Review: X-Men Legends #1 Takes Us Back To The 90s

Advanced review. X-Men: Legends #1 is on sale February 17, 2021.

X-Men fans have been blessed with many great story arcs and eras since the characters were first introduced. The comics published in the 90s may have been a bit “x-treme,” but there were still some cool characters introduced along with fascinating stories told. A long running mystery introduced and never properly resolved was the identity of the third Summers brother. It was intended for the character Adam-X to be that brother, but Fabian Nicieza never got the chance to fully tell the story. You can read more about that here.

“Good things come to those who wait,” and we’re getting a really really good thing with the release of X-Men: Legends #1.

X-Men: Legends #1 cover art by Brett Booth.

The focus for this series is bring back the original writers to tell stories that are “100% truly in continuity.” Nicieza is now giving us the story of Adam-X he originally planned on telling. With Brett Booth on pencils, Adelso Corona’s inks, and Guru-EFX’s colors, it does feel like we’ve stumbled across an X-Men back issue comic we somehow never got our hands on before.

This first issue doesn’t miss a beat. From the very first pages, you’re immediately thrown into the action with Erik the Red and his Shi’ar soldiers attack some poor unsuspecting individuals.

Later we get to see brothers Cyclops and Havok training together. It feels like the two characters have gone through so much since this era. It’s great to see them before some of the many events that have slightly changed who they are. Again, Nicieza’s writing takes us back to this time with ease. It’s surprising to see how much the traditional aspects such as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and the costumes from this era were missed.

Along with Scott and Alex, we see what Adam-X is up to in another part of the country. I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest Adam-X fan at the time. Hearing about his rumored connection to Scott and Alex didn’t quite make sense to me. Of course, if his origin was fully told back then, it’d be a different story. With Ed Brubaker’s 2005 introduction of Gabriel Summers, we did get a chance to see how it could be possible for a third Summers brother to exist. But if there was a third, why couldn’t there be a fourth as well?

With Nicieza reminding us who Adam-X is and what his upbringing was like, he has become a more intriguing character. He may have called himself “X-Treme” at the time, but we can forgive that with this story. From what we already know and what we’re seeing here, Adam-X’s story has all the X-Men/soap opera drama longtime readers love and crave.

If you’ve seen the previously released preview, you also know Cable makes an appearance. What would a 90s-era X-Men comic be without Cable popping in?

The real excitement will begin when Adam-X comes face to face with Cyclops and Havok. You can expect plenty of dynamic action and suspense throughout the issue. Other characters fitting for the story will also become involved.

As mentioned above, Booth’s pencils are a joy to see here. You can feel the energy he pours into each page. Longtime readers know and love Booth’s art from the 90s, and it’s wonderful to see it continuing to get better and better. I found myself looking back over the details on each page after reading it. The characters’ expressions, action scenes and layouts, and attention to detail deserved to be looked at carefully and admired. Thank goodness the story continues in the next issue.

X-Men: Legends #1 is a like a blast from the past without feeling out of date. Fabian Nicieza and Brett Booth will make you realize how much you’ve missed the X-Men stories from the 90s, even if you didn’t think that was possible. The mystery of the third Summers brother has always been a story longtime readers have wanted to see play out. It’s excellent that we’re finally getting to see the story told in the way it was meant to be told. And if nothing else, Nicieza also reaffirms one tiny aspect of Cyclops’ power that some have been arguing about online. Don’t dismiss this book as a nostalgic and simple look back at the old days. As far as X-Men books go, this is the real deal.

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