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Aug 6

Legion of X #4 annotations

Posted on Saturday, August 6, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

Cover of Legion of X #4LEGION OF X #4
“Pillow Talk”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer & production: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. Hmm. Well, that’s Nightcrawler and Zsen in the foreground. Standing over them are Mother Righteous in the middle (who doesn’t appear in this issue), Loki to the right, and… presumably another trickster god component on the left, though I don’t recognise him. And in the background is the silhouette of Galactus, which has nothing to do with the content of this issue at all. It’s quite an odd cover. The actual solicitation text seems perfectly consistent with the published issue, though.

PAGE 2. George Pérez obituary.

PAGE 3. Switch is rescued.

We’re not told who his rescuer is, though since he has purple skin and custom speech balloons, he should be pretty hard to miss.

Switch’s psyche was trapped in this jar last issue. Considering how important he is, it seems odd that Switch has been entrusted to Paulie diCosta, who has no experience in this field at all and doesn’t particularly want to be there himself.

PAGES 4-5. Kurt and Zsen on Krakoa.

Presumably this is Kurt’s home, complete with church-like windows.

The “screaming ghost” who rescued them in the Astral Plane at the end of the previous issue was Banshee, with the Ghost Rider power-up that he had been given by Mother Righteous. Despite being the cliffhanger of the previous issue, that thread doesn’t get any other mentions in this issue except for the data page.

Generally speaking, the discussion that Kurt and Zsen are having in the dialogue strikes me as overestimating the degree to which regular legal systems are based on the rigid application of rules as opposed to balancing competing principles.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits.

PAGES 7-9. Legion, Professor X and Juggernaut.

“Nightcrawler said you voted against me.” In issue #1. Juggernaut initially assumed that Professor X had endorsed his membership and took some pride in that.

“You go racing off on your latest redemptive rampage and flatten half the island. I’m told you didn’t even find the villain you were hunting.” In issue #3, when he was rescuing Pixie from the rogue god’s illusions. He did indeed cause a lot of collateral damage in the process.

No-Places were, as Legion says, hidden rooms within Krakoa where things could be done in secret; Moira lived in one while she was on the island, until being driven out in Inferno. Legion is not correct to say that they mask “all known sensors”, since we established in Inferno #3 that Cypher and Warlock had bugged Moira’s No-Place – but Legion apparently doesn’t know that. Professor X is worried about Legion revealing this information to Juggernaut, presumably because it’s tied in with the state secret of Moira’s involvement in the founding of Krakoa, which is known only to the members of the Quiet Council.

Magus. Legion told Warlock about Magus’s death in issue #1 (in a way that was very public and clearly intended to draw a parallel between their respective father figures, Magus and Professor X). Warlock seems to be acknowledging the parallel in their dysfunctional relationships, at the very least, here.

PAGE 10. Nightcrawler returns to the Altar.

In narration, Zsen sets out her objections to religious faith, which she basically perceives as a psychological crutch that prevents people from coming to terms with their own issues.

PAGES 11-13. Switch runs riot as Glob Herman.

Glob Herman is one of the regular background students from the period when the X-Men were running a school, who periodically gets a chance to come to the fore. Ed Brisson used him a lot, but since Brisson left, he’s drifted off the radar a bit.

Dr Nemesis has also been possessed by Switch briefly. I’m honestly not sure what he’s supposed to have done to the psychedelic mushrooms that were growing on Nemesis’s scalp. The art is hard to interpret.

Fabian Cortez spends much of this sequence cowering, though in fairness, given the nature of his powers, it’s not immediately obvious what more he could really do.

Somnus from Marauders is the guy in page 12 panel 2 with his back to us, telling us that Switch is poisoning the “healing dreams”.

I’m not quite sure how Switch is left with “no choice” but to possess Nightcrawler, but perhaps the general idea is that he’s been left as a free-floating consciousness after Chamber accidentally killed Glob, so he has no choice but to go for the first physical body that presents itself.

PAGE 14. Nightcrawler in darkness.

Switch’s powers allow him to swap bodies with people; in his earlier appearances, his victims remembered being in his body. In the current arc, his victims have reported what we see here (or rather, don’t see). As Nightcrawler intuits, Switch has had his own real body imprisoned.

PAGES 15-16. Zsen on Arakko.

With an opening panel of her and Kurt in bed, framing the narrative. Anyway, Zsen’s investigation involves multiple examples of the trickster god performing acts of absurdist vandalism which, apparently, just lead to everything being better than ever in the end. Not quite sure I buy the poor mutilated cadets being better just because they’ve formed a cohesive unit, but Arakkii are weird.

The Valley of the Fallen is the commemorative valley with giant statues of Apocalypse and Genesis, first seen as part of the terraforming of Mars in Planet-Size X-Men. Basically it’s a war memorial.

PAGES 17-20. Kurt meets Tumult.

Basically, we’ve got Zsen in voice over telling Kurt that his religion is just a pretext to justify whatever he wants, and the god – naming himself Tumult – telling him that worship is a purely transactional matter. Both of these are challenges to the sense of meaning that Kurt finds in his religion. Both Zsen and the god are also telling Kurt quite directly that his religion has become a means of distracting himself from his real problems.

The god also makes the outright claim that gods are the creations of stories, rather than the stories being based on real gods. Clearly this is true of him in a sense, since he’s a mish-mash of tropes. It’s also a reasonable explanation of how so many gods with mutually contradictory back stories can exist in the Marvel Universe at the same time – Odin and Zeus can’t both have created the world. Kurt would doubtless say that his God is different in nature from the other miscellaneous god-like entities wandering the Marvel Universe. Also, Tumult isn’t directly based on individual stories, and he dodges Kurt’s question about who could have created him. Tumult is probably not a reliable source on his own personal creation, but rather seems to be justifying his existence by reference to the explanation that would apply to all of his component parts, even if it doesn’t quite work for him. Kurt also makes the argument that, even if Tumult is a reflection of other pre-existing ideas, this could basically be said for everyone’s personality.

The gods that Tumult namechecks are:

  • Loki, the Norse God of mischief and a major character from Thor. He’s wearing the signature horned helmet of the Marvel Universe Loki.
  • Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord, who has occasionally appeared as one of the Olympian gods. She has an actual storyline in Dr Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #54-56, back in 1993. Her “feathers” are the wings that she’s often depicted with; her “fruit” is the Golden Apple of Discord that supposedly led to the Trojan War.
  • Huehuecóyotl is an Aztec god of mischief, though he’s also associated with arts and sexuality. He’s a coyote god – it literally means “very old coyote” – hence the hood.
  •  Anansi is a West African spider god and trickster figure. Predictably, he’s shown up occasionally in Spider-Man stories. His “limbs” will be the two spider limbs that are visible below his wings.
  • Veles is a Slavic god associated with trickery among many, many other things – principally, he’s the ruler of the underworld, and he’s made a handful of background appearances in that role. In theory, he ought to be one of the arch-villains of Perun, the Slavic thunder god who often shows up as a member of the Winter Guard.
  • Hermes is better known as an Olympian herald, but is often classed as a trickster. (Homer calls him that, for example.) The staff on the left with the wings and the serpents coiled around it is Hermes’ caduceus. Obviously, Hermes shows up routinely in stories about the Olympian gods.
  • Māui is the Polynesian trickster figure, rather loosely interpreted in Moana.
  • Mannanan is the Celtic trickster god, though he’s principally associated with the sea. Apparently he’s never actually appeared on panel in the Marvel Universe, but gets referenced a few times in Conan comics, of all places.
  • Nanabozho is an Ojibwe trickster figure. He fought Dr Strange once in 1990, which seems to be his only Marvel Universe appearance.
  • Cagn, or IKaggen, is a trickster figure of the IXam people from southern Africa.

PAGE 21. Data page. Professor X asks Nightcrawler for various favours and is shot down; clearly, Kurt’s trust in him is rather shaken.

Xavier’s first request is to be kept informed on Cain’s rehabilitation. Kurt is probably correct that having Xavier hanging over him isn’t going to help Cain much.

His second request is asking for an explanation of what the heck is going on with Banshee, whose plot is conspicuously not followed up on this issue. Ghost Rider Banshee has apparently renamed himself Vox Ignis (“Voice of Fire”) and is claiming to be the herald of Nightcrawler’s philosophy. Kurt dodges giving a straight answer to this but does at least confirm that it’s being investigated.

Xavier’s third request is for Kurt to stop inventing his own legal system and hand over lawbreakers for punishment in the usual way. The obvious tension here is that, on the one hand, Kurt is plainly right that the Pit is indefensible. On the other, he can’t just ignore the Quiet Council when it suits him.

PAGE 22. Switch attacks Legion.

Legion is musing about accepting Mother Superior’s offer of power, for all the wrong reasons – to annoy his father.

PAGES 23-25. Zsen confronts Ora Serrata’s soldiers, while Nightcrawler realises Ora’s involvement.

Zsen asked Ora Serrata for more information about the escaped god’s worshippers last issue, and Ora refused to provide it. Now we know why. Given Ora’s attitude to religion as expressed in issue #1 (and broadly summarised by Tumult here), she would have been extremely hypocritical to worship any form of god, as she apparently recognises. It’s also obviously no coincidence that Ora, the voice of Arakki law, is apparently drawn to a conglomeration of figures of anarchy.

PAGE 26. Trailers.


Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    Good on Spurrier for looking outside of the same old European gods for his list.

  2. Chris V says:

    Cagn is a shapeshifter deity, but it’s worth pointing out that he is regularly associated with the praying mantis. Why is it worth pointing out? Because I like mantids, I guess.

  3. YLu says:

    Kurt and Zsen’s scenes are in the Bowery, I think. I think that’s supposed to be Stacy X who Zsen passes as she’s leaving.

    I assumed Dr Nemesis, when Switched, poured his coffee over his mushrooms.

    Kurt here, Beast, Northstar, Xavier… Does anyone on Krakoa NOT send incredibly passive aggressive emails? This must be that new, emerging mutant culture we hear so much about.

    Another very strong issue. It’s weaving together two concepts you’d think wouldn’t really fit together, spirituality and police, in an interesting, thoughtful way. And I’m really liking how the plot’s overall shape, unconventional as it is, is turning out!

  4. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I was thinking of giving this a few more issues to see if the plot comes together, but I’m realizing reading the recap that I don’t actually care at all?

    The “legion” has barely appeared or done anything.

    The side characters that do get screen time seem off model.

    The writing decisions so far have been weak ie making the mutant guy innocent of killing his wife.

    Kurt is still a sanctimonious turd.

    It has its head shoved far up its own butt, and I’m not sure how much of that is intentional.

    Are we supposed to be rooting for the rogue god cops who enforce no laws for an absent government?

  5. Devin says:

    What’s fascinating to me is that the book is aware that the current Krakoan institutions are highly flawed… and Kurt is attempting to fix them with police and not-religion. (I don’t buy this kind of crisis-of-faith arc from Kurt, but I guess at least it *is* an arc.)

    Kurt’s method of making himself judge-and-defense-attorney in a room of witnesses is definitely better than the Quiet Council passing judgment in secret, but at the end of the day it is still the same judicial system. Contrast this with Sabretooth, which examines the Krakoan justice system with more insight.

    I don’t buy Kurt as being this naive about law enforcement, but I’ve had to accept that this is Kurt as Spurrier writes him.

    This issue has been the best so far. I liked the twists about the identity of the deity and their first worshipper. I feel like this should have been done around issue 3 or so though.

  6. ASV says:

    If Spurrier intended Nightcrawler to come across as an enormous creep, mission accomplished. Similarly, if Xavier was meant to look 17 years old, job well done.

  7. Luis Dantas says:

    Going by this book and its direct predecessors (“Way of X” and “The Onslaught Revelation”) Si Spurrier seems to relate to storytelling much as Jim Lee relates to drawing: the talent is there, but the implementation is just too flawed to truly work.

    This series is better described as a series of glimpses of an interesting, exciting story. Flow and pacing are too deficient to truly make working stories, and establishment of scenes seems to be almost deliberately avoided as a matter of course.

  8. MasterMahan says:

    @Devin: That’s a good point about Kurt’s law enforcement naivety. You wouldn’t expect a Romani raised in a traveling circus to have idealistic views about police.

  9. YLu says:


    Well, his whole thing right now is trying to see if it’s possible to create a peacekeeping organization completely divorced from actual police methods. That doesn’t sound like an idealized view of police to me but almost the opposite.

  10. MasterMahan says:

    Hmmm, fair point.

  11. Col_Fury says:

    re: Conan comics
    Ha! Yeah, Conan dealt with a bunch of mythology. Funnily, Conan’s sister is the reason I know how to properly pronounce Siobhan.

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