Legion has returned to FX for its second season, reminding us comics fans of two very important things: FX makes some incredible television, and the mutants of Marvel Comics are still overflowing with potential in all media. This television series from creator Noah Hawley has tapped into some of the most fascinating themes within X-Men comics and the incredible, visual potential within mutants who can twist the nature of both thought and reality. It's genuinely striking show that has only improved at the start of season two; it also pulls a lot of inspiration from the comics as source material.
While it's tough to compare the comics and television series on a one-to-one basis (it's really apples and oranges), there are a lot of aesthetic, character, and plot-based threads that weave between the two. Reading the comics helps to show where many of the great ideas in Legion come from, but finding all of that can be difficult given just how many comics feature even a B-list character like David Haller. That's why we've narrowed it down to a reading list of the best single issues to ever star Legion. These eight issues cover the entire gamut of Legion's career, offering a survey on the many influential artists, writers, and stories to touch the character over the decades.
If you're looking to learn more about the source material behind Legion, these are eight great issues to start your quest for more great Legion stories.
The New Mutants (vol. 1) #26
Written by Chris Claremont
Art by Bill Sienkiewicz
This is the best possible place to begin any survey of Legion-related comics. While David Haller's first appearance was technically The New Mutants #25, this is where his story begins. Claremont and Sienkiewicz are widely regarded as some of the best creators of X-Men comics ever, and this issue shows just why that is. Claremont loads David's story with pathos and builds him as a substantial, but sympathetic threat. Sienkiewicz's pages are nothing short of stunning as he twists and breaks the world of the New Mutants. There's more story following this issue, but this is the best of all possible starting points.prevnext
Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #280
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Steve Butler and Andy Kubert
The finale of the "Muir Island Saga" taps into all of Legion's most important relationships in an epic conclusion. Legion takes his normal place as a pawn between greater powers like his father, Professor Xavier, and the Shadow King. It's only through his power that they are able to contest the fate of the world though, starting a cycle which Legion has yet to escape. This finale is also emblematic of its period in comics, offering up one of the most iconic issues from this period of X-Men.prevnext
X-Factor (vol. 1) #109
Written by Todd DeZago and John Francis Moore
Art by Jan Duursema
The start of "Legion Quest" provides two very important things. It reaffirms the cycle of use and abuse that was initiated in the "Muir Island Saga" and provides the foundation for "Age of Apocalypse". This cross-section of major stories and events shows just how important Legion is to the history of the X-Men, even if he's rarely a member of any given team. It highlights how both his powers and instability make him too significant and manipulated to ever leave the narrative for long. That has remained true ever since "Legion Quest" was first published.prevnext
New Mutants (vol. 3) #4
Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Diogenes Neves
This restart for the New Mutants franchise returned many of the original team members to face off against one of their greatest antagonists. In the finale of the first story, Legion is as strong as he has ever been and is capable of confronting the entire team both on the physical and mental world. It shows off just how great of a threat Legion can be, even when he's not a puppet, and reaffirms the key connection between him and this classic X-team.prevnext
"Age of X Conclusion"
New Mutants (vol. 3) #24
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Steve Kurth
Building on Legion's reintroduction at the start of this New Mutants series, the epic event "Age of X" revealed a new alternate future in which mutants are almost extinct. While almost every prominent member of the X-Men is present, Legion plays a key role, using his powers to offer a key to saving the future and return the mutants to the present day. It also marks the start of a shift in Legion's history from primarily being an antagonist to a protagonist.prevnext
X-Men: Legacy (vol. 1) #252
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Khoi Pham
Following the conclusion of "Age of X", Legion was perceived more as a hero than ever before and began working more with the X-Men. Unfortunately one of the very first missions to be faced in this era was to confront the inner demons transformed into literal demons from Legion's own mind. It provides a great depiction of the many ideas and personas haunting Legion as well as some excellent action as many metaphorical fights require actual punching.prevnext
"Judgement of Diana"
X-Men: Legacy (vol. 2) #9
Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Tan Eng Huat
This is one standalone issue from the hands-down greatest Legion series of all time, X-Men: Legacy. If you're looking for a collection, then this is the place to go, and #9 offers a great taste test of the series. It centers on a date between Legion and Blindfold on the Moon. That premise serves to introduce key relationships and other elements into the series, but also provides readers a relatively quiet moment to learn more about what drives Legion.prevnext
"The Place of Broken Things"
X-Men: Legacy (vol. 2) #15
Written by Simon Spurrier0comments
Art by Tan Eng Huat
Another great issue from Legion's best series to date, this one connects present and past as David reconnects with Moira McTaggart, learns more about his childhood, and makes some very difficult decisions. It gets right to the heart of why Legion is ultimately a heroic character and one deserving of so much sympathy. On a list filled with diverse, interesting issues, none represents who Legion is better than X-Men: Legacy #15.prev