Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2013
by Paul in x-axis
One of those weeks where I’m very, very pushed for time, but there are so few X-books out this week (as in, two) that I might as well just get them done…
X-Men Legacy #5 – The plot threads start to draw together, as tends to happen when you’re coming up for what will be the end of the first trade paperback volume. But Si Spurrier does manage to give that connection some sense of surprise, perhaps because he’d set up what seemed to be a fairly disparate set of storylines that looked as if they might somehow come together down the road. Instead, we get a lot of explanations here rather sooner than I would have predicted, so that while the overall pattern makes sense, it doesn’t feel like it’s been patiently lumbering towards us for months. (Spoilers ahead, by the way.)
This starts off looking like the start of a new story, with Legion going to Westchester to try and sneak past the X-Men and see if he can help Blindfold. That leads into an extended origin flashback for her, which for most books would have been enough to serve as the main point of the issue. And as an origin story, I have mixed feelings about it; I think this is something like the third attempt that’s been made to explain Blindfold’s eccentricities, none of which fit all that neatly together. Spurrier, though, is at least trying to come up with a dramatic reason for why she acts like this, rather than just shrugging his shoulders and accepting that mutants are weird – and in doing so he gives her a proper villain of her own. The bit which genuinely does come as a surprise is that he then turns out to be the mystery villain from earlier issues. And that could have been painfully obvious, but there’s some very clever misdirection in the way the story is structured, so that it comes across as the introduction of a new element, only to wrongfoot the reader and set up for an unexpected cliffhanger.
I like the pairing up of Legion and Blindfold – both have essentially been mental illness gimmick characters for most of their existence, so there’s something to be explored in having them both try to transcend that. The risk is that in developing them beyond their gimmicks, you lose what makes them memorable, but as Spurrier’s managed to avoid that with Legion himself so far, the signs are good.
X-Treme X-Men #9 – You can never be sure, of course, but this feels rushed in that way that imminently cancelled comics tend to feel rushed. After giving a leisurely introduction to the second, more violent version of Dazzler in the previous issue, the series races to wrap up her storyline before it’s really got off the ground. No doubt this is the same basic character arc that was always intended, but at this speed it can’t help but feel contrived, as the second Dazzler rapidly comes to terms with the original and makes a heroic sacrifice and, well, you know. This issue’s alternate world also gets a bit too rushed, since the locals don’t get a proper chance to breathe or have any storylines of their own – once again, it’s a case of “arrive, kill generic target, leave.” And Sage doesn’t appear to be contributing anything much, tending to suggest that whatever was planned for her has been sidelined, but she’s here now so she’s got to stand in the background regardless.
Granted, X-Treme X-Men has always been a maddeningly inconsistent book, but the problems here – which relate mainly to rushing through ideas that feel as if they could have been more satisfying at double the length – suggest a forced wrap-up is the main culprit.