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Thursday Q&A: Si Spurrier

The writer of X-Men Legacy sets up a climactic showdown between Legion and Cyclops!

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X-Men Legacy #16 preview art by Paul Davidson

By Jim Beard

The short list of inevitable things? Death, taxes, and now, the showdown between Legion, the son of X-Men founder Charles Xavier, and Cyclops, the killer of Charles Xavier.

Everything’s leading to a final clash between the two X-titans and it’ll kick off in X-MEN LEGACY #16, out September 4, according to the book’s writer, Si Spurrier. We checked in with him to get the lowdown on the showdown and he wanted to start at the beginning.

Marvel.com: Si, what’s the most important thing that a reader would need to know heading into the Legion-Cyclops brouhaha?

Si Spurrier: Okay, brass tacks: our central character is David Haller, better known—though he hates the word—as “Legion.” He’s Charles Xavier’s son. He’s one of the most powerful mutants in the world—they all say that, but it’s true in his case—but his brain is infested by crazy voices, frightening entities and monstrous split personalities, each of which controls one his powers. So he’s constantly fighting against elements of his own mind. He’d be genuinely unbeatable if he weren’t so bloody broken.

Also he has kinda crazy hair, but we don’t like to talk about that.

Marvel.com: Aww…

Si Spurrier: David’s fragile equilibrium was superborked, as you’d expect, when his father died. But recently he’s been doing pretty well at putting himself back together. He’s getting his inner-demons under control and trying to find his place in the Marvel Universe. He’s even enjoying a shy romance with the young mutant Blindfold, despite a pesky prophecy, made by Blindfold’s sinister brother, which states one of them will end up killing the other. Love’s hard. 

X-Men Legacy #16 preview art by Paul Davidson

Marvel.com: There’s even more to it then that, right?

Si Spurrier: The same prophecy states that if David survives—if Blindfold doesn’t kill him—he’ll transform into this totally gross Cthuloid cosmic world-worm which will psychically consume the souls of every mutant in existence before self destructing. Which is, y’know, kind of a big destiny for a young man to deal with.

Still: David’s not sitting around feeling sorry for himself. He feels he should be walking in his father’s footsteps, taking up the mantle of the Guardian of Mutantkind, but that’s tricky when he doesn’t exactly know yet how he feels about his father. Like, was Professor X an amazing role model and inspiring mutant leader, or a neglectful and disparaging father? Either way, David doesn’t agree with all his dad’s methods; he’s set himself the task of fighting for mutant rights in a proactive, secret, sneaky way. No waiting for evil; he’s going to go nip it in the bud before the seed’s even sown.

Marvel.com: So, how does Cyclops fit in to all this?

Si Spurrier: [He’s] the guy who murdered David’s father, still alive and well, swaggering about for all the world’s media and selling himself as the latest hipster revolutionary sensation. David has been paying close attention to poor, oblivious, unsuspecting Scott Summers.

Marvel.com: How will the events of X-MEN LEGACY #15 impact the next few issues? What has changed with David that will shape him from this moment on?

X-Men Legacy #16 preview art by Paul Davidson

Si Spurrier: As per the events of #15—spoilers!—David’s attempts to reconcile with his estranged mother end in tragedy. He really has nobody left except for Blindfold—whose mother was killed too, by the way, by the same evil brother I mentioned above. So together they decide enough is enough: patricide can’t go unanswered. David wants justice.

It’s a sort of wake-up moment. It brings to the surface all of David’s muddled emotions about his father—he never got a chance to work out whether he should worship or loath the guy—and makes him wonder how can he even hope to be a force for good, a leader no less, if he’s prepared to let his father’s killer wander around unchallenged.

But this is X-MEN LEGACY, and, if you haven’t been reading it, what that means is there’s always more going on than there first appears, there’s always a bunch of surprises along the way, and there’s always a cunningly-concealed sting in the tail.

Marvel.com: You say David’s sweet on Blindfold; what role will she play in X-MEN LEGACY #16?

Si Spurrier: David and Blindfold have slowly formed a very strange, but actually kind of beautiful relationship. The way I characterise it is: they’re two broken people who get slightly less broken when they’re together. David gives Blindfold strength and confidence—a nice little detail people are starting to notice: her stammer mysteriously disappears whenever she’s inside David’s head—which is a totally X-MEN LEGACY sort of thing to say. Huh.

Anyway, Blindfold gives David calmness, focus and—importantly!—a moral compass: she’s uncomfortably aware his passions and ambitions sometimes ride roughshod over his sense of perspective, so she’s often reining him in. The real tragedy at the heart of the relationship is that even though they clearly love one another, she can’t quite bring herself to trust him, and he can’t quite bring himself to trust anyone.

X-Men Legacy #16 preview art by Paul Davidson

In #16 they’ve cooked-up a plan together and we’re about to see them put it into effect. As I said above, things are never quite as simple as they seem, but I don’t think it’s giving too much away to state that the plan basically amounts to: GET SCOTT SUMMERS.

And they both very much have their roles to play in pursuing that.

Marvel.com: In what ways are David and Scott similar enough to be considered "brothers," beyond their ties to Charles Xavier?

Si Spurrier: I don’t think you can take Charlieboy out of that equation, frankly. Moreso than perhaps any other X-characters, Scott’s and David’s lives are utterly dominated by Prof. X’s presence: informing, infecting, influencing and arguably corrupting them from who they once were into who they now are.

One grossly oversimplified way of looking at it—which is to say, the way poor David might see it in the heat of a particularly bitter moment, hint hint—is that whereas Xavier accepted David as his son, it was Scott whom he really treated like one. And I don’t mean that in the obvious sense—bedtime stories and building tree houses—but in the sense that Scott was always Charles’s protégé; being modelled into a warrior, a leader, a figurehead; the true heir to the Mutant Crown. And all while David was being kept in an induced coma. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s gotta hurt.

Marvel.com: What else will you touch upon in that scenario?

X-Men Legacy #16 preview art by Paul Davidson

Si Spurrier: This notion that in a mythic sense Xavier played the role of the wise King of the Mutants, universally respected. But in the aftermath of his death you’ve got all these factions who believe—and loudly proclaim—that they represent the New Order.

So in a certain light—a light we’re going to be shining through all kinds of creepy and trippy filters—when Scott and David clash it’s not just two mutants having a spat, it’s not just two would-be revolutionaries battling over policy, it’s not just two pseudo-brothers fighting over who was Daddy’s favourite, it’s all of those things, and something far grander besides; it is, quite simply, a war of succession. The battle for the mutant throne.

And if you think you know how it’s going to end—“oh c’mon, it’s obvious”—you don’t. You really, really don’t.

Marvel.com: Who will Scott rely upon in the X-Men to have his back here? Or is this something he truly needs to deal with on his own?

Si Spurrier: Funnily enough, both are true. 

Marvel.com: How so?

Si Spurrier: Same proviso as above! Same proviso as above! Things are never as simple as they seem!

Nonetheless we could very, very broadly suggest that X-MEN LEGACY #16 is basically “Legion Vs UXM,” then #17 is basically “Legion Vs Cyclops”…alone.

Marvel.com: Sounds pretty grim…

X-Men Legacy #17 preview inks by Khoi Pham

Si Spurrier: I’m saying nothing about how or why that should be the way it plays out, except that I’ve seen some of the art from #17 and it’s going to blow your minds. I’m always slightly leery about choosing to write a “fight episode”—that seems a kinda lazy approach to storytelling to me—but I can’t deny #17 is best characterised as, yes, a “fight episode”. But it’s not like any fight you’ve seen in an X-Men comic. I don’t want to spoil it. But I think it’s pretty cool. And it’ll make you wince.

Marvel.com: And that opening action in X-MEN LEGACY #16?

Si Spurrier: That was great fun to write. There’s one sequence in particular I’m very proud of, because it’s like a perfect microcosmic exemplar of the way the book works. It starts with two inconceivably powerful entities going up against each other—David vs. Magneto, in this case—and there’s all the smashing and crashing you’d expect, but it ends in a completely unforeseen, and completely delightful, way. 

Marvel.com: Okay, well, who will stand the greatest chance of "winning" and why?

Si Spurrier: You mean who will stand the greatest chance of winning between the ragtag band of semi-depowered mutants and their students, versus the crackling god-slaughtering omega-level-x200 planet-shaking liability who went through some of Wolverine’s best guys like a hot knife through butter back in X-MEN LEGACY #4?

X-Men Legacy #17 preview inks by Khoi Pham

Yeah, I’d have to say Legion. Sorry.  Of course, I know, I know, you guys are all thinking “Oh come on, no way is Marvel going to let that weirdo with the big hair beat The One, The Only, The Iconic, Scott “Cyclops” Summers.

So what I will say is this: these days, huzzah for Marvel, you should always expect the unexpected. And, for the last time: it’s never as simple as it seems.

Marvel.com: What makes you most happy about having Paul Davidson and Khoi Pham with you on this storyline?

Si Spurrier: I’ve been spoilt by the artists I’m assigned on this series, and that’s before you even get to the mighty Mike Del Mundo, whose covers have been out of this world. Series regular Tan Eng Huat can do things with dynamism and expression nobody else can touch, but for this arc we’ve gone for a grimmer, more sombre tone. Paul Davidson can flip between the insane action and those moments of really intense facial acting which are going to make or break #16, while Khoi Pham brings to #17 a gritty, dirty-but-beautiful vibe which is simply perfect for the brutality wadded-up in those pages.

X-Men Legacy #16 cover by Mike Del Mundo

They’re playing to exactly the right strengths for the episodes they’re handling.

Marvel.com: Finally, Si, after the big showdown, what can we expect next in the book? Where do we go from here?

Si Spurrier: Up. All the way up. Into orbit, in fact.

For Space Justice, the next story, frighteningly powerful cosmic weaponry, a terrifying look at the fallout from X-MEN LEGACY #13-18, and the mother of all… dum dum duuuum…executions.

And all before coming back to Earth with an extremely heavy bump, and spiralling downwards, and downwards, and downwards…

Pick up X-MEN LEGACY #15, available now, and issue #16, coming September 4

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