by Simon Spurrier (Writer), Khoi Pham (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist)
The Story: David has one good dialogue with Blindfold as he tries to fight the evil golden Xavier that fled from his head.
The Review: Simon Spurrier is a comic book anarchist. There, I said it. Let it be known to all that he cares not for how most capes comics are written and that he’ll do whatever he feels like. Serious issues and social stigmas aren’t normally discussed in super hero universes (at least not in ways that are blatantly direct), but Spurrier doesn’t care. He’s right here to destroy everything we think we know about how super heroes should be handled.
Let it not be said that it isn’t a good thing, though, as X-Men Legacy has been nothing if not delightful when it handles David Haller’s adventure and how he envisions the world. Spurrier, without shying away from what makes capes comics popular in the first place, use these concepts to actually put better ones to the forefront in order to make it both personal and grand in scale.
Simon Spurrier here seems to focus largely on David and his struggle with his mistakes, his powers, his grief and his inability to trust others, which he weaves easily into his tales and through the interactions with a person he loves and one he hates. The dialogue with Blindfold, which makes for the first half of the issue, is something that goes from poignant to a mix of optimism and pessimism, with David fully knowing (or at least he seems to think so) how humanity functions and how everything could be.
This reflect well in the other instances of dialogue, with the narration in the beginning of the issue giving a rather big overall view on the matter at hands, yet without rushing the script or being out of character for David. However, David is not the sole character of note in the issue, with Blindfold and the evil Xavier being rather interesting too. Their personalities really come through clearly through their actions and dialogue, with the meek yet insistent Blindfold clashing very harshly with the evil, arrogant and rather bombastic evil Xavier. Still, both serves their role of pushing the story and themes forward while providing more insight at the actions at the heart of the issue: David’s own.
Despite the rather grand take on these characters, the issue does have a certain problem with getting to the point at times. While most of the scenes do have an emotional impact and come from a good chunk of development prior, there isn’t much happening here. An explanation is given, David interacts a bit with Blindfold, then goes on to fight the evil Xavier, with a reveal on the final page to tantalize the readers. Spurrier might fight traditions, but he does not always win.
Where he wins, though, is the area in which he really does get to play the story in a personal and grandiose manner: the concepts. Many of the ideas on display here are stuff that shows a grand imagination, like David using love to become a bit whole, with Blindfold being unaware she is being used despite herself and even David. The fight with evil Xavier taking places in other dimensions, beyond thoughts, popping everywhere as the titan of power that is David struggle with everything he’s got against a part of himself he has to face. This is a battle of philosophy that doesn’t pull any punches, literally and figuratively as David needs to become whole, whether his psyche wants to or not. It’s good stuff and it makes for a great dichotomy between the subject matter and how it is portrayed through the filter of a regular super hero comic.
All these ideas needs to be properly portrayed on the pages, though, or else the brilliance of the story gets lost in muddy panels and pages. Thankfully, Khoi Pham does raise up to the task for the most part. A lot of his pages are able to convey a lot of elements together, pushing the vision of David Haller to the forefront in an apt manner, which makes some of the more personal panels that much more striking as the details are bared to the essentials. The chaotic and crazed visuals are very potent-looking, with a certain touch of madness that brings the battle and the world in which David lives in to life in the best of ways. Where he loses some points, however, is with some of his characters being a bit muddied in terms of details, especially with some faces being rather ugly. Some of the emotions he try to put on the pages comes as rushed or incomplete, pushing for a roughness that is a bit unwelcome in such a controlled chaos. It’s a rather consequential flaw, but not one that actually bring some of the best elements down.
The colors of Rachelle Rosenberg cannot be described as such, though, as she seems to be fully in control of every aspects of this chaos, which makes the colors in this issue simply delightful at times. The panels in David’s head or when he is fighting against the evil Xavier are simply gorgeous thanks to her work, with a certain shading in the backgrounds combined with a rich and diverse selection to the foregrounds, creating multiple contrasts on the same page without destroying the visual cohesion of the issue despite it.
The Conclusion: The issue does seem to not advance the whole plot against the evil Xavier much, yet the great characterization, excellent color work, good art and amazing concepts makes this a satisfying read despite this little flaw.
Hugo Robberts Larivière