Mike Carey's "Age of X" alternate reality crossover hits a fantastic dead run in this issue, as Legacy (aka Rogue) literally tries to escape her own people and her home in search for the truth of what lies behind the walls of Fortress X.
In this issue, which makes up Chapter 3 of Carey's "Age of X" story, Legacy (Rogue) has had a peek into a prisoner named Xavier's head and is now on the run with her limited information as Magneto and the New Mutants hunt her down. Legacy uses her powers in smart creative ways to elude capture, and leans on a few old friends, in what is essentially a really good chase issue.
Instead of just letting this pivotal chapter be a fun but ultimately pointless chase issue, Carey layers in lots of new mysteries and makes the best of alternate reality relationships; The characters here choose strange, but not wholly unnatural bedfellows. Basilisk (Cyclops) and Jimmy (Logan) team-up? Hell, yes. Remy comes to Legacy's aid sans any romantic emotional baggage? Hell, yes. Legacy uses her powers in smart inventive ways in order to escape an entire team of badass hunter mutants? Hell to the yes. All of this works and is so much more fun than I've seen in any big X-book for so long that I find it wonderfully exciting and almost transformative in its ability to send me back to fond memories of the "Age of Apocalypse" from my youth. The best alternate reality stories give readers a unique perspective into what could have been or almost was. Carey is doing this in spades in "X-Men Legacy" #246.
Clay Mann's pencils are simply beautiful, as are Jay Leisten's inks and Brian Reber's colors. Regardless of how strong Carey's story is, with lesser art it would be a whole different game, and a far less interesting one. Mann has breathed incredible life into this new world from soup to nuts, giving all of our characters distinctive looks and personalities that tie back just enough to what we already know. It's like looking at everyone through a tinted filter; It works in a way that only the best alternate reality tales do. But Mann never forgets to tell a clear and visually compelling story by falling in love with his own creations. Instead, he digs in and gives us Carey's story. The fact that it's also beautiful seems to be a secondary concern.
Mike Carey's "Age of X" crossover is shaping up to be a great ride, one which I catch myself wishing wouldn't end. This is easily one of best X-books I've read in the last year.