Simon Spurrier (Writer), Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung (Artists), José Villarrubia (Colorist)

The Story: David does something that he needed to do for a long time: meet and talk with his mother.

The Review: In this actual superhero comic climate filled to the brim with titles either featuring X-Men or Avengers in the title, it’s always nice to see niche title going on strongly. Big companies like DC and Marvel are business first and foremost, yet it’s always comforting to see them try something new, releasing titles that may very well fail as it does not incorporate the more popular characters. Titles like Dial H, Journey Into Mystery, Superior Foes of Spider-Man are such titles and are refreshing to see standing next to titles like Avengers, Uncanny X-Men and their likes.*

X-Men Legacy
is one such title, even though it does feature the aforementioned X-Men in the title. Who would have thought that a title featuring a character that has never been particularly popular or written in an absolutely memorable fashion would actually get to issue 15 in a cancellation-hungry market. What’s even better is the fact that not only is the character interesting, but so is the actual direction and message of the book. As the title goes on in its showcase of how David wants to help the mutant community in his own way, we are treated to new ideas or new takes on old ideas that gives the mutant corner of the Marvel universe a new angle that is quite fascinating.

As great as the mutant corner is represented, this specific take doesn’t get covered as much as David does, which is actually a very fine diversion from the mutant and psychedelic twists from the previous issues. In this issue, David finally confront his own mother about many of the problems he had in his life when she gave him away to a facility in Muir Island. While it does feature several of the atrocities the mutants had to endure in the earlier years when they emerged, a lot of these issues are put in the background of the issue to focus on the actual matter of the issue: the relationship between David and his mother, as tenuous as it is after he had been abandoned.

The moments between David and his mother are the strongest parts of this issue, as it manages to be touching, mundane, emotional, uplifting and downright depressing in quick successions, sometimes all at once. It creates a very human feeling to the book that makes this relationship between two character very credible despite all the baggage behind the two. Every facets are touched, be it the way David has his powers, how his mind now work, how he has suffered and the answers he is seeking from his mother makes for something that is heartfelt and true to the character. Perhaps David wasn’t a particularly touching or even well-written character before, but Simon Spurrier does wonders with the character so far.

The rest of the issue works quite well too, but not on the very same degree as it goes on a dark direction, yet one that does set up the upcoming storyline very aptly. I won’t spoilt what happens, yet Spurrier does really build the situation in order for the surprise to be truly effective and emotionally resounding. The surprise, in a way, is a bit depressing and does seem to rob the title of some potential in terms of character development for some of the cast, yet it cannot be said it is ineffective. It really does bring the readers in the mindset that David switches up to, which is what was most probably intended to begin with.

A good part of the tone and its intent always comes through the art, which is thankfully well done this time. Tan Eng Huat can be very messy some times, yet here he is able to subdue his overly messy faces in order to convey the right emotional beat the story need. The scenes with Gabrielle Haller and David are calm, ponderous and allow for the characters to breathe and show their reactions. In contrast, the scenes after the surprise do really get weirder and faster, as the inside of David’s mind and the exterior gets a bit more chaotic, though not too much that it becomes messy and unfocused. There are still some weaknesses in the art, though, as some of the faces are pretty ugly, even when they do express the emotions correctly. It’s a stylistic choice, yet some of the characters appears quite older or weirder than they’re supposed to in some instances.

José Villarrubia, in his way, add to the emotional beat and the weird vibe with his color palette, as he smartly brighten and diversify the colors when dealing with David’s mind and the mutant corner, while he dulls and narrow down the colors in a realistic manner when dealing with real-life issues. It creates a separation that really works as the two angles can be compared in emotional resonance as it enhance the effect of the story and the dialogue.

The Conclusion: Showing a good contrast between the bizarre mutant world and the normal one via the relationship between David and his mother, this issue hits a lot of right notes as it provide emotions, show some great character work and provide some good concepts that allow for the title to breathe some more. This is a gem of an issue plot wise, color wise and art wise to a certain extent. Definitely recommended.

Grade: B+

-Hugo Robberts Larivière

* Yes, I am aware of the fact that two of these titles are actually cancelled. It’s a shame, but it does prove that niche titles should be supported when they are written well.