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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review of X-Men Legacy #249

First, the short version
There's going to be a major spoiler in this review of X-Men Legacy #249, so go no further if you actually plan to read the issue and want to get its dramatic impact. The cover might give you a clue, but covers can be misleading. Notoriously so with comics.

A number of plot and character elements change dramatically from where we were in the previous issue - with elaborations, reversals, and one or two outright shocks. I do propose to discuss the significance of these, so this is not a spoiler-free review. Fortunately it's going to be a long one, so if you stop about now you should be safe.

In a nutshell, this issue and the previous one are must-reads for anybody who wants to follow the comic-book version of the X-Men mythos. Read together, they also provide a jumping-on point. You don't even need to know all the background that I'll be describing later. Mike Carey gives us brilliant, sophisticated writing; he can have all the stars he wants for this character-rich two-issue story.

That will do for a short review.
Now for the long version
Anyone who has a short attention span and subscribes to the philosophy of "too long; didn't read" can stop now. The following is a (much) longer version of my take on the things.

Taken together, X-Men Legacy #248 and #249 make up a story called "Aftermath" - specifically, it's the aftermath to the wonderful Age of X event that occupied the pages of X-Men Legacy and New Mutants for three months. The X-characters spent a week in another reality, where they and their relationships were all changed ... though their underlying personalities were similar, showing how they could act in altered circumstances. Having found their way back to what counts for them as normal, they now possess true memories of the week that actually happened, plus years of false memories of how they'd seemingly lived their previous lives within Age of X.

Many, perhaps most, of the characters choose to have their Age-of-X memories - both true and false - removed, though some keep selected highlights. Some, however, decide to retain the memories and come to terms with them. For those characters, what happened within Age of X will now influence their personalities and decisions going forward.

By the time we get to issue #249, the focus is on just a few characters who still have their Age-of-X memories for one reason or another. These are the ones whom author Mike Carey evidently wants to concentrate upon for the foreseeable future. As a result, the "Aftermath" story serves as a two-issue bridge from Age of X and what came before to what looks like a new status quo for the book.

Going back a few steps
I think that "Aftermath" is fairly self-explanatory for someone hitting it cold. It might be more confusing for someone who knows a bit about the X-mythos, but not the right parts of it. If you're in that situation, you might find the story contradicts some of what you thought you knew.

For those who want it, let's go into some background. It will help me say what I think is so good about the way the story is handled. If you don't want it, skip ahead a few paragraphs to the next section.

X-Men Legacy's storylines are centred on the mutant power-absorber Rogue. She has been portrayed for the past 20 years (representing maybe five years of time passing within the diegesis) in a romantic relationship with another mutant, Gambit - it's a relationship that has been unsatisfying all round, since they've been unable to touch each other for most of that time. Rogue's powers, which she learned to control only very recently, involve absorption of others' memories, their superpowers if any, and even their consciousness (characters with superpowers tend to be rendered unconscious for a period if she so much as touches them; the effects on ordinary human beings can be far more drastic). Some very powerful characters have been able to resist the effect of her touch to an extent, but they are rare (and resistance to her touch seems to require more than just a high power level, since some other very powerful characters have shown no ability to resist).

Rogue and Gambit have actually made love a very small number of times in the five or so in-world years concerned, since it was possible only if Rogue was depowered at the time. Your mileage may vary as to whether this enforced chastity seems romantic or merely counterproductive (both to the characters and to the plot going anywhere). Now that Rogue has control of her powers - she can choose just what memories or powers to take, she can duplicate them without harming the person she touches, she can make her touch of no effect, or horribly effective, and so on - you'd think that she and Gambit could live happily ever after, which is doubtless what many of their fans want. Alas, placing characters into happy ongoing relationships is often the last thing that the writers of serial soap opera (which is a large part of the essence of X-Men) want to do. Where's the drama in that? It can stultify characters.

Mike Carey gets my applause because he's taking Rogue's story forward. There's still the chance that one day she'll end up living happily ever after with Gambit; but if so, not here in this issue. Not yet.

Enter Magneto, perhaps Marvel's greatest supervillain, one of the most powerful and intimidating of the company's Earth-based characters, and the X-Men's major antagonist. Magneto is a Holocaust survivor who has been de-aged back to the prime of early middle age (according to the continuity he must be pushing 40, physically speaking, though he is usually drawn to look somewhat older than that, helped by his naturally silver hair). He controls the force of electromagnetism on a huge scale: he can devastate entire cities or singlehandedly fight the world's armed forces; he's been a competent opponent for the X-Men who actually wins as often as not; and now he has everybody glancing nervously as he wanders freely around the X-Men's island.

Magneto is not fully reformed by any means ... but he's calmed down enough to be allowed on the team - partly because he acknowledges that Scott Summers has proved to be a better leader of mutantkind than he ever was. He's now Scott's consigliere and biggest supporter. That itself creates an interesting political situation.

But more importantly, whatever Magneto's faults may be - he's pompous, arrogant, overbearing, utterly ruthless, and mentally unstable - he actually likes Rogue. And Rogue likes him. Given his personality faults, we might wonder what she sees in him, but he's a complex villain who is depicted as attractive, and even charismatic, in various ways. And Rogue is herself a reformed supervillain who is intrigued by him.

During the 1990s, Marvel put a lot of effort into creating a sexual overtone in this relationship between enemies, but the characters had not interacted for a long time until very recently.

Even before Rogue's romance with Gambit, Rogue and Magneto had a sort of tryst, and seemingly fell in love, in the Savage Land (a lost-world-style jungle in Antarctica). Since then, even when they've fought, we've seen them going easy on each other and trying to talk each other down rather than seriously hurting each other ... and Rogue has tried to defend some of his actions to the other X-Men. Now Magneto has turned up on the island and is on the same team as Rogue, so the question is: How will they relate to each other? He's done terrible things since their Savage Land interlude, and he ended that by murdering their mutual enemy, Zaladane, then flying off leaving Rogue in tears. His reason, which he never expressed to her, was that it was for her own good for him to leave her: people who hang around Magneto tend to end up getting killed one way or another.

Rogue has plenty of reason to be angry with him, to be bitter and resentful. But Magneto is trying to restore relationships with people he cares about, such as his children, Charles Xavier ... and of course, Rogue. So here's the opportunity for some drama.

Carey has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. For well over a year now, we've seen Magneto and Rogue interacting, with Magneto making overtures of friendship (but interestingly not suggesting anything more) and Rogue invariably responding by referring to their failed romantic relationship and telling him that it's all over between them. On one occasion, he basically replies that she's protesting too much, but otherwise he's soon dropped the subject. They constantly seem at cross-purposes, and Magneto himself seems uncertain about what he really wants from her.

Meanwhile, they have been portrayed as gradually getting back onto friendly terms if only through the process of fighting on the same side and helping each other in the thick of battle. And now, following Age of X, Rogue has just interacted with a distorted version of Magneto who was a rather grim leader of mutantkind, but with nothing like the real Magneto's track record of outright murder and mayhem.

What happens?
So with all that background behind what's going on, and all the questions as to how this situation is going to move from here, what about X-Men Legacy #249? In the previous issue we see Rogue dithering as she talks to Gambit, who eventually tells her to get out of his life until she's ready to commit to him whole-heartedly. As she wanders the island, disconsolate, Magneto turns up wanting to talk to her, which she eventually agrees to after expressing a few recriminations. What next?

X-Men Legacy #249 has a complex but tight structure. Pretty high literary values are involved here. It's divided into three stories or chapters: "Black", "Red", and "A Color that Tastes Like Screaming" - then we return briefly to "Black" in the two pages of "Black Revisited". "Black" itself contains a long story within the story, as Magneto tells Rogue something about his life as a Jewish prisoner in a Nazi death camp, and what happened afterwards.

As the issue begins, Magneto has whisked himself and Rogue from their base off the coast of San Francisco to the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles. It's evening, and he breaks in effortlessly while Rogue remarks, "You don't get this whole being-on-the-right-side-of-the-law thing, do you, Magneto?" He wants to show her the photo of a particular Nazi doctor (the real Nazi doctor August Hirt), whom he claims to have murdered after the war - coercing the man to hang himself. He explains why he did it, detailing his victim's racism and his atrocities.

Arms now folded across her body, Rogue is unimpressed - "Do you come pre-absolved?" she asks mockingly. But he replies that he meant the opposite. He wants her to understand the darkness inside of him; forget about whatever love she feels for him; and ... for her own good ... go back to Gambit, who loves her and is ennobled by her.

"Red" tells the story of the supervillainess Frenzy, who actually was ennobled by her time in the Age of X and now wants to be a heroine, as she tells Gambit back on the X-Men's island.

"A Color that Tastes Like Screaming" focuses on Legion, Professor X's son, who has many, many personalities, each with its own superpower set. Legion is potentially almost all-powerful, but has little control of his powers and sub-personalities. Now he's working with his father and others to get them under a degree of control. At the end to this chapter, we learn that several of Legion's sub-personalities have rebelled against him and taken on corporeal forms of their own.

Then we return to "Black" - to "Black Revisited" - and here's the shock. Some time later, perhaps hours after we left the characters - who knows, exactly? - Rogue comes to Magneto's room to make love to him. She tells him she has many reasons to hate him; he replies that he'd rather she stay away out of fear. Her narration tells us that she's realised that all the reasons for and against loving someone eventually have to fall away. This time, it seems, Rogue is not going to be dumped by Magneto for her own good. She's decided she loves and wants him and will act on it, at least this once, irrespective of her fears and whether or not it's wise.

Not looking entirely happy with her own decision, she tells him she promises nothing beyond one night - she puts her fingers to his lips to hush him, and then they kiss passionately. The end.

The verdict
I loved this issue. Carey could so easily have had Rogue returning, chastened, to Gambit, but had the courage to follow through with something much more powerful. I wanted to see the issue of Rogue/Magneto dealt with, but not necessarily like this. Something had to be done with their underlying friendship and mutual fascination. Now it's happened, I think anything else would have been a cop-out, leaving the characters pretty much where they were. Now the facts on the ground have changed for them, and new possibilities open up for story-telling.

The shock Rogneto ending has already, within a few days, become one of the most controversial conclusions to a comic book since Marvel retrospectively wiped out Spider-Man's marriage to Mary Jane Watson. A lot of fans are expressing horror at Rogue screwing an unrepentant supervillain, while a similar number are applauding. I'm applauding. Whatever happens next - whether it really is only one night, or whether this relationship continues indefinitely, or perhaps until the next action by Magneto that is too ruthless for Rogue to stomach - this issue moves all the characters forward.

I'm also cheering for the fine character work that has finally brought us to this point over the last year to eighteen months. It would be out of character for Magneto to apologise for any of the things he's done, or for him to use words as simple as, "I love you." Rogue has been shown to have the old relationship on her mind, to be still attracted, but also as being hurt and angry. Both characters have been made to talk in riddles, especially in this latest issue. At times, it is difficult to sort out what they mean, but that is in character as they struggle to express themselves - Magneto in hints and parables, and Rogue in impenetrable tangles of down-home similes and metaphors.

These people are supposed to be incredibly powerful superhumans - she can steal memories, or even kill, with just a touch; he can sink warships with a gesture, or hurl vast buildings across the sky like spears - but what we see when they interact are two highly intelligent, proud, hurt people trying to sort out and express how they feel about each other. Anything simpler than what we've been given in X-Men Legacy since early last year would have been a different kind of cop-out.

This had to be made damn hard for the characters, and it was - and there's no guarantee that what they have will last another issue of X-Men Legacy. I hope so - but far be it from me to lobby for what I want, wearing my fanboy hat. By now, I trust Carey to handle these characters, to tell us stories about them, in ways that are richer and more rewarding than anything I could imagine for myself.

 Like I said, Mike Carey can have all the stars he wants.


Anonymous said...

Magneto is a creepy old man. This romance with him and Rogue is embarassing. They have like zero chemistry. I hated this issue. Rogue has became such a weak-willed woman. It's not even funny.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you're seeing an 'equal number of people appluading'. It looks to me like the majority of Rogue fans are angry, and the majority of the rest don't understand what's supposed to be happening. This doesn't move her forward- it moves her about 15 years backward to the pathetic little fangirl she was in the mid 90s. It's like all the growth she went through then, when she realised that there was nothing in Magneto to love in Magneto Rex, has just been ignored. I only read Legacy for Rogue and I can't read it anymore, sadly.

godsbelow said...

Dammit, my subscription means I'll only get my copy in a couple weeks' time. I'd love to read your review, but I'll have to hold off so I don't spoil any surprises.

Russell Blackford said...

Well, read the review after you read the ish. See if you think I've captured the dramatic intentions of the text - which is, I think, the first duty of a critic.

Fenix said...

I'm loving Mike's work since he started, becoming better and better with each issue.

I just wanted to make a small point for the Anti-Magneto guys...
He is, indeed, creepy, arrogant, an old school villain looking for his place in this new world... and yes, he can be old, in spirit, but NOT in body.
If we take the X-men continuity and we ignore Mr. Singer and X-Men Movies (which everybody should do, cause movies and comics are not very tight related at all) I remind everybody Magneto was first reduced to a child state by the Stranger, then reaged to his 30s by Eric the Red and HE HAS NEVER BECOME to his real age, ever.
So Rogue (being around 24-25, maybe) feeling sexually attracted to a attractive man on his late 30s-40s... why not? Even if she knows he is 60 or 70 in real... who cares? We dont have sex after asking for our partner's age, but depending on HOW we see our partner, right?

I challenge anybody who wants to give a fact against my info.

S.E. Andres said...

Awesomesauce. You did forget to mention Frenzy's motivation in becoming a heroine: she's wants the fame, glory, and respect she got during Age of X. She loved that feeling. It's like....well, heroine.

godsbelow said...

I'll be sure to. Evidently, your review has provoked some reaction.

Russell Blackford said...

Fenix, it was actually Alpha the Ultimate Mutant rather than the Stranger who did that particular number on Magneto (Defenders # 16), but otherwise yes, you're right. He was supposed to be early 30s during the 1980s. Only about, say, 6 or 7 years have passed in-universe since Marvel was saying that.

Anyway, Rogue is now in her mid-20s, as you said, so it's not like he's interested in someone who is too young to make a decision about who she screws. Even in the Savage Land story (where Rogue looked more like the pursuer), she must have been 19 or so ... hardly a child.

And if actual age is such a big deal, rather than physical age, why does no one think Wolverine is creepy for his relationships with various young women? He's much older than Magneto. Not to mention Hercules and Thor. I don't understand the problem.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about Magneto's age- if you swapped Magneto for Wolverine this issue it would not have generated the same response. Magneto has humiliated Rogue. He mentally raped her- her own words. It's not just been ignored- it's been revealed that Rogue really doesn't mind being violated and humiliated at all. This isn’t about people being angry that Rogue’s chosen one guy over another either.

This is about the Rogue we thought we knew for the past 30 years being retconned by Age of X into someone so pathetic that they’ll go to the man who mentally raped them for sex without not only asking for an apology, but without even bringing up the fact that he mentally raped her in the first place. Magneto (conveniently appearing in a movie released this month) is so amazing that he can violate and humiliate a woman and she’ll still come crawling back to him for love. This is about Rogue becoming someone who cares more about Zaladane’s death than Magneto violating her. Where’s the strength? All that anger when she found out Magneto was Eric the Red? Now we know it meant nothing and her anger was all fake, she was mad about Magneto anyway.

This is like a sick joke being played on everyone who kidded themselves that Rogue was a strong female character, and valued her for more than being a pretty face draped over the super-villian du-jour to prove how manly he is. Not only is she not strong or cool now- she *never was*. This is about Rogue being made to look weak so a man can look strong. I buy Legacy for Rogue. Rogue isn’t Rogue anymore, so there’s no reason to buy Legacy anymore. If the intention was to chase away all Rogue fans from this title than it's working for me. I'd rather she have stayed in Austrailia than be made to look so weak and stupid.

What’s Magneto’s motivation in all this? Last issue he was talking about the Age of X world as a sign they should be together and this issue he speaks admiringly of Gambit and wants to send Rogue back to him. Didn’t he put Gambit on trial? Isn’t this they guy who was outraged when Moira McTaggart tampered with his mind? It’s out of character for him too.

Anonymous said...

Claremont didn't intend for their to be any romance in the Savage Land story- least of all for Rogue to be persuing Magneto. He actually said that Magneto would never take advantage of someone as innocent and child-like like Rogue. Also, 'persuer'? When Magneto grabbed her hand she was scared of him. The nearest she came to 'persuing' was pleading with him not to kill Zaladane. How romantic!

Russell Blackford said...

I've objected before to people commenting here simply as "Anonymous" with no distinguishing identity. I seldom bother engaging with someone who does that, and I always assume unless there is strong evidence to the contrary that a rash of comments like that are from the same person.

Russell Blackford said...

But for what it's worth, the scene where he grabs her hand is nothing like that. You've completely distorted the interaction.

Now you've had the opportunity to put your viewpoint several times. Surely that's enough. It looks to me like a highly biased one, like someone not open to a story turning out differently from what you wanted.

kakey said...

After initially reading the issue I was irked by the Magneto/Rogue thing after everything he had done to her in the past and it just seemed out of character.

But after reading this review I’ve got to say it bothers me much less as you made some good points.

I disagree that Rogue "loves" Magneto, and despite the large majority of fans disliking it I have been brought around to the possibility of accepting this as I don't see it lasting. I still believe that Rogue is being affected majorly from her AOX memories just like Frenzy, who is now a complete juxtaposition to who she was before (i.e. crazy child killer to wanting to do the right thing and joining the X-men)

Instead of going crazy about it like everyone else I’m not too bothered as I know the culmination will be worth it and mostly I’m looking forward to Gambits opinion now.

Great Review.

Elizabeth Davison said...

So according to Mike Carey all the times Rogue said no to Magneto's "romantic" overtures she meant yes all along? Bravo Marvel! That's exactly what the creep who attempted to rape one of my best friends said in his defense. Magneto praising Gambit in front of Rogue? Ha! so OOC when this is the man who under the guise of Erik The Red was the mastermind of the travesty that was The Trial of Gambit! I laughed my head off when he said if Gambit makes you unhappy tell him the story of Nazi Doctor... please, since when has Magneto ever cared about Rogue's happiness or lack thereof... and why would Gambit fear Magneto when he has been experimented on by the likes of Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse (stupid, rash decisions of his own admittedly but under the brilliant Marjorie Liu's pen at least he's trying to make up for his shady past and actions by helping Laura Kinney as a mentor and friend). To me and many of my friends this is not about taking sides but simply Magneto whitewashing/ beating the dead horse known as *Rogneto* that should've stayed dead after Magneto Rex if not sooner and a case of what appears to be an over-praised author living vicariously through his pet character Magneto who has now become a total Gary Stu. By the way I'm not anonymous but I do see his/ her/ their point, not everyone has to drink the Carey Kool-Aid.

F said...

Interesting review. I don’t agree with all of it but if you don’t care about any of the characters specifically then I can see the “well its shocking story telling so thats a good concept” review (Though I saw it coming a mile off - there was really no other reason to have Magneto in this book but to get to do the nasty with Rogue. There was never a chance Carey was going to have her pick Gambit given he’s been nothing but a brief cameo in the book for over a year. Magneto was the obvious push).

One problem I have is that there are a number of things you mention like Rogue and Magneto being in love in the Savage Land bit that are not that definitive. All we ever heard there was Magneto’s side of it. There was attraction but I would not call that love. Later writers took that and ran with it to where Rogue would nearly prostrate herself before Magneto to try to get him to change his mind while he would toss her around and tell her she was just a child (enforcing the fact that she had little respect from him) or in the case of X_Men 1-3 that happened right after the Savage Land he casually brainwashed her with all the rest of the X-Men. The respect and caring you imply he showed toward her really was not there most of the time when they were on opposite sides. His actions more seemed he regretted he couldn’t have a relationship because she wouldn’t agree with him than one of someone who had some deep respect and love for her. Case in point, he has seriously hurt her with no regard for her feelings (Uncanny 350) and caused the death of someone she also cared a lot about (Joseph) so the implication that her reasons for possibly being bitter and resentful were based on some misunderstanding of some actions of his to protect her is a bit disingenuous.

F said...

You also claim the X-Men have been glancing sideways with Magneto around which is not the case. There has been no indication that Magneto has had anyone seriously question his motives or called him out on past actions. If anything he’s been welcomed with open arms since the X-Men have no standards of actually having to be sorry for anything anymore (well unless you are Gambit). Rogue too never confronts Magneto on anything he’s done like the ones mentioned above as you do rightfully point out Magneto is not going to apologize for them. I think this is where a lot of many fans dislike comes from. Many seem to feel Rogue has yet again prostrated herself out to Magneto without him having to do anything to prove he genuinely cares like apologize or even admit he hurt her with no real reason but to hurt her (ie he was messing with the X-Men to distract them). I think it is very understandable why some fans of the character see this as regression of the character not progression where she just accepts that and basically has rewarded the behavior.

I also think there are story telling issues that didn’t help make the progression of the relationship. First being told about Rogue’s deep love for the alternate made up Magneto in AoX after AoX had ended didn’t allow anyone to see how such a relationship existed. His willingness to let her be killed at first in AoX questions his feelings and the fact that she was basically trapped in a tower with him for the whole of the fake memories brings up the question of did she have any other choice but him to admire and love him. There is also the complete flip flop of Magneto’s actions from all the previous Legacy issues to this one. The “I’m pushing you away to protect you” came out of no where and completely conflicts with most of their past interactions when he was a villain except the Savage Land and certainly after he’s joined the X-Men this time. Last issue he was very much pushing her to accept her feelings for him in the AoX and prior to AoX he was anything but trying to be just friends. The sudden change to caring about “protecting her from him”and him always supposedly “dumping” Rogue for her own good doesn’t ring true for that reason. Many times he dumped her because they didn’t see eye to eye and it annoyed him.

Maybe Mike Carey plans to have Rogue grow from the experience but I would not say what has happened up to this point makes her look like she’s grown at all. Especially given their last meeting she pretty much said she had gotten over him and then we get the no means yes in the Legacy issues - you even mention those yourself. Many people just find that trope offensive period for very good reasons. She’s still stuck at the infatuation stage where Magneto can do no real wrong since she’s never bothered to hold him truly accountable for his actions since their last meeting. Her “hurt and anger” seem disregarded way too easily given what has been glossed over in their history. For that reason, I understand where some of the dislike is coming from a character perspective.

That said this is a very through review and I applaud the effort.

Russell Blackford said...

"No means yes" has a specific meaning that has absolutely nothing to do with this story. I wish people here and in the discussions of this issue that I've seen elsewhere would stop misapplying that maxim. Magneto has done absolutely nothing that breaches it. And if I were Mike Carey or his editors I'd be pissed off at the claim that they've shown anything of the sort.

All we've seen from Carey and Marvel, in fact, is Magneto treat Rogue with kindness and respect since he's come to the island. The message that young men would pick up is, if anything: "If you want to get a woman you're interested in to come around and like you, when she's initially suspicious of you, then act like a complete gentleman towards her."

The sexual politics of the whole thing have actually been exemplary, and I think Carey and Marvel should, in anything, take a bow for that. In the unlikely event that anybody takes Magneto's recent behaviour towards Rogue, and uses it as some kind of role model, the world will be a better place. (Admittedly, he hasn't exactly brought her flowers and champagne, but that would be out of character, and besides it's been clear enough that he is conflicted about whether he actually wants anything "romantic" with her - he mainly seems to want to win back her friendship and trust.)

We've also seen plenty of the X-Men looking askance at Magneto - he wasn't greeted with open arms by any means. Completely the opposite. However, he did save the island when it was sinking, defeated Proteus who was world-scale threat, brought back Kitty (where everyone else from Reed Richards down had failed), fought effectively and heroically at a critical moment during Second Coming, and other useful things for the X-Men. If whatever suspicion they have has
not been directly referenced much lately, maybe it's because he's been shown doing a fair bit to earn a degree of trust. But nothing suggests to me that all the suspicion has gone, merely that it hasn't been a focus of late as the plot moves on.

All that said, if anyone thinks Rogue is being portrayed out of character, I can only suggest you stop reading the book while Carey's writing it. Or get it off your chest on your own blog.

I don't see her as out of character at all, but that's a matter of judgment and I'm not going to spend hours and hours debating it (especially after writing a very long review that wasn't the work of a few minutes).

Looking around the internet, I see that most actual reviewers have been positive about this issue - not just me - and those who have criticisms have criticised other things.

But I totally understand that fans can have particular concepts of a favourite character's personality and can feel upset if a particular writer has a different concept of it. That's fair enough, of course, but there's a limit to how much people can have a sensible debate about such things on the internet, or how much anyone is ever likely to persuade anyone else on such personal matters of interpretation.

pboyfloyd said...

Appears to me that the writer may have had a bit of a mini-stroke and on account of this, I predict that storyline is getting a bit confused.


Magneto: Rogue, I am your FATHER!

Russell Blackford said...

We've already had Magneto to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch: "I am your FATHER."

Lioness said...

Thank you for your excellent review of XL249. Here's my own review: http://crabby-lioness.livejournal.com/73226.html

One thing everyone seems to be forgetting, including me when I wrote that, is that Rogue's reaction to Magneto was heavily foreshadowed in X-Men Legacy Salvage where she behaved the same way towards the Magneto hologram that she would later behave to the man: an initial unwillingness to engage him ("I can't deal with this" vs. "I'm not interested.") followed by a break in her mental hangup that leads to her being all over him like butter on toast. She even uses the same gesture to touch both of them (fingers on lips). Under that circumstance her attraction could hardly be said to come out of nowhere.

I'm getting annoyed with the "Carey's saying no means yes" crowd. There's a difference between "stalking" and "courtship". People change their minds all the time, and their insinuation is a direct insult to every person who didn't fall madly in love at first sight with the person they eventually chose to spend their lives with.

When I was in college a man asked me out. I told him "no", and I meant it. He was polite but persistent. I told him "no" again, and I meant it then. Later I told him "yes" and I meant that. Later still I told him, "I love you too", and I meant it will all my heart. When I told him, "I do" I meant that with every ounce of my being. Twenty-five years, six months, and four children after that first "no", I kinda glad he persisted. :)

Russell Blackford said...

Yes, it was foreshadowed back in - hmm, was it XML #223? And there has been plenty of other precedent for the past 20 years since the Savage Land story to confirm that she still has these deep feelings for Magneto. So it's not as if this was new either in Carey's work on the character of Rogue or in the way Rogue was previously portrayed.

Now, I realise that some people think that Carey's version of Rogue is OOC. I can't see it myself; I think it actually shows a deep understanding of the essence of her character. In fact, one of the things that makes her interesting, and makes her stand out as a superhero, is that she's capable of loving a big-time supervillain if she sees him as, in his way, noble, courageous, and honorable. What she doesn't like is his utter ruthlessness - one of her biggest complaints is that he murdered Zaladane right in front of her, even if Zaladane "deserved" it.

But arguing all that one way or other can get very difficult. I can see how there might be other aspects of Rogue's character that have been downplayed partly because of the situations she's been in, and partly because of the current "take" on her, and I can see how those might happen to be aspects of her character that appeal to some of her fans. Fine.

But what I can't accept is the way the "no does not mean yes" maxim has been thrown around in a context where it is not relevant. That maxim has one and only one history, context, and meaning: it's about rape. And it's dynamite throwing it around in some other context.

The other thing was the batshit crazy and offensive speculation on one site in particular about the writer's own sexual fantasies and proclivities. That kind of thing poisons the well.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Magneto also over in Young Avengers: Children's Crusade....with his grandchildren....finding out that his daughter the Scarlett Witch (Whose Rogue's age) is engaged to Dr. Doom (Whose more Mag's age)? Except in the later case the relationship much assumed to be a creepy ordeal. Funny how that works...

Russell Blackford said...

Magneto seems pretty cool about these things - he didn't seem to have a problem when Wanda was with the Vision. But he's gotta be sceptical about whether Wanda is really in her right mind wanting to marry Victor ... given that Wanda is as crazy as a fruitbat. Given that no attraction has been shown between Doom and Wanda in the past, it does seem creepy that they're suddenly in love. If they'd been shown becoming friends at some point, and apparently falling for each other (i.e. like Magneto and Rogue in the Savage Land story), I wouldn't have a problem with it.

One thing that - perhaps irrationally - makes a difference is that Doom is supposed to be grotesque in appearance behind his armour, courtesy of that demonic scarring. By contrast, Magneto is usually presented as a strikingly handsome man - part of the power and complexity of the character is that this guy who looks so noble and regal, and all, and is so self-righteous, has so much darkness and ruthlessness inside of him. But it's no wonder that his looks, courage, brilliance, integrity, appearance of nobility, etc., etc., attract Rogue, while his ruthlessness repels her (but maybe even that secretly gives her a frisson - she has some of that in her, too, and part of her would like to be just like him).

I thought it was kinda cool back in the day when there was an attraction between Victor and Storm at one point. Though I think that was later changed so it was a Doombot, not the real Victor. I find something sort of touching about these personal attractions across the often-arbitrary superhero/supervillain line.

I don't have any inside information or anything, but I'm pretty sure that the Children's Crusade events happen after Fear Itself and well after the current events in X-Men Legacy. But it would be kind of fun if it turned out that Wanda and Victor really do love each other, and if Marvel went ahead with the marriage. What a power family that would be, assuming Erik and Rogue are still together by then. Especially if Polaris really is Erik's daughter and if you throw in the Kree/Inhumans connection via Pietro and Luna.

Anonymous said...

For the last 25 years Rogue's been the one comic book super-being I identified most with, mostly because of her issues with intimacy and redemption.

I am very keen on Mike Carey's take on her and thought your review was an excellent explanation for why I enjoyed this issue. It pisses me off that some folks equate what has gone on before as stalking and rape; it diminishes the violation and violence of actual rape. And I like Lioness' response to that.

I trust in Carey's take on the character. Just because Rogue did spend a night with Magneto does not mean that it wasn't a mistake in the long run. It doesn't mean he's the One. It doesn't mean that Rogue shouldn't end up with Gambit. It can mean that this woman who used to be fist-first into battle still does some things recklessly. It can mean that she still doesn't quite understand that her uncontrolled powers can no longer excuse her lack of relationship immaturity. It can mean a lot of things that I am interested in exploring with Carey, and I get the sense that he's also exploring as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with other anti Magneto posters.I'm only using anonymous because it's the only option available to me. It's not the age,it's that it's Magneto.I felt sick reading this issue and after seeing a few previous covers with Rogue draped over Magneto like some fawning,simpering,schoolgirl and he's usually not even looking at her.It does come off as though she is the one pursuing the relationship but I honestly have no justification of why.
I have never felt any great romance in the Savage land arc and she left disgusted with him and soon after became intrigued by the latest x-men addition Gambit,whose relationship I will admit I was a fan of.I think Carley is a Magneto fan and which female character to fall for him would be better than Rogue who is the most developed and breakout character recently.
I don't like it because I'm starting not to like one of my all time favourite characters due to questionable choices and decisions and she doesn't seem like the strong woman she was to basically throw herself to someone she expressed dislike more often than love because she's just so horny for him and fell for his "charming" personality.She did seem really angry at the whole mind rape thing.
I think as long as Carley's writing there's no more Rogue and Gambit which is unfortunate because they endured through difficult circumstances in their relationship and that they really loved each other and now they have a chance to actually be together and happy and Marvel pulls this.
I can only hope some writer remembers why Rogue was awesome and writes her that way soon ,and if some writer can dig up a "romance" from what 20 years ago, one remembers Oliver and Bekka from her future with Gambit.