The melodrama that Christos Gage infused last issue with remains but it has become a little overwhelming as the plight of Weapon Omega and Mimic hits an almighty emotional crescendo.
When melodrama is done well it can lift a book up (the last issue was a great example), but when overdone it weighs a book down and becomes a bit repetitive. That is what has happened here. Gage is so concerned with the emotional crux of the story that he has managed to fill the script with characters who just navel gaze to their hearts’ content. Rogue has always been a little self-absorbed since hitting the pages of X-Men Legacy, but she really goes for it here. She is still pining after Magneto and her scene with Toad really hammers that home. At the same time it does wonders to improve Toad’s character, even if he is seemingly a masochist. But Rogue isn’t the main culprit for dragging the book into emotional farce. That would be Mimic. It is good that he has joined the team as he is an interesting character, but after this issue he needs to tone down talking about his feelings. Gage’s dialogue for him is saccharine to the point of nausea. His friendship to Weapon Omega comes off as more of a romance as that final speech by Mimic really does go too far. Granted the speech is framed around showing the connections the other characters have to one another (Beast/Iceman, Cannonball/Husk, etc) and you can see what Gage is going for, but the wording is a little off.
This has a knock on effect on the plot, which wasn’t the strongest to begin with. With everyone else concerned with pontificating about their emotions it leaves Beast to pick up the exposition role yet again. His dialogue is a veritable dump of pseudo-science and solutions. Of course, Beast is the science guy but his primary role in this issue is to serve as a walking explanation robot. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is clunky and fails to hold any real interest. This added with the simple solution of the problem and the whole plot becomes underwhelming. Of course, the issue concerns itself more with the emotions involved and often a simple plot can work with such an approach. But as Gage overdoes that aspect it highlights how mundane the plot really is.
Rafa Sandoval continues to do good work here, but the issue is mainly talking heads and as such he is given very little to work on. His character work is still solid though and he has mastered the art of over-emotive posing. He does his best to sell the script and for the most part his renditions work. Although Rogue’s fringe is so ridiculous that she seemingly doesn’t have eyes for a substantial amount of the panels. Unlike last issue, there aren’t any real standout moments within the art. Sandoval’s layouts do give the script some pace and the successive six-panel layouts during Mimic’s speech allows for the book to heavily focus on the surrounding characters reactions. Altogether, the art is solid but not noteworthy.
So as the book descends down the melodrama rabbit hole it loses any sense of balance. Mimic’s protracted self-absorbed dialogue works in tandem with his overwrought speech at the end to overload the book. Gage cripples the book by making it read like a cheap soap opera, rather than the issues he churned out previously. This in turn shows up the simplicity of the narrative and the seemingly pointlessness of it all, due to the solution being so easily achieved. Although Mimic’s addition to the book is a bonus it doesn’t feel worth this much drivel. Even Sandoval is drowned out by Gage’s script, which is a shame because his pencils aren’t bad at all. Hopefully as the book heads into Avengers Vs. X-Men, Gage can once again go back to the standard of his previous issues and this can be seen as nothing more than a blip in his run.