How Legion became one of the most important characters in Marvel's new X-Men era

·5 min read
How Legion became one of the most important characters in Marvel's new X-Men era

Almost three years after the X-Men radically changed the Marvel status quo by announcing the foundation of Krakoa, their mutant nation is still standing. But building a new way to live is not an easy process, and some things still need to be figured out.

Enter Legion of X, Marvel's newest X-Men comic, which launched this week from writer Si Spurrier (Step by Bloody Step) and artist Jan Bazaldua (Mr. and Mrs. X). As the title suggests, this series centers on Legion, a.k.a David Haller, the son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier.

Blessed and cursed with an infinite supply of mutant powers tied into his dissociative identity disorder, Legion once starred in his own FX show starring Dan Stevens, but he was largely absent from the early Krakoa era. That was partly because his father, one of the principal founders of Krakoa, fears David's powers and the chaos they bring. But as last year's Inferno series proved, Xavier does not have all the answers. Massive as his contributions have been to mutantkind so far, Xavier might not have what it takes to make Krakoa last.

Dan Stevens on 'Legion'; the cover of 'Legion of X' #1
Dan Stevens on 'Legion'; the cover of 'Legion of X' #1

Suzanne Tenner/FX; Dike Ruan for Marvel Years after the FX show 'Legion,' David Haller takes center stage in the new Marvel comic series 'Legion of X'

"There has never been a revolution where the person who was best at fighting for a new status quo is also the best at maintaining it," Spurrier tells EW. "It's just not possible, because if you're the person who fights, you don't stop fighting. If you're the person who's good at maintaining and equalizing, then you were never the right person to be fighting for this in the first place. That's the conflict I like to look at between Charles Xavier and his son, David Haller."

Spurrier calls this father-son relationship "very much a work-in-progress" that "will get worse before it gets better. If it gets better."

He continues: "We'll be spending a lot more time in David's head — quite literally, in fact — than Charles', so his own ambitions, hopes, and dreams are far more the grist for our mill than Xavier's approach to fatherhood. What we're going to see is David wrestling with his own ambition, his own indistinct notion of duty and responsibility to his own people, and ultimately his approach to how best he can serve mutantkind. As a weapon? As a follower? Or as a leader?"

The first page of 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua
The first page of 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Jan Bazaldua for Marvel The first page of 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Nightcrawler has a new mission in 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua
Nightcrawler has a new mission in 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Jan Bazaldua for Marvel Nightcrawler has a new mission in 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

This isn't the first time Spurrier has written a comic about Legion. From 2012 to 2014 he wrote X-Men: Legacy alongside artist Tan Eng Huat, which helped popularize the character ahead of the 2017 FX show. That series found David struggling to control his mental powers while living up to his father's legacy. He was helped by a romance with the blind mutant seer Blindfold, who has finally reunited with him in Legion of X. Following the events of Inferno, Krakoa's previous ban on precognitive mutants has been lifted.

"The axiomatic core that emerged from that run — 'I rule me' — continues to be a guiding light to both characters," Spurrier says. "What we'll gradually see is a widening of that cone of responsibility. If, as he hopes, David has achieved some manner of self-control, even self-peace, then oughtn't he expand his realm of influence?"

In Legion of X, David has turned his headspace (once a source of uncontrollable power) into the headquarters for a new mutant team. Led by the teleporting hero Nightcrawler, these "Legionnaires" seek to make Krakoa work better for its inhabitants on a day-to-day basis by mediating conflict and soothing mutants so they don't self-destruct or burn out.

David Haller has a new mission in 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua
David Haller has a new mission in 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Jan Bazaldua for Marvel David Haller has a new mission in 'Legion of X' #1, by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Legion romantically reunites with Blindfold in 'Legion of X,' #1 by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua
Legion romantically reunites with Blindfold in 'Legion of X,' #1 by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Jan Bazaldua for Marvel Legion romantically reunites with Blindfold in 'Legion of X,' #1 by writer Si Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua

Nightcrawler makes clear in the first issue of Legion of X that he doesn't like this team being equated with police. But it's a question the characters will continue to wrestle with over the series: How exactly are they different (or better) than traditional law enforcement?

"In superhero comics we like to use the word 'justice' as a convenient workaround for some tendencies that, when you pick them apart, can take on a worrisome light," Spurrier says. "'Defenders of justice and truth' or 'unilateral moral arbiters inflicting violence on anyone they disagree with'? Potato, potahto. Is spandex vigilantism better or worse than the sorts of appalling abuses of centrally sanctioned power we see all too often in the real world? Heroic fiction has always danced between the raindrops of these questions."

Spurrier adds, "That's kind of where the Legion comes in. We never want to get too obscenely heavy with this stuff, obviously — it's an X-Men comic! Kissing and squabbling and punching and bamfing are the baseline… but still. My feeling is that a lot of the best X-stories carefully set up their metaphors, then leap joyously into the big questions which emerge, with as much fun and boldness and imagination as possible. That's very much my approach."

Legion of X #1 is on sale now.

Related reading: 

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting