Continuing on from the recent "X-Men Legacy Annual," this issue sees Rogue journeying to Emplate's dimension to rescue Bling, one of the young X-Men, who he kidnapped to feed his lust for increasingly-unavailable mutant bone marrow.
Following his decision to give Rogue control of her powers, Carey has kept hold of the ball to follow through with the character's new direction. Rogue's new confidence and assertiveness ring particularly true, and her absorption of Trance's powers makes full use of her abilities and experience in a way that was rarely done in the past.
Similarly, "X-Men Legacy" has been quite open about its remit to deal with the X-Men's past, and former "Generation X" villain Emplate fits that role perfectly. Although we know from his previous appearances that Emplate exists in a sub-dimension, this is the first time we've seen it, as far as I'm aware. Daniel Acuna makes a particularly good choice to depict it, as his ethereal style brilliantly expresses both the eerie, Victorian setting of Emplate's home dimension and the ghost-form Rogue uses.
As well as top-notch background design, the character work is also excellent. Acuna's version of Emplate is unsettling, which DOA has a gremlin-like mischievousness about him. There's a gift, too, for comic timing that comes over well in the stylized "peep show" section. "X-Men Legacy" has often felt a bit sidelined, artistically speaking, but Acuna breathes new life into the series.
For his part, Carey really knows how to make a series interesting to X-Men continuity junkies, but he doesn't just appeal to the nostalgia crowd either (after all, that's what "X-Men Forever" is for!) Carey's use of characters beyond the traditional "name" X-Men is to be applauded. This arc, he's taken it upon himself to round out characters like Bling and Trance, who would otherwise receive very little attention, and by expanding these lesser-known members of the X-family, Carey helps prevent the title from feeling too cannibalistic.
Xavier's exit from the cast has truly revitalized "X-Men Legacy" and, ultimately, arcs like this make it worth a look for virtually any X-Men fan. Give it a try!