Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Legion Lost part III: Sole Soul Survivors

In the third and final installment of Legion Lost, the New Mutants and professor Xavier finally come face to face with 'the Arab', supposedly controlling the mind of David Haller, better known as the mega powerful mutant Legion... who also happens to be Xavier's son.

After surviving inside David's wartorn mind, Xavier and his students finally took to the offense in New Mutants # 28, by taking the fight to the  Arab who was living inside the big, black dome that kept on growing and growing. 

According to Jack Wayne and Cyndi, split personalities of David who controlled his telekinesis and pyrokinesis respectively, the Arab was using his control over David's telepathic gifts to influence the young boy in a sneaky attempt to completely take over his mind. That's why professor Xavier was determined to stop him, with lethal force if necessary.

But, how does one penetrate a seemingly impenetrable object? Well, as Douglas Ramsey points out by referencing an old Star Trek episode, and the Vulcan scholar Kiri-Kin-Tha from that same franchise was fond of stating as well: "Nothing unreal exists".

"Thing is, the phasers worked all along. 
It's just that the villains, who were telepaths, wouldn't let the crew see that."

Once inside, Charles Xavier realises Jack Wayne might not have been too truthful about what 'the Arab' had been doing... For one thing, it seemed many of young David's damaged memories had been carefully repaired, giving the boy small fragments of his sanity back. In effect, his ever increasing mental health might be the big black dome that was slowly taking over the ruined mindscape outside. 

So the Arab... Or Jemail Karami as his real name turned out to be... was actually helping him. Karami was part of a Palestinian death squad that attacked David and his mother Gabrielle, killing his foster father David Shomron in the initial assault.

The shock of witnessing this triggered David's vast telepathic powers and he absorbed Jemail's mind into his own, shattering the lad's psyche in the process. But during the time inside David's head, Jemail got a new perspective on the world, renounced his violent ways, and actively tried to repair the damage he had caused...

Which was something Jack Wayne, as a splinter personality, wasn't too pleased with... If Karami cures David, there'd be no more Jack. That was reason enough for Jack to trick Xavier and the others to get him close enough to Jemail to do just that.

The moment he got within striking distance, Jack attacked...knocking out Jemail, Charles and several of the New Mutants. Luckily, Moonstar was on hand to revive Jemail using a subtle form of mind control....

"She reaches out with her psi-talent... praying to the great spirit and her Cheyenne ancestors for help as she uses her power to draw upon Jemail's happy memories to calm and revive him."

With Jemail restored to normal, the different aspects inside David Haller's head finally have a heart to heart. Neither of them can actually leave the boy's mind, that's why they decide to make the best of it and work together in David's best interest... But that's something Charles Xavier didn't realise until he woke up from the coma Jack's assault blasted him into... A good two weeks later.

So, after all this time, Charles finally gets to properly meets his son David. But while Jemail did his best to mend the boy's mental state of mind, part of the 'peace treaty' negotiated by Dani meant that he still wasn't all there. In fact, splinter personalities Jack Wayne and Cyndi were now openly fighting for 'air time'...

"Forgive me, professor. I lacked the strength and knowledge to deal with these psi-selves"

But at least David was communicating again... And father and son had an emotional, heart felt first meeting that also doubled as a reunion in a way. After al, they'd already met back in Haller's own head. At the close of the issue, Charles made a very poignant promise to his son...

"You have my word... I'll never lose you!"

Well, if you can't trust your father, really... who *can* you trust?

Anyhoo, a month later Secret Wars II kicked off and Charles was too preoccupied with the Beyonder to really notice the plight of his son. And by the time the Beyonder left, Xavier had pretty much signed his own death warrant by pushing himself too hard for too long, collapsing in Paris during Magneto's trial (where Gabrielle Haller was present too, who was watching Legion?)
Still, that's why, a short six months after the touching father and child reunion, we get to Uncanny X-men # 200 and this particular scene...

"And we'll never know... if you don't... try!"

Words to live by, Charlie... even if you were in the middle of a fatal heart attack at the time. Unfortunately, after Lilandra and the Starjammers used their advanced alien medical technology to save him, circumstances made it impossible for Charles to return to his son... A boy he never told Lilandra about on panel to begin with...

Xavier remained in space for most of the 80s, only returning to Earth when the X-men told him about the rise of his old enemy the Shadow King...who by then had taken over his son's mind... After Moira MacTaggert forced him in Uncanny X-men # 259  to use Cerebro in an attempt to locate the missing X-men...

"My head... it hurts it HURTS!"

Yeah... If only Xavier had been around to train his very vulnerable telepathic son. The Shadow King took control of the boy and he became the focal point of Claremont's final story arc during his initial X-men run: the Muir Island saga. In the end, the Shadow King possessed David Haller's body and father and son were forced to fight. Charles won, driving the King from his son's mind, but he was crippled in the process.

Still, one has to wonder if things would have turned out differently if Xavier had remained on Earth. For instance, if Charles had been a presence in Legion's life all the way through the modern day, would he have been able to provide a lasting impact?

"In mercy's name, cease fir...*"

Probably not.

And let's not forget what other writers did to Legion after Chris left. Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza used poor David as the impetus for the wildy succesful 1995 crossover Age of Apocalypse. The lonely, hurt young boy woke up one day and figured out why his father was never there: Magneto.

If Magneto never rose to power, his father's dream of mutants and humans coexisting peacefully would come true and 'daddy' would spend more time. David used his latent temporal powers to travel back to 1950s Israel, where Xavier and Magneto first met. He also ran into his mom and this disturbing scene happened...  


Those glowing eyes are usually a dead give away mind control is in play... Because this is what Gaby saw...

"Don't call me Charles... Not tonight..."

Urgh, talk about oedipal complex... A son sleeping with his own mother, who he mindcontrols into believing he's in fact his father. But hey, let's not claim comics are formulaic, it's not like the son would plan to kill his father... Right?


Well, not unless your father happens to jump in front of the psychic knife you were planning to kill Magneto with... Xavier's death caused the Age of Apocalypse... way to parent, Charlie.

But hey, back in 2012, Xavier got yet another chance to prove himself as a parent when he went off with Legion to teach his son what he needed to know... And right in the middle of that, the Avengers versus X-men crossover went down...

"Father... make it stop..."

Xavier did indeed try and make it stop, by forcing former star pupile Cyclops and the other members of the 'Phoenix Five'  to stand down. An enraged Cyclops finally incinerated Charles, killing the professor and forcing his son to grow up...Legion did just that, scoring the lead in the recently relaunced X-men Legacy. 

And whát a legacy indeed...

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