Saturday, December 6, 2008

Super-Powered Prose: X-Men The Legacy Quest Trilogy

So I picked up X-Men the Legacy Quest Trilogy by Steve Lyons at my local Half Price Books (the best store ever!) for three whole bucks. Three novel omnibus for three bucks, not a bad deal. Too bad the tale inside is disappointing on so many levels.

The three books are loosely connected stories revolving around Hank McCoy’s quest to find a cure for the Legacy Virus. (The original edition of this book came out in 2002, which was well after the cure of the Legacy Virus in the comic book, but apparently nobody told the folks at ibooks this.) Hank ends up making a deal with the devil, Sebastian Shaw, who is looking for the cure for his own ends. This leads to a battle between the X-Men and the Hong Kong branch of the Hellfire Club (populated by such luminaries as Fitzroy, Goblin Queen, and a thoroughly erroneous version of Tessa). Hank, weakened by injecting himself by his own virus, finds his cure, only to be kidnapped by Selene to set up book two.

Book two takes the plot to even more preposterous places in a dark future New York where everyone in the world seems to have started to suffer from the virus. The threat proves insanely dull at best, which leads in to book three... where Magneto turns out to be the true villain. While the portrayal of Genosha infected by the virus does bring pathos to the book, it still serves to only very poorly bring the quest to an end.

While his portrayal of the X-Men characters usually stay true to form (with the possible exception of the insanely whiny Beast), Lyons fails to do anything remotely original with them. They all seem to have taken a step back in their progression as a team before this book. Nobody involved seems to have a clue how to act as a member of a team, nor do their personalities seem to have developed past their original Claremont/Cockrum days. And the villains... well, only Magneto really seems to be anywhere close to on track. And his plan to destroy all the humans on the planet seems to fly in the face of everything established about the character in the nineties.

While X-Men novels are a hard feat to accomplish in my opinion, X-Men The Legacy Quest fails on pretty much every level. Instead everyone should consider grabbing a copy of Marjorie M. Liu’s superior Dark Mirror instead.

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