Back Issues: ‘Legion’ series stars son of Professor X

AP Photo Based on the Marvel Comics by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, “Legion” follows David Haller (Dan Stevens), a man who believed himself to be schizophrenic only to discover that he may actually be the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen.

“Legion” returns next week for a third and final season on FX, starring the son of none other than Charles Xavier, aka Professor X.

Didn’t know Professor X had a son? Hey, neither did he.

It wasn’t until Xavier was called in to help with David Haller’s out-of-control powers that he realized the teen was actually his child with former lover Gabrielle Haller, at that time Israel’s ambassador to Great Britain. David had been traumatized in a terrorist attack in which his stepfather died and the youth’s mutant abilities manifested, killing the assassination team. This resulted in him developing multiple personalities, each with its own power.

Xavier and his next-generation team, the New Mutants, were caught up in a conflict in David’s mind among the various personalities, who referred to themselves collectively as Legion. One of the personalities was actually Jemail Kerami, the leader of the terrorist hit squad, who had been absorbed into David’s mind and turned over a new leaf after the boy’s telepathic gifts helped him empathize with those around him.

Two personalities — Cyndi, a pyrokinetic girl, and Jack Wayne, a telekinetic adult — often attempted to take control of David. Despite his immense power, he was used as a pawn of the psychic villain Shadow King while living at the Muir Island Research Center in Scotland. That plot eventually reunited and revamped the various X-teams in the early ’90s.

David was left catatonic for years, but eventually awoke and decided it was time to fulfill his father’s dream of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants. To do so, he traveled back in time to eliminate Xavier’s friend-turned-foe Magneto but wound up accidentally killing Xavier. That created an alternate timeline in which Magneto formed the X-Men to honor Charles’ legacy and the villain Apocalypse took over the world.

The time traveler Bishop went back and prevented Xavier’s death, apparently killing Legion in the process. But we all know what happens to dead comic book characters.

When he returned, David had even more personalities, the most dangerous of whom were thwarted by the re-formed New Mutants team. The X-Men began helping him regain control over his personas, and he joined the team for a while. But when scientist Dr. Nemesis (a good guy, despite the name) began eliminating the various personalities, Legion created a new identity to protect himself and once again altered reality in the storyline called “Age of X.”

After reality was restored, the X-Men helped Legion track down some rogue personas that escaped his mind. David then became the star of the relaunched “X-Men: Legacy” series, working to control his various personalities and powers and trying to carry on his father’s legacy after Xavier died at the conclusion of “Avengers vs. X-Men.”

In those stories, David disagreed with the X-Men’s methods and tried to do good his own way. One example was his assembling a group of British mutants to use their powers to benefit society in a variety of non-violent ways.

Along the way, he found romance with X-student Blindfold, an enemy in her dead-but-not-gone brother Luca and an ongoing struggle with the threat posed by his own uncontrollable powers. Eventually, he erased himself from existence, except in Blindfold’s mind and memories.

It was a terrific series highlighting a character I previously knew little about. And, of course, years later, Legion returned, yet again.


Recommended Reading

* “New Mutants” Vol. 1 #26-28 — Professor X and the New Mutants attempt to help a mutant with out-of-control powers who turns out to be Xavier’s son, David Haller, aka Legion.

* “New Mutants: Return of Legion” — Legion returns from his apparent death in the “Age of Apocalypse” story, and the all-grown-up New Mutants reunite to bring him in.

* “X-Men: Legacy: Prodigal” — Legion attempts to get his mind in order and make the world a better place on his own terms in the first volume of this excellent, offbeat series by writer Simon Spurrier.