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Feb 3

Legion of X #10 annotations

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Among Us Stalk the Sentinels”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Penciller: Netho Diaz
Inkers; Sean Parsons & Álvaro López
Colourists: Java Tartaglia & Ruth Redmond
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1: Everyone fights Nimrod. This is a very loose interpretation of what’s happening in the story itself, where Nimrod isn’t exactly there in person. Professor X can be seen in the centre, cradling Legion (which happens on the astral plane). Nightcrawler is there, although he’s otherwise occupied in the story itself. And for some reason that’s Rogue and Gambit on the right.

PAGES 2-3. Professor X realises he’s made a terrible mistake.

So, the giant psychic thing is an astral plane version of a Technarchy, summoned by the Babel Spire that Nimrod is building on Krakoa. Legion ought to be the natural defence against this thing, but Professor X knocked him out with a psychic trojan last issue because he was expecting a fight. In fairness to the Professor, for many years Legion’s routine was that things always went wrong and all manner of damage was caused by his efforts – but that changed quite some time ago, and the Professor obviously hasn’t been paying all that much attention. The very fact that he hasn’t noticed the change is indictment enough, and it’s at least partially to do with Professor X being in denial about Legion being anything much to do with him.

However, coming to get a tour of the Altar – even for ulterior motives – has made the Professor realise that Legion is under control now, but it’s a bit late now. Even then, Professor X’s instinct is to head off to focus on the defence of Krakoa, rather than defend Legion.

Or…. at least, that’s the idea. To be honest, it’s not exactly clear what Professor X thinks he’s doing when he makes to leave here. The angle is clearly that he’s looking for a pretext to get away from his mistake and casting around for a quasi-noble reason to do so, but he never actually articulates any reason for leaving. Does he actually have one? It does seem unlikely that the Professor would simply run away from a massive psychic attacker, even given this book’s particularly scathing reading of him – and I suspect he is meant to have something in mind, and the point is just to get him away so that he can make the decision to come back later and stand by his estranged son after all. Still, it’s a bit wonky.

PAGE 4. Data page. Professor X explains, in a rather self-serving way, how he is going to keep Legion under control using a Shi’ar psychic trojan. Again, some of his concerns here are probably genuine and legitimate – Legion is massively powerful and has a history of questionable judgment and dubious self-control. But there’s clearly meant to be a hefty dose of rationalisation here.

Daedalus, of course, was the father of Icarus, who ignored his father’s warnings, flew too close to the sun, and died. Professor X is trying to cast himself as the wise father whose advice has been ignored, and who has to take steps to protect his son from himself.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits. The story title, “Among us Stalk the Sentinels”, is the title of the first Sentinels story, from X-Men vol 1 #14.

PAGE 6-8. The Legion fight Nimrod’s forces on Krakoa.

The earpiece that Lost picks up is presumably part of the headset that Juggernaut dropped in battle last issue, designed to override Xabi’s powers and allow Juggernaut to remember who he is. Lost apparently forgot to put hers on in the morning, since she hasn’t been able to remember Xabi for the last two issues. Their date was mentioned in passing by Xabi in issue #8.

“We can’t get near the portal.” That is, the portal that allows entry to the doorless Narthex building. As seen in issue #8-9, it kept moving away from anyone who tried to go through it (except for Xabi). Cypher is saying that this was due to Nimrod hacking the system to keep anyone from getting into the Narthex while he was turning it into a Babel Spire.

Juggernaut. Since the 2020-21 Juggernaut miniseries, Juggernaut has been empowered by a combination of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak and fragments of the Crimson Gem that traditionally empowered him. So he’s big and strong but a lot less so than he used to be. Which is handy, since unstoppable protagonists are tricky.

Vox Ignis is determined to find a “creative” solution to a very simple problem, which is in character. Lost’s description of him as a “macho action type” is a bit odd – maybe you could say that about Banshee at a push, but the Spirit of Variance’s whole concept is that he’s the Ghost Rider who was too nice and creative.

PAGES 9-10. Margali drives Nightcrawler mad and sets him on Orchis.

Nightcrawler turned on Black Knight last issue when he felt compelled to defend Margali against her. All we really saw last time was that he dragged Black Knight to the ground, so the “she’s dying” stuff comes somewhat out of nowhere. (Pixie, in contrast, is unconscious because the Orchis thugs shot her with a tranquiliser dart.)

Margali is meant to be working for Orchis, but evidently the cheque has cleared and she feels she can do what she likes now.

PAGES 11-13. Professor X and Legion are reconciled.

As explained most recently in the data page in issue #7, the Technarch’s main function is to be summoned by the Phalanx to eradicate a society that isn’t worth keeping around (which is what the Babel Spire is for). The actual Phalanx, linked to this thing somewhere, apparently draw the opposite conclusion: that Legion’s Altar is worth absorbing into the collective. That’s the “Ascension” that the narrator mentions.

Professor X naturally returns to be reconciled with his son, and they combine powers to drive off the Phalanx. This is pretty routine, but it also gives Professor X an opportunity to be exposed more directly to the experience of being Legion, which is more significant.

“I rule me” was Legion’s mantra throughout Si Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy run with the character.

Mother Righteous clearly disapproves of this sort of teamwork and prefers to have people preoccupied with protecting their own power – presumably because it makes them more manipulable. That being so, she’s very unhappy about Vox Ignis empowering Juggernaut as a steed. But Vox Ignis doesn’t appear to be aware that he’s going against her wishes, probably because he doesn’t fully understand what she’s up to, and takes her offers of help largely at face value.

PAGES 14-19. Vox Ignis and Juggernaut force their way into the Narthex.

As explained over the last two issues in a rather piecemeal fashion, Nimrod possessed Warlock on the astral plane (shown in flashback last issue). That caused Warlock to be separated from Cypher, and Mother Righteous sent Vox Ignis to investigate it (as explained by Vox Ignis in issue #8). Because Warlock is connected to the fabric of Krakoa (thanks to his former link with Cypher), Nimrod can then exploit that link to gain control over a part of Krakoa and use it to create a Babel Spire to summon a version of the Technarch. Hence, Nimrod’s face appears on the Krakoan tree in the place where Krakoa’s face would normally be.

Warlock then demands that Cypher kill him in order to break that link. Very conveniently, Warlock apparently has a core which can be destroyed by a conventional physical attack. The explanation offered is that Nimrod created this as a way of erasing his own code in case the scheme failed and he got captured.

Xabi then heroically sacrifices himself, and despite him asking Lost to remember him, she doesn’t. This does feel kind of like the obvious thing to do with the character, but I assume this isn’t the end point. Of course, since nobody remembers he existed in the first place, presumably he won’t be resurrected.

PAGE 20. Data page. The splinter Nimrod who was assigned to carry out the Babel Spire operation returns to Nimrod Prime complete with the mind of Warlock. Nimrod Prime is not particularly impressed until he learns that his splinter has figured out how to hack the gates – which presumably also provides a reason for keeping Warlock around.

PAGES 21-22. Margali conjures the “Hopesword” from Nightcrawler.

Apparently, it’s a magical embodiment of Nightcrawler’s “Spark”, analogous to Magik’s Soulsword.

“You hosted the Soulsword once…” This is the “Winding Way” arc from Nightcrawler #7-11 (2005) – not a story that gets referenced very often.

“Some tawdry paradise…” Nightcrawler was killed by Bastion during the “Second Coming” crossover, and resurrected in the 2013 Amazing X-Men series. The version of Heaven shown in Amazing X-Men #1 does not show “towers and rainbows”, but it is fairly generic.  Margali toys with the idea that the whole idea of Nightcrawler having been to Heaven and back should be quietly ignored as some kind of collective hallucination.

PAGES 23-24. Mother Righteous arrives and unmasks.

The heart on her forehead confirms that this is the fourth Sinister clone from Immortal X-Men #1 – the others being Sinister himself, Dr Stasis from X-Men, and Orbis Stellaris from X-Men Red.

PAGE 25. Trailers. Unusually, we get a direct instruction that the story continues in Sins of Sinister #1 – perhaps they’ve finally figured out that not everybody reads the solicitations and that readers need to be told this stuff. It might have been an idea to mention that the next three issues of this series are going to be called Nightcrawlers, while they’re at it.

It’s … not immediately obvious that this storyline does continue into Sins of Sinister, since Sins of Sinister #1 and the lead-in in Immortal X-Men #9-10 have Nightcrawler looking much more normal. Since that storyline is obviously going to end in a cosmic reboot, it seems equally possible that the last couple of issues are already in the rebooted timeline. But we’ll see – Nightcrawler also shows up in Sins of Sinister in a more distorted form in the future, so maybe it’ll all make sense in Nightcrawlers.

Bring on the comments

  1. RaoulSeagull says:

    I’m very interested to see how a clone of Sinister could be so radically different in appearance seeing as the other three look pretty much the same, looking forward to seeing how they explain it – especially with Spurrier involved.

    There’s been a load of fast-paced and compelling ideas in this Legion of X run I hope they don’t all get bogged down in crossovers like in Percy’s X-Force where things have been meandering for so long most people have lost attention.

  2. Michael says:

    “Margali is meant to be working for Orchis, but evidently the cheque has cleared and she feels she can do what she likes now.”
    I assumed that the “Hopesword” was part of the deal she made with Orchis.
    Re:Sins of Sinister- the Nightcrawler in Immortal X-Men 9-10 had horns but is otherwise normal. In Sins of Sinister 1, we learn that the “Kurt” we’ve been seeing is a construct created by Sinister, since he’s unable to access to Kurt’s genome due to his monstrous state. Now, it’s possible that the Kurt (and the Dr. Nemesis) we see in immortal X-Men 9-10 are constructs created by Sinister. (Sinister is able to access Kurt’s genome again at the end of Sins of Sinister 1- presumably this has something to do with the deal Kurt made with Mother Righteous.) On the other hand, it’s possible that Immortal X-Men 9-10 take place between pages of Legion of X 7 (where Kurt has horns but doesn’t mutate further until the end of the issue.) Of course, this would take away much of the impact of the interacting between Legion and Xavier if Xavier is already Sinisterized.

  3. Chris V says:

    Raoul-I’ve got some bad news. Legion of X is most likely ending. There won’t be another issue until May (due to the Sins of Sinister crossover replacing this title with Nightcrawler). Then, there will be a “Fall of X” prelude one-shot which is, apparently, serving as an epilogue to the book.

  4. Michael Post says:

    I think Xavier always knows about Xabi. So there’s a chance at resurrection. I don’t know if they have his DNA, though.

  5. Douglas says:

    The “Hopesword” seems to have been anticipated by what Xabi reported from inside the Narthex last issue: “There’s a painting on the wall. I think it’s Nightcrawler, only… he’s all hollow… a-and there’s a sword… and…” Which I have to assume is Weaponless Zsen’s painting-with-truth.

    The punchline to Xabi’s sacrifice–“nobody died today”–is a homage to a very similar bit in Alan Moore & Ian Gibson’s “The Ballad of Halo Jones.”

    I agree that Legion #7-10 appear to be in the rebooted timeline, post-Sins of Sinister; the stinger there may be that this is what happens if Sinister goes back to the beginning of Immortal #9 and decides not to try to kill a third of the Quiet Council! (Note that in the five-years-later sequence of Sins #1, Cypher still has his Warlock arm.)

  6. RaoulSeagull says:

    Chris – oh really? That sucks. I assume all the Nightcrawler plot will be wrapped up in Nightcrawlers (obviously). Is there any news on what’s happening with Black Knight, Legion and Blindfold, The Spirit of Variance, or the spontaneous mutations that were triggering all round the world?

  7. Jenny says:

    Even for this book, Xavier’s whole justification feels insanely out of character.

  8. Moonstar Dynasty says:

    @RaoulSeagull re: different appearances for Sinister clones: I chalked the variation up to the (probable) fact that these were Sinister’s first cracks at self-cloning.

    Re: ForgetMeNot: While I’m all for reviving underused characters, his use has completely fallen flat for me. Apart from the fact that his powers have highly situational spying/recon applications, Spurrier just wasn’t able to tell a compelling narrative involving him. How can their be character growth of trajectory if no one ever remembers you?

    Add that to the list of many genuinely interesting plots with dubious execution–which is a massive shame for me, considering how good Way of X was.

  9. Drew says:

    I’ll be really curious to see how (or if) they collect this part of the Krakoa era in oversized format. In the early stages, individual OHCs for each title seemed to work fine (Marauders x2, Excalibur x2, X-Force, Wolverine, Cable, X-Men, Hellions), with the events getting their own OHCs (X of Swords, Hellfire Gala, Inferno, X Lives/Deaths of Wolverine).

    But if I’ve been reading these recaps correctly this last year or so, it definitely seems like there’s more cross-pollination between titles, with Way of X and Immortal X-Men impacting each other, and X-Men Red factoring in there too. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but it feels like the titles are more connected (and complicated) than they were before. I know Sins of Sinister is getting its own OHC, but I don’t think they’ve announced OHCs for WoX, IX, or XR. Which is curious, since it sounds like all of them sow some of the seeds that SoS will be paying off.

  10. Nigel says:

    The whole Xabi thing, particularly the ending, feels like a Halo Jones homage.

  11. Michael says:

    Ok, Gillen seems to confirm that the Kurt in Immortal X-Men 9-10 is the real deal:
    “Kieron: Shape-changing was the first gift that Sinister stole from mutantkind, from Courier. It’s his oldest recipe. I figured a shape-shifted clone with enough telepathic-imprints puppetry from the telepaths to pass. ”
    Note that he describes “Kurt” as being controlled by the corrupted telepaths. So I guess Immortal 9-10 DOES take place between pages of Legion of X 7?

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