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The Age Of X Dialogues Part Six – X-Men Legacy 247

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.

Oh, also…SPOILERS.

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.

16 Comments

Michael M Jones

April 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

Just to offer a small correction: Maggot’s already dead. He was killed off in the Weapon X series some years back, when a bunch of mutants were rounded up and sent to the gas chambers.

I’m not sure we’ll actually get any true lasting changes out of this universe. The dead shall live, the blind shall see, and the mentally unstable shall revert back to their original bad hair. (Seriously, is that Legion’s true mutant power, to keep his hair erect through telekinesis?)

Hi guys.
OK.
Age of X Universe first. That was obviously something Marvel tacked on to this storyline after the fact; the telltale is it’s not even written by Carey. It’s purely a bunch of stories relating a ‘what if’ type history for the outside world if AoX was real; i.e. it’s the history the characters in AoX think is real about other superheroes etc. That’s all. In that sense there is no way characters mentioned in that will be affected by AoX (e.g. Maggot) since it’s not true and just false memories for our main characters in Utopia.

The main AoX story: I agree I was a little disappointed that the most likely cause turns out to actually be the reason for AoX. I’m hoping there’s more to the pseudo-Moira thing than meets the eye right now and we still haven’t had the full reveal.

If characters’ psyches have been used by the psuedo-Moira then I can see that a death of a psyche in AoX will possibly mean real world death when this is over. Which is a shame as I liked Tempo.

There are some reasons why I still think this has been a good story and will remain so.

The minor reason is the still unexplained appearances of ‘Revenant’ and Chamber. Phoenix and Chamber are not on Utopia so who are these people? I have theories about both.

Most importantly though I can’t wait for the repercussions. The importance of this story for me is not what’s happening in the story but what happens after. How will Cyclops look at Frenzy in the eye? What will Emma say about it all? Cannoball? Wolverine? There are some very interesting times ahead characterisation-wise in the fallout of this. I can’t wait to read them.

The Legion-hawk needs to stay for sure. He looks pretty bad-ass…which makes sense since it is a delusion his own mind created. I think that there is still something else going on…Carey has thrown some curveballs in a pinch before. We’ll see.

I don’t really expect there to be any repercussions for characters not written by Carey after “Age of X”. It’s strongly doubtful for example that Gillen would deal with Cyclops and Frenzy over in Uncanny. He has his own stories to tell.

So the most likely outcome is that all characters that will not be handled by Carey later simply forgets it ever happened. That’s for all intents and purposes the outcome in practice anyway.

I liked the issue even though I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more to the reveal beyond Legion’s powers warping reality. That being said, it’s not a total loss in my eyes. The Age of X was created as an act of self-defense against what Nemesis was doing to “cure” Legion (not an overt act like the one that led to the Age of Apocalypse). It allows Carey to introduce him as a threat on his terms and makes for some great story potential in the aftermath, as you’ve pointed out.

As far Age of Universe and the effect beyond who’s on Utopia, I don’t think it’s so clear that none of that matters. I don’t recall Frenzy or Unuscione being on Utopia prior to Age of X, so maybe it does extend out to the rest of the Marvel Universe. If that’s the case, Legion should now be considered a threat on the same level as the Scarlet Witch after House of M. A lot of that hinges on what characters remember from this world, and that could also be an element of who “survives.” We may see some characters not revert to their baseline personalities.

Whatever the intentions, Age of X Universe exists and affects the interpretation of the main story. Intentions are all well and good, but what is there is what matters.

Age of X Universe is, to my mind, NOT a part of this story, as its existence flies in the face of one of the story’s central conceits, that being that this is a manufactured reality for the mutants on Utopia. The whole point that Carey has been trying to get across, that there is nothing outside the force walls around the fortress, is nullified by the existence of the AoXU stories, especially the Spider-Man one which doesn’t even have a connecting thread to the main story.

I’m not surprised that it’s Legion, it’s kind of what I figured ever since noting that Legion is a BIG player in this reality, but the fact that they incorporate the death of Professor X as the divergent point ruins the whole alternate reality aspect of this story…because that was the divergent point of the AoA as well. And for things to have taken such a different developmental course in the AoX reality, something else must have had to happen…something which I fear we will never be told. I fear the whole thing will boil down to, “well, it’s so different because that’s the way Legion wanted it to be” which, frankly, sucks as an explanation.

And then to ruin it even more, the catalyst for the creation of this reality as shown in this issue doesn’t seem to follow a logical progression. Even people who are insane have an internal logic to their thoughts, and the creation of an alternate reality as a response to Nemesis and Professor X’s intrusions makes no sense logically. Why not kill them? Why not assume dominance over the physical body of David Haller? “Oh, no, I think I, as a psychological aberration myself, am going to create a reality in which the host personality feels loved.” Yeah, I don’t see how Carey could ever have thought that would work.

Doesn’t Revenant say in chapter 4 that she was trying to make it home and feels lost…I haven’t read the latest issue yet, but to me it means that Jean is trying to come back and that’s why here character is in Age of X.

One thing… you said “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?”

Maybe I’m reading this statement wrong, but are you saying Moira is Legion’s mother? Because she’s not. She’s Mutant X/Proteus’ mother. Legion’s mother is Gabrielle Haller, hence his real name, David Haller.

I was also a little let down with how dull and obvious the twist was. The one thing that did stick with me though was the way the personalities were destroyed, in what resembled a concentration camp. That had a lot of impact to me since Legion’s mother was a holocaust survivor, (I’m pretty sure?) he is Jewish, and the guy who built it, Dr. Nemesis, is a former Nazi…

The story isn’t terrible and I’ll stick with it to the end, but I guess I just had higher hopes for it.

I was also disappointed, but not as much as you were. The reveal should have been that Moira was an evil alternate dimension Moira that had been absorbed into Legion during his interdimensional travels.
And Blank, Nemesis isn’t a Nazi, he’s a Nazi hunter.

Kelly, you hit the nail completely on the head. I want my creators to be better than us. If it’s just one of Legion’s personalities going crazy there were so many better ways to do that story, and for this story there were so many better ways of wrapping it up. I think the story still makes enough sense as just Legion, but it could have just been done . . . better. Why use Moira and not someone that doesn’t set off alarms right away? Why not add a second layer to what’s going on in David’s head? Why make Magneto the leader, when other options are so much more interesting? I still like the story and I’m hoping Carey is still able to make this amazing but I just wish it had packed more of a punch.

I TOTALLY agree with Chad Nevett
Yeah, I was hyped after 1st finished reading it, Most of my guess’s were correct! But then I thought Wow thats it! thats the plot! I mean I LITERALLY KNEW legion was behind it and it was part of his mind/spilt personality, but I atleast thought it was going to be a villians manipulation behind it like Idk; Sinister, Cassandra Nova or just some spooky Xavier arch Nemesis.
AND YEAH!!!!!!! I was Very Dissapointed about the whole Skipping the Logan/Basilisk Story Line!!!!!!! Like what the Hell man. And in the beginning when Scott and Cannonball have their confrontation/ leadership dispute – it was like the hole mystery Baslisk was suppose to go and do some deep searching on was Totally Skipped. I believe the Basilisk and Logan storyline Could’ve/Would’ve Been something great and Shoudnt havebeen skipped!!
Not only that But Too Many Answers were givin!!!! You Would think something Like that would be good (its sort of Nuetral) but for a story Like Age of X its a bad thing becuase this story was all about conspriracies and mysteries…Smh Mike Carey is one of my favorite Writers I hope Next Issue picks it Up. Overall it wasnt that bad but comparing to previous issues it sorta is.

Kelly, Maggott’s one of my favorite X-characters too – but he’s already long dead. Frank Tieri (who else?) killed him off in Weapon X…

Maggott was also re-animated and killed off again during Necrosha.

I’m actually really loving this story though. You guys seriously had some pretty specific expectations for it, huh? Expectations always breed disappointment. I just want to read a good story, and I feel like this is one of the better X-Men stories to come down the pike in years. (Uncanny X-Force is pretty rad too).

Edgar Alien Foe

April 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Stefan Wenger says what I think about your expectations as well. Mr. Nevett particularly comes across through these dialogs as expecting and anticipating this story failing him (if such a thing is possible), so is it any surprise really that it ultimately does? I’m also a bit confused by why it lets you down. It both fails to give you what you were hoping for (a Basilisk and Logan subplot you somehow feel cheated out of) while giving you essentially what you expected (that this is all occurring within or at least due to Legion’s fractured psyche).

Mostly you seem disappointed that the story wasn’t written by, or in the manner of, Raymond Chandler. Chandler is great, but he’s an author, not the sum of authors, and one whose analysis is flawed when it comes to Conan Doyle and Poe. I’m wondering though if Mr. Chandler would suggest applying his 12 notes on the second to last chapter. Should we not wait and see how it ends before declaring that it has ended badly?

But I wonder, since you have now twice cited Chandler’s notes, why you haven’t applied all of them to this story as you once did with Identity Crisis (as Google shows me), a hideous, nasty, unaesthetic piece of work for my tastes and desires in the realm of super hero comics, and one you treat rather more kindly for whatever reason.

I’m thinking of Chandler’s 8th point, about how the solution must not involve “-.a new story with a new set of characters dragged in to justify an over-complicated plot.” The solution must be fair and work within the set of components established in the narrative. Had Carey pulled some other entity or character in then he would have failed on this point on the Chandler scale (I am not personally against the bringing in of a wild card if the story still entertains, but then I have no use for didactics to determine if a text fails or succeeds, no matter who makes the list).

Then in point nine Chander talks about how seldom clever readers are fooled of the complete solution. If the author follows all the rules, then the solution has to be available on some level, right? But you feel like you figured it out before hand so the story lets you down? But I’ve read many mysteries that I figured out before the end and still enjoyed them very much. The best ones are those that give you things at different levels altogether (such as Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union). Ms. Thomson, you want the author to be better than you, but (with no offense to you as a writer, I only have experience of your reviews) he wrote the story. You having deducted his mystery is not the same thing as you concocting the mystery. You might be able to solve a riddle, but that’s not the same challenge as constructing one. Let’s be honest, it was apparent early in the story that this involved Legion distinctly. The second page of X-Men Legacy 246 has a number of his sub personas standing about, including Jack Wayne, for goodness sake. Go take a look at it again, he’s not even hidden. So, point ten, the solution must feel inevitable once revealed. Yes, it does.

What I am always amused by is the areas where readers, and reviewers, of super hero comic books are unable to suspend their disbelief. You can’t fathom how Legion could do all this (despite the fact that the explanation of how “all this” occurred has yet to be delivered)? Really? In a world where the Scarlet Witch became what she became? He’s Charles Xavier’s more powerful son. He has access to every mind on the planet potentially. He’s one of, if not the, most powerful mutants, ever. I believe I’ve read all the Legion stories told so far. I don’t believe his limits have yet to be delineated.

Obviously through solicitations, Carey has plans for Legion and this story was the foundation for much of what will follow for the character in Legacy. I’m looking forward to it. Carey is the most engaging X-Men author since Morrison.

And I always liked to think that the hair was an expression of Legion’s power, like this stream of energy rising out of the top of his skull carrying the hair up with it. But maybe that kind of thing only really works in an expressionistic Sienkiewicz reality.

Wow Edgar Allen Foe,
I like your review, I don’t agree about Identity Crisis but that’s cool I believe that most people don’t agree about the fun they like to have. I like that you truly broke it down and it was just a reflex. So far I’ve enjoyed this story, because this is a comic and what may seem like a what if could always become a part of the story, ask Nate Grey, I loved him and he came to this our main Marvel world. Its seems a lot of the reviews on the site seem to be negative about most books, I read comics for the pure enjoyment of them, I don’t think i’ve really said, man that sucked I could have done better, because honestly I couldn’t or I would be writing them not buying them. Age of X has been good, great art work, nice mystery and nice use of an old villain who has a lot of potential. Flame on.

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