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May 26

Legion of X #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers to by the digital edition.

LEGION OF X #1
“Do What Thou Wilt”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

LEGION OF X is the relaunch of Way of X (or, if you prefer, Way of X was the prequel which did the set-up for this book).

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, that’s Legion and Juggernaut in the background, Nightcrawler at the front, and Pixie with the wings (who isn’t really in this issue, but was a recurring character in Way of X). The woman with the techno-stuff on her head is Weaponless Zsen, who’s introduced in this issue.

PAGE 2. Legion’s opening monologue.

Legion is addressing Blindfold, but we’ll come back to that. He’s also helpfully recapping Way of X for anyone new (like Blindfold). The opening panel seems like a meta nod to the season break since the last arc, too.

The Altar was introduced in Way of X and Legion’s explanation of it here is about as clear as anything else we’ve had in the past. Legion talks it up as a mutant dimension and then kind of backs off from that – we don’t entirely have a sense yet of how many mutants are using the Altar, or what kind of people they are. Broadly speaking, it seems to function as a hub of mutant culture with therapeutic overtones. Using it as the base for the Legion of X is slightly at odds with that – or maybe not, given that Kurt sees it as an essential part of a nation-building project, and as rehabilitative to boot.

The Station is new, but it was set up in X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation (which was effectively the final issue of Way of X). In the epilogue of that issue, Legion describes them as “mutant cops, with my brain as the precinct”. Nightcrawler replies that “it’s not police. We must defend what unites us, not punish the growing pains.” One of the themes here is whether the Legionaries are an alternative to a police force, or simply a different kind of police force – the book is plainly drawing on police procedural tropes – and generally how Krakoan society deals with criminals and troublemakers. Legion describes the Station as “what Nightcrawler needed [the Altar] to be”, and maybe there’s an element here of Kurt wanting to impose order on chaos. It certainly looks a bit non-psychedelic by the Altar’s standards.

In Revelation, Nightcrawler was expecting his Legion to be poorly received by the Quiet Council, but they seem to have some quasi-official status here – certainly Ora Serrata recognises Kurt as Krakoa’s chief policeman.

PAGE 3. Nightcrawler briefs the Legionaries.

Nightcrawler is doing his station commander routine. We’ll see the first three assignments that he mentions later in the issue, so we’ll come back to them. “Possession with intent” is a genre trope pun, as we’ll see.

Fabian Cortez is now standing as Nightcrawler’s right-hand man; he only gets one line of dialogue in this issue, but clearly his turn into a productive citizen in Way of X has stuck.

Xabi is ForgetMeNot, who debuted in X-Men: Legacy #300, and has the rather unwelcome power to be instantly forgotten by anyone who isn’t directly looking at him at the time. Originally he was a joke character – the idea being that he had been in the X-Men all along and you don’t remember. You can decide for yourself how literally you want to take that as part of his back story. Forge has apparently created some devices to shield people from the effects of this power, which would make it possible for the poor guy to finally develop some ongoing relationships with people. His real name, “Xabi”, is given for the first time here. It’s probably short for “Xabier”, which is a Basque form of “Xavier”. Hmm.

The Omega House. One of the collective homes in the Akademos Habitat. Nightcrawler talks about it here as being the home of some generic kids. Back in New Mutants vol 4 #3, the occupants of Omega House were listed simply as “redacted”.

The Legionaries in the audience are mostly recognisable. From left to right in panel 1:

  • On the very far left we can see the helmet of Zorn.
  • The elongated woman with the black and red hair is Lost, a major character from Way of X.
  • In the bottom left is Maggott, with either Eeny or Meeny in hand.
  • Gorgon is leaning against a wall. Remember, he was mentally rebooted after “X of Swords”, so he’s not a Satanist Nazi any more.
  • Pixie, another major character from Way of X.
  • Chamber, with the strapping around his mouth.
  • Dr Nemesis, with the strange fungal hair.
  • Xorn, the other one, with his head on fire.
  • And a couple of unrecognisable people with their backs to us in shadow.

It’s maybe worth pointing out that Legion himself is not apparently part of the Legion.

PAGES 4-6. Legion and Blindfold are reunited.

Blindfold was Legion’s girlfriend in Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy run. She died by suicide in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #11. She’s only just been resurrected because of the ban on resurrecting precogs, which was in place until Inferno, at Moira MacTaggert’s insistence (but also apparently because of a fear on Xavier and Magneto’s part of what a precog might see in the future of Krakoa). Blindfold says that the Five told her that the ban has just been lifted; the ban wasn’t public knowledge on Krakoa and it’s not clear whether the Five actually knew about it at the time, or whether they were just working through the list in the order it was given to them.

The Qortex Complex, as a home for Legion’s other personalities, comes from X-Men Legacy vol 2 #2-3.

PAGE 7. Recap and credits. The title, “Do What Thou Wilt”, and the recap headline “The whole of the law”, are part of the credo of the mystic Alastair Crowley (1875-1947).

The small print just reads “Legion of X – The Altar X”.

PAGE 8. Data page – the three laws with Nightcrawler’s interpretation, plus a bit on Nightcrawler’s philosophy of semi-reckless experimentation. Much of this is recapping the views Nightcrawler reached about the laws in Way of X. In particular, “respect this sacred land” is very broadly construed by making the “land” a political rather than geographical concept, allowing the rule to become a very broad edict of social responsibility.

The obvious issue with these laws is that (aside from the one about murder) they’re really more in the nature of underlying principles. Basic jurisprudence would say that good laws strike a balance between flexibility and predictability – and Krakoa’s three laws fail spectacularly on that account. Kurt might well respond that it’s a country which has only been around for a few months and practice will be become clearer over time.

PAGES 9-11. Nightcrawler is introduced to Ora Serrata.

Storm’s comments about Arakko’s “surprisingly nuanced culture” fit in with the work being down in X-Men Red to flesh them out a bit. Since Legion is generally based on Mars, Arakko is apparently going to play a part in this book too.

Storm’s costume places this before X-Men Red #1.

Ora Serrata has been mentioned before, as has her role in the “chair of law”, but this is the first time we’ve actually seen her. (She was conspicuously absent from the Great Ring meeting seen in S.W.O.R.D. #8, and she’s just plain missing in X-Men Red #1.) Basically, Arakko’s justice system boils down to a system of challenges (usually but not necessarily combat), with refusal to participate being punishable by death. In the real world, the supposed logic of trial by combat was meant to be that God would intervene to dictate the winner, but that doesn’t seem to be the thinking here, given the Arakkii attitude to gods.

PAGES 12-15. ForgetMeNot and Juggernaut deal with Paulie DiCosta.

Pretty straightforward, though the wisdom of sending ForgetMeNot to have a conversation with someone who keeps forgetting he’s there must be a bit debatable. Krakoa doesn’t do extradition – we’ve seen repeatedly that they regard themselves as above human justice whatever the charge. ForgetMeNot is duly following the Legion of X philosophy here: rehabilitation rather than punishment, but it’s going to be compulsory. The alternative on Krakoa, of course, is just to stick the guy in the Pit. Interesting that Spurrier chooses to start us off with such a signally unsympathetic character, though.

Seems a bit odd that Juggernaut knew to follow ForgetMeNot’s order but doesn’t recognise him at the end of the scene. Maybe he was given something to keep reading so that he’d remember what was going on.

We’ll come back to what Cain is doing here.

PAGES 16-18. Lost and Pixie in the Healing Gardens.

Spike. This guy is a minor background character from the Morrison run. His big moment is in New X-Men vol 1 #134, when he actually gets a few lines of dialogue and talks to Quentin Quire.

Lost seems to have got control of her powers now, and is no longer causing everyone around her to feel nauseous due to the gravity distortions.

Rockslide died in Otherworld in “X of Swords” and was resurrected as a blank slate; his storyline was a subplot in X-Factor and got lost in the shuffle when that book was cancelled. Apparently we’re picking it up here. Note that the opening scene set up the kids as “graffitiing” Rockslide, but Spike seems pretty emphatic that they were cheering him up.

The others who are accompanying Spike in his flashback are Glob Herman and two minor characters from New MutantsBrutha Nature and (I think) Cam Long.

PAGES 19-24. The Arakkii summon up a god to fight.

All these arena characters are new, though Zsen is obviously going to be a major character in the series.

Ora Serrata’s explanation of the history is a bit confusing: she claims that since anarchy is inconsistent with effective war, “[a]t such times, all Arakkii defer to the Chair of Law”. But… how can there be anarchy and deference to the Chair of Law at the same time? At any rate, her predecessor’s solution was to summon up god-like beings to try and create social unity, and they were useless. Apparently there are some religious groups on Arakko, but it’s regarded as a crime – or rather, worship is regarded as a crime, rather than simply acknowledging the existence of a god, which appears to be okay. There are weird echoes in all this of Kurt’s attempts to find a quasi-religious hook for social unity in Way of X.

For reasons which are not entirely clear, the Arakkii have had a big upsurge in godly manifestations since arriving on Earth / Mars – the suggestion seems to be that these are low-end deities casting about for potential worshippers. Anyway, Nightcrawler’s job is to locate a stray trickster god who has escaped all this.

PAGES 25-27. Legion crashes the Quiet Council.

If Legion’s been at the top of Olympus Mons for “six months” then we’re apparently running in publication time.

For some reason only about half the Quiet Council are present. Hope is there, so it’s after Immortal X-Men #1-2.

Magus. Warlock’s father was last seen in All-New X-Factor, I think. We haven’t seen him in a while. In Blindfold’s vision, he seems to be surrounded by other technarchs. Quite why Nimrod would want to kill him is less clear, since they’re both machine life – but if we’ve sticking with Hickman’s cosmology, the technarch are part of the evolution of machine life, and presumably this is something to do with Nimrod aiming to ascend himself.

Legion is obviously right to want to tell Warlock in person what he’s seen, but it’s not so obvious that he couldn’t wait until the end of the meeting – he’s doing this at least in part to make a dig at Xavier, which of course helps to establish the relationship for newcomers.

PAGES 28-30. Nightcrawler and Zsen talk.

Nightcrawler. A nightcrawler is indeed a worm. The bit about Nightcrawler’s priestly training being a “crazy illusion” refers to a notoriously inane storyline from Chuck Austen’s run on Uncanny X-Men in which the Church of Humanity were going to install Nightcrawler as Pope and stage a false Rapture in order to topple the Catholic Church. As part of this, Nightcrawler’s priestly training wound up being retconned into some sort of fake in Uncanny #423-424.

Zsen. Zsen has no “weapons” because her mutant powers have no military use. She says that her apparently cybernetic enhancements were given to her by the Vile – the group associated with Tarn, who we still don’t know much about. I think this is the first time we’ve seen it suggested that the Vile did something constructive for someone. But presumably they made some sort of contribution during all those years of war.

PAGES 31-32. The Legion gather back at the Station.

Switch is a seriously obscure character who was a member of the New Hellions, a minor revival of the Hellions team who appeared in X-Force #87-90 back in 1998. I don’t think he’s been seen since.

Juggernaut thinks he was assigned to the team by Professor X, and clearly attaches some pride to that; we don’t get to see how he reacts to the news that it was Nightcrawler who wanted him here. Professor X did invite Juggernaut to come to Krakoa – in X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #20 – though that story ended with Juggernaut saying that he wanted to bring down the Warden’s backers first. Either he’s dealt with that off panel, or he’s parked that mission for now.

PAGES 33-34. Mother Righteous debuts.

This is a new character – she could of course be the escaped trickster god.

PAGE 35. Trailers.

 

 

Bring on the comments

  1. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    No, current story arc of X-Men Unlimited.

  2. Devin says:

    I love that we’re finally picking up on that mistaken-resurrection plot thread. I’m glad it’s about one of the less-famous mutants, too. It’s exactly what I want from the X-Men infinity comics. No offense to Wolverine and Deadpool, but the infinity comic fits the “civilian” mutants a lot better.

  3. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Yes, but they don’t make it about Maggot, they make it about Meany… or Eany… one of them slugs… Which doesn’t carry the weight it would if they duplicated a person.

  4. Mike Loughlin says:

    Wow, I had no idea that was going on. In away, they could be testing the still-alive-but-resurrected plot on an animal before human trials are approved, a la consumer products…

  5. SanityOrMadness says:

    Actually, it’s especially bizarre to use the plot on one of Maggot’s maggots when he gets killed “now” because, when he originally was killed off in Tieri’s Weapon X, didn’t one of his maggots survive because he gave it to a kid? Shouldn’t this *already* have been a problem if it was going to be one?

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