He is Legion: The powerful personalities of David Haller

Contributed by
Feb 7, 2017

You may have heard of a little show called Legion premiering this week — and if you're anything like me, you're stupidly excited for it. The guy who did Fargo let loose in the world of the X-Men on FX? Yes. Please.

But if you still need another reason to watch, consider the fact that the show's protagonist, David Haller (played on the show by Dan Stevens), is one of the most fascinating characters in all of mutant-dom. The son of the X-Men's leader, Professor Charles Xavier, Haller is also known as Legion — though he doesn't like to be called that — due to the countless personalities taking up residence in his head, each with their own superpower. This makes David one of the most powerful and unpredictable characters in all of Marvel Comics.

(Art by Jorge Molina)

From his debut in 1985’s New Mutants #25, by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, through his apparent death in the pages of X-Men Legacy in 2014, Legion has had personalities that have multiplied and become more and more outlandish and powerful. This has led to Legion losing control of his powers — and even having personalities go rogue — on occasion, and trying various methods of asserting his control over his mental multitudes. His most recent attempt saw him create a jail in his mind called the Qortex Complex in which he housed the entities, whom he'd drag out when he had use for them.

It's unclear how much of the existing mythology Noah Hawley will be drawing from for the television version, but regardless the impending premiere presents a perfect opportunity to look back at the many personalities and powers that Legion has exhibited over the years. With powers ranging from telepathy to toxic spores, and with names like Kirbax the Kraklar, Endgame and Sally, the possible personalities that Legion may unleash on the screen are endless.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)

Read on to learn more about some of the biggest and most bizarre baddies to call David Haller's cranium home, and let us know in the comments below what personalities you hope to see in FX's Legion.

 

JEMAIL KARAMI

David Haller’s powers first manifested themselves when he was only a child and caught in the middle of a terrorist attack. Everyone around him was killed, including his mother's partner, and in retaliation he absorbed the mind of the attackers' leader, Jemail Karami, into his own. This personality gave him the power of telepathy, which he unleashed upon the terrorists, destroying all of their minds.

(Art by Bill Sienkiewicz)

 

JACK WAYNE

The first personality David created on his own was a machismo-filled adventurer named Jack Wayne. He is one of Legion's most recurring and assertive personalities, having plagued his father and the New Mutants with him on multiple occasions. Jack granted David the power of telekinesis.

(Art by Bill Sienkiewicz)

 

CYNDI

One of Haller's most hot-headed and rebellious personalities is Cyndi. She has pyrokinesis and also has the hots for the language-learning New Mutant Cypher.

(Art by Bill Sienkiewicz)

 

SALLY

Sally appears to Legion in his head as a large but timid woman. But when she was egged on by Jack Wayne when he'd gained control of Legion's body, she let her angry side out, granting Hulk-like strength and stature to Legion in his fight against Sunspot and Cannonball.

(Art by Diogenes Neves)

 

MOIRA MacTAGGERT

Occasionally over-ambitious mad scientist Dr. Nemesis attempted to cure Legion's mental disorder at one point, and it didn't go well. It caused a new personality to emerge in his psyche that took the form of another scientist, Moira MacTaggert, who'd shown him compassion and tried to heal him years earlier. She was revealed to have reality-altering powers, which she used to change the entire world into a bleak new reality known as the Age of X where mutants were hunted nearly to extinction and Legion was renowned as a hero. Professor X was eventually able to break free and reveal the truth to his son, who re-absorbed Moira into himself and changed the world back to normal. But not without a cost.

(Art by Steve Kurth)

 

DELPHIC

Following the events of Age of X, Dr. Nemesis decided to try control in lieu of a cure and gave Haller a watch that allowed him to access his powers one at a time by number. They were alarmed to find out that there were six of them that David was unable to access at all. These personalities had escaped, but they didn't know which ones they were. To find out, they turned to the all-knowing Delphic, Legion's omniscient personality.

(Art by Rafa Sandoval)

 

TIME-SINK

The first of the rogue personalities that Legion and the X-Men tracked down was the time-traveling Time-Sink. He'd already claimed several victims in Spain and gave Legion a run for his money before he was finally taken down by a psychic attack from Professor X and a surprise power drain from Rogue.

(Art by Khoi Pham)

 

CHAIN

Rogue and Magneto (he was a good-ish guy at the time) tracked the next runaway to Piccadilly Circus in London, where they were met by an entire city's worth of opposition. As Legion explained to them, the personality known as Chain "spreads like a virus, turning anyone he touches into a copy of him." Sort of like a contagious Multiple Man (or Agent Smith in the second and third Matrix movies).

(Art by Khoi Pham)

 

SUSAN IN SUNSHINE

Elsewhere in London, Frenzy and Gambit became very confused when a fierce argument ends in a make-out session. They quickly find that it was the work of Susan, one of Legion's personalities who looks like a little girl and can amplify and feed on emotion ... and turn it into blasts of energy.

(Art by Khoi Pham)

 

THE BLEEDING IMAGE

Rogue met the next personality in Paris and was given a rather painful introduction. The Bleeding Image is a masochistic personality of Legion's who makes others feel his own pain. He stabbed himself in the shoulder and then blew himself up and directed it all at the untouchable X-Men member, putting her out of commission.

(Art by Khoi Pham)

 

STYX

The personality masterminding the escape from Legion and their resistance against the X-Men was one of David's most fearful and powerful. A self-styled "lord of the underworld," Styx took up residence in the Parisian catacombs, where he used his powers of illusion, mass mind-control, soul absorption and control of insects to test the sanity of the X-Men.

(Art by Khoi Pham)

 

ENDGAME

The aptly-named Endgame was the last of the escaped personalities that Styx threw at Legion and the X-Men. He's a massive automaton that constantly adapts to the powers of his foes in a way reminiscent of the Super-Adaptoid or DC's Amazo. He is ominously marked by the words terminus est, Latin for This is the End.

(Art by Khoi Pham)

 

KSENIA NADEJDA PANOV

Ksenia Nadejda Panov is a pompous Russian heir who gives Legion the power of ionic scalpels, which he used to help remove a tumor from the mind of Mr. Zardu, a retired and forgotten psychic superhero. However, after doing so, Ksenia briefly managed to gain control of Legion and attacked his teacher.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)

 

TYRRANIX THE ABOMINOID

When Charles Xavier died at the hands of a Phoenix Force-crazed Cyclops, the psychic shock made the walls of Legion's psychic prison crumble, making his mind a free-for-all. The first personality that David managed to regain control over again was the Cthulhu-looking Tyrranix, who granted him the power of telepathy. He was a regular choice for Legion as he regained control over his subconscious mind.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)

 

MAX KELVIN

There's not a whole lot to say about Max Kelvin other than to just repeat how David describes him: a crotchety old man that gives him the power of "fiery plasma explodo whooshiness." Which is hilarious.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)

 

THE ORIGAMIST

This personality is one Legion's most powerful, and he appears as a towering sumo wrestler. He has the ability to fold space and reality at will, as if it were — as his name suggests — origami paper.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)

 

KIRBAX THE KRAKLAR

Even David Haller doesn't really know what Kirbax the Kraklar's power of "protonic cascade" does, and neither do I. But I do know his name is a reference to the artistic technique of drawing cosmic energy with the negative space between black dots that was made famous by X-Men co-creator Jack Kirby, known as "Kirby crackle."

Just don't ask me to explain Non-Newtonian Annie's power of "zero-tau nullskin." No clue what that one's about.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)

 

GESTALT

After a rather convoluted series of events (that I couldn't possibly do justice to here but you should absolutely read about in Simon Spurrier's brilliant Legion-starring run on X-Men Legacy), David Haller managed to briefly get his mental act together and attempted to merge all of his personalities into one all-powerful being. Not fond of the name 'Legion' — and not thinking it appropriate after unifying most of his disparate mental parts — he called himself Gestalt, after the psychological principle of a whole being more than its parts.

(Art by Tan Eng Huat)