhaps the most famous issue involved with the Legacy Virus, Illyana dies (check out the heart-rending scene here in our top five saddest deaths in the pages of the X-Men).

Soon after, Mastermind died from the disease in Uncanny X-Men Annual #17 (by Scott Lobdell and Jason Pearson)…

Notice how all of these instances involve people dying as if it were a natural enough illness – fever, body weakens, the parallels for the ravages of AIDS were clearly intentional, and honestly, they worked pretty well (a persecuted minority ravaged by a seemingly non-stop lethal virus?). But then, for whatever reason, the virus changed COMPLETELY. Go to the next page to see where the virus really lost its momentum as an interesting plotline…

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