Age of X
Writer - Mike Carey
Artists - Clay Mann (X-Men Legacy #245-247), Steve Kurth (New Mutants #22-24)
In a reality where the X-men were never formed or taught by Professor X how to control/use their powers, anti-mutant sentiment had grown to such an extent where mutants have all been hunted & killed (the Decimation) until a only small community remains in a fortress that Magneto (who serves as the Mutants' General, while Cannonball as Field Commander) had built, called Fortress X.
Hunted & attacked daily by humans & an alternate version of Sentinels called Exonims, the remaining mutants defend their last stronghold with their lives. They have been surviving in this hostile environment for the last 1000 days under Magneto's leadership. After each assault from the Human forces, they would rebuild their force field perimeter with the most powerful mutants - the Force Warriors*.
* Force Warriors - Legion (Prof X's son, David Haller), Rachel Summers, Psylocke, Hellion, Uniscione (from Magneto's Acolytes)
On such a day, after a bitter victory against the human forces, Legacy (Rogue, some refer to her as Reaper as she absorbs the powers and memories of the fallen mutants) discovers an escapee from the Brig - Katherine (Kitty) Pryde in the battle zone with a camera that was used to see what was outside the safe zone perimeter. Magneto escorts Pryde personally back to the Brig**.
** The Brig, a high security containment facility, kept mutants whose powers were too wild & uncontrollable that they would be dangerous to themselves & others in the community. Some of the mutants included Professor X, Emma Frost & Katherine Pryde. Danger (the sentient entity of the Danger Room) serves as its Warden.
Reaper/Legacy's curiosity is piqued and she finds out Kitty's camera had 247 pictures of white nothingness! Thus, begins her quest to discover the truth by entering the Brig to get answers from Kitty, against Magneto's orders, making her a traitor & fugitive.
She is hunted by the Moonstar Cadre*** but manages to slip past them with a little help from Gambit. This brings Magneto to handle matters personally and he drops a 100 tons of rubble on them to the horror of the rest of the mutant community!
*** Moonstar Cadre (see cover of XML#246)- Dust, Magma, Eclipse (New Mutants' Sunspot), Karma, Cypher, Moonstar (New Mutants' Mirage)
We soon discover that Magneto didn't kill Legacy & Gambit but was in fact hiding them from X**** as he too, sensed that something was not right and was the one who help Kitty's escape.
****X - a sentient entity that is an inherent part of Fortress X, issues orders to all the mutants. However, none of them seems to have seen X.
They then free Professor X (the most powerful telepath) in order to help them pierce the veil of illusion and discover the real villain behind this whole sinister (No, that was NOT a clue, really) reality.
Here are some of Clay Mann's work.
While these are from Steve Kurth.
The Covers by Leinil Yu & Olivier Coipel are, needless to say, brilliant!
The interior art was almost as good. Clay Mann is not a name I'm familiar with as I jumped straight into reading it without looking at the credits. I had thought the X-Men:Legacy issues were actually done by Coipel himself! Yeah, Mann is that good. His work looked a little rough around the edges, but I had thought that this was due to poor ink-work by the embellisher. some may argue that he's a Coipel clone, but look at Phil Jiminez. He's been called George Perez's clone for years but he's establish his own niche and legion (hah, no pun intended) of fans.
Meanwhile, I have seen steve Kurth's work in the Micronauts series from a few years back. I was disappointed with his work then as it seemed cartoonish and inconsistent. However, here, he has demonstrated that his work has improved a lot!
The overall artwork for the entire story is pretty good, unlike many other major events of its ilk - where certain issues had great artists like George Perez (Infinity Trilogy) while others had 3rd rate artists like Ron Lim.
Clay Mann's AOX character designs
Age of X is Marvel's latest attempt in re-creating the magic they achieved with the massive success of the Age of Apocalypse from 1996.
From the responses received thus far, it seems that Marvel hit it on the nail this time. Personally, it was a little difficult to read initially as I had not been following any of the x Titles for the past 3 years. So I thought that there were certain events that happened in the X Universe that I wasn't fully aware of. But then I discovered that the story was designed to fill readers in as they went along the chapters.
It's indeed refreshing to have an X-event where Wolverine isn't cast prominently. X-Fans have already given this story their stamp of approval. I agree with them. If you have not picked up any X-Books recently or if you loved the Age of Apocalypse, this is one that you should pick up. Expect Marvel to have more books linked to the AOX story and characters.