The television show Legion may have introduced a lot of viewers to the character of David Haller, the son of Charles Xavier, but he’s been around in comics for a lot longer, having been created by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont, and artist Bill Sienkiewicz back in 1985.
Professor Xavier met David’s mother Gabrielle whilst he was working in an Israeli psychiatric hospital with Eric Lensher/Magneto, using his psychic abilities to ease the pain of Holocaust survivors. Having spent years in a catatonic state, Xavier helped to heal her, and whilst assisting with her recovery the two of them fell in love. The two of them eventually parted ways, though Gabrielle never told Charles that she was pregnant at the time.
When David was a child he became the victim of a terrorist attack in which he was the only survivor, which resulted in his mutant powers manifesting early. David incinerated the minds of the terrorists, but ended up absorbing the mind of their leader. The trauma caused David to fall into a coma and his mind splintered, creating dozens of personalities, each of whom controlled a certain aspect of David’s powers.
Whilst being cared for on Muir Island by an ally of the X-Men, Moira Mac Taggert, David became possessed by the mutant psychic The Shadow King, who used David’s abilities to increase the hatred in the world, feeding off the power. Despite eventually defeating The Shadow King and casting him out of David’s body, a number of mutants were killed.
When David eventually awoke from his coma with his mind healed he wanted to bring about his fathers aim of humans and mutants living together, believing that killing Magneto would be the best way of achieving this. Travelling back in time to kill Magneto before he rose to power, David accidentally kills Xavier instead, bringing the alternate timeline ‘Age of Apocalypse’ into being.
The time travelling mutant Bishop travels back to the point when David killed his father and manages to stop him from doing so, setting history back on course. Unfortunately, the events resulted in David’s mother having a miscarriage, causing David to never exist.
Some years later, David is somehow discovered alive by the New Mutants, who help to free him from his prison, though his mind is once again fractured. It is revealed that when Bishop killed him, David was thrown outside of time, and that this resulted in thousands of personalities forming within his mind.
Helped to heal once again by the X-Men and his father, David comes to the defence of the mutant nation against their enemies during the events of ‘Second Coming’, defending their home from an army of Sentinels with his immense powers. With help from Doctor Nemesis, and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, David is given a device that enables him to control his personalities, accessing them one at a time to let him access various abilities.
Following the events of Avengers Vs X-Men, in which a Phoenix Force controlled Cyclops kills Professor Xavier, David loses control of his powers once again, causing a number of evil and destructive personalities to take over. In order to stop himself from causing more death and destruction David tries to erase himself from existence by never being born. As proven before, however, David’s powers are incredible, and potentially limitless, and he may very well return one day soon.
Having appeared in the animates series X-Men: Evolution and Marvel Anime: X-Men, Legion has proven to be a very popular character, a popularity which is sure to grow with the second season of Legion.
To learn more about Legion and his comic incarnation, make sure to check out the second series of X-Men Legacy, as well as X-Men: Legion Quest, X-Men: Legion – Chadow King, and X-Men: Age of X.