Welcome back to X-ual Healing, the weekly recap column where we obsessively read every X-Men and X-Men-adjacent comic that Marvel publishes, tell you what happens, provide additional context where necessary, and examine whether the comic makes good use of the long and convoluted history of the X-Men by referencing it in a way that’s accessible to new readers, because we here at X-ual Healing love the X-Men, and we want everyone else to love them too.
The X-Men are returning to their rightful place of prominence after a decade of insults and neglect by a Marvel editorial that feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, which means it’s finally time for X-fans to enjoy some…
If you need to know more on the premise of this column, check out the longer explanation here.
Now, let’s dive right into…
LEGION #4 (OF 5)
PETER MILLIGAN (W)
WILFREDO TORRES (A)
Cover by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ
Hannah Jones’ defenseless body is threatened by Lord Trauma’s metallic sentinel!
Meanwhile, inside the fractured mind of David Haller, A.K.A. LEGION, Hannah must persuade the powerful Alter known as Hunter to help her defeat the evil alternative personality.
But a new and perhaps more terrifying danger awaits Hannah as Lord Trauma digs out a monstrous creature from her own dark past…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
The penultimate chapter of this Legion mini-series picks up with celebrity psychologist Doctor Hannah Jones inside the mindscape of David Haller, otherwise known as Legion, held at gunpoint by Hunter, the “alter” — that’s an alternate personality that lives inside Legion’s head and controls one of his many powers — who replaced Jack Wayne after he was killed by the tattooed and shirtless villain, Lord Trauma, another personality that’s been killing off the others and turning them into his minions. Jones goads Hunter by insulting his toxic masculinity, accusing him of being scared and unable to fill Wayne’s shoes. If he’s really so tough, why doesn’t he help her take down Lord Trauma? He takes the bait…
Outside the mindscape, in the real world, Lord Trauma’s psychic manifestation is trying to kill Jones, in a coma while her psychic self is in David’s head. David intervenes, but Trauma swats him away. David calls upon the powers of his alters — Joe fury, Hunter, the Exorcist, and Zari Zap — but even together they’re no match for Lord Trauma, who has over a million likes on his MySpace page. During their scuffle, a piece of shrapnel cuts Hannah’s face.
Back in the mindscape, she feels the wound. Even worse, the attack on David causes an earthquake. Darkness begins to creep across the sky, reminiscent of the time David almost died during the Muir Island Saga back in Uncanny X-Men #278-280 and X-Factor #69-70, as an editorial caption helpfully points out. The alters decide that Tami, the alter who’s been guiding Hannah around the mindscape since she first appeared there, has the best shot of helping Hannah get back to the real world so she can intervene. Dr. Jones calls on her psychology to convince Tami to help…
Tami agrees, and Hannah enters the real world in time to see David getting his ass kicked. Hannah’s big play is to try to encourage David, but that doesn’t work because Lord Trauma has just beaten him unconscious. Trauma taunts Hannah for being bad at her job, so she decides to psychoanalyze him. She explains that if he kills David, he won’t be able to exist. She calls it “a desire for self-annihilation,” quoting Freud. Because Lord Trauma was “born of trauma” — again, the Muir Island Saga, which was so traumatic because it was one of the last X-Men stories written by Chris Claremont before the foolish Bob Harras ended his legendary run through epic mismanagement and helped send Marvel spiraling down the path toward bankruptcy — he wishes to die.
Trauma is distracted and deeply affected by Hannah’s diagnosis. David is able to defeat him, but Hannah says the real treatment hasn’t even started yet. Back in the mindscape, Lord Trauma returns to his dumb tattooed body with a headache. Trauma tells his minions, all alters that he destroyed and turned into blue-skinned goons, that he recognized trauma beneath Hannah’s cool exterior during their encounter. He’s going to use that against her.
Outside, Hannah is rallying the alters to invade Lord Trauma’s base, Trauma Hall. It gets off to a rocky start, with the alters all fighting, but Hunter eventually threatens them into submission. In the real world, doctors tend to Hannah’s body while David levitates outside the hospital window, watching. Trauma manifests his face on top of a bird and tells David that he’s going to take care of Hannah inside his mind. David warns Hannah, but she marches toward the final confrontation anyway, alters at her side.
Inside Trauma Hall, Hannah and the alters confront Lord Trauma…
…but he disappears after doing something to Hannah’s mind. At that moment, Team Hannah is confronted by… a giant walking baby doll wielding a pair of scissors, which Hannah names as her “Bessie doll.” What’s this about? We’ll find out next issue.
While the story being told in this comic is good, it feels tame compared to past Legion stories. What doesn’t help is how lame Lord Trauma is as a villain, a point we just can’t get over. He looks like he would be defeated by forcing him to take a shower and taking away his Nine Inch Nails CDs. For all we know, that’s exactly how this story will conclude next issue. We’ll find out, we suppose.
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