X-Men Legends #2
Who is Adam-X the X-Treme?
The answer at last lies within the pages of X-Men Legends #2!
So, twenty-eight years after the possibility of a third Summers brother was so nebulously dangled by Mr. Sinster, fabled X-scribe Fabian Nicieza at last returns to untangle the long-simmering plot-thread: who is the third Summers brother, anyway? (Wait, I thought it was Vulcan? Who said X-Men continuity wasn’t headache-inducing?)
The answer involves ’90s poster boy Adam X the X-Treme, his backwards baseball hat, former Shi’ar emperer D’Ken, eugenics, and Cyclops’ and Havok’s dead mom. No, I won’t spoil the answer here. Read the comic! But I will tell you, once everything is spelled out, the answer is… a bit underwhelming.
To top it off, once all is said and done, Nicieza has to pull off some serious storytelling backflips in order to get the story to fit into continuity without causing more of a headache than it already has. Remember the final ten minutes or so of Revenge of the Sith, where Lucas does everything possible to make sure that nothing that happens in it contradicts established Star Wars canon? It’s like that, only less satisfying. The trouble is, too, once everything is said and done, readers have their answers, but nothing has changed overall. Everything ends in a pat, neat little bow, without any real sense of repercussion. That leaves those of us readers old enough to still wonder about Adam X’s origins left with a comic mostly leaden with exposition, a weird, faked-out death for the sake of instigating a cliffhanger from last issue, and… well, that’s pretty much it.
None of this should be blamed on Nicieza. He’s obviously been sitting on this story for years, but had to fold it into continuity in such a way that it didn’t contradict what’s since been established. That forced him into some uncomfortable storytelling places, and I feel like he did the best he could given the circumstances.
More uncomfortable, though, is the inclusion of Brett Booth as artist. Now that the nostalgia factor from last month’s issue has passed, it’s easier to be a bit more critical of his art in this issue. Booth is an artist who hasn’t grown one iota since the ’90s, and it shows. Every image on every page, for better or worse, looks like it could have been ripped from any given comic circa 1995. That may thrill some – and to a degree, it works within the context of the comic itself as a throwback – but it’s a little sad that he apparently hasn’t learned any new skills in a quarter-century (this is evident in his other recent work, so it’s not that he’s playing to the contours of this book). Add to that the accusations of his online behavior toward women, and you have a comic that’s garish both as a product but also a statement.
In the end, is X-Men Legends #2 satisfying? Does it bring closure to the long-simmering Adam-X plot thread? The answer is in the eye of the beholder, as in all things. But as a product of that X-era, I’ll just say this: yes, it answers the question – but readers will be hard-pressed to care.
X-Men Legends #2 answers the long-standing question of who the third Summers brother is with a thud of anticlimactic exposition, burdened further by an over-abundancy of continuity backbends. Couple that with an artist that still draws like it's the '90s, and you have a pretty major letdown of a comic.
X-Men Legends #2: “I Am Not a Wicket”
Writing - 5/105/10
Storyline - 5/105/10
Art - 5/105/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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