Review: X-Men Legacy #2

by distractingdelusions

X-men Legacy #2

Writer: Simon Spurrier, Pencils: Tan Eng Huat, Inks: Craig Yeung, Colours: José Villarrubia

X-Men Legacy #2 Cover by Mike Del Mundo

I have been looking forward to this second installment of Messrs Spurrier and Huat’s new X project since I finished reading the first issue. After that emotional roller-coaster of a re-introduction to the fractured psyche of David Haller (aka Legion, aka Professor Xavier’s son,) this issue keeps up the frenetic pace admirably. Yet, there is an ineffable sadness lingering at the edges of each panel as David is forced to struggle with his personal demons in public.

The way in which we, the readers, get to see what David is trying to deal with internally, whilst simultaneously seeing the consequences in the real world when he loses control, is adroitly handled. It is this fracturing of perspective that allows us to fully invest in the character. Instead of being subjected to mindless sequences of carnage that conclude with our poor, miss-understood hero standing in the wreckage staring at his hands in disbelief at what he’s just done, we are treated to something of a novelty in mainstream comics. We are actually getting to know the character! We may not be able to immediately comprehend his actions from one second to the next, but neither can he. We are in this together.

With the knowledge that (some of) the X-men will eventually make contact with David, most likely assuming the worst of him (he has a history,) the foreshadowing in this issue is both ominous and ambiguous.

As if dealing with his own mind wasn’t enough of a tall order, this issue also introduces a rather bizarre character of dubious intent into David’s world. Whilst the character does not attempt to explain itself much beyond flamboyant demonstrations of it’s powers, this fleeting appearance helps to set things in motion for forthcoming issues rather nicely.

This is not a typical X-men book . This is a good thing.

I do love the X-men and their many, many, many teams, and solo adventures, and multiple team-ups/sleepovers/field-trips, etc. etc. But this book is different. It is from the world but not of the world. Having the legacy of, both, the X-men and Professor Xavier looming in the background helps to flesh out the picture, but it is not the focus. This is the story of a troubled young man trying to make something of his life whilst being painfully aware of the stark knowledge that when, not if, he messes up, the consequences could be catastrophic. All in all, this issue builds confidently on the solid foundations laid down by the first installment.

Now, I have talked quite a bit about the writing/story structure of this issue, which is top notch. However, it would be remiss of me not to comment on Tan Eng Haut’s brilliant artwork. I don’t know who made the creative decision to put this team together, but Haut’s art perfectly compliments David’s personality, as well as the writing. There is a manic energy contained in the line work that helps to convey the fraught tension that David struggles to contain. Similarly, the use of perspective for the scenes set inside his mind evoke a portentous, creeping dread.

I would highly recommend this series to anyone. Yes, there are quite a few, ‘%#@&,’ bits here and there. Mr Spurrier was/is writing this at the same time as his brutal, (yet, emotionally engrossing,) R-Rated run over on Avatar‘s, Crossed: Wish You Were Here after all. But it’s not there to shock. David Haller’s life is not all peaches and cream. So he swears from time to time, as would you if you had to contend with his mindscape and legacy. Please do not let such a tiny aspect of this wonderful book put you off.

Of all the Marvel NOW! books, this one is proving to be a red-hot wildcard, much like it’s protagonist.

You can pick it-up at you local comic shop now, or over at ComiXology, HERE.