It’s been a rough go for the five part Legion mini-series. The series launched with a barely above average debut, stuttered in its second issue, and reached unbearable depths in its third installation. The good news is the fourth issue is a big step up from the third. The bad news is it is still a wildly underwhelming story featuring a lame protagonist, uninspired visuals, and a meandering plot.
My biggest problem since the first issue of this series has been its lead — infuriatingly not named David Haller. This story follows celebrity psychologist Hannah Jones, instead, who takes David on just to hopefully further her career. This issue tries to paint Dr. Jones sympathetically right-off-the-bat, pointing out that she usually only takes celebrity clients, but David is not one and she makes the exception anyway.
Wow, how noble of this psychologist to help a severely troubled young man asking for help. What a hero this Dr. Jones is! Seriously, this is a laughably weak attempt at building Dr. Jones into a more sympathetic protagonist that really falls flat on its face.
If there’s been one constant with Hannah Jones throughout this miniseries, it’s been her unwavering confidence in her abilities – even to the point of egocentricity. However, in this issue Dr. Jones manages to flaunt her talents as a psychologist without belittling the intensity of David’s affliction.
She deftly analyzes and recruits David’s macho-man alter Hunter by cleverly weaponizing his own masculinity and subverting damsel in distress tropes, allowing herself to succumb to those tropes in order to weaponize them in convincing Hunter. It’s her best and brightest moment of this whole series.
It’s a shame that this wonderful little exchange happens so early in the issue because it’s the only enjoyable aspect of the story. What follows is an uninspired and rushed bore of a plot that races towards a dull conclusion.
Such a rushed plot causes numerous problems for this book. For starters, Legion is, once again, barely present. There’s a moment where it looks like readers will see Legion unleash his powers for an epic battle against Lord Trauma, only for Hannah Jones to quickly step in and disarm Trauma through dull conversation. This would’ve been fine had Legion been over-active in past issues, but he’s been so passive lately this feels like a completely missed opportunity to finally give the titular character the spotlight in order to speedily move the narrative.
The entire confrontation with Lord Trauma ultimately weakens the already poor narrative. Trauma’s whole plan is to drive David out of his own body so he can take over, so he is well aware of how much he needs David – his entire plan hinges on David’s survival! So why is he suddenly trying to kill David? Furthermore, how come when Dr. Jones explains this to Trauma it mentally breaks him? Is Trauma that dumb he doesn’t understand his own plan? Whatever the answer, this drags an already weak story further down and takes the mediocre villain with it.
Despite his inability to understand his own plan, at least Trauma concocts a new plan to halt Dr. Jones’s progress…too bad it’s ridiculous. After coming face to face with Jones, Trauma realizes he can use her own past against her to mentally break her, hinting that he knows her darkest secret. Her darkest secret is… underwhelming, to put it mildly, revealed to be a childhood toy doll that she seems to have neglected. I can’t for the life of me understand how that’s her darkest secret or how that’s going to help Lord Trauma.
Unfortunately, the vibrant environments of David’s mind have disappeared from this story. Whereas the first two issues were rife with gorgeous visuals to entertain readers, this issue feels considerably more dull with only a handful of vibrant panels towards the end that actually held my attention.
The overabundant use of stuttering has been annoying me since the first page of the first issue and is in full effect once again here. It’s employed so often that it loses any effect in causing a sense of fear or hesitation and instead disrupts the flow of the dialogue.
Thankfully, FX’s Legion is in the middle of a terrific season so fans of the psychotic mutant don’t have to look far to find a better Legion story. This series continues to disappoint with its poor heroine, faltering plot, and overall underwhelming presentation.