X-Men Legends #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Roy Thomas, art by Dave Wachter, colours by Edgar Delgado, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Set just after a famous X-Men issue, Wolverine seeks a second round against The Hulk, but his minders have another mission in mind for him.
The premise of this plot is similar to other recent comics, but it is a clever one. Taking place in an incredibly famous era for the X-Men, the comic literally continues where Incredible Hulk #181 left off. The opening battle is great for providing context to the point in time as the original story takes over. That fight and the consequences take a long time, meaning that when the next mission happens it is towards the end of the issue. The missions have a lot of unexpected features, including Wolverine’s partner who is a character not seen in decades, which raises many questions. The fight that happens afterward completes the last part of the comic and whilst it’s exciting, it actually slows the momentum of the issue. But the final page sets up an interesting and surprising next chapter.
What is great about having classic creator Thomas return is that the dialogue that fills X-Men #1 has a very natural feel to it. It fits how characters spoke at the time, often over-explaining everything. But you can’t help but love the anger that comes out of both Wolverine and Hulk. It is also important to remember that this is the “first time” the two have met, and it is great seeing them learn about each other. That dialogue can’t feel strange coming from a writer emulating the style instead of leaning into it. The character reintroduced to partner Logan is such an obscure pick that It definitely has the air of a figure Thomas loved and never managed to make him take off all of those years ago.
The art is a beautiful blend of homaging and modern art. The style isn’t a drastic separation from the original pages, helping the first scene feel like it came just after the final page. There is electrifying energy to the battle as Wolverine and Hulk hold nothing back against each other. It is amazing to see Logan’s first publication costume again, almost reminding us of how ridiculous it was. When characters tangle, the understanding of movement by Wachter is incredible.
The colours are also gorgeous, mimicking the palette of Incredible Hulk #131. The bright shades are very vibrant as Wolverine’s yellow and Hulk’s green clash. But when the original story takes over it is as if the tones fade, emanating a darker mood. The lettering is brilliant and always easy to read.
X-Men Legends #1 is a journey into an excellent era for X-Men comics. Giving Thomas the opportunity to go back to that time is remarkably satisfying and nostalgic. But it isn’t just a book filled with callbacks and references as a new story is being told through an old era. The mixture of warmth from experiencing that classic battle with trepidation of a secret side-story means that there is the start of an emotional rollercoaster. That is cut short however due to a slight mismanagement of pacing, affecting how it stands as a single issue.
X-Men Legends #1 is available where comics are sold.
X-Men Legends #1
X-Men Legends #1 is a journey into an excellent era for X-Men comics. Giving Thomas the opportunity to go back to that time is remarkably satisfying and nostalgic. But it isn’t just a book filled with callbacks and references as a new story is being told through an old era.