(p) Tan Eng Huat
Legion hasn’t been too front-and-center in recent years. He’s a somewhat obscure character whose powers aren’t very easy to explain. His stories tend to be heavily steeped in philosophical quandaries. His hair looks ridiculous.
X-Men Legacy #1 is an issue that I believe will surprise many, many critics and fans alike. Unlike the title’s previous incarnation — which was basically just another X-Men team book in a very ho-hum lineup — this ‘Marvel NOW!’ version focuses squarely on Professor Xavier’s estranged and mentally unstable son, David Haller. David’s ‘Legion’ moniker comes from his mutant power — the ability to absorb a person’s essence as an alternate personality and access said person’s superhuman/mutant powers — as does his extreme psychosis. The thing is, stories about David’s instability have been told for years, decades even. It’s old news, and Simon Spurrier knows this.
Instead of making David a victimized villain once again, Spurrier has decided to redeem the irredeemable mutant nutjob through spiritual and emotional journeying. Think of it as one part Red Hood and The Outlaws-esque redemption story, one part China Mieville’s Dial H zaniness, and just a dash of Invincible-like daddy issues — you’ve got Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy. It sounds ridiculous, but the fact is that this issue is really, really good.
David has been undergoing spiritual therapy at a psychic retirement community in the Indian Himalayas. This setting alone was enough to make me realize this wasn’t going to be just any run of the mill X-Men book. This series is going to be something special in the X-Men world: a solo book that’s not about Wolverine. Yes, I know there are some solo series for other mutants of the Marvel U…but are there? Really? Or does Wolverine basically have a monopoly on solo adventures? David Haller is far more interesting that Logan, at this point, and every page of X-Men Legacy #1 reinforces that notion. Add to that a wholly personified interpretation of David’s brain keeping his multiple personalities prisoner, and you’ve got one solid comic book, regardless of it’s inclinations toward the Children of the Atom.
The best part of the issue is when David senses his father’s death at the hands of Scott Summers Dark Phoenix (at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, true believers!) and basically erupts with emotion. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but suffice it to say, I’ve already called my LCS and put X-Men Legacy on my subscription list. There are a lot of cool new ideas coming out of ‘Marvel NOW!’, and X-Men Legacy is at the fringe of it all, looking in and taking metaphorical approaches to literal problems. It’s fantastic.