Review – X-Men Legends #8 (Marvel Comics)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Billy Tan
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Release Date: 3rd November 2021

Pushing a plot which is predominantly obsessed with pulse-pounding pugilism, Larry Hama’s narrative for issue eight of X-Men Legends likely pleased the vast majority of its readers after a bit of a shaky start. True, Hama should certainly have got any perusing bibliophile’s senses reeling with Wolverine’s early battle against an entire crew of thugs who were hired to secure a Shanghai pier for the mysterious Jie Jie. However, once “Ol’ Canucklehead” has sliced his way through the low-tier minions, this twenty-page periodical’s tempo slumps somewhat as its panels are packed with exposition explaining such unconvincing contrivances as Yurei just happening to also be able to conveniently time travel, as well as teleport Logan to the southern estuary of the Yangtze River.

Thankfully, such manufactured moments are soon forgotten once Jubilee has impressively broken free of her bonds, teaming up with her fellow X-Man for a serious showdown with Lady Deathstrike. This action-packed sequence is absolutely spot-on, with all the combatants attempting to best one another with plenty of insanely fast punches, a bellyful of serious physical damage and some highly enjoyable quips; “Is a frog’s butt watertight?”

Perhaps however the surprising star of this comic is the mutant adolescent Yurei, who soon demonstrates a deliciously sadistic persona when it comes to selecting a location to abandon her would-be assailants in. Ranging from a zoo’s tiger pen just as feeding time approaches to a deadly mine-laden swamp, the politely-spoken schoolgirl is equally as entertaining when it comes to delivering a killer quip just before she leaves her latest victim stranded.

Far less impressive is Billy Tan’s artwork which, due to the sparsity of this book’s script, definitely needs to shoulder the lion’s share of burden. Indeed, at times it appears the Malaysian illustrator is desperately attempting to pad out his layouts by monotonously pencilling numerous cargo crates, forklift trucks and empty loading bays. Such ‘filling’ genuinely starts to bog down the storytelling and proves particularly noticeable once Jie Jie arrives at Shanghai, supposedly in a hurry, to complete her sale only to spend an eternity walking along the disconcertingly empty pier in an effort to liaise with her buyer’s Russian agent – Omega Red.


The writer of this piece was: Simon Moore
Simon Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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