reflection

Spurrier returns to Krakoa with Legion Of X for a wildly intriguing and complex comic that is as visually stunning as it is strange.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Letters

Review: LEGION OF X #1 – Sheriff Nightcrawler

Writer Si Spurrier (Way Of X, Hellblazer) and artist Jan Bazaldua (Mr. & Mrs. X) team up for a stunning and complex new #1 with an insane new focus in Legion Of X #1. With Frederico Blee on colors and letters by Clayton Cowles, this new Krakoa-X comic sees the creation of a new mutant peacekeeping team with a new ideology for the Mutant utopia. With an intricate and intriguing script and jaw-dropping visuals, this comic is primed to be a headscratcher for some – but an absolute treat for others.

“The lost must be found, and the wicked must face redemption — or retribution. It’s up to the ever-soulful swashbuckler NIGHTCRAWLER to keep the spark alive and LEGION to host his unique team in the psychedelic mindspace called THE ALTAR. With PIXIE on point, JUGGERNAUT as a one-man riot squad and a host of X-favorites on the beat, the LEGION OF X will do anything to protect mutants’ right to pursue happiness and hope. Kicking off with a hunt for a missing Arakkii god and a skinjacker possessing innocent mutants, read this issue and come meet WEAPONLESS ZSEN, ORA SERRATA…and a villain worth praying for. The DESTINY OF X bares it heart and soul right here!”

Writing & Plot

Si Spurrier is back to once again guide us (and Nightcrawler) through the chaotic beauty of his view of Krakoa in Legion Of X #1. The Way Of X writer returns to the new era of X-Books with Kurt Wagner and a motley crew of mutants becoming Krakoa’s new peacekeepers. This team, consisting of faces new and familiar, is unorthodox (even by modern X-Men standards) in a way that makes this series extra unpredictable. To make matters even more interesting, this new team’s HQ is found in a dimensional bubble found in the mind of the one and only Legion. This first chapter takes readers to numerous locations and situations, from Krakoa proper chasing down fugitive murderers, to talking to extraterrestrial-mutants on Arrako (aka Mars), and into the depths of Legion’s own psyche. Every aspect of this comic’s plot is deeply engaging and intriguing – if not also a bit head-spinning. Spurrier throws quite a lot at the reader here, meaning it may take multiple reads to truly understand all the concepts he’s explaining. This is certainly not a new reader friendly comic, as a cursory knowledge of classic X-Men and a more solid, up-to-date knowledge of the Krakoa-era is needed to understand much of what is happening here. That said, this would still be a pretty entertaining read if someone went in mostly blind just by how wild some of the stuff Spurrier is throwing at the reader.

Spurrier’s sense of dialogue is both unique unto him while fitting the Hickman X-Men mold. One of the defining characteristics of X-books in this era is the snarky, clever dialogue and memorable character moments. Well, Spurrier is just the guy to call for the current brand of X-writing. Each of his interpretations of the mutant cast are diverse and fun to read in their own way. Watching Juggernaut try to be chummy with people he has no doubt tried to pummel to death is delightful. Legion awkwardly acknowledging his dismissive father, the model parent Charles Xavier, is appropriately uncomfortable. Best of all is, of course, Spurrier writing Nightcrawler. Wagner has come a long way from when he first arrived on Krakoa, and seeing him as a bearded leader of this new peacekeeping force is truly satisfying. Watching him become flabbergasted as he’s flirted with (sort of, hard to tell really) by an alien warrior woman is hilarious. Spurrier is an absolute treat in this comic, as his taste for charming characterization and intelligent story crafting are on full display here.

Art Direction

The Krakoa era of X-books is visually defined by its striking, bright, utopian visuals of this new world, and Jan Bazaldua delivers more of that beauty in Legion Of X #1. Her designs of mutants new and classic are striking, with her own style managing to carve out a niche within the house-style of this era. Her take on Legion and the mental landscape that is The Altar are absolutely stunning, fitting perfectly with the beauty of Krakoa while being an entity unto itself. Her design for a godlike Legion is wildly cool, and has to be one of the best new designs for an old character in the past few years of X-comics. Bazaldua goes just as hard with her work on Arrako, with the numerous natives  – and most notably Ora Serrata – as well as the Arakii gods, all having fantastic original designs that fit with the rest of the visual language. Her page and panel composition is often just a busy as Spurrier’s script. She nails the reading experience though, with panel-heavy pages that focus on just the right frames to guide the story along in a manner that makes the busy plot as easy to parse as possible. Bazaldua’s art here is the perfect blend of grandiose and character-focused.

Frederico Blee’s colors finish off the visual experience with an incredible luster. Just like the rest of the X-comics in this era, every page is loaded with stunning, wildly colorful panels that show off this utopia is all its glory and glamour. The sequences in The Altar are especially gorgeous, with plumes of space-y energy firing off around the forms of Legion and his lover. The lettering from Clayton Cowles is solid and easily readable. He uses the same font style the rest of this era’s X-Men books use and, as always, it looks stellar. Overall, Legion is an absolutely brilliant looking comic book.

Verdict

Legion Of X #1 is a complex and stunning comic book. Si Spurrier’s script asks the reader to pay attention as he throws a ton of events and info at the reader, but what’s happening here is so engaging and entertaining that it’s hard to really fault him. The visuals from Jan Bazaldua and Frederico Blee are jaw-droppingly stunning, and make for one of the finest looking X-books in the Krakoa era. Be sure to grab this new issue when it hits shelves on May 25th!

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.

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Review: LEGION OF X #1 - Sheriff NightcrawlerSpurrier returns to Krakoa with Legion Of X for a wildly intriguing and complex comic that is as visually stunning as it is strange.