Simon Spurrier (Writer), Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung (Artists), José Villarrubia (Colorist)
The Story: For a big strategist and mastermind, Peter Wisdom sure seems to be easily manipulated by David…
The Review: Great ideas don’t necessarily make great comics. As much as concepts can bring some interest in a particular title, they need to be executed well in order for quality to be in on the whole thing.
X-Men Legacy could very well be one of the poster child of such a saying, as it has some really fascinating ideas revolving around the whole notion of what mutants are and what they could do, as well as the flaw behind the very idea that is the X-Men. The sheer notion that David Haller, the son of Charles Xavier, a powerful yet absolutely unstable mutant could helm a title of his one was something that seemed unrealistic, yet it still manage after a dozen issues to keep on going.
From what can be seen, the reason for the continuation of a title that seems to be that the main direction of the title is simply full of potential: what if Charles Xavier methods of unification between mutants and the rest of humanity were wrong? The very notion that building a small army that would use violence in order to protect mankind from mutantkind with bad intentions do come as somewhat trite as we see what David is trying to do. As Spurrier tries r push the idea through the character of David, we get some very interesting insight on what it could mean to be a mutant in the Marvel universe.
With this idea being pushed forward more as the title advance, we unfortunately get less time with some of the title strength as we focus on more and more characters. In this issue, we get a much bigger focus on Pete Wisdom, a character that had been created by Warren Ellis, the head of the British intelligence. In previous titles, we had seen this particular character written in a polite and controlled manner, showing him with a brilliant mind and with a very British attitude toward problems and situation that were a tad out of control. Here, though, he is rather shown as being crude, prone to some violent urges and without a good deal of his flair that made him a likable character to begin with. As a point-of-view character, he can be humorous at time, yet with the pacing flowing through his perceptions, it makes for a rather repetitive affair. There are so many times we can see him discuss rhetoric on mutants as he is lost in his head before it gets a bit boring.
What’s more effective, though, is the twist and what we do see from David’s perspective, as we see more evolution through the character, such as his inability to go out without his powers and with his trust issues concerning multiple characters. The way the big twist of the issue is set up is brilliant, yet it feels like a shame that we could not see him plan and place several elements with his vision instead. What’s even more disappointing would be the scene with him showing that he has a much better grasp of his multiple personalities and powers now. As the situation in his own mind had been a slow build that had been rather fascinating to see unfold, it’s a shame to see it jump from one point to another while the issue merely focused on Pete Wisdom instead of the evolution of that growing situation with his identity and power problems.
Another problem that plague the title a bit would be Tan Eng Huat, who is by no mean a bad artist, yet nonetheless brings his flaws in the title. While he is highly capable of rendering weird concepts aptly on the pages while carrying the tone and flow of issue throughout, he seems to be perhaps a bit too exaggerated on a couple of points. While his monsters and unordinary characters look pretty good, the more down-to-earth one suffers a bit from his rough and overblown features. Characters like Pete Wisdom, Lila Cheney and David look a bit ugly, as the character anatomy look a bit off in several places, with short legs and overly elongated features in some panels. The characters become expressive enough, yet not in an appealing or subdued way that work well with the story.
What work a bit better, though, is the colorization that matches the tone of chaos and weirdness that emanate from the title, as big vibrant colors and rather ordinary ones appears in the same panels in a frequent manner, creating a rather sharp difference between the mutant and normal aspects of the book. The weird is accentuated by a different palette as the rest is shown in a more subdued one.
The Conclusion: While the great ideas shown through the issue shines, some questionable characterization, the divergent focus on some other elements and the uneven art brings the whole issue down a bit. An acceptable issue, yet one that could have been much better.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière