Welcome, dear readers, to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly multi-part recap column that strives to answer the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?”
It’s been a rough decade or so for X-Men fans. As part of Ike Perlmutter‘s feud with Fox over the Fantastic Four movie rights, Marvel’s greatest franchise has suffered many an indignity. Cyclops turned into a villain by writers and editors with a Wolverine fetish. The worst crossover of all time, Avengers vs. X-Men. A serious attempt to replace mutants with the Inhumans, thankfully killed by the god-awful Inhumans TV show. But that’s all over now… supposedly. With a Marvel/Fox deal on the horizon, the Fantastic Four can return, but more importantly, Marvel can give a crap about the X-Men again!
But will they?!
Each week, we aim to recap what happened in all of the X-books, make a few jokes, and struggle to survive the experience as we reckon our love for our favorite characters with what can often feel like a “quantity-over-quality” approach to comic booking.
LEGION #3 (OF 5)
PETER MILLIGAN (W)
WILFREDO TORRES (A)
Cover by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ
TRAUMA PART 3
• In order to protect Legion’s mind from Lord Trauma, an overwhelming dark personality, Dr. Hannah Jones must band the other personalities together and fight back!
• But the only way to rally everyone is to first recruit the biggest, baddest personality there is… You can call him RIDER.
• Will he accept?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Dr. Hannah Jones has been enlisted by David Haller, the mutant known as Legion, to help him combat Lord Trauma, a psychic villain who exists inside David’s head. Hannah has become trapped in Legion’s mind, and her physical body has been brought to a hospital. David is being escorted out of said hospital when he has a mental freakout.
Inside his brain, Hannah is hanging out with Tami, one of the other personalities in David’s head, when a paranoia storm hits. They run and Tami tells Hannah to ignore the paranoia. But Hannah is a (celebrity) psychologist, and she’s trained to listen. She suspects that the paranoia isn’t coming from David, but from Tami. She gives Tami some counseling and the storm goes away. However, they’re interrupted by an attack from the generic blue villains in loincloths who are the minions of Lord Trauma.
Back in the real world, the security guard who was escorting David out of the hospital wakes up, but David is gone. He’s gone back to Hannah’s room to watch over her. He explains to a doctor that Hannah is inside his head battling Lord Trauma. She suggests he should be in the psych ward.
Back inside David’s head, Tami and Hannah are running from Lord Trauma’s minions. Hannah asks Tami who the most powerful personality in David’s head is, and Tami says now that Jack Wayne is dead, it’s someone named Hunter, which is weird because the solicitation calls him “Rider.” Maybe his name is Hunter Rider? Rider Hunter? Hunter the Rider? Rider the Hunter? They’ll sort it out eventually. Hannah resolves to find him. Meanwhile, Lord Trauma, who looks like he should be the singer of a third rate Marilyn Manson cover band, uses X-pository dialogue and caption boxes to explain that his origin is the Muir Island Saga crossover from 1991.
As Hannah and Tami continue to travel through David’s mind, Hannah decides she needs to get David’s personalities to work together. By getting Hunter on their side, the other personalities will fall in line. Hannah was originally scared of Legion, but now she’s excited by the case (and the prospects of talking about it on television when she solves it).
They arrive at Hunter’s lair, where a bunch of other personalities are hiding out. Hunter isn’t there, but Lord Trauma’s blue minions have followed them. Hannah tries to get everyone to work together and make a stand, but everyone is too scared. Lord Trauma’s “alters” (alternate personalities) attack David’s alters, and that turns them into blue Lord Trauma alters. They do that to a nurse alter of David’s, and they’re about to attack Hannah and Tami when suddenly someone shoots them. It’s Hunter the Rider, wearing his signature… uh… Crocodile Dundee/scarf ensemble.
Hannah is glad for the rescue, fashion sense be damned, but Hunter turns his gun on her. Quickly, back in the real world, David is hanging out outside Hannah’s room. He needs to protect her while she’s inside his head saving him. Her agent, Larry McHenry, shows up. Back in David’s head, Hunter is still pointing his gun at Hannah. She tells him they need to team up and unite the alters against Lord Trauma. When he disagrees, she calls him a coward, playing on his toxic masculinity to manipulate him.
Back at Lord Trauma’s base, which is called Trauma Hall (of course it is), Lord Trauma decides he needs to pay a visit to the real world to stop Hannah. He does that, but David is waiting for him, not that it does much good. Trauma swats David away and heads into the room where Hannah is in a coma…
Legion is an adequate comic, but we can’t get over how lame Lord Trauma is. Why doesn’t he ever wear a shirt? He isn’t a professional wrestler or a male stripper. It messes with the dramatic tension is all we’re saying, because we assume he’s supposed to be scary, but all it would take to defeat him is to hide out in a 7-Eleven, where he won’t be allowed in because of the dress policy posted on the front door.