The first season of “Legion” is over and we were treated to some spectacular displays of power, including David’s ability to stop time and warp reality. Like his comic book counterpart, he’s a pretty damn powerful mutant and we’re all looking forward to seeing what else he can do in season two, when he will no doubt go toe to toe once more against Shadow King.
Speaking of which, Amahl Farouk is a pretty powerful adversary, despite his limits, but Legion has limitless potential, as comic fans will know. Aside from Farouk, who could stand up to him? We’ve put together this list of 15 heroes and villains from other live-action comic book adaptations (in no specific order), who may just be able to hold their own if they were hypothetically forced to go up against David as depicted in TV’s “Legion.”
15. DOCTOR MANHATTAN
David’s ability to will people into oblivion might bring “Watchmen’s” Doctor Manhattan to mind. Jonathan Osterman was a simple scientist before an accident disintegrated his body and forced him to learn to use newfound powers to reconstruct himself. That’s not all Osterman returned with. In the “Watchmen” film (directed by Zack Snyder), Doctor Manhattan, played by Billy Crudup, is shown to be impervious to all forms of harm and able to pretty much control all matter around him.
His comic book counterpart is shown to be capable of altering reality itself during the “DC Rebirth.” With all that power, in a hypothetical battle between film Doctor Manhattan and “Legion’s” David, you wouldn’t necessarily lose betting against David. Just like Osterman, David is capable of controlling reality and time itself, as we saw in the episode of “Legion” in which David freezes time and forces everyone in the room into a mental construct. In a fight between him and Doctor Manhattan, who knows what would happen… other than the resulting destruction and chaos, of course.
Of all the foes the X-Men have faced, the Phoenix Force is without a doubt among the most powerful. Its hosts have displayed incredible amounts of power in the comics. While just a fragment of its power has been shown to us in films like “X-Men: The Last Stand” (directed by Brett Ratner) and more recently in “X-Men: Apocalypse” (directed by Bryan Singer), its host, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen and later Sophie Turner) disintegrated all her enemies in the former and defeated Apocalypse both psychically and physically in the latter using the power of the Phoenix Force.
Not as amazing as its comic book counterpart, Jean Grey as Phoenix would still prove to be a worthy adversary for a mutant like David. They’d be able to fight each other both in and out of the astral plane, warping reality and time around each other. It’d be a spectacular battle, even if no one survives to see it. The “X-Men” films do show one thing, however, and that’s Jean Grey’s lack of control over the Phoenix Force/persona. David seems to have her beat there, though. With Shadow King gone, he seems as though he’s mastered most, if not all of his powers.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming! The merc with the mouth against the world breaker? Don’t underestimate Deadpool. Remember that he has incredible regenerative powers that allow him to survive things like a knife to the head, as we saw in “Deadpool” (directed by Tim Miller). If he’s anything like his comic book counterpart, then he’s also unbelievably agile, able to teleport (with the help of certain devices) and he’s certifiably insane. Deadpool is also cursed with immortality, but perhaps more importantly, his fractured psyche makes it very difficult to manipulate his mind, even for one as powerful as Legion.
If we went by Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) purely as depicted in film, it’d be likely that David would thrash the living hell out of Wade with little to no effort, physically at least. Comic book Wade, however, is a completely different story. With a teleportation device and his trusty swords, it might be a short fight; after all, David wasn’t able to react fast enough when that orb came to steal him away and Deadpool is considerably faster than that orb.
Mutant genes versus the powers of heaven and hell. Would David Haller stand a chance against the former marine who came back from the depths of hell with supernatural powers? Keep in mind that Spawn can’t actually die and he’s aided by his necroplasm armor and chains. That’s just what we see in the films. The comics and even the animated series, “Todd McFarlane’s Spawn” that aired on HBO, showed us that he’s capable of so much more. Aside from the fact that the source of his power is finite, there are no limits to what Spawn can do with it. From changing someone’s ethnicity to stopping time, he can do it all.
If there’s any fictional character that might stand a chance against David Haller, who can control minds, time and reality, it’s Spawn. David has a lot of power and if the TV show really does stay relatively faithful to the comics, we’ll be seeing David truly become that god-like figure Division 3 fears, for now, that is — he still has a lot to learn. Spawn, on the other hand, has quite a good grasp on his power, even in his film. He could absolutely take on Legion.
11. LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR
Speaking of the forces of hell, the Devil himself might be able to take Legion on. “Lucifer,” based on the character from Neil Gaiman’s comic “The Sandman,” shows us that the powers above (and below) are beyond anything mere mortals are able to fight. Theoretically, that would presumably include mutants as well. When not affected by Chloe’s presence, Lucifer (Tom Ellis), is an indestructible, time-warping, mind-controlling fallen angel.
It’ll never happen, of course, but it would be fascinating to see if Legion’s reality-shifting powers had any effect on a fallen angel and how either of them would fare if they faced off on the astral plane. As powerful as David’s mind is, it’s really unlikely that he’d be able to overpower the mind of the Devil or crush his corporeal form as easily as he did The Eye in Chapter 7 of “Legion.” In fact, that whole time-stopping thing wouldn’t have worked on Lucifer either, since pauses in the passage of time are a relatively regular thing for him, especially when he meets with other angels. When you start thinking about it, Legion’s chances of surviving that hypothetical fight shrink further and further. Start praying, David.
10. GHOST RIDER
Having established that hellish forces could feasibly take on Legion, we’re pretty certain Marvel’s Ghost Rider could easily do it. The first live-action Ghost Rider, played by Nicholas Cage in “Ghost Rider” (directed by Mark Steven Johnson) and the sequel no one asked for, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (directed by Neveldine & Taylor), showed us his ability to use hellfire, his penance stare and inhuman strength. The Ghost Rider that appeared in the fourth season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” played by Gabriel Luna, didn’t show the penance stare, but that makes sense since each Ghost Rider has a few powers unique to them.
On the basis that Ghost Rider is pretty much a demon who is next to impossible to destroy, it’s pretty easy to imagine him dominating David in a physical fight. However, as demonic as the spirit of vengeance is, Johnny Blaze/Roberto Reyes is still in there, so if David were to fight one of them on the astral plane, it’s really anyone’s guess who would make it out alive.
9. JOHN CONSTANTINE
There are mortals who face demons like the Devil pretty regularly. Would DC Comics’ simple supernatural detective, John Constantine, be able to take on a mutant like David Haller? We think so. Even though Constantine doesn’t actually use his mystic skills that much in the TV series “Constantine,” or the film of the same name (directed by Frances Lawrence), which is the case in the “Hellblazer” comics, he’s still capable of a lot. For example, throughout the show, starring Matt Ryan as Constantine, we see him exhibit telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities, as well as an immunity to time-affecting powers.
While they may not be as powerful as David’s abilities, they’re worth thinking about when pitting the two against each other in a hypothetical fight. John is a lot more experienced in fighting entities that can possess others and wreak havoc in the physical and spiritual realm. That experience and knowledge with the occult and the dark arts would definitely aid greatly against a powerful mutant like David.
Much like Legion, En Sabah Nur, as depicted in “X-Men: Apocalypse” (in which he was portrayed by Oscar Isaac), is a powerful mutant who acquired more powers over time. We saw him envelope people in sand, hijack a psychic link, warp the people around him and defeat the powerful Professor Xavier in the astral plane. The only thing that could take him down was the powerful Phoenix. It’s doubtful that Legion, even with all that power, could defeat Apocalypse that easily.
Apocalypse would be far more likely to take control of David, much like the Shadow King was able to do; after all, both Apocalypse and the Shadow King are ancient and have had thousands of years to master their powers. David hasn’t really had any time at all. If it was comic book David versus comic book Apocalypse, David would potentially win. This is the guy who was able to put his reality in a box. Live-action David, however, doesn’t really stand that much of a chance.
Okay, movie Thanos hasn’t actually done anything yet aside from sitting in his chair and putting on a fancy glove. His immense power has been alluded to multiple times, however, and from his confidence alone, we can assume that his reputation as the most powerful being in the galaxy wasn’t born from exaggeration. If he’s anything like the comic book Thanos, he’s a hyper-intelligent celestial titan with mystical abilities, psychic powers and the ability to manipulate matter like David.
That pretty much fits the description of “the most powerful being in the universe,” so we’re pretty confident Thanos could take Legion in both the physical realm as well as in the astral plane. Without a doubt, David would be able to hold his own for a little while, but just barely. Although, if the Marvel Cinematic Universe is anything to go by, Thanos might just send hordes of Chitauri or a powerful being like Ronin before finally choosing to do it himself.
6. SILVER SURFER
As herald of the world eater, Galactus, the Silver Surfer was turned into a being empowered by cosmic forces complete with a virtually indestructible (and shiny) body and board. He’s able to reach near light speed, absorb energy through his skin, resurrect people and manipulate matter. That’s what we saw him (played by Doug Jones, voiced by Laurence Fishburne) do in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” (directed by Tim Story). Unlike his comic book counterpart, most of the Silver Surfer’s powers are apparently only available to him when on his board.
Assuming David wouldn’t be able to knock the Surfer from his board somehow, it’s likely the Silver Surfer would be able to take him on. It wouldn’t be easy but ultimately the Surfer would emerge victorious in the physical realm. It’s a little more difficult to speculate about what might happen on the astral plane. In the comics, the Silver Surfer has shown some amount of psychic abilities, like when he read the Hulk’s mind in “Tales to Astonish” #93 (written by Ray Thomas with artwork by Dan Adkins). Live-action Surfer, however, never really exhibited those abilities, so we can’t say he’d definitely be the victor there.
5. MARTIAN MANHUNTER
In the realm of aliens who would stand a chance against Legion, DC’s J’onn J’onzz would be a great contender. Aside from the fact that he can shape-shift, change his density, mass, physiology and fly, Martian Manhunter is an extremely powerful psychic. In the comics, Superman himself once called him the most powerful being on the face of the Earth, in “JLA” #86 (written by Joe Kelly, illustrated by Doug Mahnke, Tom Nguyen and David Baron). So far, his live-action appearances in “Smallville” (where he’s played by Phil Morris) and more recently in “Supergirl” (played by David Harewood) have shown him to be just as powerful as his comic book counterpart.
Could the most powerful being on Earth take on the world breaker? It’d be an interesting fight. With all of the Martian Manhunter’s abilities, David definitely wouldn’t be able to break him or phase him into a wall like he could with everyone else. Seeing as how J’onn has clearly mastered all his abilities, it’s likely that he’d come out on top in both a physical fight and a psychic battle.
Yet another alien who might be able to beat Legion is DC’s Superman. Everyone is pretty familiar with most of his powers. He’s invulnerable, he can fly ridiculously fast, his strength is godlike, he can freeze things with his breath and fire heat beams from his eyes. All he needs is the sun. In his films as well as in the comics, the strength of his powers varies greatly with each appearance. Sometimes his strength seems limitless, while other times, he struggles lifting planets (Superman, do you even lift?). The old “Superman” film series starring Christopher Reeves even had him displaying minor forms of telepathy and telekinesis.
David is powerful but he’s still no Superman. What’s that you say? David can stop time? Well Superman flew so fast, he reversed it! Check and mate. With his speed, strength and every other superpower he has, Superman could take down Legion in a heartbeat.
With his omega beams, Superman’s arch-nemesis, Darkseid, is nearly unstoppable. The beams can knock people out, disintegrate people completely or resurrect them (on the rare occasion Darkseid feels that charitable). The comics also show him to have powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities, as well as the ability to resurrect himself from complete destruction. His role in “Smallville” (and its comic book continuation) showed us that at least a few of those abilities, as well as his tendency to manipulate events from afar.
Even if Legion was able to somehow disintegrate Darkseid, which is highly unlikely, Darkseid would easily return to fight again. Given Darkseid’s ability to possess people, a fight with Legion might be incredibly brief on both the physical front as well as on the astral plane, with David falling victim to Darkseid’s incredible powers, possibly faster and harder than he fell victim to the powerful mutant, Shadow King.
2. JASON STRYKER
William Stryker’s mutant son was central to Stryker’s scheme to kill all mutants in “X2: X-Men United” (directed by Bryan Singer). His powers differ from those depicted in the comics (in the three times he appeared there). The films depict him with powerful psychic abilities, able to dominate Professor Xavier’s mind and compel him to use Cerebro to annihilate mutants and later, humans. His unsurpassed power clearly makes up for his physical disabilities in a fight.
The way Jason’s manipulations manifested in Xavier’s mind are similar in some ways to the Shadow King’s manipulation of David’s. Jason appeared as a manipulative little girl and the Shadow King appeared as a sociopathic woman. In the same way Shadow King was able to keep David down in his own mind, the wheelchair-confined Jason Stryker would likely be able to control David, assuming Legion doesn’t completely annihilate Stryker before anything happens in the astral plane.
1. PURPLE MAN
At first glance, Zebediah Kilgrave may seem like pushover of a villain. He’s the Purple Man and that sounds more like a joke than a threatening villain. As we can see in the Netflix series, “Jessica Jones,” the Purple Man (portrayed by David Tennant) is no laughing matter. He can command anyone within close proximity to him to do anything, an ability he uses to satisfy his own selfish, evil desires. The reason he can do this is because his body releases chemical pheromones that are absorbed through the skin of all those around him.
Nothing in “Legion” has indicated that David would be immune in any way to powers like those possessed by the Purple Man, which leads us to believe that if the two were ever to face each other, there’s a good chance the Purple Man would be able to easily take control of David before any kind of fight ever actually begins. However, there are some people in the comics, like Dr. Doom or Daredevil, who have resisted the Purple Man through sheer strength of will. David, with everything else going on in his head, may not have that luxury.
Do you think the folks we proposed would be able to take Legion? If not, who could? Let us know in the comments!