Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review Avengers vs. X-Men: Legacy by Christos Gage (writer), Rafa Sandoval (Illustrations), & David Baldeón (Illustrations)

I found this more interesting than the main title in the Avengers vs. X-Men series(1), mostly for the side story where Rogue ends up trying to mediate a conflict on another planet after she angers Illyana and gets herself exiled. In the bulk of the book, everyone is continuing to demonstrate the magnificent negotiating skills they displayed when the fight first began, which is to say toddlers in a playground manage better.

In the main story arc here, the Avengers send a group of B-listers to the Jean Grey School to keep an eye on the mutants there to ensure that none of them decide to sneak out and fight--or something. I'm not really clear on what, precisely, they hoped to accomplish, but they did make sure to include at least one hothead on the team, so fireworks quickly followed.

As with the core title, it was amusing enough. I enjoyed it on a certain brainless level, and I got to see She Hulk in action--I'm starting to get more and more curious about her--and the eventual trigger for this battle is more believable than that of the big starting battle in the core title, but all the same, one would prefer the Earth's Mightiest Heroes & co. to be able to think somewhat more clearly than they do here. I mean, really, why would Captain America send anyone at all, and if he did, why not make sure the people involved were actually capable of keeping their mouths shut and their fists down when verbally provoked? But, hey, I don't think one is supposed to think too much about these things.

There were segments here--Rogue's and Frenzy's in particular--that showed how seductive the mutant utopia was. That part really helped. It makes the initial battle no easier to understand, but does show why more mutants joined the cause after the Phoenix five took over running the earth. They got to be heroes, unambiguous and beloved for the first time. That's pretty potent stuff.

I enjoyed the side story most, though. Rogue's B-story, where she is sent offworld by an angered Illyana and finds herself trying to resolve a conflict there has a clear beginning, middle, and end and Rogue gets to build something that will last2. There were a couple of after-the-Phoenix tales as well, but I find I'm already forgetting them.

I did like the art. I find I prefer the more detailed, finished faces that Sandoval and Beldeon provided than the less-finished, more emoting versions the big guns gave in the core collection.

In short, I haven't given up on the big superheroes yet--for one thing, I still have a pile of books waiting for me--but I'm sticking to my initial conclusion on this Summer of the Graphic Novel: I prefer the shorter, more contained series to the big, sprawling, emotions-off-the-scale stuff that I keep finding in Marvel and DC. I'll revisit the thought more later (probably).


(1) At least, I'm assuming the book with the unadorned Avengers vs. X-men title is the "main" title with the others being optional(?) side-titles. I'd rather like Marvel to include some sort of easily accessible diagram in the back showing what happens where and when in the timeline so that readers who either never read it during its original run or who have forgotten can look back and say "Yes, there!" Wikipedia helps, but I always take a certain number of points off mentally for books or TV shows that require outside aid for the basics.

No, I don't actually have a point system as such. One day I might write a post explaining why, but all the same--if I have to look outside the text for no special reason, it's a mark on the negative side.

(2) I admit, my cynical self says that was waaay to easy, but hey, it worked, and it's unlikely Rogue will revisit the planet, so we can all pretend it lasts, unlike all the "permanent" changes in various comic books that keep sort of unhappening themselves (Magneto's a villain, no , he's a hero, no...; Jean is dead, alive, dead... Superman is married to Lois Lane, no he's not...)

Avengers vs. X-Men: Legacy on Amazon
Reviews on Goodreads

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