Welcome to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly column that answers the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?” This week there are four X-Books on the stands, which will cost you a total of $17 to buy and take roughly eight minutes to read. If that seems like a waste of time and money, you can keep your money by reading our recaps for free. We make no promises about the use of your time, however.
This week, we’ve got Phoenix: Resurrection #4, X-Men Blue #20, X-Men Blue Annual #1, and Legion #1. Time to wrap things up with Legion #1.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Colorist: Dan Brown
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Capitalizing on the success of the TV show several months late, Legion is a mini-series starring David Haller, the son of Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. David is a powerful mutant with dissociative personality disorder — in other words, multiple personalities — and each personality has access to unique superpowers.
The book starts out with David traveling somewhere through Lancaster, PA. He’s forgotten where he’s going though, and his powers seem to be causing a local weather disturbance. A menacing entity is after Legion, possibly one of his own personalities, and he’s freaking out. Eventually, he passes out, and he’s picked up by an Amish couple and brought to a local hospital.
At the hospital, they try to analyze David’s brain waves, but the entity from before appears on the screen and terrorizes the hospital staff, forcing them to remember traumatic times in their lives until they’re rendered helpless. David wakes up, horrified by what he sees. He has a brief physical altercation with the entity, which has taken the form of a walking EEG machine, and eventually calls on the power of one of his personalities, Joe Fury, to fight back. Before being defeated, the entity tells David that David created it and that more people will be hurt unless he gives into whatever it wants.
Afterward, David remembers where he was going: New York City. He hitchhikes his way there, stopping at a hotel where some of his other personalities confront him over creating the evil entity. They imply that they’ll all be killed if David doesn’t do something. They also reveal the bad guy’s name, Lord Trauma, which sounds more like the name of a Reddit poster than a psychotic bad guy, though that’s splitting hairs if we’re being perfectly honest. David continues his journey, but Lord Trauma tells him he knows where David is going and will get there first.
In New York, celebrity psychologist Dr. Hannah Smith is treating her patient, a Glenn Danzig lookalike named Cliff King.
While Hannah is appearing on a TV talk show, David psychically projects his face over the host to warn her that Lord Trauma is coming for her. Naturally, she freaks out on TV. On the cab ride home. Lord Trauma attacks with a psychic tentacle coming out of the seat. Well, we assume that’s the case, but it is a New York City cab, so it might have just been something living in there. Hannah survives and makes it back to her apartment, where Lord Trauma attacks again by possessing a bust of Sigmund Freud. He offers to spare her if she refuses to treat David.
Hannah believes she’s hallucinating and tries to treat herself (a terrible idea), but the manifestations become more physical, forcing her to accept this is really happening. Suddenly, David arrives to pull her out of it and introduce himself. He needs her help. The issue ends on a cliffhanger.
The purpose of this mini-series is to cash in on the popularity of the TV show and is unlikely to have any lasting impact on anything, but for what it is, it’s decent enough. The book does a good job of introducing the characters and explaining the premise, not an easy feat for such a complicated character. In most cases, X-Men miniseries are fine but forgettable, and this isn’t likely to be any different, but sometimes that’s all you’re really looking for from a comic book. If you like David Haller, are a fan of the TV show, or obsessively buy every X-book published like we do, and you’re willing to commit $20 to read this over the next few months, more power to you.
Next week: All-New Wolverine, Cable, the final issue of Jean Grey, Old Man Logan, and the conclusion to Phoenix: Resurrection!