David Charles Haller (Legion)

legionfilmLooking at how other studios are hitting television with comicbook-based series, Fox just couldn’t stay behind, and a couple of tv shows based on the world of the X-Men will arrive next year. The first one is Legion, centered on an extremely powerful mutant suffering from severe mental illness. The protagonist is David Haller, and he’ll be portrayed by Dan Stevens. Apparently, even if at first it was said that the show would have been set in the same continuity as the movies, the idea has been discharged, and the series will be set in a “parallel universe” of sort…quite a pity, considering that in the comics David is the son of quite a major player in both the comics’ and the movies’ universes. Anyway, let’s just wait and see what Marvel’s mutants will do on tv; in the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original Legion…who’s definitely much wierder and less normal-looking than his live action counterpart.

When Earth‘s most powerful telepath, Charles Xavier, was in Israel, he had an affair with Gabrielle Heller, a Holocaust survivor he awoke from her catatonic state with his powers; the two parted when Xavier had to come back to the United States, but Gabrielle never told him she was pregnant with his child. David grew up with his mother, oblivious as well of the identity of his father. Gabrielle entered Israel’s diplomatic service, so David had to travel a lot when he was a kid; finally, Gabrielle, her husband Daniel Shomron and David moved to Paris. The boy spent most of his time with his stepfather, while his mother worked: unfortunately, the small group was attacked by some Arab terrorists, who killed Daniel just in front of David’s eyes. The trauma triggered the boy’s latent mutant powers, and he started a massive psionic attack that burnt the terrorists’ brains…but David couldn’t control it, so he telepathically merged with the men as they died, and he experienced their final thoughts and emotions; plus, he even absorbed the consciousness of Jemail Karami, their leader. The experience left him catatonic, and the shock was so strong that it splintered his original, gentle personality into a miriad of other ones. In his coma, David was lost…but Karami was still inside his mind, and he found out that he could use his “captor’s” telepathy from within his mind: understanding that David was but an legioncomics1innocent boy who needed his mother, the terrorist decided to help him (and himself in the process), and used the boy’s telepathy to recompose the splintered personalities and to reunite them to the core one, thus recomposing David’s mind. The process wasn’t a simple one, as some personalities resisted Karami and his “cure”: most notably, two personas, naming themselves Jack Wayne and Cindy, started a war with all the others, who now called themselves collectively “Legion”. Legion battled Jack and Cindy in a landscape uniting David’s and Karami’s memories of Paris and Beirut, and eventually they managed to subdue the rogue ones. As a result, David Haller awoke from his coma, but he was left in a state of autism, unable to relate to the outside world due to the ongoing conflict within his mind. In the following years, each personality took control of a different psionic power. Not knowing what to do with her boy, Gabrielle Heller brought him in Scotland, to a specialist of mutants: Moira MacTaggart, who had a facility on Muir Island.

The battle in David’s mind had effects on the boy in the world outside of it, and sometimes he used his powers uncontrollably, depending on the dominating personality. Barely realising it, he ended up absorbing also the conscience of two of Moira’s coworkers, Sharon Friedlander and Tom Corsi. Unable to help such a powerful and unpredictable boy, Moira finally called the one person who could enter his mind and treat him, her ex lover Charles Xavier. The telepath arrived with the New Mutants, a group of students from his school…and things didn’t exactly go well from the beginning, as David had a violent attack, and absorbed first Moira and Wolfsbane, then his mother and Cypher, and eventually also Xavier and Mirage. Inside David’s mind, Xavier discovered Legion, and found out that the boy was his son. The New Mutants joined Karami, Jack Wayne and the others in their war, and eventually they managed to convince everybody to cooperate and to repair the core personality, albeit Wayne and Cindy mantained their independent existence. After that, all the consciousnesses that legioncomics2David had absorbed were returned to their original bodies, apart from Karami’s one, since his body was long-time dead. When they came out, also David’s main personality took back his control on his body, and he was not autistic anymore…even if he still had the mind of a ten-year-old boy. Moira kept him on Muir Island for helping him dealing with both his mental problems and the mastery of his powers, but still all his uncountable abilities were divided between his personalities. When an accident put Moira’s and Wolfsbane’s lives in danger, David used his telekinesis to save them…but doing so, he let Jack Wayne take control. Wayne escaped from Muir Island, and left to Scotland to enjoy his freedom. The New Mutants tracked him down, and tried to force him to return to Moira’s lab: Wayne forced Cindy to help him, and the “two” of them battled Magik and Sunspot, until the latters managed to force Wayne back to David’s subconscious. Legion was now back to Muir Island, but anytime he tried to access his powers, he allowed some other personality to take control of him, often with tragic consequences (he indirectly caused the death of Stonewall, and even killed the precog Destiny): despite David’s best efforts of doing good, not everyone in Legion agreed with that…

David Haller is a naive boy desperately needing affection, a young man whose mind is still the one of his sensitive ten-years-old self…but he’s also a dangerous schizophrenic with quite a number of multiple personalities, each one with a different attitude, character and even gender. As Legion, he’s one of the world’s most powerful mutants, with a nearly unlimited number of psionic powers at his disposal…but each one of them is controlled by a different personality, making it a lot more difficult (and dangerous) for him to control them. Among his many abilities there is telepathy (controlled by Jamal Karami), telekinesis (Jack Wayne), pyrokinesis (Cindy), super strength (Sally), transmutation into salt (Johnny Gomorrah), time manipulation (Time-Sink), absorption of consciousness and of life energy (Styx), omniscience (Delphic), voodoo magic (Bleeding Image), energy projection (The Clown), teleportation (Compass Rose), psionic armor (Endgame), remote location (Findle the Finder), prehensile tongue (Hugh Davidson), flight (Kirbax the Kraklar), psi-blades (Ksenia Nadejda Panov), electricity generation and absorption (K-Zek the Conduit), plasma generation (Max Kelvin), toxic spores emission (Mycolojester), space-manipulation (The Origamist), acid vomit (Pukatus Jr.), emotion amplification and manipulation (Susan in Sunshine), gravity control (Zero G. Priestly), super speed (3554), mutant powers negation (The Nazi Doctor), x-ray vision (Specs), accelerated healing (The Wolfman)…and uncountable others. Legion possesses the power of bending reality itself to his will, and a failing mental health that makes him a danger for himself and for whoever is around him…actually, he’s a danger to the entire universe, even if he doesn’t realise it.

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5 Comments

  1. […] two of them, but it’s better to wait a while for the dad, as there are two father figures in David‘s life): David’s mother, still unnamed, portrayed by Tatyana Forrest. We don’t […]

  2. […] out that Xavier had had an illegitimate son from one of his lovers, Gabrielle Haller. The boy, David, was extremely powerful, but also a psychopath with major personality disorders, and his situation […]

  3. […] second one is particularly tasty. Let’s start with the first, which comes as no surprise: David Haller has been adopted…and that sheds some light on who the father we saw in the flashbacks is […]

  4. […] the big bad from Legion has been revealed…and it’s quite a blast. Since Chapter 1, David Haller seems to be haunted by the monster he calls “the Devil with Yellow Eyes“, apparently […]

  5. […] when a mission brought her back to Scotland. While there to contain the nearly almighty mutant Legion, Wolfsbane met again her surrogate mother Moira, but also Reverend Craig, whom she finally found […]


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