A title starring X-Men reject (and sometimes adversary) Legion was going to be a real hard sell for me, but “X-Men Legacy” #2 didn’t do anything to change my mind or instill any hope. I’m really trying to give all of the Marvel NOW! titles a chance to prove their mettle to me. The first issue of this series gave me a bit of a headache (and not in a good way) and this issue just leaves me deflated.
I completely subscribe to the notion that any character can be great with the right writer and that every character is someone’s favorite. Granted, we are only two issues in, but I’m convinced that Legion is the exception to the first rule and I do apologize to fans of the character, but there is really nothing in this issue to separate him beyond his multiple personalities. Even those personalities don’t distinguish him sufficiently. The personality bit is given some room to stretch a bit by Simon Spurrier, but those same personalities have a paint-by-numbers feel to them. Nothing overly exciting. The mystery being Legion encounters in the “real” world is more exciting, but he’s only interesting because of his incomplete and therefore mysterious character as opposed to some of the overwritten splinters of Legion’s brain.
“X-Men Legacy” #2 is not helped by the art. Taken individually, Tan Eng Huat’s drawings are decent and his characters are fun and expressive, but points in this story fall apart due to some poor storytelling choices and odd panel composition. In the second to last panel of the issue, Legion and his foes appear to have been drawn without any concept of background, as the setting itself seems to be collaged into the image. I truly enjoyed Huat’s work on “Doom Patrol,” but this issue of “X-Men Legacy” left me waiting for the same quality of artwork. The frenetic coloring (including an overwhelming majority of panel backgrounds) by Jose Villarrubia accentuates the oddities of Legion’s mind, but also makes the visual experience of this book overstimulating.
The cover of “X-Men Legacy” #2 is the best thing about it, but Marvel even managed to bobble that as the cover stock seems to be lighter or thinner than the actual pages of this issue. It’s certainly an odd choice for an odd book, but one that could be marginally justified given the nature of the story within. I know Legion has been an important character in the past, but he’s also been a character that writers have never seemed to quite know what to do with. Now that Spurrier has figured it out, I’m left wanting.