REVIEW: X-Men Legacy # 20
Written By: Simon Spurrier
Penciled By: Tan Eng Huat / Inked by: Craig Yeung with Ed Tadeo / Colours By: Jose Villarrubia/ Letters By: VC’s Cory Petit
If I had to sum up this issue of X-Men Legacy with one word, that word would be transformative. It’s always been clear that Si Spurrier has been taking David Haller on a specific journey with this series, and with this issue we see at least some of the journey pay off, and Spurrier crafts an issue that is typically satisfying for this book.
In the last issue, David was taken into custody by S.W.O.R.D. and told that he had inadvertently released an evil construct from his mind that resembled his dead father, Professor Xavier. This pseudo Prof. X has no psychically infected people with hatred all over the world, a hatred that will eventually destroy the planet. To combat this, S.W.O.R.D. has a weapon that could destroy the evil Xavier, but they want to test it first, unleashing it on David.
This issue follows David’s attempts to combat and defeat the Shadow Phoenix they’ve unleashed into his mind. It’s an issue largely told in narration by David, which could have been boring, except that Spurrier has the narration unfold over disparate settings. Once again, the writer shows his skill in making the inside of David’s considerably damaged head the most interesting setting in the whole series. There’s genuine stakes here, as the Phoenix ravages the myriad personalities David was just beginning to tame, and the groundwork Spurrier’s done in making David someone we care about goes a long way to generating the tension the reader feels as this battle plays out.
I won’t spoil anything, except to say that at the issue’s end, there’s a completely new status quo for the series moving forward. It could go so many places from here, but it remains to be seen if the book will get the chance. When it comes to risky books starring C-listers, everything depends on the creative team. Spurrier has made David into a character we care about, but with his departure after issue 25 fast approaching, a lot will depend on the next team’s direction.
As for the art, I remain ambivalent. I like Huat’s line work, but feel like his style is inconsistent. At times the figures and their dimensions will be almost cartoonish, at others more realistic, but I’m not sure the fluctuation is deliberate. Still, there are some solid splash pages here, and the art keeps improving issue by issue.