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X-Men: Legacy #216

Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Mike Carey
Phil Briones, Scott Hanna (i)
Marvel Comics
Plot: Xavier tricks Cyclops into a surprise meeting. Cyclops surprises Xavier with an unexpected guest. Hilarity ensues.

Comments: Itís a case study into the mind of Charles Xavier, with our host Emma Frost. The cold, discerning woman takes Professor X on a Dickens-like tour of the past, highlighting the manís bold arrogance and uncovering some lost memories. Itís a fine line between reckless manipulation and pragmatism, no matter how much Xavier tries to excuse his actions.

Charles does not open himself up to those around him. Itís a mixture of fear of rejection and the power to circumvent confrontation that has enabled him to holds his cards close for so long. As Emma points out, ďLove and hate, pragmatism, the greater good -- they all served as excuses for you to do whatever it was you wanted to do.Ē By hiding behind these states of emergency, he never had to argue his point or deal with rebuff.

In doing so, he created a wall around himself that vaulted him to godlike status. For example, Emma reveals a lost conversation with Rogue before she joined the X-Men where Charles lied to her about a cure for her powers. He defends himself behind benign intention, hoping she would stay rather than go back to Mystique. Yet, his lies gave him an authority over Rogue.

Carey does an amazing job through Emma Frost in exploring the long history of Professor X. He gives relevance but makes no excuses for this characterís actions. Emma literally brings this once powerful man to tears as he learns that he has been closed off to those that love him. ďJean told me once that death and birth can sometimes be the same thing. That when your life stops, new possibilities open up.Ē What stands before Xavier is a new opportunity: to step down from his dais and face rejection. Or love. But confront the people who love him openly.

As for Brionesís art, his line work and panel composition are reminiscent of Dave Cockrum. His figures are realistic and clear, but also malleable to the emotion of the narrative. A weeping Xavier doesnít close his eyes, but keeps them open as tears well up, like someone watching a disaster right in front of them. The relationship to the character is immediate and direct. There isnít a double meaning or sub-textual nuance -- and thatís not a bad thing. Briones tells the story and visualizes emotions that need to be there, be it pain, anguish, or resolution.

Will Charles Xavier buy a Christmas goose for Tiny Tim? Or will he miser over his black, black coal? Bah Humbug!



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