Legion of X #10
The astral plane is under attack, sentinels have hacked Warlock, and Nightcrawler is in the park slaughtering his friends. How could anything possibly make this mess worse?
Si Spurrier’s thesis appears to be ‘faith is inherently destructive, and people who foster it are fools whose actions cause destruction and harm.’ He has several characters repeat this to underline it. Legion says that ‘we will never be our best selves if we cannot live in hope instead of faith’ after his father has helped decimate the astral plane. Margali tells Nightcrawler that she’s stolen his inner self to form it into a sword that is ‘not some dreary weapon of fanaticism or faith’ after she spends some time breaking down exactly how stupid he is (how stupid Spurrier apparently believes all religious people inherently are) for clinging to his god despite mounting in-universe ‘evidence’ to the contrary. And then, of course, he is offered a Faustian bargain that promises to turn him into the Marvel equivalent of a Greek Fury.
All of this is problematic, to say the least. Spurrier appears to have based his run on the destruction of one of the features which make Nightcrawler most interesting as a character — that dichotomy between appearance and soul. He destroys Nightcrawler’s faith in the God of his understanding, has his mother transform him into a literal demon, and sets him up to play the role of Devil in the upcoming Nightcrawlers series. All of this could be forgivable if he had executed it with a modicum of subtlety, but no. I’ve seen commentary online stating that this series is too cerebral, but it really, really isn’t. It’s the opposite. It’s packed with half-formed ideas which are not completed because, if they were forced (in a moment) to their climax, they would hold together as well as a pile of shredded toilet paper that’s been left out in the rain for three nights running and then run over by a lawn mower.
The pacing, which served the previous two issues so well, completely fell apart in this issue. Xavier proved to be both a threat and the deus ex machina, which resolved that threat. He is a character whose sole purpose within this story is to… be a crappy father to an entitled, overpowered, extremely privileged white man to justify that man’s whinging. Packed into the rush, Xavier was granted a moment of growth that was, no doubt, intended to be profound but has already been annulled in Kieron Gillen’s Immortal X-Men series. The sentinel invasion of Krakoa was begun and ended in a grand total of five pages, spread across two issues. And the explosive reveal that has been teased for nine complete issues was issued with all of the flourish and verve of a fart released at a funeral during a pause in one of the prayers.
So. Yes. A lot to dislike here. At least the upcoming Nightcrawlers series appears to be designed to cater to Spurrier’s propensity for scattershot absurdism (in the Camusian sense, not the Kierkegaard), and will therefore probably be a great deal of fun.
To that end, there was one key piece of the, ahem, Sinister puzzle revealed here, and which I’m not going to spoil. But if you’ve been reading the series at all, you have likely already guessed it. It wasn’t hidden particularly well.
As usual for this series, the best thing about this story was the art. The art in this book is so good that it salves a multitude of sins. Netho Diaz is a master at generating detailed, emotionally complex panels which render even the most asinine dialogue into something powerful and good. His plotting is lucid, his characters act with realistic, believable feelings, and his backgrounds are absolutely beautiful. Sean Parsons and Álvaro López inked his pencils with fluidity and power, and Java Tartaglia and Ruth Redmond worked together to provide beautiful, emotionally resonant coloring. I cannot wait to see more from all of these artists, hopefully in other, better books.
This book contains some of the best artwork currently on offer. Splashy explosions, violent deaths, betrayals, and a black revelation await you in the finale of Legion of X.
Legion of X #10: Faith, Hope, and Love
- Writing - 6.5/106.5/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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