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Jan 19

Legion of X #9 annotations

Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“A Voice in the Wilderness”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Penciller: Netho Diaz
Inkers: Sean Parsons & Álvaro López
Colourist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. A corrupted Nightcrawler, leading the techno-organic infection in the Narthex, with Legion and Professor X’s faces hovering behind.

PAGE 2. Data page – a string of alert events, presumably the one that Fabian is reading on the next page. The first one relates to the events of the previous issue. The others seem to be just generic examples of other mutants becoming corrupted by the same thing that’s afflicting Nightcrawler. Item five relates to the Akademos Habitat on Krakoa (the teens’ area), but I don’t think it relates to anything specific from this arc.

PAGE 3-4. Other mutants are corrupted; the Legion react.

Paras Gavaskar is Indra, mostly a background character from the New X-Men days, though he did get some spotlight arcs in X-Men: Legacy. His belief in non-violence is an established feature of the character.

Glow Worm is a very obscure character. His only previous appearances are X-Factor #7 (1986), where he attacked X-Factor during their period as supposed mutant hunters, and New Mutants Annual #4 (1988) where he died of radiation poisoning.

Irina Clayton is Choir, a recurring background student from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. She has three extra mouths on her neck, which normally just let her do other voices and such like minor tricks.

Professor X was prompted to come here by Blindfold’s visit last issue, where she lectured him about Legion needing  his father’s love. That scene ended with Professor X opening a computer file about a “contingency operation”, which is presumably something to do with the thing he sticks on Legion in this scene.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits.

PAGES 6-8. Nightcrawler, Dr Nemesis, Pixie and Black Knight confront Margali.

The Winding Way is covered further in the next data page.

Pixie’s soul dagger is basically a scaled down version of Magik’s soulsword. It was created in New X-Men #40 (2007) when Pixie allowed a small part of her own soul to be used to reconstitute Magik’s soul, an echo of the way Belasco had once conjured magical gems from Illyana’s soul. Like the Soulsword, it can be used to disrupt magic.

PAGE 9. Data page on the Winding Way. The term comes from Margali’s debut in X-Men Annual #4 (1980). The bit about her power waxing and waning comes later, though I’m not immediately sure where it was actually introduced – it doesn’t seem to feature in any of her early appearances. The idea of her mental state altering depending on her power levels seems to originate in Dr Strange #57 (1983), but that story mainly presents her as deriving her power from a cursed wand which drives her mad. I think this particular interpretation may well come from Excalibur #76, a minor Scott Lobdell story, where she certainly is shown as being weakened due to her then-current position on the Winding Way.

“An exocentric field of magic…” In the Marvel context, this is supposed to just mean that it draws on energy sources from outside this dimension. “Exocentric” is a real word, but according to Merriam-Webster, it means “not having the same grammatical function as a nonmodifying immediate constituent”. So now you know.

“Thaumaturgic.” Just a fancy synonym for “miraculous” or “wondrous”; thaumaturgics is sometimes used as a name for stage magic.

“Kitab Asrar an-nujum.” I can’t see any reference to a “famed” book of this name, but it’s Arabic for “book of secrets and astrology”, or something along those lines.

PAGES 10-12. The Spirit of Variance helps Cypher.

The Scream of Change is a combination of Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare – or the Spirit of Variance’s version of it – with the powers of his host Banshee, presumably meaning that this is a relatively new development. Apparently, unlike Ghost Rider’s approach of traumatising his victims with their past acts, the Spirit of Variance provides insight that lets people develop.

Nimrod is (presumably) the version from the Hickman stories, i.e. the artificial intelligence robot created by Orchis. Apparently he – or at least an AI aligned with him – was responsible for killing Magus (as reported in issue #1) and Paulie DiCosta (in issue #4). In the latter issue we only saw his purple arms (as shown here), but he did indeed have robotic lettering for his dialogue. He killed Paulie in order to release Switch, presumably just to cause trouble. Warlock’s humanoid appearance on the astral place in this arc is presumably intended to explain why this other AI similarly looks different in the Altar.

PAGES 13-14. Legion gives Professor X a tour of the Altar.

That’s Somnus and Birdy you can see in the final panel on page 13.

Obviously, Professor X has come here with his anti-Legion plan and already put it into action before realising that he’s made a terrible mistake.

PAGES 15-17. Margali defeats Nightcrawler’s group.

Fungal computing really has been proposed, although more as a sort of sensor than an actual processing system.

Anyway, Margali seems to just be doing this for the money, because she’s been hired by Orchis.

PAGES 18-20. The Technarchy moves on Krakoa.

Mother Righteous shows up to have another stab at getting Legion to take her deal, as she’s been attempting throughout the series.

Presumably it’s not a coincidence that this massive Technarchy shows up as soon as Legion’s defences have been lowered by Professor X’s paranoid attempt to hobble him – Professor X has undermined the defences that Warlock showed Legion how to build. But, as explained in the next scene, this thing has also been summoned by Nimrod’s Phalanx on Krakoa turning the Narthex into a Babel Spire.

PAGES 21-22, 24. Forget-me-Not is stuck inside the Narthex.

Since Juggernaut has lost his headset, he can’t remember properly who Forget-Me-Not is, and Forget-Me-Not’s attempts to pass on a message are immediately forgotten.

The painting on the wall – showing a “hollow” Nightcrawler with a sword, according to Forget-Me-Not, though we still don’t get to see it – is presumably the one that Zsen painted using her powers in issue #5.

Inside, Nimrod has apparently managed to hack Krakoa and take over its persona.

PAGE 23. Carlos Pacheco obituary.

PAGE 24. Trailers. “Among Us Stalk The Sentinels” was the title of the first Sentinels story, from X-Men #14 (1965).

Bring on the comments

  1. Jenny says:

    I think the idea that the Winding Way goes up and down might come from Warren Ellis’ run on Excalibur. That was the first time I’ve seen it, anyway.

  2. Jenny says:

    Ah wait, I completely missed you talking about that stuff a few sentences later.

  3. Michael says:

    The idea of Margali’s power waxing and waning comes from Excalibur 76.
    The solicits and interviews don’t seem to be trying to hide that Mother Righteous is the Hearts Sinister.
    From the solicits for Nightcrawler 3:
    “Now that we know who she truly is, it’s time to taste the horrific ambitions lurking in the HEART of Mother Righteous”.
    And in an interview with Spurrier he explains that Mother Righteous plays a major role in Sins of Sinister and hints that her identity will be revealed in Legion of X 10.
    It’s not clear when this takes place in relation to Immortal X-Men 9-10, since Kurt has his horns in that story but isn’t in the monstrous form Margali turns him into at the end of Legion of X 7. This is important because if it takes place after Immortal X-Men 10, that casts a new light on Xavier’s betrayal of Legion.

  4. GN says:

    In order for the Legion-Xavier sequence in this issue to hold any weight, it has to actually be Xavier in those scenes and not the Xavier-Sinister chimera born in IXM 10. So I’d say LoX 7-10 happens before IXM 9-10 (I guess Kurt reverts back to normal in LoX but keeps the small horns).

    Legion of X has had a scheduling issue for a while – issue 1 was a month late and so was every subsequent issue. LoX 10 should originally have come out this month (with the Mother Righteous reveal leading into Sins of Sinister) instead of in February.

  5. Miyamoris says:

    I have caught up with this book yesterday and it’s… such a mixed bag. A lot of the characterization doesn’t click with me, the narrative often feels too diffuse (maybe intentional considering the astral plane setting?) and dialogue often feels… juvenile? not sure this is the right word.

    One the other hand though, I like a bunch of the concepts – just really glad to see anyone properly using the Orchis characters Hickman has set up – and the Legion stuff is awesome – if there’s one character that really works here, it’s David.
    It’s a neat touch that Kurt’s team is caught by Orchis, considering his previous decisions in Judgment Day.

    Anyway, hardly my favorite book on the current line but… it’s passable I guess? more entertaining than Marauders, which I’m not very motivated to catch up with right now.

  6. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Miyamoris: I agree, although I think I like this book more than most. The “juvenile” dialogue bugs me as well, and I think it’s Spurrier making nearly everyone snarky. I think both Legion of X and Marauders are taking big swings, but Legion’s batting average is better. With Immortal X-Men 10, it’s hard to line up the continuity- we’ll see if Legion of X 10 resolves the Nimrod plot or if it’s part of Sins of Sinister, which might place this issue after IXM. The Prof. X scenes could pose a challenge, but we’ll see. Either way, LoX has become my (distant) 4th favorite current X-book after Immortal, Red, and Sabretooth & the Exiles.

  7. Nu-D says:

    Glow Worm is such an obscure character, the last time I read his story I hadn’t yet read Of Mice and Men, and didn’t recognize the homage.

    Has Bulk been resurrected yet?

  8. David Goldfarb says:

    “Thaumaturgy” is from Greek literally meaning “wonder-working”.

  9. The Other Michael says:

    I love that they apparently brought back Glow Worm, and hopefully Bulk. They were such tragic characters. I hope that someone from the then X-Factor or New Mutants remembered them and lobbied for a relatively early spot in resurrection queue.

  10. wwk5d says:

    “it’s Arabic for “book of secrets and astrology”, or something along those lines.”

    Pretty much…more “The book of secret of astrology”.

    Not the best book in the line, but not the worst either.

  11. wwk5d says:

    Sorry, the “The book of secrets of astrology”.

  12. Nu-D says:

    … relatively early spot in resurrection queue.

    I suppose it’s possible they’ve been hanging about off panel for a while, but it seems more likely that we’re seeing him for the first time because the writers are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Personally, I’d love to see that pair get a one-issue subplot, even if it’s just a scene with their resurrection and reunion. I re-read their issues last night and that period was…not good. These two should be good for a few pages reflecting on the horribly misguided X-Factor concept in contrast to Krakoa. Maybe throw in a c-plot reflecting on Scott’s terrible domestic track record, which was also current at the time, or Magneto’s ineptitude as head of school.

  13. Nu-D says:

    in an interview with Spurrier he explains that Mother Righteous plays a major role in Sins of Sinister and hints that her identity will be revealed in Legion of X 10.

    A character named “Mother Righteous” featured in a story named “Sins of Sinister” must be Madelyn Pryor, mustn’t she? Seems too obvious to be anything else.

  14. Michael says:

    @Nu_D- Bulk and Glow Worm are also allusions to Bob Layotn, since there used to be jokes about him being a radioactive mutant.

  15. Mathias X says:

    >> A character named “Mother Righteous” featured in a story named “Sins of Sinister” must be Madelyn Pryor, mustn’t she? Seems too obvious to be anything else

    No, Mother Righteous is the Sinister of Hearts. Her name is the “opposite” of Sinister’s. Mister -> Mother, Sinister -> Righteous, with the bonus pun that Sinister also means “left-handed” and Righteous says “Right.” She also has her foreheard covered by a mask where the Sinister marking will be.

    Maddy is fairly well-accounted for in this aera, having a crossover in progress as we speak as well as having just been a lead character in an arc of of New Mutants.

  16. MasterMahan says:

    Plus, Mother Righteous speaks like a Londoner, shares Mister Sinister’s color palate, and has a heart-shaped chest window.

  17. Nu-D says:

    Well, that’s a missed opportunity.

  18. Emmanuel says:

    Maybe this has already been adressed, but what happens if Forget-Me-Not dies ? There is probably nobody to remember him and therefore to even think about resurrecting him ?

  19. David says:

    @Emmanuel- presumably, his mutant power would stop working, and everybody would retain all their memories of him. Until he’s resurrected, then they’d forget again. Hopefully his powers only activate once his psyche is back in his body, or else the psychic who’s putting his mind back in has one of the ear-pieces handy.

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