X-POSITION: Spurrier Seeks to Cure "X-Men Legacy"

Tue, May 7th, 2013 at 1:58pm PDT

Comic Books
Steve Sunu, Staff Writer/Reviews Editor

Writer Si Spurrier has put Legion through the ringer in the relaunched "X-Men Legacy." The multi-powered mutant has managed to see glimpses of the future, driving him to prevent the catastrophic outcomes from certain individuals pre-emptively. One pre-emptive action caused a rift between himself and his romantic interest Blindfold, but his next big initiative is even more dire. After a vision where he causes a catastrophic genocidal future, Legion hopes to cure himself of his mutant gifts via new character Marcus Glove.

This week, Si Spurrier joined X-Position to answer your questions about the man, the hair, the legend -- Legion, his family connections, the nature of the new mutant cure and what the future holds for the possibly-expanding cast of "X-Men Legacy."

Story continues below

Rob has a few questions about Legion's family connections and if they'll play a role in "X-Men Legacy."

Writer Si Spurrier gets complicated with Legion and "X-Men Legacy" in this week's X-POSITION
#11 Cover by Mike del Mundo


Just wanted to say how much I've really been enjoying the book. To be honest, I was a little hesitant about a book featuring Legion, but you've certainly won me over.

Thanks Rob -- really pleased you're digging it. That's a common refrain, by the way: I think a lot of people were so weirded out by the notion of a book revolving around ole' bighair that they went into it expecting the worst. One of the loveliest pieces of feedback we keep hearing is "You bastard! You made me care about bloody Legion! How did you do that?"

The answer, of course, is that we put small traces of oxytocin and certain secret psychic-plasmas into the "X-Leg" ink over at the printers. The dudes who work there are totally the happiest humans in the world, except for when they're being preyed upon by astral megafauna. Occupational hazard.

1) Any chance of seeing David's aunt or uncle in the near future? I'd love to see Cain's reaction to what happened to Charles, or even a show down between David and Cassandra Nova. Nothing like a family reunion!

We-ell, Rob -- you'll appreciate a lot of the drive behind a series like "X-Leg" is in the dripfeed of mystery and revelation, so -- annoying though it is -- I have to be a bit circumspect about answering that sort of thing. Even if I said, "Nope, not gonna happen, nothing to see here," it closes the door on certain red herrings or (more likely) mad skin-of-the-teeth changes in plot that might become necessary down the line.

So let me weasel my way out of it by saying: I have considered both the scenarios you mention, they would indeed both make for fascinating meetings, and I can exclusively reveal right here and right now that oh crap, look out, there's something behind you! [Runs]

2) Considering the name of the book, have you thought much about David embracing his family name along with is father's legacy? Maybe even David Haller-Xavier? It would be interesting to see him even contemplate it, I'm sure it's a decision he would struggle with.

Ha. Another interesting possibility. I think that'd be a little way off, if it happened: David's still so jumbled up about his father, his role in the Xavier dynasty, etc. And let's not forget he has a bunch of unresolved issues when it comes to his mother too. It's just as likely he ditches the "Haller" moniker and takes to calling himself David McHairspray Heatdeath Armageddonson III. Or not.

But all of these things are being developed, oh yes indeedy, and you'll be seeing more of both Gabrielle Haller and David's familial self-identity before too long.

Thanks for making David such an interesting character and writing a book I look forward to every month!

My pleasure! Thanks for the questions!

Next up is a set of questions from our friend Jim the Troll

That... doesn't bode well, as far as usernames go...

1) With Legion attempting to preemptively stop terrible events, what kind of moral issues does he continue to struggle with in the book that we don't get a chance to see?

He's haunted, nightly, by recurring dreams about the goldfish he had as a kid. See, little Mr. Gillbreath died one sad Summer's day, and David's mom flushed him down the pan. As is right and proper. But at that moment, David first manifested his power of goldfish-resurrection. Unfortunately he hadn't yet manifested the power of goldfish-teleportation, so poor Mr. Gillbreath was brought back from the Great Shadowy Aquarium In the Sky a split-second before vortexing his way into the local sewage farm. David's never forgiven himself.

Um. I made all of that up because I'm in a weird glib mood, but now I read it back I realize there's at least a 6-part arc to be got from that.

Spurrier has plenty in store for the complicated relationship between Legion and Blindfold, who only seem to function properly around one another
EXCLUSIVE: "X-Men Legacy" #11 art by Tan Eng Huat

Seriously: I think we all just have to acknowledge that a 20-page episode once a month isn't ever going to cover the full breadth and depth of one character's complicated psychology, but that in the interests of story we accept what we're seeing on the page is the important, critical stuff, and never expect that plot holes gets solved by completely unrelated and unforeshadowed thoughts/feelings/memories deus-ex-machina-ing their way out of nowhere.

A lot of what makes up a character can be gently implied, up until you want to make it the central issue. (For instance, I keep mentioning David's contradictory feelings towards his father: mostly I don't have to explain what I mean about that too laboriously because we're all smart enough to imagine ourselves in David's position. But whenever those feelings become central to a particular episode -- in the sense that they incite or affect some of the action of the story -- that's when they get brought back into the spotlight.) But if that ends up feeling like a surprise to the reader -- "I had no idea David felt like that!" -- then I officially suck.

2) Legion actually got the opportunity to be happy for a bit while having an astral-plane-relationship with Blindfold. Do you think he's the kind of character that can ever actually find true happiness?

Oof. Welcome to ongoing comics, mate. Or, to put it another way, show me one enduring character who achieves a state of eternal unending bliss which doesn't get disrupted by the next episode, next big event, next writer along the chain. Without being, y'know, dead. Or retconned. Or lobotomized.

Part of my approach to "X-Leg" was to make David's story modular. His goals and philosophies keep changing and evolving precisely because I want to be able to give readers (and myself) frequent moments of genuine success. Or genuine failure. One of my problems with some ongoing comics is that they end up radiating a sense that Nothing Really Matters -- whatever obstacles are overcome, whatever victories are won or losses are endured, it's only a matter of time before a recognizable status-quo is restored, or things are undone, or perspectives are changed. Part of my mini-plan with "Legacy" was to take a slightly different approach, and the modular sense of goal/conclusion is part of that.

So: can David ever find true happiness? In as much as he might successfully complete this goal or that goal -- yes, absolutely. Enduring love with Blindfold? That's a way tougher proposition. But, hey, this is "Legacy." It's not so much a case of "never say never," as "you can say 'never' if you like, but I might decide to go back in time and erase the etymological origins of the word from the linguistic lexicon just to make you look stupid."

James has a couple continuity questions dealing with Blindfold.

After reading The latest issue of X-Men Legacy, I have a few questions about Ruth Aldine, a.k.a. Blindfold:

1) In "Young X-Men," her odd speaking patterns were explained to be the result of her communication with Cipher, Alisa Tager. Because of her mutation, nobody could perceive Alisa, so it appeared that Ruth would often talk to herself. Then, recently in "X-Men: Legacy," it was implied that her odd speech was due to her communication with her spectre like brother. After he was defeated, though, she is still using those odd speech patterns. "Yes. No.", "I'm sorry", "Pardon". So since she still talks like that, these speech patterns weren't because of her communication with Alisa or her brother after all. So why does she talk like that?

Hey James. I think some wires may've gotten crossed here, but bear in mind a lot of this stuff is as fluid and changeable as any of these character-evolution matters ever are, so a modicum of Not Getting Too Hung Up On Minutiae might be needed. Okay? Okay.

My understanding is that Ruth's fractured speech patterns were part of her character from her first ever appearance. Later (at the hands of a different writer, I think?) it was retcon-suggested that she'd been talking to Cipher all along, hence the spasmodic flourishes of language. But later still (at the hands of a multitude of writers) she carried on with the speech-weirdness regardless, even though Cipher was now "out." So to speak. So we're already in slightly contradictory territory.

My feeling when I approached "Legacy" for the first time was that here was a character full of strength, courage and potential, who had -- one way or another -- been broken. I was less interested in the how/whys/whats of her speech pattern than in the fact that they're just one symptom of a person who's had a really fucking horrible life. And, since it had been hinted that Ruth's origin story lay in some nastiness involving her mother and brother, I made it my mission to tell that story.

While mutant cures have shown up before, Spurrier is doing something different with Marcus Glove's version of it in the "Invasive Exotic" arc
EXCLUSIVE: "X-Men Legacy" #11 art by Tan Eng Huat

For clarity, at no point have I suggested Ruth's speech impediment was as a result of her communicating with her dead brother's shade. I did suggest that it originated in the horrific assault he conducted upon her at the moment of his death, but even that wasn't set down in stone, so you can probably brain-knot your way 'round it if you like. Frankly, the far bigger matter is that Ruth's speech patterns seem to wax and wane according to her relationship with David -- did you notice? -- which I think is a rather lovely little symptom of their burgeoning affections. Two broken people, who get slightly less broken when they're together.

Which is the long-winded way of saying: just go with it, mate. You'll be happier for it.

2) Towards the end of the issue she receives a note from Legion with a web address on it. She looks at the note as if to read it. But later she asks Pixie if there are any comments under the video. So what gives, can she read or not? Can she "see" or somehow perceive her surroundings and written text or not? Along this same thought, in the last issue she accidentally "sees" Legion sleeping naked and quickly turns and apologizes. She then covers her already blindfolded "eyes" with her hand but then "peeks" through her fingers. She has no eyes! The area where her eyes would be are covered with a blindfold. She has no eyes to avert, cover or peek with, man!

Well, James, I'm glad you asked those story-critical questions. The fact is -- as everyone knows -- Blindfold's "vision" takes the form of aetheric scrying, whereby every physical object is partnered on the astral plane by a shadow-object or "negathingy" which crackles with psychic vibrations, and hence forms a rough approximation of a 3D object. Rather like a very sophisticated radar, except using Real Actual Brain Rays. Scientists call this technique "madeuppism." To a seer as talented as Ruth, being able to discern the raised surface of ink on a piece of paper is, obviously, a doddle, so she could read David's letter just fine. Sadly this methodology is (as you will doubtless have now realized) useless when it comes to abstract non-liminal/photonic representations such as TV screens and lenticular projections. Partly that's because they have no physical depth, and partly because such displays are -- scientists agree -- soulless sprays of antilove particles, and hence anathema to a Feels-Powered Psychic. Poor Ruth has no hope.

I trust this display of my famed expertise in the area of Madeuppism settles your mind in the case of future queries.

As for Ruth peering out from between her fingers: you got me. That scene was, in fact, shot with Ruth's stunt double -- her Chihuahua got hit by a speeding Orca the day before and we offered her some bonus pagetime out of pity -- and she totally fluffed the whole "no eyes" bit. We had to cut this one amazing scene because we realized in the edit-suite she'd spent the whole time with a pair of reading spectacles worn under the blindfold. You can't get the staff these days, I tell ya.

 
Next up is cora reef, who needs to know more about the new mutant cure and its keeper, Marcus Glove.

Dear Mr. Spurrier, I've actually been enjoying "X-Men Legacy" quite a bit. With the current arc dealing with a cure for mutants, will you be bringing up any of Kativa Rao's research in that area?

Yes indeed. It's touched upon in a fairly critical way in episode #11, in fact.

Let the record state that we were totally aware, from the get-go, the whole "cure for mutants" thing has been done before. With this current "Invasive Exotic" arc, our aim was to regard it in a totally different way. How much would someone be prepared to forgo -- how much pain would they endure -- if it meant they were less of a danger to the world than previously? It's a big, troubling, meaty sort of question: which is exactly how we at "X-Leg" towers believe questions should be.

The writer wants to bring more characters with family issues into "X-Men Legacy" down the line

Needless to say, the "cure" being offered by Marcus Glove and the fine hipsterish folks at the IBSS is not the neat-and-tidy system pioneered by Doc Rao.

I'm intrigued by the character of Marcus Glove. How is he meant to provide a contrast to a character like Legion?

Beyond the whole "no limbs, face like Chernobyl" thing?

Well... okay, so there are a bunch of surprises coming down the pipe, as you'd expect from a title like "Legacy," so I can't be too spoilery about some relevant things. But hey, Glove's position at the start of this arc appears to be diametrically opposed to David's: one is anti-mutant, one's a mutant. So that's a pretty contrasty contrast, although nothing we haven't seen before.

The real contrast I'm playing with is between Glove's organization and some other anti-mutant groups we've met in the comics before. The whole xenophobia/hatred issue is so bloody easy to digest when you've got heroic world-saving altruist boyscouts on one side and violent hateful racist ignorant scum on the other. To me, that's cheating. That's not how the real world works. Some of the most abhorrent acts of inequality in history have been conducted by people who were calm, thoughtful, pleasant. Some of the most radical, grotesque thoughts and views were imposed on the world by people who were seductively smart. And -- here's the key -- who were convincing. And -- here's the other key -- who meant every word they said. I wanted to write an X-story in which the anti-mutant "villains" don't punch back. They're rational and kinda nice, and -- holy shit -- maybe just maybe they've kinda got a point...

How does a mutant hero beat them?

Of course by the end of episode #1 you realize David's not come to beat them at all, but that's just the first of the surprises in store.

Finally, Paul needs to know more about future plans and characters for "X-Men Legacy."

Dear Si, You've definitely done more with Blindfold than pretty much any other writer to date. Which other obscure X-Character would you like to develop further by bringing them into Legacy?

Oh crikey -- so many. Think I've waffled on previous X-Positions about my irrational love for the likes of Chamber and Frenzy and Pixie. I probably shouldn't have to spell this out, but almost all of the characters with whom David's locking horns have parental/family issues -- emergent thematic connective tissue, people -- that's something we're going to see more of as we progress.

Episodes #13 and #14 introduce a whole batch of other X-characters we haven't played with yet. Some very, very well known, others relatively obscure. Pixie's back in the mix, as is Chamber. If [I] were to gently tease that the story's focus is a certain secret-service agent with superhot scalpels jutting from his fingers, you might begin to see a pattern in why these particular characters are appearing all at once. I can say no more.

Beyond that? I have plans for a couple of my all-time favorites -- one of them playing the role of a love rival to one or other of our central figures -- but I dare not expand.

Why does David want to get cured? The impression I got was that he wanted to try and get his powers under control with his own inner strength of will.

Yes and no. He's just been granted a vision of himself causing a disgusting genocidal future, remember? The kid may be confused and frightened, but he's basically a Good Person. He doesn't want to be responsible for that much horror, so what's a universe-shattering psi-nuke liability gonna do?

He aims, put simply, to de-weaponize himself.

That's his story, anyway. This is "Legacy," and nothing is ever what it seems.

Finally, the Behind the X question: If you could spend the day hanging out with any comic book character, who would it be and why?

Tempting to say David himself, actually, if only because he could look into the future, tell me all the amazing "Legacy" storylines coming up, and save me a ton of brain-bleeding thought and scheming. Oof. I think I just out-meta'd myself.

Buuuut, no. I think it'd probably be ole' Norrin Radd: the Silver Surfer. I have and always will have an epic soft-spot for a character so utterly alien, and yet so easily able to out-human the humans around him. He's such a tragic, noble, doomed, surreal figure: I feel like I could just sit next to him for a day, not even talking, just bathing in Otherness. Awesome.

Also, we could totes Catch The Big One on a sky-splitting solar flare while singing along to Pearl Jam and nibbling on Saturnian hotdogs. While fighting space-ninja dinosaurs. Etcetera.

Special thanks to Mr. Si Spurrier for his excellent answers to this week's questions!

Next week, it's a journey back to the Ultimate Universe as writer Cullen Bunn answers questions about "Ultimate Comics Wolverine," the alternate universe of "Deadpool Killustrated" and the new adventures of Dani Moonstar in "Fearless Defenders." Got a question for Cullen? Send me an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!

TAGS:  x-position, marvel comics, marvel now, x-men legacy, simon spurrier, tan eng huat

 
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