Here's what I really appreciate about "X-Men Legacy" #3: Simon Spurrier has taken a character that has previously induced in me only groans -- as he's generally either extremely dark, or cryptically irritating -- and given him a real personality. Not only a real personality, but a good one. A funny one.
It's a huge accomplishment that Spurrier has actually made me like Legion in these pages and I chuckled at his way of approaching things throughout this issue. Though the personalities in Legion's head still aren't resonating with me, Legion's attempt to try to capture them in this issue was completely enjoyable.
Unfortunately, nearly everything else here is a mess. The book feels almost like it's trying too hard while pretending that it's too cool to try at all. The result is something with no emotional resonance, even when Spurrier strives for it in both plot and character development. In this issue Spurrier draws nice parallels between the plight of twins Legion is trying to rescue and his own relationship with his father, but the sheer off the wall-ness of the issue makes it hard to connect with Legion or the twins. Everyone comes off as just another colorful character spouting lines to get us to the end, where we'll see "another big showdown." And while Spurrier's work with Legion's voice feels inspired to me, his other voices just sound like noise. Everyone is cranked up to 11 all the time, and the result is a cacophony that's deafening.
Huat's art is frenetic in good ways given the character and story beats, as well as the way Spurrier is writing it, but it lacks grounding when it needs it to make the book really work. I'm delighted to see an artist take the gloves off and "be weird" in his choices when they fit the subject matter, but quite frankly, Huat doesn't push it far enough for it to feel deliberate and legitimately creative. When I think of other books and artists that try to push that line -- for example Bill Sienkiewicz's work on "Elektra Assassin" -- the effort in "X-Men Legacy" #3 just fails miserably to live up. Conversely, Huat doesn't seem to rein it in at all when the story calls for it. I was aching for panels in which architecture and perspective made sense and characters' feet consistently stood on real floors in a realistic way. Instead everything was weird, and thus, nothing was.
The character design, in a book like this, which should really cut loose, seems totally uninspired and almost random. If only the design for the twins we meet here, or how their power manifests was half as interesting as Mike Del Mundo's graphic cover we might be onto something, but it's not, and so we're not interested.
I can appreciate the almost schizophrenic way in which Simon Spurrier is executing "X-Men Legacy" as a deliberate choice, given the main character, but the approach in the end is alienating. The book feels like chaos, but not the kind that you enjoy falling into, more the kind that you eye warily and tiptoe past so you can go about your business in peace.