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X-Men Legacy #23 – Review

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

The Story: Forming the World Worm, David is unfortunately stuck in a form set out to destroy everything as Destiny needs to make everything happen as foretold.

The Review: To follow a story is to invest ourselves in its characters, setting and ideas. If a reader is able to follow everything and actually get interested in what the writer is willing to talk about, it becomes a wonderful synergy, a tale that becomes bigger and grander as the themes get more refined and clearer. Not every stories are equivalent of each other, but each has its own potential to hit a particular craving for someone.

The tale of David Haller, as told by Simon Spurrier, was one that was simply powerful in its message. Taking a relatively hated character and rebuilding him, Spurrier crafted a story exploring legacy, trust, potential, goals, belonging and many other such themes to bring out the best and worst out of David Haller and his vision of a united mutant world. However, like any good story, it always get every bit closer to its ending with every chapter released, with this issue being the penultimate one before the very end.

Painting this tale with a good lot of distress and despair, the writer continues his exploration of David Haller, playing up the prophecy in which he will end up destroying the world due to his powers, with naught but Blindfold being able to destroy him to save everyone. Lamenting his fate and how unjust and cruel the world can be at times, the narration carries on the desire for something better that David holds onto, putting forth the events in this issue in a light that is saddening. Playing up with the sympathy the readers have built for the main character, there is a heavy sensation of empathy thrown in for the actual injustice dealt to David, who sees his dreams and his desires being perverted by elements completely outside of his control.

It is precisely the way in which the issue actually shows the mistakes of David and the worst aspects of his faults that make this issue so potent in many ways. His vision for a united mutant kind, his desire to be respected and accepted and his growing control of his multiple powers and personas make for a culmination of the many concepts and ideas of the series that ends up being perverted in a rather surprising way.

Not playing very well with some of the rules, Spurrier makes these actual changes and David reactions to his current state the main event of the book, despite the severity of what is going on. Making so that the thoughts of David are the more interesting aspects of this issue despite the massive mind-rape and destruction of the world and its balance takes a rather colossal amount of talent, which makes this issue all the more satisfying.

It’s not entirely perfect, though, with some of the scenes lost in a bit of hyper-symbolism that becomes a bit too much at times, with some of them being particularly unsubtle. There are some that are also rather confusing as well, which does detract a bit of the more potent scenes, like those with David and Blindfold spending some time together before the inevitable occurs. Those aren’t enough to make this unreadable in the least, but it does remove a bit of luster in this rather impressive issue.

An aspect that is more uneven than disappointing is the art of Tan Eng Huat and Craig Yeung, with some very apparent weaknesses being balanced by visions of artistic brilliance. Many of the characters here are unfortunately ugly-looking, with expressions and lines that look rather wonky, combined with a certain lack of talent with facial expressions that make several of them look like monstrous beings or zombies instead of humanoid characters. However, Huat balances this with an absurdly beautiful panel layout and a penchant for weird details and elements of utter gorgeousness. The way he fluidly tell the tale through his panels in imaginative ways without removing any of the effects and emotions of the script is amazing, with some of his layout actually contributing to the story at its most touching moments. The bizarre elements, like the inside of David’s mind, the World Worm and the imaginative use of David’s powers are also superbly produced on paper, with Huat playing around effectively as he adds layer upon layer to some elements for enhanced visuals. It’s weird, it’s flawed, yet it’s also beautiful in most places, just like the title and its characters in many ways.

The colorization of Jose Villarrubia also fits quite well to this analogy, with a penchant for madness and chaos that fits quite well with the story in itself. Playing with bright and obvious colors most of the time, Villarrubia presents clear contrasts, yet always add a little nuanced touch that is subtle, yet effective. The red and black inside David’s mind, the yellow and blue of the World Worm and Destiny, the mass amalgamation of colors near the ends and many more palettes all play a role in the visual quality, which adds quite a lot to the despair on display in the narration. Contrasting with his work and through the others as well, Jose Villarrubia shows why he is a very talented individual here.

The Conclusion
: There are small flaws in some of the heavy symbolism and the art here and there, yet the powerful message, the always beautiful characterization and the playfulness of Spurrier with the themes of the series makes for a very potent and beautiful issue nonetheless. With such a climax, I cannot wait for the finale.

Grade: B+

-Hugo Robberts Larivière

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