Legion of X #8
As more mutated monster attacks spring up across the globe, the Legionnaires are unraveling a mystery that might be linked. Can they discover why their friends are suddenly trying to murder everyone before they all succumb to this mutagenic rot?
This arc is, so far, much more entertaining than the previous story. To date, we have an incursion of the Phalanx, more whiny why-daddy-why nonsense from Legion, and Nightcrawler simultaneously experiencing a physical and spiritual crisis. So far, so Spurrier. The good news is that the pacing of this story renders the book far more readable than previous issues, and more characters are receiving page time and development. Luckily these characters all seem to be suited to Spurrier’s rather, shall we say, distinctive voice (the man favors a mixture of working class British and witty snark) so the overall effect is very positive.
Spurrier continues writing Nightcrawler as a stuttering, uncertain second-stringer in his own book, with failing faith (why is he so obsessed with removing Kurt’s Catholicism?) and terrible dialogue. Adding to this, Spurrier’s perplexing fixation on referencing and underlining Austen’s unfortunate Draco storyline (more on this in a minute) makes this entire book difficult to enjoy for any Nightcrawler fan, but at least there are plenty of seasonally appropriate Krampus jokes thrown in there, I guess?
Other characters receive better treatment. The Black Knight is absolutely wonderful. I genuinely love an angry swordswoman, and although Spurrier gives way to trope when writing her (she’s a British person of color. Of course she grew up rough, lower class and in the care system. Picture me rolling my eyes at this middle class, cis het British man’s limited imagination) but despite this, her snark is absolutely on point. She’s a genuinely fun addition to the pantheon and it’s exciting to see her story planting the seeds of the upcoming Sins of Sinister event.
As I said before, it’s deeply disheartening that Spurrier seems to positively relish Austen’s run. I didn’t need to be reminded of the fact that Paige Guthrie had gross underaged sex with a man who was old enough to be her father in front of her mother. Paige exists within this story solely to remind us that that happened, and that’s gross. This is the fifth or sixth reference to that particular storyline in Legion of X and that’s frequent enough to indicate that there’s a reason for it. The Draco line undid Nightcrawler’s priesthood and revealed him to be half-demon (rather than the far more narratively interesting take of merely looking like a demon). Spurrier is dedicated to deconstructing and undoing Kurt’s faith. He’s made that very clear. This is the ground which he’s chosen to stand on while he does it.
As for the art, Netho Diaz and Sean Parsons work together exceptionally well, creating a world that feels simultaneously new and lived in. Every panel, every expression, is absolutely packed with details making this book a pleasure to look at even when the literary additions fail. Federico Blee’s colors are phenomenal. He has a deft, knowing touch, and his colors improve every book that he touches.
This is a story that's saved and redeemed by excellent pacing and phenomenal art. Come for the Krampus jokes: stay for the pencils.
Legion of X #8: The Winding Way
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10