26th Apr2013

Panel Discussion – X-Men: Legacy

by Mark Allen

No-Jack-Comics

Hey folks – Mark again. Last week saw a fluke of scheduling for my pull list which meant I only got one comic from the store, that being X-Men: Legacy #9 from writer Si Spurrier and artist Tan Eng Huat. This series has been one of the best surprises from Marvel’s recent relaunch, so I thought it’d be worth talking about while we’ve got the time.

First off, Marvel isn’t publishing anything else like this book. No-one is, quite frankly. Spurrier and Huat’s ongoing tale of David Haller, disenfranchised mutant and son of the recently Charles Xavier, is as thought-provoking and challenging to the medium as anything coming out of Image or any creator-owned project. The story follows David, commonly known as Legion due to the myriad powers he possesses within him, as he attempts to control both the hundreds of malicious personalities that threaten to take him over at any moment (the psychic prison he kept them in was irrevocably broken at the start of the series and is the location for most of David’s internal struggles, his narration being announced over loudspeaker) and the destiny of his race, being fed up with the X-Men’s conservative reactive modus operandi and taking on a much more proactive approach.

Legion’s mantra – “I rule me” – is a central theme of the series, both in terms of our lead’s struggle to maintain dominance over the powerful personalities that threaten to wrest that rule from him and his self-actualisation and evolution from histrionic villain (see: the 1990s) to complex, sympathetic hero, which David has arguably already become; his self-effacing Scottish dialogue creates a great deal of humour and makes him very personable, something that’s definitely required in order to create relatability in a character with 4ft hair.

Another refreshing thing about X-Men: Legacy is its perspective on freedom of choice and political ideology, as David eschews the X-Men’s isolationist ideals and tries to help out mutants in trouble by making their lives better for them as opposed to their race, as in #8 when David and his psychic crush Blindfold ponder in what direction they could push a newly-developed mutant to possibly create a better future. In the end he makes the best choice for the individual as it goes against David’s ideals to recruit people to serve his agenda unwittingly – that sounds more like his dad’s bag – though he’s not totally opposed to a little rule-bending as we see in issue #9, which riffs on Watchmen and Minority Report to have David stop a series of heinous crimes before they’ve ever been committed. Blindfold’s vocally uneasy with the whole concept, and while David isn’t laughing maniacally while he flaunts his contradictory morality, he’s firm in his belief that it was the right thing to do.

That said, he’s rarely on solid ground, and whether it’s astral beasties beating the hell out of him, manipulation from floating eyeballs or visits from a hallucinatory golden Xavier – not to mention the fire-breathers and atomic maniacs running around in his own head – it’s safe to say that David Haller’s got some issues, and I’m perfectly content for Spurrier and Huat to continue treating them without resorting to fisticuffs every other page.

Even if you’re not an X-Men fan I’d heartily recommend X-Men: Legacy, mostly because it doesn’t actually feel like an X-book at all, and in fact insults their accumulated tropes with amusing regularity. The X-Men comic for people who hate X-Men comics, if you will.

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