Si Spurrier continues his character-defining Legion run in Legion: Son of X Vol. 2: Invasive Exotics.
Introducing the X-couple I never knew I cared about–or existed: Legion and Blindfold! The second volume of Legion: Son of X, a rebranded collection of X-Men Legacy comics, is full of surprises and grounded stories that further define who David Haller is in a world without his father, the late Professor Charles Xavier.
Invasive Exotics gets its name from the three-issue arc that appears on the tail end of this collection and features a brief confrontation between Legion and the Red Skull, who’s fresh from stealing Xavier’s brain. Who knew so much was going on in this tertiary X-series written by Si Spurrier?
I’ll be honest, when Marvel relaunched X-Men Legacy way back in 2012, I took it as a chance to drop the series from my pull list. It just didn’t feel like a “main” X-book, where all the continuity-altering action was happening. Also, the overcomplicated Legion never appealed to me as a character.
But, Legion’s profile has obviously risen now that he’s a TV star, and Marvel’s reissuing of these trade paperbacks has given me a second chance to discover this series. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found in the first volume, Prodigal. Legion is still complicated (he has a head full of multiple personalities, each with different mutant powers, vying for control of his body), but Xavier’s death gave the character new purpose. Like Magneto, Cyclops and so many other mutants before him, Legion decided it was time to take a more proactive approach to achieving his father’s dream.
Legion’s new mission, of course, brought him into direct confrontation with Wolverine’s X-Men, and it wasn’t long before he met the student known as Blindfold. This volume, we spend a surprising amount of time watching these two troubled characters fall in love. You wouldn’t know it by looking at this series’ covers, but these are practically romance comics.
Spurrier takes his time building up their romance over the course of seemingly done-in-one stories in a way that makes their relationship feel believable, despite the fact that these two are going on dates while Blindfold’s asleep.
Or, on the moon, like when Legion takes on Golden Age character (and original Vision) Aarkus before he can endanger the X-Men. Way to ruin a perfectly good moon date, Legion!
Overall, as I’m reading this series years after it was available on shelves, I’m shocked it even existed in the first place. It was rather bold of Marvel to slap the “X-Men” logo on a series starring such a random (at the time) X-Men character. And it was even bolder for Spurrier to tell the stories he told, such as the tale of Santi Sardina, a young mutant who has the power to take credit for others’ achievements. It’s a really interesting story about a mutant power that can sound great on paper, but actually do more harm than good to the individual receiving all that unearned praise. Then, in “Invasive Exotics,” we meet the physically disabled Marcus Glove, who randomly became the victim of one mutant battle after another. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen to an average bystander hit by a wayward Phoenix ember, wonder no longer. It’s not pretty.
Truly, this is the Vertigo X-Men series.
Of course, credit is due to Spurrier, who isn’t preoccupied with tying his stories into larger events or dropping internet-shattering reveals. It’s just good old-fashioned storytelling. Sure, there are definitely surprises, like X-Men cameos, a fun shot at one of Mister Sinister’s Nasty Boys and a nod to Watchmen, but this is more about taking a peek at the darker edges of Marvel’s mutant universe, beginning with the religious nuts at the Church of the Happy Host.
Unfortunately, the art isn’t as strong, in my opinion. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Tan Eng Huat’s pencils in the last volume, so I wasn’t thrilled to see him doing more issues this time around. His style is what I’d consider a mix of exaggerated and realistic. Together, it’s just not my cup of tea, but it certainly suits characters like Legion and Blindfold, who themselves dance between being grounded and kooky. Artist Paul Davidson also pitches in, and I’ll say his smoother pencils are certainly more my speed.
I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but this series’ individual covers by Mike Del Mundo truly steal the show. The cover for issue #11, in particular, is gorgeous, with a pill capsule breaking apart and its contents forming a cackling Red Skull.
I’m happy to see Marvel rereleasing these stories that I honestly forgot existed. So, I’d recommend picking up these Legion: Son of X trades if you’re an X-fan who enjoys smart storytelling and seeing what life is like for mutants outside of the X-mansion. There are two more trades in this series on the way, so start catching up now!