Marvel Comics was onto something when they launched X-Men Legends back in February 2021. It allows classic X-Men creators to fill in gaps, revisit, or generally just explore their past stories or eras. Out this week is the second trade paperback collecting X-Men Legends #7-12, featuring three different stories and eras. Enjoy tales with Wolverine and Jubilee, Mr. Sinister, Nightcrawler, and more.
Legends like Louise and Walter Simonson, Larry Hama, Fabian Nicieza, and Chris Claremont all supply tales for this collection. The opening tale is by Hama and Billy Tan in a two-issue adventure with Wolverine and Jubilee. It’s a quintessential era for the two, instantly bringing readers back to the ’90s when they were practically inseparable.
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.
Unfortunately, nostalgia can only get you so far. This story’s pacing is really hit or miss, with multiple exposition-heavy scenes. There are also multiple instances of characters talking for 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 unfortunately come to the wrong place.
Following that opening story is a fantastic Mr. Sinister story by Nicieza and Dan Jurgens. It’s an exploration of Mr. Sinister’s powers of cloning — as he clones X-Men and observes them, he hopes to learn secrets from these clones. It’s a trippy tale that has some wild imagery as clones turn to goo or dust.
Next up is Louise Simonson and Walter Simonson’s return to New Mutants. The cast of characters is great and the fact that the heroes are out having some fun when they’re attacked by Apocalypse’s horsemen is just perfect. It’s basically a chance to hang out with this era of X-Men and does the job.
Wrapping up the book is Claremont and Scot Eaton’s tale focused on Kate Pryde and Nightcrawler. They’ve been kidnapped and must face off against characters like Hardcase and Battleaxe. Mystique factors in heavily, making it feel iconic.
How much you loved these eras is going to be a big factor into whether or not you pick X-Men Legends Vol. 2: Mutant Mayhem up. Likely if you’re interested at all it’s because you want to enjoy tales from an era of your youth, which is great. For some of these, they feel like fun little pitstops that don’t add much. There’s clever storytelling to be found here, but it’s also an easy pass if you’re unfamiliar with these eras or simply prefer the new era of the X-Men.
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