X-Men Legacy #264

Following their dust-up with Exodus, the Jean Grey staff returns to campus in "X-Men Legacy" #264 to find a pair of visitors dropping in for a visit. Literally falling from the sky are Mimic and Weapon Omega.

Mimic gained a much larger following from his (well, his alternate universe self) appearance in "Exiles," so when he joined Norman Osborn's "Dark X-Men," it stood to reason he'd stick around a bit -- except he disappeared into the woodwork. With sides being drawn for the post-"Schism" X-titles, Christos Gage signs the ultimate free agent with Mimic and gets Weapon Omega to boot. Gage grabs both characters and makes a nice bid for them to stick around, molding their personalities enough to slot them right in with the Jean Grey faculty, who get a little broader (but thinner) coverage this month with Rogue and Cannonball leading off the story. Rogue remains in the foreground throughout, but Cannonball tags out for Iceman, Chamber and Beast to shine.

Rafa Sandoval helps propel those characters forward with his strongly detailed drawings. Characters drive the story for Sandoval and the setting of this story agrees. The artist pours technology into Beast's lab and makes the campus a technological wonder. Beast is put on display for all of his agility, using his hands and feet with equal aplomb to monitor Weapon Omega and devise a cure for his newfound ally. It's nice to see an artist remember Beast is more than just a giant cat-like mad scientist.

Beast shares a large slice of the spotlight in this issue and there is no chance of characters fading into the background, especially with a great number of panels displaying no background beyond the characters engaged there. Puffy yellow, orange and pink clouds fill in for backgrounds throughout much of the issue, showcasing Rachelle Rosenberg's colorful creativity while also allowing the staff of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to punch out from the backgrounds in their struggle to save Weapon Omega. Rosenberg's colors over Sandoval's pencils and Tarragona's inks give Iceman a beautiful hypnotic sheen not unlike a backlit ice sculpture.

All in all, this is a gorgeous looking book, even if Sandoval chooses to have Rogue flash an excessive amount of cleavage, especially since Mark Brooks so deftly illustrates how to make Rogue cute and sassy without being overly flashy on the cover of this very issue.

Speaking of the Southern belle, Gage (through Rogue) laments the absence of Nightcrawler and I completely agree. Gage's current roster of characters make this book fun and adventurous, but if Kurt Wagner were bamfing through the panels, it would be a much more enjoyable experience. "X-Men Legacy" has done a good job of showing what the teachers of the Jean Grey School do after, before, or even during class. Taken as a buddy title to "Wolverine & the X-Men," this book offers more action for the members of the faculty not named Wolverine or Kitty Pryde. Taken by itself, this is a wonderful retroaction X-Men title that doesn't kowtow to telling tales for trades or decompressing the story and this issue is grand example of what to expect from "X-Men Legacy."

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