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Legion: Son of X Vol. 1: Prodigal review: a flawed hero’s journey begins

David Haller battles to overcome his issues and fill his father’s shoes in Legion: Son of X Vol. 1: Prodigal.

Who ever thought that David Haller, the gangly son of Professor X (with one of the worst hairstyles in comics), would one day become the star of a critically acclaimed TV show? On top of that, the mutant known as Legion has a new miniseries starting this week. But before the Legion renaissance began, series like X-Men Legacy helped lay the foundation.

In Legion: Son of X Vol. 1: Prodigal, Marvel has collected the first six issues of X-Men Legacy (the series’ second volume), which launched following Avengers Vs. X-Men. And if you missed that one, all you need to know is it featured the death of Charles Xavier. Obviously, this is going to have an impact on his son, who he had been spending time with before a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops took him out.

One other note: David is unstable. He suffers from dissociative identity disorder, and all of the different personalities in his head also happen to have their own unique mutant powers. With Legion, you never know who you’re going to get and what kind of damage will be inflicted on his surroundings. Ksenia Nadejda Panov is one personality, with the ability to create ionic scalpels. Meanwhile, Tyrannix the Abominoid has the power of telepathy.

Despite all this, David (because he doesn’t like to be called Legion) is pretty in control throughout this collection. He not only wants to be in charge of his mind and body, but have a positive impact on the world as well, just like his late father. How he plans to go about it is a whole other story, but it’s the thought that counts.

It’s a difficult character to write, but Si Spurrier does a nice job. Before this series launched, Legion was always one of those X-Men characters that would pop up in a story, do some crazy stuff, and then go back on the shelf for a few years. Like Proteus, he’s just too powerful to have running around. But in these pages, Spurrier manages to ground David, giving him a likable personality in the process. At times, childlike, and others just as stubborn as Xavier, these issues made me want to see more of this version of the character.These first issues also feature Wolverine’s team of X-Men from the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. They mostly exist as a foil for David, and Spurrier is very good at giving us Haller’s point of view on his father’s disciples, who “do so love their drama.” Also, points to Spurrier for giving characters like Chamber and Blindfold more panel time.

This story arc features the work of two artists: Tan Eng Huat and Jorge Molina. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Huat’s pencils, which I feel looked rushed at times. Although, his quirkier style does gel nicely with all the bizarre mutants that reside in Legion’s head. Molina, on the other hand–if you’ve read my X-Men Blue reviews, you know how much I love this artist’s dynamic style. Obviously, these comics came out many years ago, so it was nice to see some of his earlier work.

Every issue in this collection also features an amazingly inventive cover from Mike Del Mundo. Good stuff!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this collection, having never really cared for this character. Even the David Haller on TV is a very different animal. But this first volume left me wanting to read more to find out if Legion ever became the hero he wanted to be, or if his demons got the better of him.

Legion: Son of X Vol. 1: Prodigal
Is it good?
Legion can be a character that's hard to love, but Si Spurrier does a nice job of defining his purpose in the Marvel Universe.
Si Spurrier's take on Legion is likable and even relatable at times.
A character with multiple personalities can be confusing, but Spurrier makes the changes easy to follow.
There are some great X-Men moments in here, especially for Chamber.
Even early in his career, it was clear Jorge Molina knew how to draw a good comic.
The art in the first half of this collection is a bit uneven.
This is very much a book for X-Men fans. Casual readers may be a bit lost.

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