Stan Lee admits that he created the mutants from the X-Men out of sheer laziness. He couldn’t be bothered coming up with new origin stories every time, so he created a group of humans that genetically develop superpowers. By contrast, the character of Legion from X-Men was perhaps created out of pretentiousness: his name and concept are based on this passage from the Bible –
“‘And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”‘(English Standard Translation, Mark 5:9).”
Legion is David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier. He is one of the most powerful mutants in Marvel Comics, yet he lacks full control of his abilities. Legion suffers from multiple personality disorder, and each of his personalities has different access to his powers.
Since his introduction in 1985, Legion has been one of the most important characters in X-Men history. Due to the nature of his abilities, Legion has a huge array of powers at his disposal. Today we are going to break down the best of them. From his mastery of fire, to the time travel that almost wiped out the Marvel universe. Here are 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Legion Had.
15. Absorbing Minds & Personalities
Legion was born of a love affair between Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller, when they both lived in Israel. The two parted ways, with Charles unaware that Gabrielle was pregnant with his child. She would go on to become the Israeli ambassador to Great Britain, and would marry a man named Daniel Shomron, whom Legion considered to be his father.
During a trip to Paris, the family were caught up in a terrorist attack. A group of Arab terrorists, led by a man named Jemail Karami, burst into their home and murdered Legion’s stepfather in front of him. In his rage, Legion’s mutant powers activated prematurely, and he killed all of the terrorists in a telepathic burst of energy.
Due to being psychically bonded to the terrorists as they died, the shock of the incident broke Legion’s mind into distinct personalities. One of these was Jemail Karami, the leader of the terrorists, who had been absorbed into Legion’s consciousness, and became one of his personalities.
Each of Legion’s personalities has unique access to one of his powers. The Jemail Karami personality had access to Legion’s telepathic abilities. After struggling for years to separate himself from David’s core personality, Karami managed to become a distinct entity, one that could use Legion’s telepathic powers without his knowledge.
If it weren’t for the opposition of Legion’s other personalities, then Karami would have taken over Legion’s body and used its vast powers for his own ends. Even if he could not control Legion, Karami had attempted to use his telepathy as a way for him to take over the mind of another. This would allow him to escape Legion’s mind once and for all.
Legion might be the most powerful telepath in all of Marvel Comics. The main reason that other psychics have not been able to help his condition with their powers is because Legion’s psionic defences are too vast. People generally consider Professor Xavier to be the most powerful telepath, due to the fact that he can control his abilities. While Legion is the stronger of the two, it is the Karami personality that has true control of his telepathic powers.
Even though Legion is biologically male and most of his personalities are men, he has several that are female. One of these is Cyndi, a rebellious girl who opposes Jemail Karami’s attempts at taking control of Legion’s mind.
Cyndi has control of Legion’s Pyrokinesis abilities. Pyrokinesis is the power to create and manipulate fire. With a wave of his hand, Cyndi/Legion can create a torrent of flame that can incinerate his enemies.
The greatest use of Legion’s Pyrokinesis happened during the “Legion Quest” storyline. In earlier issues, Emma Frost had taken over Iceman’s body, and used his powers in frightening new ways. It was revealed that Iceman had been subconsciously holding back his powers out of fear of hurting someone. During the climactic battle of Legion Quest, when the X-Men and Magneto are trying to stop Legion from destroying all of reality, Iceman lets go of his fears, and used his powers to their full effect for the first time. He freezes every molecule of water in Legion’s body…
While Jemail Karami was a real person, whose identity had been merged with Legion’s, there are others that were created from different parts of Legion’s personality. One of the oldest of Legion’s distinct personalities was Jack Wayne, a flashy adventurer type, in the vein of Zorro or an Errol Flynn hero.
Jack Wayne controls Legion’s power of Telekinesis. Through the use of this power, Jack Wayne/Legion is able to fly, create force fields, physically control other people’s bodies (in a manner similar to Psychokinesis), blast people with energy, and create physical constructs. Jack Wayne’s mastery of Telekinesis almost puts it on the same level as a Green Lantern ring in terms of utility.
At one point, Jack Wayne led a rebellion within Legion’s mind, consisting of the other personalities who wanted to destroy Jemail Karami for good. It was believed that Magik had killed Jack Wayne through the use of her Soulsword, while trying to defend Karami. Wayne would later return, and take part in the never ending battle for Legion’s mind once more.
11. Warping Reality
It took a lot of effort on Legion’s part to create the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline. He had to go back in time, fight the X-Men, and try to kill Magneto. In later years, he managed save himself a lot of time. Legion gained the power to create a new timeline from scratch. This was the Age of X – a series set in a reality where the X-Men were never created.
“Age of X“ took place in a world where Charles Xavier never formed the X-Men. When a young Jean Grey accidentally murders half a million people (due to not being trained to the control of her powers), a reality similar to the “Days of Future Past” storyline occurs. Mutants were rounded up and killed in death camps. They were forced to flee the countries that persecuted them, and they were hunted by robotic creatures named the Exonims. Magneto would create a stronghold for mutants, called Fortress X. In response to this, the America government formed a group of super-powered humans called The Avengers to stop Magneto before he grew too powerful.
The ability to warp reality was possessed by a personality named X, who took the form of the X-Men’s old ally, Moira MacTaggert. When Professor Xavier and Doctor Nemesis entered Legion’s mind, they discovered that X had destroyed many of Legion’s other personalities in an effort to protect him.
10. Super Strength/Increasing Mass
When Legion returned after the “Age of Apocalypse”, he had a whole host of new personalities and powers. One of these was a middle aged woman named Sally, who supported Jack Wayne when he tried to stop the New Mutants from restoring Legion’s mind.
Sally is one of Legion’s personalities that has control over the powers that affect his physical state. Sally’s power is body mass manipulation – she can increase or decrease the size of Legion’s body. This isn’t just limited to manipulating the whole body at once, as she can control the growth in individual limbs. Through the use of this power, Sally/Legion possesses almost limitless physical strength.
Unlike the outgoing Jack Wayne or Jamail Karami personalities, Sally is riddled with neurosis – meaning, she is not quite the world ending threat that some of the other personalities are. Sally is an obese woman, who is depressed about her appearance, and mainly uses her power to lash out at those who hurt her feelings.
9. Converting Sound Into Energy
At the end of the “House of M” event, Scarlet Witch used her magic to decree – “No more mutants”. True to her word, most mutants in the Marvel universe had their powers removed. This left only 198 of them with their powers still intact. It seemed that mutants were now a dying species, and the other superhero teams (like The Avengers) began to take to the spotlight.
The number of mutants finally increased with the birth of a child named Hope Summers. This begins a rush to find the infant, whom people believe is the messiah of mutantkind. A trilogy known collectively as “Messiah Complex” began, and Legion appeared during the final part, named “Second Coming”, as the defender of Hope Summers.
During “Second Coming”, the X-Men were trapped in an energy dome and besieged by the Sentinels. In order to protect Hope Summers, Cyclops asks Professor Xavier to use Legion’s strength to fight the Sentinels. The first personality to enter the battle was dubbed “115“.
115 was a rebellious punk rocker chick. Her power was Acoustikinesis – the ability to control sound waves and use them as a weapon. Through the use of sound itself, 115 was able to damage the Sentinels in combat, until they were able to adapt to her powers.
8. Turning Objects Into Salt
It hasn’t always been the responsibility of the X-Men to help Legion with his powers. He was once able to control them with the aid of a device known as the Neural Switchboard Wristband. This item resembled a wristwatch, and allowed Legion to control his powers without having to take on another personality. It was designed by the scientists Doctor Nemesis, Madison Jeffries of Alpha Flight, and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.
One of the personalities that came forth during the development of the Neural Switchboard Wristband was Johnny Gomorrah. Johnny’s personality designation was 186, and we learn little of what he is like during his brief appearance.
The one thing we do know about Johnny Gomorrah is his power. When Legion took control of Johnny’s abilites, his body turned completely white, and he gained the ability to turn regular objects into salt. This power could potentially kill anyone in the Marvel universe.
7. Killing With A Touch & Controlling Corpses
During the “Age of X” timeline, several of Legion’s personalities had their own physical bodies. When that storyline ended, six of them reappeared in the main Marvel reality. They were called Styx, Time-Sink, Chain, Susan in Sunshine, Bleeding Image, and Endgame.
The six Legion personas fled to Europe, where they split up and went on individual killing sprees. A team of X-Men joined up with Legion, and hunted down the rogue personalities, in order to return them to Legion’s control. Styx fled to Paris, where he would kidnap Professor Xavier and use him as bait to lure Legion into a trap.
Styx’s powers were twofold – if he touched someone, then they died. No do-overs, no saving throws – just death. Once the person had died, Styx could then control their corpse as a zombie under his command. Had the X-Men & Legion not stopped him, Styx might have created a new Marvel Zombies universe.
6. Power Negation
One of the most useful powers for Legion to possess comes from a personality known as the Nazi Doctor. Legion mainly fights against other mutants, so having a personality whose ability is to stop the power of other mutants from working is a useful one indeed.
By physically touching another mutant, the Nazi Doctor’s ability prevents that mutant from using their powers for a short period of time. The power can also be used to disrupt the regular bodily functions, potentially to the point of death.
There have been several characters & devices over the years that could affect the powers of mutants. It was the power of Leech of the Morlocks, and several anti-mutant organisations have used them sporadically over the years. While devices like this might be necessary for creating drama, they raise a question about the character Rogue. Why was she so depressed about her life-draining power, when there were numerous people/items that could cancel it out?
5. Acid Breath
During the “Second Coming” event, Legion was charged with stopping a group of Nimrods (Sentinels from the future) from wiping out the last remaining mutants. It was only out of sheer desperation that Legion was called upon, but the Nimrod’s are formidable enemies, and the X-Men would not survive their onslaught.
By activating the “Nemesis Protocol” device, Professor Xavier was able to force Legion into using specific personalities that were suited for battle. The first one called to fight was personality 115, who could turn sound into a weapon. The Nimrod’s quickly adapted to this form of energy (they are essentially a mix between the T-1000 and The Borg), and the sound no longer worked. Xavier then called upon the next personality.
762 was a personality of Legion’s that resembled a stereotypical depiction of a pirate. 762 did not seem like the kind of person who was up for a fight, however, and appeared to be seasick. When he finally vomited, his mutant power activated. 762’s power is the ability to breathe out a powerful corrosive acid, one that was so potent – it wiped out a group of Nimrod Sentinels. This is no small task – a single Nimrod has been shown as the equal to a whole team of X-Men in combat.
4. Transforming Into A Werewolf
One of the big questions about Legion is why he has been allowed to live? There is a famous Ultimate X-Men storyline where a mutant develops his powers for the first time. Unlike some of the X-Men, who gained cool powers like flight and walking through walls, this young man’s power incinerated every living being in his town, from the inside out. Wolverine finds the boy (his healing factor allows him to approach without dying), and it is his mission to kill him, to save the lives of both humans and mutants.
So why has no ever tried to do the same thing to Legion, a mutant who could wipe out reality with a thought?
The simple answer is, it wouldn’t work. One of his personalities is called “The Wolfman”, and his power literally turns Legion into a werewolf. One of the effects of this change is a powerful healing factor, meaning that Legion can survive most wounds thrown at him. Not only does his werewolf form give him unparalleled regenerative abilities, it vastly increase his strength and agility.
As the TV show Red Dwarf has proven, time-travel is no good without ability to travel space. When Legion first time-travelled during “Legion Quest”, he had to go to Israel first (as that was his intended destination in the past) and initiate the process there. This allowed time for the X-Men to track him, and attempt to foil his plans.
Luckily for Legion, this limitation did not stay with him forever. One of his later personalities was called “The Origamist”, who resembled a gigantic Sumo wrestler. Even among Legion’s most powerful personas, he personally ranks The Origamist as one of the strongest.
The Origamist grants Legion the power of teleportation. This ability allows Legion to cross the galaxy itself in the blink of an eye. The Origamist also grants Legion the ability to fold space, a power he used to protect himself from an explosion. This is another reason why Legion is so obscenely hard to kill – he can vanish in an instant, and reappear somewhere else in the universe.
2. Telepathic Teleportation
The ability to teleport yourself is a powerful one, but what about being able to teleport others?
Several individuals have entered the mind of Legion in the past, for numerous reasons. Professor Xavier has tried to use his telepathic abilities to help Legion gain control of his mind. Karma and Magik of the New Mutants have both been trapped inside Legion’s mind before, and had to battle their way to freedom.
One personally has physically entered Legion’s body (and no, not in that way you pervert) – Rogue of the X-Men was physically absorbed into Legion, when the X-Men battled the rogue persona, Styx, in Paris.
When Rogue touches someone with her bare flesh, she drains their life force, their memories, and if they are a superhero/supervillain – their powers. During her time as part of Legion, she managed to absorb a great deal of his latent abilities, some that even he was unaware of. One of these belonged to a personality named Compass Rose, whose power allowed Rogue to track an individual anywhere in the Universe, and teleport a group of people to their location.
Through the use of Compass Rose’s power, Legion can use his teleportation ability on others. When Rogue attempted it, it wasn’t so precise (not everyone arrived where they should). If Legion was able to control this ability, then it would become one of his most potent.
1. Time Travel
Legion’s most important contribution to the X-Men universe was when he created a reality where Apocalypse ruled America.
During the story arc known as “Legion Quest”, Legion’s personalities had combined into one, and for the first time in his life, he was in full control of his powers. He was now dedicated to fulfilling his father’s dream of a peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants.
So how was Legion going to bring about peace? He decided to go back in time and kill Magneto, before he could oppose Professor X, and give mutants a bad name.
Legion travels back in time to Israel, with the X-Men in pursuit. He arrives in the period after World War II, when Professor Xavier and Magneto were friends, and they worked at a mental hospital together. Legion attacks Magneto, who fights back, and reveals his mutant powers to the world for the first time. When Legion was about to stab Magneto, Professor Xavier jumped in the way and took the blow, dying in the process (and wiping Legion from existence). This led to the creation of the Age of Apocalypse timeline, where Apocalypse has taken over America, and Magneto leads the X-Men in rebellion against him.
When he is in full control of his powers, Legion can create a gateway back in time, that allows several individuals to follow him. This ability to create new timelines and realities is the most powerful at Legion’s command.