A funny thing happened in November of 2012. A quirky comic book title centering on an oft-overlooked mutant character was born. David Haller, otherwise known as Professor Xavier’s mentally unstable son, Legion, would be headlining Si Spurrier’s relaunch of X-Men Legacy. Oh, there were naysayers and readers who quizzically cocked their heads in confusion that such a book was being ushered out with Marvel’s first wave of “NOW!” titles. Unfortunately, I have to count myself among their ranks. How on 616′s earth would a character like Legion be able to sustain an ongoing title in such a capacity that readers would continue to pick up the latest issue each month?
What we weren’t prepared for was the odd and imaginative literary magic that Spurrier would weave into the pages of Legacy. A very devoted and vocal fan following developed and the book would become, consistently, one of the best written X-books each month.
To bring foolish non-readers up to speed, X-Men Legacy finds Legion dealing with the fallout of his father’s death during AvX and trying to figure out his own place in the grand scheme of the fledgling mutant race. With a “legion” of multiple personalities that inhabit his fractured psyche (each with their own mutant ability), David decides on a more direct approach to dealing with mutant threats… he intends to preemptively cut them off at the pass before any damage can be done. His machinations do not go unnoticed by mutant precog, Ruth Aldine (a.k.a. Blindfold). These two outcasts soon find themselves inexplicably drawn to eachother and are soon as inseparable as Sid and Nancy.
One of the interesting aspects of the book is that the story alternates between events happening on the physical plane and those occurring within Legion’s gray matter. By delving into the trappings of Legion’s mind, readers are not only treated to a first-hand account of David’s internal thought process, but we also have the opportunity to witness the chaos of having a near-infinite cavalry of sometimes very dangerous personalities running amuck in his head.
Fans of continuity references and tertiary characters have, arguably, made up a good portion of Legacy‘s fan base and with good reason. Past events like Inferno were referenced and obscure characters (Ruckus of the Nasty Boys, Lila Cheney, Pete Wisdom, Meggan, Liam Connaughton, and Alchemy) were dug out of Marvel’s bottomless bin of forgotten mutants. Spurrier also used the past year to tie up the loose end regarding Blindfold’s brother who was briefly but ominously mentioned by Destiny towards the end of Necrosha. In addition, we finally get closure (albeit, heartbreaking) between Legion and his estranged mother, Gabrielle.
The X-books, Legacy included, and mutant characters in general have always been seen as a metaphor for any persecuted minority in real life. Gay and lesbian fans of comic books have often gravitated to Marvel’s merry mutants for this very reason. From reparative therapy clinics and virulent anti-mutant protests, Legacy‘s references to some of the daily vitriol that many members of the LGBT community still face was crystal clear.
As we have learned from Marvel’s January 2014 solicitations, nothing this great lasts forever. The start of the new year will, unfortunately, see the series “race towards its conclusion.” I don’t doubt that the climax of this book will be as enjoyable as the story thus far. One of the few saving graces is that Si Spurrier and amazing cover artist, Mike Del Mundo, will be allocated to other Marvel titles.
If you have been a reader of any countless X-books in the past but have avoided this title due to a lack of “a-list” characters or immediate ties to the various mediocre crossover events that we’ve been subjected to in the last year, I suggest digging through your store’s long boxes, dropping a couple of bucks on the back issues, and settling in for quite a fantastic ride.