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'Legion: Trauma' review: Go deep into madness as it might take you there

Comic Books

‘Legion: Trauma’ review: Go deep into madness as it might take you there

You might just suffer trauma from reading this story arc.

Legion is about as popular as he ever been in history. The FX show is a hit and getting great reviews, so the comic must be great as well, right? If you’ve been trade waiting you get to find out this week since Legion: Trauma is out in comic shops.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

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A mind-bending X-Men tale from the brains of Peter Milligan (X-STATIX, Shade the Changing Man) and Wilfredo Torres (MOON KNIGHT, BLACK PANTHER)! David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier, has always had trouble containing the multiple personalities in his mind. And with each personality, comes a wild and dangerous mutant power. But now, a terrifying new personality is threatening to absorb these powers and take over David’s mind and body. In a desperate attempt to save himself, David seeks out the help of renowned young psychotherapist Hannah Jones to delve into his fractured mind and fight back this dark personality. But unknown to Legion…Dr. Jones brings her own demons with her…

Why does this matter?

This book is drawn by Wilfredo Torres, who blew me away with his work on Jupiter’s Legacy: Circle — his strong facial expressions and character acting kept you intuned with the emotions on the page. Talk about the perfect artist for a series about a guy with multiple personalities.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

'Legion: Trauma' review: Go deep into madness as it might take you there

Run, forest! Run!

There’s a strong premise keeping things together in this story. Legion is loose after escaping his last padded cell and he’s looking for help. Just his luck, one of the best celebrity psychotherapists, Hannah, is nearby in New York. As these two characters become entangled Hannah must attempt to give Legion therapy from within his own mind whilst fighting off the alternate personality, Trauma. It’s the ultimate psychotherapy story taking place inside the mind of a crazy person.

Some of most entertaining scenes in this book take place where Hannah’s actions within Legion’s mind affect the events in the real world and vice versa. Trauma is not an alter ego that goes lightly and Hannah soon finds out she’s in great danger from her own personal mistakes and psychological failings. Writer Peter Milligan has many interesting new sights to see in Legion’s mind or new twists in the story and it all ends on a rather shocking twist. It’s a done in one tale, so if you’re looking for a complete story, you’ve come to the right place.

Torres capitalizes on the character with his powers going haywire and the thoughts of Trauma seeping into the real world in haunting nightmare fashion. He is aided by Lee Ferguson on two of the issues which isn’t too jarring of a change since the story shifts to a Hannah focused plot. Together they keep the story looking realistic enough to believe it’s happening without reducing the trippy imagery.

'Legion: Trauma' review: Go deep into madness as it might take you there

The visuals do a good job showing the powers Legion has.

It can’t be perfect can it?

I wanted to like this story, but Hannah, and the dialogue in general, is very obvious and explanatory. Hannah says things we can already decipher and then reminds us for good measure a page later. There always seems to be a new alter for her to interact with or the perfect happenstance event to keep her alive for another few pages. All the while, she’s not afraid in the slightest. She also seems quite dense, doing things she’s told not to only to bang her head or get poisoned.

I imagine they were going for an Alice in Wonderland vibe due to Hannah’s bumbling, but it doesn’t work when she’s also supposed to be a very smart therapist. Since the story attempts to make us think she’s in danger only to reveal nothing matters within Legion’s head, there are absolutely no stakes. It’s hard to care about anything that happens, further diminished when the conclusion comes too easily with little reward. As AiPT! contributor Connor Christiansen succinctly put it, Legionis a boring story led by an uninspiring protagonist whose name isn’t on the cover.

Is it good?

I wanted to like this story because of the artist involved and the potential of the character. FX has shown anything is possible with this character, but for some reason an average therapist was chosen to be the protagonist in a story with no stakes or much to care about at all. It’s a boring adventure that had potential, but never quite works.

Legion: Trauma
Is it good?
The premise is so good, but it's hard to get through this one. What a shame.
The premise is strong. It has so much potential!
Torres draws so dang well
You never care much about Hannah, who is infrequently in trouble and doesn't seem too bright
The plotting should work, but doesn't. It's just uninspired

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