Amahl Farouk (Shadow King)

Finally, the identity of the big bad from Legion has been revealed…and it’s quite a blast. Since Chapter 1David Haller seems to be haunted by the monster he calls “the Devil with Yellow Eyes“, apparently a manifestation of his subconscious, but later identified by Cary Loudermilk as a “psychic parasite”, a powerful and ancient mutant who evolved beyond his physical body and now exists in the Astral Plane. This was quite a big hint on the ugly mug’s identity, but now we have confirmation that he’s actually Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King, the very first mutant who ever confronted Charles Xavier in the comics. In the show, we know that Xavier gave his son away precisely to hide him from Farouk, something that he clearly failed at, since Amahl claims to be with David since he was in the womb; he manifested himself in many ways, at first as David’s “imaginary” dog King, as the Angry Boy from a creepy child book, and even as Lenny Busker, David’s friend who’s been accidentally killed in the first episode. Now, waiting for the final showdown between the mutants and Farouk, let’s take a look at the original Shadow King.

The origin story of the Shadow King is quite complex, especially considering that the one originally believed to be one single mutant individual was actually the result of two beings merging: the actual Shadow King, a sentient manifestation of the darkest side of human consciousness, allegedly born along with the first nightmare in history, and Amahl Farouk, a powerful telepath born in Egypt, in the 1910s. When Farouk, a powerful mutant on his own, developed telepathy around puberty, he was spotted by the Shadow King, who possessed him and increased his powers, making him the most powerful telepath in the entire world, and tainting his conscience with his evil nature. Thriving in chaos and fear, it was only natural for the Shadow King to form an alliance with the dictator that was gaining power in Europe, German chancellor Adolf Hitler: in 1931, Amahl Farouk offered his unique expertise to the Third Reich to help killing King Edward of England and replace him with a fascist ruler who would have sympathized with Hitler. The Führer sent two of his best men, Baron Strucker and Geist, in Egypt, to assist Farouk in an ancient ritual, but the Shadow King ended up summoning two time-travelling mutants, Rachel Summers and Shadowcat, instead of the demons he was supposed to. With his overwhelming power, Farouk took possession of Rachel, who was hosting the Phoenix Force at the time, gaining even more power than the one he already disposed of. Farouk kidnapped the heir to the English throne, the future Elizabeth II, but he ultimately failed his plan, overwhelmed by the two mutants from the future who already knew him and also knew how to weaken his control over people’s minds. With his physical body heavily damaged by the Sword of Scone, able to disrupt psychic energies, the Shadow King rested in the Astral Plane for some decades, and in the meanwhile his human allies lost World War II. When Amahl Farouk reappeared in the 1960s, the world had changed quite a lot…but not enough not to provide some negative energy for him to feed on. Back to Egypt, Farouk became a crime lord in Cairo.

Amahl Farouk immediately realised that everything in the new world laid on the balance of powers, so he started selling his services to one or the other side, expanding his influence among all factions. In 1971, for example, he aided the heroic V-Batallion by providing their leader, James Watkins Jr., informations about Marduk in his hunt for the Everlasting. His ambitions, however, were obviously much higher than simply living on pickpocketing, data trade and petty crimes, but it was a good start, as he recruited young and promising mutants to do the work. One of his kid criminals, Ororo Munroe, one day stole the wallet of an American tourist…who turned out to be Charles Xavier, an extremely powerful telepath. Xavier followed Ororo and took his wallet back from her…but Farouk had already identified him, and used his own telepathy to knock him out. While Xavier was unconscious, he brought him to his tavern, and when the American woke up, he tested his telepathy, finding an incredible power. Having a telepathic discussion, Farouk offered Xavier an alliance, but the other telepath was an idealist who believed that mutant powers were to be used for the bettering of humanity. Xavier challenged Farouk to a duel, and the two fought on the Astral Plane…where, for the first time ever, the Shadow King found a telepath more powerful than himself, and he was soundly defeated. Xavier, having experienced for the first time the reality of evil mutants, came back to the United States and used this experience to form the X-Men, mutant superheroes to defend humans from people like Amahl Farouk, while the Shadow King, still in the Astral Plane to recover from his wounds, waited for the right chance to come back to the physical world and exact his revenge against Xavier and his pupils. First, Farouk tried to make a return by possessing some particularly gifted young heroes from the New Mutants, but when he sensed on Muir Island the presence of a far more powerful mutant, who happened to be Xavier’s biological son Legion, his search for a suitable host for his power seemed to have finally reached a glorious success…

Amahl Farouk is a cunning and malicious man, charming enough to win many to his cause but totally devoted to evil and chaos; empowered by people’s fear and pain, he does everything in his power to make those dark feelings spread in the world. As the Shadow King, he’s an extremely powerful telepath, second only to Xavier; able to exist on the Astral Plane separately from a physical body, he’s also capable of possessing other people, even without them realising it; while on the Astral Plane, he’s also able to modify it at will (a power accessible only to a very few individuals), and, as long as he’s able to reach it, he’s virtually immortal. An enormous power granted to a totally evil and malevolent creature, this psychic parasite inhabits body and mind of the most powerful telepaths alive, the only ones able to contain his strenght without succumbing to it: a hidden evil, the Shadow King truly is the shadow casted by humanity’s consciousness since its very dawn…

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