Marvel's X-Men relaunch has revealed the true story behind Xavier's son, Legion, and it's absolutely disgusting. David Haller is one of the X-Men's most fascinating - and, frankly, confusing - characters. He's an Omega level mutant who suffers from dissociative personality disorder, meaning he has an untold number of personalities within his body - each of which has the ability to access a different portion of his powerset. It's no surprise David typically goes by the name "Legion."
David Haller is Charles Xavier's son, conceived years before Xavier founded the X-Men. The Professor was working as a counselor in Israel, secretly using his psychic abilities to help trauma patients. One such patient was Gabrielle Haller, who he coaxed out of a coma, and the two fell in love. They began an unethical relationship, and continued seeing one another after Gabrielle had left hospital. By the time they split up, Gabrielle was pregnant.
Jonathan Hickman's Powers of X #6 has just made that disturbing story a whole lot darker. The comic introduces the idea that Xavier was approached by the reincarnating mutant Moira MacTaggert while he was studying at Oxford, and that he was recruited to her cause. Everything Xavier has done has secretly been to further that goal - and that includes his love-life. One of Moira's journal entries reads:
I had a breakthrough with Charles today. For the first time, he has stopped trying to fight me on what humanity is and tapped into the windfall of knowledge I represent regarding mutantdom.
He had the most marvelous idea regarding the potential tandem of several mutants and what they could accomplish if they worked in harmony. The only thing we lack is a mutant with the ability to tweak primal matter or give reality as we know it a push.
I have used my expertise in genetic modification to find potential matches for both Charles and me to produce such a mutant.
There are several possibilities.
Both Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert had children whose powersets included reality manipulation - and this retcon indicates it was no accident. Moira chose her suitor carefully, and entered into a loveless marriage with a Scottish politician in order to give birth to the mutant called Proteus. Meanwhile, it's reasonable to assume that Xavier headed to Israel for the express purpose of meeting, and impregnating, Gabrielle Haller. This is one of the most disturbing retcons in X-Men history, because it essentially turns Charles Xavier into a sort of sexual predator. He took on a counseling job, a position of authority and responsibility, so he could seduce a specific vulnerable adult and get her pregnant. It's hardly inconceivable that he used his telepathic powers to ensure Gabrielle fell in love with him.
This isn't the first time Professor X's actions have been portrayed as morally questionable, and in fact some comics have treated Charles Xavier as almost a villain. But this retcon does feel particularly sinister, because it turns Gabrielle Haller into a pawn in Xavier's game, and their sexual relationship into a strategy the Professor pursued in order to get the child he wanted. There was already an unethical edge to their romance - the idea of Xavier having a relationship with his patient - but it's now become a whole lot more appalling.
Powers of X #6 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.