In almost every way, X-Men Legacy is one of the least likely and riskiest books of the Marvel NOW! relaunch. For starters, the book is really just a Legion solo series, which is a bit wild in and of itself because there are even plenty of X-fans who would look around and wonder, “Who’s Legion?” To be honest, if not for the wild and crazy lead-in to Age of Apocalyse, I’m not sure I’d have any concept of Legion, aka David Haller, aka the son of Charles Xavier, myself. So why X-Men Legacy, then? What’s so special about Legion that he gets his own ongoing series?
Part of the answer undoubtedly is Legion’s relevance in the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men. If you haven’t read the series I highly suggest you jump ship now and do so (spoilers for AvX!!!!!!), but with Professor X’s death, Legion becomes particularly interesting. His relationship with Professor X, his father, is strained to say the least, although it’s also one of the only reasons Legion is able to keep his powers (and the voices in his head) under some form of control.
Legion’s place outside the X-men, but ultimately so connected to that world is fascinating. It allows us to see the X-Men from an outsider’s perspective and suddenly they look completely ridiculous! A team of Wolverine, Beast, Storm and others confront our titular headcase in the fourth issue of this first volume, and the interaction is hugely revealing. Wolverine immediately resorts to calling him by his “super” codename, Legion, to which David Haller responds “Don’t call me that.” It’s an important distinction not only for David’s identity, but for the tone and feel of X-Men Legacy. Yes, David Haller is an omega-class mutant, and yes his father was the recently deceased Professor Charles Xavier, but he’s ultimately just a man with a mental disorder, albeit one that could alter reality as we know it.
That’s the thing about X-Men: Legacy, though; David Haller can’t escape the X-men, not even in the title of his own book, but he’s very far removed from their futile attempts to change the world and their frequent relapse into senseless violence over discussion. As a comic, Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat are significantly more focused on Legion as a man than an X-man, particularly the monsters running around inside his head. And what a bunch of monster’s they are.
Within these first six issues of X-Men: Legacy, we become intimately familiar with the interior of David Haller’s skull, with Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat constructing a literal mental prison where David keeps his legions at bay. Each alien/monster inside his head contains one particular power set, meaning that if the monster overtakes David, he’s suddenly in possession of that persona and powerset. On the other hand, within the first few issues, David learns to take control of these powers one at a time, granting him telepathy and all sorts of other nifty tricks as he navigates a strange and unexpected X-mystery.
Again, this is a deceptively strong opening arc on an oddball series granted relevance by the conclusion of Avengers vs. X-Men. Amazingly, X-Men: Legacy only continues to get stronger from here as Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat really hone in on the idiosyncrasies and unique opportunities of a mutant hero so disconnected from our typical understanding of such a character.
CBH Score: 4.o out of 5.0
Read on Marvel Unlimited: X-Men Legacy Vol 1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Tan Eng Huat
Publication Dates: November 2012 – February 2013