Picks of the Trade: X-Men Legacy Vol. 2
The second volume of Simon Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy, aptly titled Invasive Exotics, continues to explore David Haller’s struggle to deal with the control of his powers, the death of his father Charles Xavier and what his purpose in life is. What we have here, when you look at X-Men Legacy as a whole, is a series that is flying under most people’s radar in terms of uniqueness and quality of the book. Admittedly, the art is not as consistent as some but it’s not something that should be holding people back from reading this series. Spurrier has done some amazing things with David Haller, aka Legion, and as long as this series lasts there’s no doubt he has plenty more in store.
For those that don’t know, Legion’s power set is…different. He has the ability to control up to 200 different powers, making him undoubtedly one of the most powerful mutants in existence, but he’s unable to do it at will. Think of his brain as a prison with 200 inmates running around all with their own unique powers, and the only way to use their powers is to literally hold them down and forcibly take control of them in his mind so he can then use those powers in the real world. Crazy, right? It’s not always easy either, because all these inmates can use their powers inside of this “mind prison” while David Haller appears to be relatively normal…unless crazy hair counts as a power.
It’s a fantastic way to look at a character and how he uses, or can use, his powers. There are tons of little interesting things to pick up as well. For example, everybody loves the narration boxes and knows that it’s the character “talking to himself”, or to the reader if you prefer, but when the scene changes to the “mind prison”, his narration is suddenly broadcasted through a P.A. system. It’s an interesting, small detail that really works with the story and it’s unique. This whole series thus far has been unique and different from the rest of the funny books on the shelf and a lot of that credit has to go to Spurrier who’s obviously giving it his all and, arguably, doing his best work to date.
The one downside that might pull this series down a bit is the art. For the most part, Tan Eng Huat does a fine job and, peaking at later issues, it appears he only gets better as he gets more comfortable with the series and the characters. There are some glaring inconsistencies in this trade, though, when it comes to some characters and expressions and they tend to pull the reader out of the story momentarily and it just breaks up the flow and pace of story. Again, Huat did not do a bad job with his portion of the trade, but it’s not the best either. Paul Davidson, the second artist in this trade, is a bit of a jarring change from Huat, but seems to be more consistent. Once you get over that initial, “OH MY” when the art changes and you settle into the issue, it’s pretty smooth and not a lot of negative things can be said about Davidson’s art. Legion looks good in Davidson’s style, his monsters and mutants are awesome and, bottom line, he is consistent in all aspects.
Maybe this falls down to Marvel’s schedule and having two artists makes the most sense to keep this fantastic book on track. It’s one thing to fly under the radar, but if a book starts being late month after month then, rightfully so, the book probably won’t last long. Both artists, when looking at this book as a whole, do a fine job with Spurrier’s script and this crazy cast of characters. The writing is strong enough to look past any issues with art and, though jarring to go directly from Huat to Davidson, it’s easy enough to transition between artists.
This book needs to stick around, which means you discerning comic folk need to go pick this up. Buy the trades, buy the singles, and shout your love of this book from the rooftops, if that’s what you’re in to. Spurrier has something special with this character and this book. It can be a bit daunting to start if you have no idea who the character is, or his past, or any of that, but Spurrier and crew, from volume one to this trade, do a great job getting you up to speed. You feel for this misunderstood character, and not just because he’s stuck with that insane hairdo, and that speaks to Spurrier’s skill as a writer. This series deserves your money and it deserves to be read and shared.