David Haller is the most unpredictable and dangerous mutant in the Marvel Universe. The mentally ill son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier, his consciousness houses a multitude of alternate identities, or “alters,” each one with their own mutant power. Haller's illness lead him to being given the moniker Legion, and over the years he's been both a foe and an ally to the X-Men. In 2013-2014, he starred in a volume of X-Men: Legacy written by Simon Spurrier. and last year the FX network debuted a highly acclaimed television adaptation of Legion with Dan Stevens in the title role.
This week, Haller returned to comics with an all-new Legion miniseries by writer Peter Milligan and artist Wilfredo Torres. In the story David Haller seeks out a celebrated psychologist to help him confront and contain one of his out of control and malevolent alters. CBR spoke with Milligan about the book, the alter that's causing so much trouble for David Haller, the psychologist he's hoping will help him, and the psychedelic world of Legion's mind scape.
CBR: What's your take on the core David Haller personality in Legion? Which aspects of his character are you interested in exploring in this story?
Peter Milligan: Well, he's clearly got deep problems. Obviously he had what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder and is now called D.I.D.; Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Though it’s important that David isn’t just defined by his illness – he’s also quite funny and is basically a decent guy – his madness does tend to dominate his character, but one of the things I learned while researching mental health issues was that conditions are rarely static. They tend to be quite fluid.
So when we meet David he's reached a crisis point in his mental health journey. He's in trouble, and though I don't want to go into too much detail here the source of this trouble is an “alter”. This alter is incredibly powerful and is a threat not only to David Haller but to his own Alters. In short, David Haller is in real existential trouble. So he has to find someone to help him. Our story is about him finding this someone and trying to deal with this personality that's threatening to destroy him.
What can you tell us about this rival personality?
His name is Lord Trauma. He's an incredibly powerful personality that lives inside David Haller's consciousness and wants to take over wheel David Haller to become the dominant personality.
Until David has achieved a kind of psychological integrity. a lot of his alternate identities have tended to become secondary. So what Lord Trauma wants is to, of course, become #1.