Review by: comicBOOKchris

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Size: pages
Price: 3.99

There was one thing that was bittersweet about the oeuvre that was Messiah Complex: it abruptly signaled the end of one of my favorite series, New X-Men. After Cyke disbanded the X-Men (right, like THAT lasted long), all the characters that made up this series went their separate ways. Sure, we had that Young X-Men series for awhile, but it just wasn’t the same. That book was more a paint-by-numbers team book, while New X-Men had more of a family dynamic and portrayed the personal relationships and soap-opera elements of the characters in a very gripping way. So when this annual issue was announcedand Mike Carey began dropping hints that the younger X-Men were going to be involved with the new status-quo of X-Men Legacy, I became super ecstatic that one of my favorite corners of the X-Men universe would be explored again. And while the entire status quo of the title wasn’t revealed here, it looks as if we are off to a great start.

So now that the Professor X story ended a few issues back, this annual is marking the new direction that the X-Men Legacy series is taking, and it seems that Cyclops is charging Rogue with training and leading the younger mutants, like Rockslide, Hellion, Indra, etc…It’s been well established in the past that Mike Carey is one of the best Rogue writers in the business, and continues to nail her voice in this issue. It’s great that he has more plans for Rogue, because after the last major X-Men Legacy arc where he did away with the character trait that has been her defining trait for years since her inception, it would be pretty dickish to just drop her back into the character tank and have writers scramble on how to write her now. Carey also gets down the young X-Men characters quite well, as they remind me of how they were portrayed in the Yost/Craig New X-Men series, where they weren’t merely a group of mutants, but a group of friends who aren’t joined together for some higher sole purpose, but just because they’re friends (not unlike Peter David’s Young Justice characters). I haven’t read too much of Generation X, so I don’t know how the villain, Emplate, compares with his previous incarnations. However, for anyone like me who’s not in the know about him, Carey does an adequate job to introduce him in script. With all these elements put together, this is looking to be a great into arc to this new direction of the series. There’s also a backup feature featuring Gambit wrapping up a loose end from the Utopia crossover. From the look of this feature, Carey also has long plans for Gambit as well, involving a very dark time in his recent history.

I don’t know if the artist for this annual, Daniel Acuna, is going to be the regular artist for the series from here on out, but I sure wouldn’t mind if he did. His art can be described as photo-realistic, though it lacks the stiffness of some artists who do this style. It reminds me alot of the art of Richard Corben, who was able to intergrate spookiness and weirdness into photorealism. He really shines while drawing the scenes in Emplate’s lair (not to mention his creepy minion, D.O.A.), though some of the faces look a bit stiff and uninteresting. Not enough to cause an Greg Land-like outcry, though, as the art has a unique and interesting enough feel to it to be called plagerism.

I’m very enthusiastic about the new direction of this series. Its a good combination of Carey’s strong Rogue characterization and the criminaly underutilized young X-Men characters. Higly looking forward to the next issue.

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 4 - Very Good

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