Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Welcome back to two of your favorite Comics Should be Good bloggers geeking out over alternate reality X-Men fun! “The Age of X Dialogues” where Chad Nevett and I discuss every issue of the “Age of X” storyline. We continue this week with X-Men Legacy #247.
Kelly Thompson: WOO. So, huge stuff got revealed in this issue – X-Men Legacy #247 – I’m not even going to beat around the bush…what did you think? Did it live up to expectation? I will say, we were right on the money with some of our guesses – although we guessed a lot of stuff over the last couple installments of this – so it was kind of like throwing a million arrows at a target, you’re bound to get close with some of them. What do you think?
Chad Nevett: Surprisingly, this issue left me a bit cold. It seemed like one long exposition dump with a lot of the actual drama sucked out. Partly because the big guess people had about it was right. Partly because Marvel’s solicitations for July pretty much confirmed that guess to be right. And the minute Basilisk showed up, I was disappointed, because the final pages of X-Men Legacy #246 seem even more pointless now unless something actually happens with Basilisk and Logan in the final chapter of this.
Mostly, I guess I’m disappointed that it’s just Legion’s fractured mind. I honestly never liked that idea and now that that’s what this is… it bores me. It leaves me completely cold. How about you?
KT: Yeah, I agree for the most part. I think Carey did such great work overall with the storyline that my expectations were very high, which is sometimes a curse. Though I considered Legion’s fractured mind to be an option, even if Carey went that way, I didn’t think it would be that simple. So to see that it is that simple..well, yeah, it’s a disappointment. I think there were a lot more creative ideas bandied about – even just in the comments to these pieces we’ve been doing. So it’s a let down. I also agree that while he’s lead us up to this point brilliantly, this came off as a pretty major info dump, which sucked most of the enjoyment I might otherwise have gotten from the reveal, right out.
I also have to completely agree on the Basilisk/Logan thing. When we saw Basilisk I was like…”wait! what?! where is my Basilisk/Logan side story!?!” I felt completely ripped off. I can’t really imagine how we’re going to get anything with that now…because anything we DO get, if we even get it, will come kind of after the fact…? That was honestly one of the biggest disappointment I think.
CN: I’m also wondering how everyone got taken in to this world. I imagine Legion was in Utopia when this happened, so that would explain all of the mutants we see. But, what about the non-mutants like those seen in Age of X Universe? The mental aspect of this story is disappointing, because it doesn’t quite cover everything. Also, the sheer scope of it seems beyond the power of anyone. Rewriting the histories/personalities of so many people like that… I know Legion is powerful, but how is he that powerful?
The sad thing? I don’t think I care about the answers to those questions. It’s nitpicky bullshit. Except it matters, because the whole thing hinges on questions like that.
KT: Yeah, you’re right. I mean, I feel like I should have learned my lesson from the first one of these we did where I railed against the idea that I didn’t know going in what the parameters of our universe are and I didn’t like that, and of course Carey really turned me around on that, so maybe I shouldn’t question it now. But in a way, Carey has made me right, because if this is all there is, if the big reveal of all of this is pretty much what we saw this week, then it wasn’t enough of a story to hang an entire alternate universe event on. And not only is it not enough but it also just feels like re-treading so much similar ground. We talked about how nice it was to see Magneto in a different kind of skin, that it was really examining the character to not just re-hash him as straight villain or hero, to give him more nuance here. And yet now, with David we’re exploring almost literally the same territory we’ve all tackled before. David has incredible power, multiple personalities with multiple powers, and he wants to remake the world, blah blah blah.
And you’re right that I don’t see how the rest of the universe can tie in if it’s just a mental thing. If it’s just a mental thing then I can see how it spreads to affect everyone in the vicinity, everyone in Utopia…but how could it possibly put the entire universe in a little box as well?
I think you nailed it with “I don’t think I care about the answers to those questions. It’s nitpicky bullshit. Except it matters, because the whole thing hinges on questions like that.” Because when you give readers the reveal to a major story you need their reaction by and large to be “Oh. Wow. That is amazing…how cool…I see how it all connects…that’s very clever…” etc. What you don’t want is two idiots (that’s us) picking it a part a few days later on the internet basically saying “Wait…I don’t get it…how is that supposed to work?” And trying to figure it out because they want to care, but it having lost all impact and momentum from what you were doing before that was working so well and seemed so clever and interesting.
And as you said, not only did actual reasoning not live up to expectation but the way it was revealed in a sudden huge info dump in this issue really killed it as well. We lost all the traction we had in the story. Interesting stories we thought we were going to see now seem like they either aren’t going to happen, or that they’ll come pointlessly after the fact…? And it feels like the next issue will just be a big battle of everyone fighting David’s mind…which is totally uninteresting to me.
CN: I’ll return to my old pal Raymond Chandler and his essay “Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story” where he talks about the denouement (the moment of reveal) and how, as you say, it should create a moment of “Of course! How could I be so blind? It’s all so obvious now!” in the reader. This doesn’t do that. It’s more of a “Oh. So it IS that. That… doesn’t really work entirely.” And, yes, this is a mystery story. It’s explicitly a mystery story and it fails on that key element. You can create all the intrigue you want, all the anticipation, and if that moment of revelation doesn’t knock the reader on his or her ass, you fucked up.
You touched on this a little, but I never connected that Legion is responsible for the Age of Apocalypse and the Age of X, and how that doesn’t make this better. While I enjoyed the vague allusion to the Age of Apocalypse, I had hoped this would be different and having the same cause, basically, just makes this a retread.
Damn, this issue just really killed my interest in this story. Up until this issue, I was even thinking about sticking around to see the aftermath (there was a stack of promotional cards for the aftermath at my shop that I was looking at while paying). Now… I just want this done. Funny how a solution that a lot of people offered as a possibility still managed to have that sort of effect.
KT: Yeah, I do think that it just necessarily disappoints us, because we expect more from our creators. I don’t know about you, but I want Carey (or whoever the architect of a story is) to be BETTER than me. I certainly want them to be able to come up with something better than what I came up with after reading a few comics and thinking about things for a handful of minutes and then sounding off in the comments or trading back and forth with you as we have here, right? Maybe not everyone feels that way. But for me, yeah, I expect and maybe hope than an architect of a major alternate universe has something grander in mind than what I can come up with on the fly. I mean, it was so good for so long I perhaps just got my expectations up unreasonably high, but right now this feels like a sad re-tread of Age of Apocalypse. And as you said, the very basis of the mystery we’ve been asked to care about fails, not only for the revelation not feeling very revelatory, but for the execution of said “revelation” and also in it not (at least on the surface) seeming to actually…work.
Of course we do have one more piece to the puzzle, but it’s hard to imagine that as much more than something along the lines of defeating “David” and getting things back to normal. I’d love it if Carey still has a surprise or two up his sleeve, but after this issue, I’m not optimistic.
CN: Well, that’s the thing… what happens next issue? Obviously, Legion is taken down. There have been hints that some people don’t necessarily make it out, but… really? They die in this little mind creation? That seems terribly lame.
How the solution was revealed was off. The idea that Moira and X were the same being seemed like a cheat. It makes sense, but doesn’t feel right. If anything, that makes the mystery of X worse. Even the use of Moira felt wrong. The personality inside David used that face to put Xavier off guard and, then… continued to use it and play Legion’s mother except not really? That seems like a lot of logical leaps. X being the creator of this world makes sense. Moira being a part of Legion almost makes sense. Throwing it all together doesn’t.
Did we like anything about this comic?
KT: Agreed on X and Moira not really working together, certainly not in an “Oh My God that is fantastic!” way. Separately I agree with you – X on its own kinda works, Moira on its own kinda works, together it’s kind of “Eh…maaaaaybe.”
Has that been a thing? That some people are going to die in this universe? I didn’t remember that, but I find that alarming. Also, I can think of one person that we’ve already seen die, and it’s one of my friend’s favorite characters…so he is going to be none too pleased, if this is stuff that is supposed to hold and become canon or whatever (Maggot – who died in Age of X Universe)
As for “did we like anything about this comic”?
I’m inclined to say no.
I can think of one little moment that I kinda liked, but I guarantee you either didn’t notice it, or disliked it, so it seems like a wash (the Rogue and Gambit working together thing – which while a bit on the cheesy side reminded me of happier, simpler days when Rogue and Gambit were interesting together and Gambit wasn’t such a douche, and when I used to want those two young kids to just “work it all out!”). I guess I would say that I like the way that Basilisk/Cyclops emerges as a strong leader here, regardless of his changed position and circumstances. That was about it for me.
Even the art felt a bit off in this book. Not that it was bad, just that it kind of felt like a waste of time for Clay Mann, not much of interest to draw and yet simultaneously a lot of characters to show, but all just standing around doing nothing.
What about you?
CN: I liked how Moonstar and the rest didn’t fall in line with the Force Warriors automatically. After so many issues of her coming off as brainless by following orders without a thought in her head, drawing the line at some point was nice to see.
Basilisk standing up was a good moment, yeah. I even liked how much of a jerk Cannonball was in response, showing just how much, deep down, he wants to be the man in charge. He wants to be the next Cyclops, except he can’t be that since Cyclops is still here, so, given the chance, he can’t help but embrace the leadership role this false world has put him in. I’ve always liked Cannonball and think Carey nails that desire of his in an unexpected way.
Otherwise, this is an issue that missteps big time.
KT: Yeah, that stuff was all good. I agree.
But otherwise it is a huge disappointment. Man, what a depressing way to end, both this piece, and this series. I mean, I’m definitely going to finish the series out, because I’ve come this far, because we’re doing this, but I confess I have no desire really to even see it out at this point.
CN: Well, we’re done in two weeks with the final chapter in New Mutants #24 and the second issue of Age of X Universe, so at least it’s all done quickly and in one go.
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