I started watching the new FX series “Legion” and with that in mind I’d thought I share some info on who Legion aka David Charles Haller really is. I have high hopes for this show and I wanted to share some of his background and how he got his powers. I don’t know if the show will follow his comic book exploits but I’m sure there will be examples pulled from them. So sit back and enjoy reading about this powerful, interesting character that doesn’t get spoken about enough.
David Charles Haller is the son of Charles Xavier, who later became the founder of the X-Men, and Gabrielle Haller, who later became the Israel ambassador to Great Britain. Xavier and Gabrielle Haller had an affair in Israel nearly two decades ago, and Xavier was unaware when he left Israel that Haller was pregnant with his son. Haller concealed the fact that Xavier was the father of her son, David, and Xavier himself only learned that he was David’s father recently. Because Xavier was himself a superhuman mutant, David was born a mutant with the potential for superhuman powers. Legion was created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz and first appeared in a cameo in NewMutants #25 (1985) where a photo of him was seen and his character was discussed on paper by Professor Xavier. He first fully appeared in comics one issue later in The New Mutants issue 26 (1985).
After David, his mother and his step-father, Daniel Shomron, moved to Paris, their home was invaded by an anti-semitic assassination team who killed Daniel Shomron before 10-year old David’s eyes, the terror catalyzing his mutant powers, which he used to destroy the assassination team’s minds. However, while doing so he unwittingly psychically connected with their thoughts and emotions as they died, shattering David’s mind in multiple personas (known as dissociative identity disorder) and rendering him catatonic. The consciousness of the assassination team’s leader, Jermail Karami, was absorbed into David’s mind.
After years of being merged, Karami’s consciousness separated from David’s, remained trapped within David’s mind and gaining control of David’s telepathic powers. Using this power Karami learned of David’s gentleness and an understanding of sympathy and goodness by reading the minds of Gabrielle and others. Seeking to restore David’s mind to normalcy, Karami began reintergrating these personas into David’s core persona, which was frozen as a 10-year old desperately needing parental care. When some personas resisted, most notably the swaggering Jack Wayne (commanding David’s telekinesis) and the tempermental Cyndi (controlling David’s pryokinesis), a war erupted within David’s mindscape that was a mix of Paris and Beirut, the resisting personas eventually calling themselves Legion.
During his late teenage years, David Haller had left his catatonic state and become autistic. Gabrielle Haller, his mother, entrusted David’s care to Moira MacTaggert at Muir Island. However, when David’s powers began manifesting on the physical plane, he uncontrollably absorbs consciousnesses of Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander, two of Moira MacTaggert’s associates. MacTaggert then enlists the help of Charles Xavier, who brings with him several of the New Mutants (including Warlock, Cypher, Mirage and Wolfsbane). David absorbs the consciousness of MacTaggert, Wolfsbane and Cypher. Before entering David’s mind, Professor X learns that Haller is his son and that the multiple personas in his mind call themselves Legion.
While in his mind, the absorbed psyches retain their individual existences and take the side of Jack Wayne in the war amongst the personalities. Mirage, however, stops Wayne from destroying Karami because Karami had told Gabrielle Haller and her that he had actually been trying to help David. Mirage and Karami, with the help of Wayne, restored David’s mind to a near normal state. While Jack Wayne, Cyndi and Karami remained separate personas and could periodically speak through David’s body, Legion was no longer autistic and his core personality took control of both his body and mind. These individuals (Mirage and Karami) also restored everyone to their bodies outside of David’s mind, as well.
While protecting Muir Island from the Reavers, Legion’s baser personas sowed chaos for both sides of the struggle; David telepathically attacked precognitive Destiny, only to see future visions of apocalyptic alternate reality (Earth-295 / Age of Apocalypse). Unable to cope, Legion slew Destiny with a telepathic blast and sadistically broadcast her death to Destiny’s lover Mystique; however, Destiny’s consciousness survived in David’s mind. Later attempting to locate missing mutants, including the X-Men. MacTaggert placed Legion in the telepathy-enhancing Cerebro, which brought David to the attention of the malevolent psychic entity the Shadow King, who used David’s powers to possess all of Muir Island’s inhabitants. Legion joined the island’s sub-team of X-Men. Shadow King then forced the residents into gladiatorial duels, then fight the X-Men and Cyclops’ X-Factor when they invaded the island to battle Shadow King. Xavier arrived to psychically battle the Shadow King until he and his students disconnected the Shadow King’s connection to Polaris, who was unwillingly serving as his energy nexus, and seemingly destroying the Shadow King.
Unfortunately, this act also left Legion comatose, his mind seemingly destroyed by the battle despite Xavier’s psychic attempts to restore it. When Mystique seeks revenge for Destiny’s murder, Legion awakens from his coma with his mind restored and devoid of all personas except his and Destiny’s consciousness. Haller now wished to see his father’s dream of mutant and human coexistence become a reality. In order to do this, however, he must kill Magneto. Legion begins by building a black dome in the Negev Desert, and the X-Men go to investigate the situation. Upon entering the dome, the X-Men battle Legion but cannot stop him from opening a time portal. Along with Legion, Psylocke, Iceman, Storm and Bishop are sucked into the timestream. Legion, along with the four X-Men, end up 20 years in the past, and all also emerge from the time stream lacking memories. Legion is transported to the Israeli hospital where Professor X and Magneto were working at that time. At the hospital, Magneto touches Legion as he helps him from his bed, causing a psychic backlash. This particular backlash results in the formation of illusions of Magneto’s past. When Magneto seeks out Professor X, the two individuals return to find Legion creating projections of members of the X-Men.
Soon after, Legion approaches his mother, a patient at the hospital, disguising himself as Charles Xavier in the process. Legion begins to seduce his own mother, and the real Charles Xavier realizes that something is wrong. The Professor and Magneto rush to Gabrielle Haller’s aid, discovering her on the floor with her clothes ripped. While preoccupied with Gabrielle, Legion appears behind the two individuals and tells Magneto that he is going to die.
Legion engages in a brutal battle with Magneto. The X-Men (who regained their memories thanks to Cable) attempt to intervene and stop Legion from his goal of ultimately killing Magneto. After Iceman freezes every molecule of water in Legion’s body, they believe that they have won the battle. However, Legion escapes from his frozen state and quickly incapacitated the X-Men using a massive amount of telepathic energy. With the X-Men down and Magneto up against the ropes, Legion creates a psi-blade and grabs the beaten body of Magneto. As he attempts to plunge the psi-blade into Magneto’s skull, Professor X gets between the two and takes the blow from the psi-blade. This lethal attack kills Charles Xavier and creates an alternate timeline, known as the Age of Apocalypse.
In this alternate timeline, Apocalypse is the supreme ruler of all of North America and implements a worldwide genocidal campaign. In order to stop this timeline from occurring, Bishop, with the help of the heroes from this era, is sent back in time to save Charles Xavier from his untimely death. Upon his arrival, Bishop confronts Legion and plunges the psi-blade into his own chest. This technique allows Bishop to absorb Legion’s energy and unleash it over and over again. The connection established between the two individuals also allowed Legion to see images from the Age of Apocalypse. This loop of psionic power mortally wounds Legion. Before dying, Legion apologizes for the nightmare that he caused. After his death, several of Legion’s multiple personas remained on Earth in the form of spirits. When these spirits were terrorizing Israel, Excaliber was called to stop them, and Meggan used her power of empathy to calm the spirits. This allowed Legion’s personas to finally move on.
Although it has yet to be explained how David has returned from the dead, he is the first adversary for the newly reformed New Mutants. When Dani Moonstar and Karma go in search of a young mutant girl Marci Jane Fogerty, Karma attempts to use her powers to locate Marci. Since the Marci’s consciousness was in Legion’s body, Karma becomes trapped as well. His body has become host to Karma’s trapped psyche, while her body was found across town. His body was also host to possibly hundreds of other personalities, including Jack Wayne who seems to be the dominant, or at least leader of the angry mob of personas in Legion’s mind. At the same time, Jack Wayne was in pursuit of Dani Moonstar, who remained depowered since the events of M-Day. Concurrently Magik sought out the former New Mutants in order to assist in situation. Once in Westcliffe, Colorado, Magik and Magma went after Legion whilst Cannonball and Sunspot found Karma’s catatonic body. It was revealed that strong symbologies exist in the realmspace of Legion’s fractured psyche. In his mind, Legion’s other personalities, including Jack Wayne, pursue Marci not to do her harm, but so they can gain possession of a doll (Morrie/Moira) she is holding. The doll represents the key to conscious control of Legion’s body, for whichever persona gained access to the doll could not only make Legion’s body move and speak, but could also manifest their unique power. Once Legion’s malevolent personas were in possession of the doll, Legion’s body lashed out with the power of whichever persona was held it, ultimately defeating Magik and Magma, and killing Marci’s parents before trying to kill Moonstar. Cannonball and Sunspot prevented Jack Wayne, now in control of Legion’s body, from raping and killing Moonstar. Disobeying Cannonball’s orders, Magik willingly enters Legion’s mind and teleports to Karma and Marci, there she begins slaying his evil personas then gaining control of the doll by threatening to kill more personas. Locating the persona responsibly for killing Marci’s parents, Karma exacted revenge by slaying him using Magik’s sword, at Magik’s prompting. He was confirmed as a Omega-Level mutant by the X-Club members in New Mutants #5 when Rogue was siphoning/separating some of his split-personas after his defeat.
When Bastion’s Nimrod army begins an aggressive attack on the X-Men and Utopia in a bid to assassinate the mutant messiah, Cyclops pleads with Professor X to try to get Legion to aid them as an omega-level mutant would help balance the scales.
Charles Xavier is seen inside his mind leading David to “Persona Brig” where his bad personas dwell. When he asks if it is dangerous Professor X tells him that what is going on outside his mind is more dangerous.He asks if the X-Men need his help to fight Bastion’s Nimrod Sentinels. Professor X responded that they need more than him, the X-Men needed a Legion, all while standing on a brig facing a large mosaic of David’s multiple personalities, all of them bad. Using a specialized helmet that allowed Professor X to select which personality is dominant, Legion was unleashed into the battlefield and helped destroy several of the Nimrod sentinels who could not adapt to his constantly changing powers and personality. Following his assistance, Legion was returned to the Brig.
Magik later forced Legion to assist her in a confrontation against the Elder Gods. In his reality-warping persona, Legion obliterated the Elder Gods who had forced Magik to live in and protect Limbo. It ultimately turned out that the only reason Legion had returned was due to Magik’s machinations to ensure his aid in her planned attack against the gods.
Doctor Nemesis’ attempts to cure Legion of his multiple personalities, believing the culling of David’s sub-personas akin to murder, Xavier entered Legion’s mind to show Nemesis the damage being done and encounter a psychic “antibody” in the form of Moira MacTaggert created in response to the erasure of personas. “Moira” trapped the X-Men in a bubble of altered reality where it hoped to protect and heal Legion’s mind. Moira sought to change the world by creating a timeline where Legion was a hero, so that he would finally be happy. In the resulting reality, mutants were hunted by humans after Jean Grey destroyed Albany as the Phoenix. Magneto led the mutant resistance from a base called Fortress X, where Legion served as one of the Force Warriors who renewed the base’s defenses on a daily basis.
Eventually, Magneto comes to realize, with the help of Shadowcat and Blindfold, that there is something peculiar about Fortress X as well as the outside world. Rogue breaks Professor X out of Fortress X’s prison (called the Brig) and he reveals to all the inhabitants including Legion the truth about this altered world. Just then Moira appears, having assumed the form of Moira MacTaggert to confuse those present.
Moira launches a final assault on the base by removing the Force Warriors’ walls, allowing the military to enter the base and start firing upon the present mutants. As Xavier, Magneto and Shadowcat are trying to stop Moira, Legion appears. Moira breaks down and tells Legion that she only wanted him to be happy, and that she can create a better universe for him now that she has more control over her ability. While she’s distracted, Legion pats her on the back and absorbs her back into his psyche. He then uses her powers to restore reality to the original 616 continuity. All the mutants return to Utopia with no recollection of the events of Age Of X. Professor X and Emma Frost assist them in recovering their lost memories. Moira once again offered to make a better universe for David but he declined her offer.
Taking place immediately after the events of “Age Of X”, Legion was given a neural switchboard, created by Doctor Nemesis, Madison Jeffries and Reed Richards, that allow him access one power without being overwhelmed by the sub-personality. Later it is revealed that six of Legion’s most dangerous personas have broken free of his psyche and escaped into the real world: Styx, Chain, Endgame, Susan In Sunshine, Time Sink and The Bleeding Image. Legion is aided by Xavier, Magneto, Frenzy, Rogue and Gambit in his quest to find and reabsorb the rogue personas before they wreak havoc on the world. The team successfully captures Time Sink, Chain and Susan In Sunshine. An encounter between Rogue and The Bleeding Image leaves her seriously injured after he commits suicide by blowing himself up. Shortly afterwards, Styx kidnaps Xavier to lure Legion towards him. Inside Styx’s hiding-place, the team is attacked by Endgame, who is defeated by Legion and Magneto. Legion then tricks Styx using Chain’s powers and reabsorbs him.During the war between the Avengers and the X-Men Xavier took David to Merzah the Mysticto learn how to control his vast powers. With the help of Merzah, adopting Hazeguard persona in David´s mind, David gained great control over his power by creating a prison for the evil sub-persona, named as Qortex Complex, and as the Xtractor drains them to use their powers. However, something went wrong and David’s control was shattered and he lost control over his power and had a vision of his father´s death. When everything has calmed down David found and apologized to Merzah who told him to trust the X-Men and then died. Unknown to everyone, a mysterious new personality emerged that killed another persona to cut down on the competition.
After leaving, David comes into conflict with the X-Men, and meets Blindfold, who tells him that she is going to be his nemesis. David learns that Blindfold’s brother, Luca Aldine, intends to attack the Jean Grey School and kill his sister. David is able to stop him, and the X-Men offer to let him stay with them. David refuses, an decides that he is going to work for mutants by taking out threats before they happen. During this period, the mysterious persona starts to exercise a greater degree of control over Legion’s mind. Though David had attained a promising level of control over his personalities thanks to his new-found self-confidence, that self-confidence (and the control that came along with it) quickly evaporates once the mysterious persona attacks Legion within his own head while adopting the guise of David’s dead father. However, his other personalities do not try to take advantage of David’s loss of control; he speculates that this is because they are just as frightened of the mysterious new persona as he is.
David is currently dating Blindfold, and takes her to places where he can make a difference in the world for their dates. Their relationship has hit a rough spot of late over differing views regarding David’s new proactive approach to mutant problems — Blindfold is appalled upon hearing that Legion shut down the mind of Aarkus after his precognition warned him that Aarkus might, in the future, launch an attack upon mutantkind.
After reading the predictions written by Luca Aldine, David learns that he is destined to one day lose control of his abilities, and that Blindfold will be forced to kill him. Unable to cope with this possibility, he travels to the headquarters of Darwin’s Martyrs, an organization dedicated to stopping mutants run by Marcus Glove. Once there, he learns that they have a drug that can shut down a person’s mutant abilities, and David decides that he has no choice but to agree to take the drug. He is taken through the organization’s headquarters, and learns that if he takes the pill, he will be left mentally broken, unable to think or act for himself, but still decides that taking the pill is worth it. It is then revealed that Marcus Glove is actually comatose, and he, along with the entire organization he started, are all a part of a plan devised by the Red Skull. Despite knowing what will happen, and who will be responsible, David still decides that the pill is worth taking.
Legion is an immensely powerful Omega-Level mutant suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, with each persona manifesting and controlling a different superhuman ability. Originally only psychic in nature, David’s powers now include physical mutants. To date, he has displayed telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, shape-shifting, time-travel, teleportation, superhuman strength, sonic blasts, flight, a prehensile tongue, X-ray vision, super speed, inter-reality and interstellar travel, creating a field of absolute absence of heat and love, skin manipulation, healing, lycanthropy, transmutation to salt, omniscience, time control, duplicate generation upon physical contact, weapon’s mastery, emotion manipulation, pain transference (“living voodoo doll”), spirit absorption / body control, generation of armor made from various substances, teleportation to the presence of specific people rather than location and the ability to restructure all of reality. The specifications and limits of each power has never been made known or tested. Legion is able to access the memories and knowledge of every consciousness that has taken control of his body, including the military and hand-to-hand combat training of Jermail Karami. Using a helmet or wrist-mounted device, created by Dr. Nemesis with aid from Reed Richards and Madison Jeffries, Legion is able to choose a particular persona’s power to utilize; these devices theoretically keep the persona from claiming permanent dominance of David’s mind and body.
When his mind is whole and intact David can use any of his powers at will or even multiple powers at the same time. However, there are only a few instances when his mind has been united enough to do so, namely the times when he was possessed by the Shadow King and the time when his mind was healed after emerging from a coma at the beginning of Legion Quest. He also wields a psychic knife that hurts mentally as he focuses on using its psychic powers. He can create psychic blasts which are comparable to concussive blasts, though attacking the minds of its target. Legion can also convert himself into an astral form which enables him to travel through astral planes and create psychic weapons. He can also teleport and travel through time. After the events in Colorado, the X-Men used a device to flatline David’s brainwaves to get him to San Francisco, where they began psychically sequestering and cataloguing his personas in psychic “cells” – to date, seven psychic surgeries have contained 53% of his personas. The X-Club believe once healed Legion maybe able to cause spontaneous mutations, serving as a cure for mutants whose X-gene has been dormant since “M-Day” depowered the majority of mutantkind.
This is a maybe too extensive read on Legion but he’s an under-valued character who I try to shed some light on. So far, only two episodes in, I’m enjoying the show and believe it could have massive potential being on FX. If it had been on NBC, ABC or CBS I might have never given it the time of day. FX has a history of good shows and I think this might next in line.