Monday, 17 February 2014

X-Men Legacy Volume 2: Invasive Exotics (Marvel NOW!)


X-Men Legacy Vol.2: Invasive Exotics (Marvel NOW!)

You think he'd be sensitive about the hair...
Writer: Simon Spurrier

Artists: Tan Eng Haut and Paul Davidson

Collecting: X-Men Legacy #7-12

Background information:

The Marvel NOW! version of X-Men Legacy focuses on the mutant known as Legion (although, he’d rather be known as David). He’s the mutant son of Charles Xavier, now-deceased father figure to the X-Men, and he is possibly the most powerful mutant in the world.

Legion has multiple personality disorder. That’s fairly uninteresting except when you consider that each one of those personalities is a very powerful mutant. Each time one of those personalities takes control, a new superpower manifests itself. On the flip-side, each one of those personalities is a dangerous sociopath. In the last volume, Legion was slowly gaining power over each of these personalities. He also made the decision to help mutantkind in a less-militant way.

Review:

Invasive Exotics was a book that I thought I was going to hate by the time I was halfway through reading it. Then the book’s final arc was told and suddenly I was in love with X-Men Legacy all over again. Spurrier writes a slow book, one that was absolutely made for trade rather than single issues, but it’s one that rewards the patient reader by bringing all of those slow moments together in a way that feels like it matters.

So let’s talk about that slow beginning. By now, Legion has decided to tackle mutant oppression in his own special way, and that means firstly, finding out what Luca was all about in the previous volume. This leads him to a cult known as the church of the happy host. Which he takes apart fairly easily. That’s the first issue of this volume, the second sees legion trying to come up with ways to help a young boy named Santi. Santi is a mutant with the power to take the credit for every good dead ever done; a fireman rescues a family, Santi gets the credit. A cop busts up a burglary, Santi gets the credit. I like the idea here that there are mutant powers that have nothing to do with combat, but there didn’t feel like there was much in this story.

In fact the first three issues in this collection are painfully boring. Gone is the great criss-cross between Legion’s mental prison and the real world, which was one of the best things about the previous volume. The stories themselves plod along at snail’s pace and there is very little here that can excite the reader even that fantastic art looks less spectacular here as Haut and Davidson are forced to draw pretty mundane environments that lack the chaos of the previous book. There’s no energy in these stories, no drive at all.

Then Spurrier delivers the punch that is issues 10-12. It’s in these issues that the previous issues of the collection make sense as a whole. Legion seeks out a group called Darwin’s Martyrs, who have developed a “cure for mutant-ness”. I know, it sounds like X-Men 3, but here it’s actually done well. Legion wants the cure. He knows about how his life is going to end and wants to stop it by removing his powers for good. I can’t go on much further than this without ruining the story completely, but it makes you realise that those wading-through-mud first three issues weren’t just fillers- they were part of a cohesive plotline that rewards you for trudging through the boring bits of the book.

Invasive Exotics is a complex book that suits Legion’s own complexity rather well. The first half of the book is sluggish, but it rewards you for your patience. It gets a three out of five dangerous sociopaths.

***

+ Patience is rewarded.

+ Some interesting concepts introduced.

- First half of the book is dull.

- Art limited by dull locations.

Alternate Option: X-Men Legacy: Prodigal

The better of the two Legacy volumes, this one takes the time to get us acquainted with Legion’s multiple personalities.