By Tim Stevens
The New Year brings with it a brand new creative team for X-MEN LEGACY. Beginning with January’s issue #260.1, writer Christos Gage and artist David Baldeon take over the title in time to usher in a new direction.
Rogue—along with fellow teachers, Cannonball, Frenzy, Gambit, Rachel Grey, Husk, and Iceman—assume the instruction of a group of the next generation of mutants, including the likes of Anole, Rockslide, Blindfold, and Glob Herman. As one might expect, while X-MEN: SCHISM may be over, those themes continue to reverberate in this book.
“The contrasting philosophies will loom large,” Gage says. “Wolverine and those with him, like Rogue, want to give the kids the freedom to make the choice [whether to be a soldier or not] for themselves, and the opportunity to make it to adulthood without having that choice forced upon them. I start right off in the Point One issue showing the lengths to which Rogue and the other teachers will go to in order to protect the kids.”
Fans of Gage’s other teens in training book,
“The big difference is that the core kids in AVENGERS ACADEMY have that dark cloud hanging over them of knowing they have as much chance of becoming villains as heroes,” he explains. “For the X-kids, there’s the constant threat of the anti-mutant powers coming after them. But there are a lot of similarities, too. I’d love to do a crossover when the time is right. But really, in this book, the teachers are the focus. It’s sort of the inverse of
Amongst those adults, the writer argues Rogue stands as the perfect character with which to view this turbulent time and nascent group.
“She’s grown tremendously as a character,” Gage observes. “The other great thing about Rogue is the nature of her powers makes her a natural window into other characters. All of them bring something interesting to the table, but I think a common thread is that they all have struggled to define their own identity at one point or another, and for many the struggle is ongoing.”
The creative team pledges that the focus on characterization will set LEGACY apart.
“It would be overly simplistic to say that LEGACY is the more soap-opera-ish of the X-books, because there’s going to be plenty of demons and exploding playing cards and dropping trucks on folks,” Gage vows. “But the interpersonal relationships between the characters are a huge part of our story.”
That balance proved to be a motivating factor in selecting the creative team, editor Daniel Ketchum asserts.
“Chris Gage not only knows how to tell a solid super hero story, but he also understands how to bolster one with good character drama,” he explains. “As for David Baldeon, his art perfectly embodies that exact flavor we’re hoping to capture in LEGACY. His pages have so much energy, his characters benefiting from his animated style in both movement and expression.”
The themes and action have so resonated with Baldeon that he finds himself raising his game in response.
“Style-wise, I'm going for a more mature look than what I'm used to doing,” the artist says. “It's all about conveying the widescreen action without forgetting the character driven drama that Christos so nicely writes and that I think is at the heart of the book.”
On the action side of things, Gage promises some tremendous fireworks to captivate readers.
“I’m kind of an X-Men nerd, so I’m really diving into the toy box and swimming around like Uncle Scrooge in his money bin,” he admits. “In our Point One issue, the N’Garai demons invade the school grounds. From there we go right into the return of one of the most powerful mutants on Earth: Exodus! After that, we’ll see the return of a character who debuted in the Silver Age, someone I’ve always wanted to take a crack at, The Mimic, as well as Weapon Omega. The most exciting part for me is seeing our artists, David Baldeon and Rafa Sandoval, put their spin on these classic characters.”
Baldeon shares his writer’s enthusiasm, especially in reference to the demons.
“I remember reading that [Chris] Claremont/[John] Byrne issue with Kitty fighting that N'Garai demon and absolutely loving it,” he reminisces. “It was one of my favorite issues ever, so getting to draw the actual N'Garai now is something really special. I think [fans] will like the N'Garai top brass appearing.”
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