X-Men Legacy: Inside and Out

X-Men Legacy: Inside and Out

X-Men Legacy #1 preview page by Tan Eng Huat

By Paul Montgomery

David Haller didn’t enjoy the best of childhoods.

He never once tossed a ball around with the old man. His father, so perceptive and nurturing, saw the lad as just another blip on Cerebro. Capable of a potent telekinetic power-set, David became overwhelmed by the fireworks going off in his head. He could’ve used some fatherly advice.

But by the time Charles Xavier did find out about young David, he had already taken on the task of shepherding all of mutantkind toward prosperity. As for David, the signal to noise ratio rarely dialed in to his favor, and the world suffered for it. Hardly the psionic scion to realize Xavier’s dream of a brighter tomorrow, the young man could barely get through the day.

Recently, Charles Xavier died, murdered by his trusted protégé Scott Summers. The son he never had.

On November 14, David Haller will assume his father’s mantle in the pages of X-MEN LEGACY. But will the prodigal son of Professor X manage to tune out the voices in his head? Will the troubled personalities who crowd his consciousness rise up as allies or stand as obstacles in his path?

We spoke to writer Si Spurrier about what he and artist Tan Eng Huat have in store for the mutant known as Legion and his struggles in the world at large and—within.

Marvel.com: To what extent is David living in his own little world? How will readers experience that?

X-Men Legacy #1 preview page by Tan Eng Huat

Si Spurrier: Is he living in his own world? Yeah, to an extent. I mean, in the literal sense he’s out and about on his own, away from the X-nest, wandering the globe; trying to fix his unreliable brain—and the world—in a variety of strange places. He’s always had the vibe of a lonely guy—there’s simply nobody else out with his power set or his particular problems—and now that his dad’s dead that disconnect is especially poignant. But he’s a tough cookie beneath all the layers of doubt and guilt, and whatever the dark corners of the world throw at him he’s determined to face them down and turn them to his advantage. Particularly because he knows that pretty soon he’s gonna be getting a visit from his Dad’s spandex-wearing pupils, who aren’t best pleased at the notion of an Omega-level liability walking the earth without supervision.

But, that’s not what you’re getting at, is it? You’re talking about his unique—shall we say—“mental landscape.”

Marvel.com: His imagi-nation. His happy place. Dave’s World.

Si Spurrier: Sure. David’s particular problem has always manifested itself as a host of contradictory, sometimes violent and often uncontrollable rogue personalities squabbling inside his head, each of whom represents a particular mutant power, and each of whom wants nothing more than to control “the host.” That’s a cool setup, but it risks detracting from David’s own sense of identity as a character, and it’s frankly rather difficult to express in a visually exciting and non-waffly way. So one of the biggest challenges with [X-MEN LEGACY] was to find a solution whereby David gets to be his own guy, facing problems and obstacles out in the real world, whilst simultaneously facing the problems in his own head. Creating, to use your phrase, “his own little world”—a conceptual realm allowing him to visualize and rationalize his particular problem—is part of that. I think people are going to be pretty surprised about how he’s chosen to go about it.

X-Men Legacy #1 preview page by Tan Eng Huat

Marvel.com: So, David’s running the place and those other personalities are taking a back seat for a while?

Si Spurrier: They’re still very much a part of his story, it’s just that we wanted to deal with them in a way which isn’t silly, doesn’t make light of David’s unique dilemma, and above all makes all those frothing rival egos an inherent part of David rather than somehow distinct or autonomous.

Marvel.com: How does the loss of his father affect David? How complicated is their relationship?

Si Spurrier: It’s always been pretty complicated, but no more than anyone could reasonably imagine, given David’s situation. This poor kid has spent most of his life in an induced coma because he’s simply too powerful to control himself. He’s caused untold collateral damage by mistake. And yet his dad is this shining beacon of hope and intelligence; the nearest thing mutantkind ever had to a saint. And Xavier’s role—his work, his message, his “dream”— consumed the man’s life; so even while Charlie was alive, you can imagine how conflicted David would’ve been about it all. Part of him craves his dad’s approval, wants so much to make up for his own flaws, to impress this lauded man, to become a part of “the mutant dream” rather than a messy exception to the rule. But another part of him, I imagine, would’ve been desperate to simply have a dad who loves him and spends time with him, rather than a man so obsessed by his social dream that he barely has time for emotional relationships. Lately we’ve seen Xavier trying to be the dad David’s always needed. Too little too late? That’s a good question. Whatever the answer, it’s a classic thing among the kids of civil leaders, activists and freedom fighters: the cost of supporting their parents’ dogma is often surrendering any hope of a normal parent/child bond.

X-Men Legacy #1 preview page by Tan Eng Huat

So: Complex, fertile, but very-easy-to-relate-to ground.

And then Charles goes and gets himself killed, and what’s left for David? Suddenly all this unresolved stuff in his mind has no hope—so he thinks—of achieving closure. As it happens one of the recurring themes throughout LEGACY is David’s attempt to achieve precisely that; in other words to work out how he’s going to respond to a world which no longer contains his father. Does he step up to become his dad’s successor, or does he go in completely the other direction? His choices aren’t always what you might expect.

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