Iconic Writing Post – X-Men Legacy by Simon Spurrier

The end of a comic run is always a difficult time for writer and reader. Sadly it often triggered with a book or character failing to sell, but sometimes it occurs without obvious reason. The end of X-Men Legacy is a surprise artistically but perhaps not financially. The resounding feeling in many of these cases, especially with a B title, is that the creators were happy it lasted this long. There is a trend for books that continue with a new team for the story to reach a disastrous conclusion, in order to make the successors sweat with continuity conundrums. X-Men legacy was following the footsteps of Christos Gage’s solo book for Rogue, which was actually an excellent character book. Simon Spurrier took on this title and really brought significance to the word legacy, by using a mutant who knows more about expectation than any other.

Whipping boy Legion

David is a character forever tormented and mistreated by his father for his own good. I say he was mistreated because it fits more into the disappointing father tag Xavier developed towards the end of his life. Not only does Haller have exceptional power but also appalling control of it and the running metaphor of the book, is that he imprisons creatures in his mind in order to utilise the powers they represent. He develops a semblance of balance and decides to follow in his father’s footsteps in becoming a mutant freedom fighter, with looser morals than Cyclops. On his journey he falls in love with Blindfold and their telepathy skills allow them to relate without the confines of the real world. Unfortunately as she assists him through mutant aggravators and terrorist aggression, therein prevail a couple of unassailable truths: he can only disappoint her and he will lose all control and destroy those around him. These facts are incredibly hard to reconcile from a writing perspective but Simon Spurrier manages it with such tact and grace that you truly believe Haller should be leader of the X-Men and his love for Ruth will save the day. As naïve as this sounds, the writing was so impressive that it had us all fooled. In the end Spurrier takes his character and leaves him free for anyone to take a pen to, whilst keeping him close to his heart forever.


When Kieron Gillen ended Journey Into Mystery we all shed a tear. Underneath the tragedy of it all, what he actually did was create a finale so wondrous that it afforded us the chance to say goodbye but leave Kid Loki ready for another writer to take over. He subtly changed his character so that the story showed personal development and catharsis, but also allowed the big reset button to be pressed. Now Spurrier’s approach is similar to this conceptually but in a completely different direction. Not only does he reconcile Legion’s character but also his relationship with Blindfold and his ultimate fate. In one fail swoop he ended it all without quite ending it at all. He had his cake and stuffed his face with it.

Never being born

The issue runs a garbled rambling monologue that is almost purposely so. Legion is so characteristically self referential that this metaness almost explodes your brain. Ironically that is exactly what is happening to Haller’s mind as he tries to make sense of his new love, his father, his relevance to the world whilst pondering the meaning of the word Legacy. It is all very thoughtful and purposely conflicting at times but it is passionate and earnest. Especially when he describes his feelings to Ruth and the revelation that Xavier would have actually been very proud of him. Legion takes his deepest insecurities and brushes them away leaving an incredible honest truth regarding our place in the world. One decision leads to another and whether you do things differently it is hard to guarantee that you would have avoided killing mutants, become better parents or even become a better man. David Haller is a broken mutant and his destiny was almost pre-determined because of his inherent frailties. As Spurrier puts it, he comes to terms with himself and even uses the weaver power creature to become whole. This self-actualisation brings him ultimate freedom as he sheds his egotistical constraints and understands the world is a better place without him. For intents and purposes this results in martyrdom as he gracefully bows out.

Blindfolds head

You may find this a bleak outcome for an X-Men but Simon knows better than this. All these events occur in Legion’s mind and very few panels occur in reality so we have no perspective on the implications of his decisions. Theoretically what appears to be happening will prevent his destruction of mutantkind and leave him a lifeless shell. But as he ruminates over never being born, it may imply an esoteric outcome, one easily overcome for another writer to take on the legacy mantle. He almost provides a get-out clause, he’s not really dead, for the sentimental fools out there, such as myself. As a final touch of brilliance we come to Ruth Aldine. Blindfold is back at school at a time where Xavier had just been killed, way back to when Haller’s adventures began. The fast return button has been pressed but Ruth remembers all that has taken place. As she laments her sorrow she is suddenly comforted by a voice in her head, the voice of David Haller. The last two pages evoke emotions of a love lost but always remembered. In fact it is drawn as though David is actually an inhabitant of her mind, which is certainly psionically possible, but once again we will never know. Either way Ruth takes solace from her lover and becomes stronger and more confident. Even the romance is left poignant and beautifully as you render your own feelings to the page.

A final nuance is the finite world we live in, and that everything comes to an end. Spurrier through Legion invokes feelings of sentiment in saying that only things that come to an end, are able to stay with you forever. It’s bittersweet in its affectations and not only allows Spurrier to resolve the themes of his character and relationships, but us to bring our own interpretation to its finality. For that I thank Mr Spurrier for a wonderful hero and story. It has been very thoughtful and enjoyable but ultimately leaves us despairing at the end of a wonderful X-Men run.


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