The Cheesy Hope Dampening Powers of the Cliche
When I heard that Gage was taking over this title, I wasn't scared: I was also sad. I dislike Gage, his writing is unoriginal and utter tripe at the best, be it Avengers: The Initiative, Astonishing X-Men, Thunderbolts, and following this epic stint from Carey, I predicted a "fall from grace" situation.
I wasn't far off.
With 260.1, I was more accepting of Gage: it was a stater issue, drawing the blueprints yadayadayada. With this issue, it didn't improve. His dialogue and ideas within were as cliched as the format and every analogy I have used so far in this review. Although I didn't mind the back-and-forth between Rachel and Rogue at the beginning, his attempt at Rogue's dialect and especially Cargill's voice fell far beyond flat.
A similar statement may be made about the art: at points, Baldeon didn't manage to completely form a three dimensional image. Occasionally I wasn't sure if Rogue's nose was supposed to be that or just a line down the centre of her face. However, I will commend the brilliant colours from Oback, who's work always brightens the issue she's working on.
Having said that, this doesn't seem like it's going to be a particularly dark book from now on. It's sad that it's left far behind the intellectual and gritty foundations that was Carey's run as this reads like a cross between a high school drama and a romcom. I get that it would be hard to make something completely serious and menacing out of this setting, but Aaron does a good job of making it fun while at least giving it some depth i.e. interactions between Angel and Iceman in #4, despite the some cheesy story lines.
Gage doesn't accomplish much in this area either. I applaud the fact that he brought Exodus back into the fold; in light of Schism, it would be in character for him to get involved, but most of the story was the whole Faculty battling him and nothing else (although, I did like the final page. Something nice and quirky about them accidentally signing a death warrant for Cyclops).
Ultimately, my sadness sees no hope. Gage will butcher this title to be something akin to his Avengers Academy: a cheesy version of it's superior predecessor (Slott's Avengers: The Initiative was great). I realise that there would be no chance of Carey returning, therefore I'll continue to read this title because it contains the characters I enjoy. Sadly....