Simon Spurrier actually once worked as an art director for the BBC! This was before developing his name in the British comic scene, with titles for 2000AD and Judge Dredd. He has written the odd issue for Marvel but this is his first consistent mainstream title. Jorge Molina is a Mexican artist who has worked as a colourist for Image comics and a video games character designer for a number of companies. He has been involved in many Marvel projects including AvX, Captain America and recent B-titles for the X-Men. They have both taken on a difficult book. Rogue has marked Legacy as her book and she has been removed from it and replaced by Legion. David Haller has never been a character I had an affinity for; despite the fact he is supposed to be extremely powerful as the progeny of Xavier. Now he has his own book and the gauntlet has been taken up by Spurrier and Molina.
The book is not easily approachable. David is a confusing character because he starts off technically insane! He has always been a tortured soul and caused a lot of damage, one of the biggest disasters being the trigger to the Age of Apocalypse. He operates on an astral plane where his powers are manifested as monsters trying to attack him. The more monsters he controls, the more powers he has at his disposal, but this is where he struggles. This in itself is a complex idea but is mere background to David’s plan to follow in his father’s footsteps. The problem exists that everyone knows how unstable he is and the X-Men do not trust him. Legion rescues twin psychic mutant children in Japan before being confronted by the X-Men. It is a war fought on the astral plane as well as the physical, confusing one and all!
Spurrier has developed a delicate balance between monologue and dialogue. It serves an important purpose because David’s commentary on the events provides insight to the situation at hand. His fight scenes are fought in his mind, as he tries to control various aspects of his power, and on the battlefield as they manifest against his aggressors. When Legion confronts the X-Men in issue four, the fight was surprisingly intuitive and original as he leaves them in his wake. His strange connection with Blindfold and the twins, leads him back to the mansion and the stunning conclusion to the plot. This book is complicated. There are many facets to the plot and it encompasses many of David’s personal introspective issues. The book can become writing heavy which, combined with Molina’s detailed art, can clutter the page. However the plot is actually well paced and very satisfying with its revelations.
Molina art demonstrates the dichotomy between confrontations involving astral powers and physical powers. There are bright lights and big bangs when David goes psychic compared to great action emphasis affects when he throws a punch. The creatures in the astral plane look fantastical and are coloured brightly to ensue we know where the scene is set. The astral plane allows Molina to be creative but ultimately we focus on the real world. The action sequences in reality work are energetic and there is an amusing sequence of events leading to David being hit with a bookshelf! I do wonder whether Molina’s best pencilling lies with the larger emphatic panels. The epic battle blows are impactful and the scenes of David walking in the rain look beautiful.
The book does look busy and can be difficult to read. It is a book of intertwining complex ideas that cover a range of character developments and confrontational environments. Once you get to grips with this, you see the subtle maturation of Legion amongst a clever and well-delivered plot.
Where the book has succeeded is promoting David as a credible powerful mutant. Despite his lack of control, Legion manages to take down many enemies as well as the X-Men. The hype created in many past books has materialised and it is used in a novel way. David’s personal journey in the first arc is an eventful as he accepts his father death and his continual disappointment to him. This happens early in issue 3 and then allows Legion to try and be a hero amongst must castigation. Bring in the fact that his main enemy operates on the astral plane and we have the X-Men clueless about what is actually happening! David is unable to truly prove his intentions and express his victory. The final page is very revealing because Wolverine is portrayed as an ignorant and weak leader unappreciative of David’s exceptionally difficult turmoil. The upper hand lies with Legion and nobody knows it. He accepts his fate and pursues his father’s dream, unabated and alone. How does a reformed mutant with some semblance of control, then invoke trust and be seen as a hero? He doesn’t, he doesn’t need the validation of others, he only needs to know he is doing the right thing.
Great review. My favourite Marvel book hands down.