If you’re a sucker for nostalgia, X-Men Legends is a great way to relive different eras of the X-Men. This week, Larry Hama and Billy Tan are bringing us back to the ’90s with a Wolverine and Jubilee story that’s sure to bring droves of people back to their favorite era of Wolverine.
Speaking as someone who holds Wolverine #72 very near and dear to my heart, it’s exciting to see Wolverine in the yellow costume again kicking ass with the classic Jubilee. It’s fair to say the nostalgic element of this series makes it hard to judge it without rose-colored glasses. It’s also safe to say if you didn’t grow up reading Larry Hama’s Wolverine or the Jubilee team-ups you may not love or even like this book. While this is a spoiler-free review save for what is in the preview, it’s a good bet what is contained in this book serves the fan of this era more than a casual one.
As the preview shows, Wolverine and Jubilee are in Osaka, Japan, and they’re playing a bit of an actor’s gambit as Logan is pretending to sell Jubilee to some gangsters. They’re trying to get information on where kidnapped mutants are so that Xavier can train them up at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Wolverine doesn’t take kindly to bullies, though, and soon is slicing and dicing the men while Jubilee crushes their nuts. It’s fun to see these two kick ass at a time when going rogue was fairly normal. It’s also worth noting the dynamic of Wolverine as a kind of uncle to Jubilee is on full display here.
As far as the rest of the issue, Hama does enough to set up the McGuffin, throws our heroes into a unique location for an epic sword fight, and introduces Lady Deathstrike too. There are plenty of elements here for fans to enjoy. Something hanging over the book, though, is whether it’s a story that really needs to be told. It reads like a story that came up only because there’s an avenue to tell it with this series. The next issue continues the story arc and may validate why it needs to be made, but that element isn’t present here.
Unfortunately, nostalgia can only get you so far. This issue’s pacing is really hit or miss, with multiple exposition-heavy scenes. There are also multiple instances of characters talking far too long, slowing the comic down to a crawl. Somewhat oddly, characters other than Wolverine and Jubilee do a lot of talking. In fact, Jubilee is mostly a bystander in this book, reacting to Wolverine or chiming in with a few quick lines. If you’re hoping for great banter between the two, you have come to the wrong place.
The art is inconsistent as well with some great highs but lower lows. Tan uses heavier use of inks to cast these characters in shadow even when well lit, which sets a certain mood and tone. At times, they can look a touch awkward in their body language and posture. At other times, Wolverine looks iconic and incredibly cool. There are at least three instances of Wolverine looking incredible, but there are also moments where a single panel feels like it’s doing too much. In a key fight scene later in the issue things get so chaotic, with only four or five panels per page, it’s hard to understand where characters are in relation to each other. That makes it tough to track the action.
X-Men Legends #7 is a comic for fans looking for nostalgic vibes. On paper, it has everything you’d want from Jubilee and Wolverine teaming up, down to the yellow Wolverine costume, and even Lady Deathstrike thrown into the mix too. The execution isn’t quite there, though, making for a just-okay X-Men experience.
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