Christos Gage's takeover of X-Men Legacy has slowly started to reveal a new purpose for the book. Formerly about Rogue taking various members of the student population and helping them develop their powers one arc at a time, the book now seems to have more of a focus on bringing in guest-stars from elsewhere. Essentially, X-Men Legacy is now X-Men Team-Up, but for Wolverine's side of the equation. It's something we seem to have an awful lot of at the moment, with Victor Gischler's X-Men and Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning's New Mutant both taking the same approach. So how does Gage do it different?
Well, the book is more central, for one thing. While the New Mutants and X-Men lineups have both been fairly arbitrary and difficult to lock down over the past year or so, X-Men Legacy has a core cast and location for Gage to work outwards from. Rogue, Gambit, Rachel Grey and Frenzy form a centre, which feels grounded and interesting. Their history as characters makes them a more relevant choice for the 'team-up' title than any of the others. They're all so defined that it doesn't matter too much if the guest-stars take a spotlight.
The guest-stars for the current arc are the remaining members of the Dark X-Men, Mimic and Weapon Omega. Neither of them particularly interesting characters in their own right, Gage manages to leap on the only smart point of them - their power-sets, which mirror the one Rogue has. He eagerly connects the three together, somewhat literally by the end of this most recent issue, and gets some new ideas out from Rogue in the process. Rogue has been the central problem with X-Men Legacy for maybe a year now, as her emotional state has become borderline insipid. Obsessed with the men in her life, none of whom she seems to have any sexual chemistry with anymore, her various neurosies drag down the book whenever she brings them into play. While it's nice to see her reflecting on the death of Nightcrawler, or sympathising with Mimic's plight, her lack of joy is painful to read about.
This is a woman who used to gleefully punch tanks and abuse Ms Marvel on a regular basis, and now she's sitting in quiet rooms, talking to herself, and filing her nails down. She's become dull, and Gage has inherited the task of making her entertaining again. It's one which he is struggling with, but has been showing some signs of patching up. Meanwhile, though, there is a second terrible romantic story going on between Frenzy and Gambit, which also isn't doing either characters any favours. While the premise of the book has such a solid lock on the cast and setting, the romantic subplots and threatening to completely tank it.
But anyway, Weapon Omega and Mimic arrive at the school looking for help, and the teaching staff do their best to get to the heart of it. After dealing with Exodus for the last story and now picking up on a Paul Cornell story from a few years ago, it looks like X-Men Legacy is currently attempting to cut off a few dangling plot points before AvX kicks in and the book gets taken off in a new direction. Hopefully Gage will be able to really stamp his feet into the series before that happens, and forces the book to pick things up a few gears, before it gets dragged down into the mud alongside the other X-Men team-up titles. There's promise, but it's coming along very slowly at the moment.