After his encounter with Lord Trauma in the first issue, David is desperate for help and wastes no time putting Dr. Hannah Jones to work in LEGION #2. The second chapter of Peter Milligan, Wilfredo Torres, and Dan Brown’s limited series delves deep into David’s mind to get to the root of what plagues him. Through this, LEGION #2 remedies some of the issues that affected the first chapter by utilizing its characters in unique ways and setting up for interesting developments for the series.

LEGION #1 Review: Confronting Personal Trauma

If You Die in the Game, You Die in Real Life

After David and Lord Trauma took the lead in LEGION #1, Hannah steals the spotlight in LEGION #2. Though initially hesitant to help David due to her recent encounter with Lord Trauma, Hannah quickly changes her mind and agrees to accept David as her patient. Immediately, David sends her into his mindscape where she can tackle his problems head-on. But not without help; joining Hannah in this cerebral journey is Tami Haar, another of David’s alternative personalities (called “alters”).

Together, Hannah and Tami journey through David’s mindscape to cure David of Lord Trauma’s influence. Along the way, they’re attacked by both David’s mind and Lord Trauma’s own alters. What’s more, what happens to Hannah in the mindscape happens to her corporeal self in real life — including death. As such, David is left protecting Hannah’s body from the dangers of his own mind. But as he does so, David deals with his own intrusive demons. This causes some serious troubles within his mindscape and leaves Hannah in a precarious situation by the issue’s conclusion.

David and Hannah in Sync

Legion #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

What’s really interesting about LEGION #2 is the collaboration between Hannah and David. Both are working together for purely selfish reasons while mutually benefiting each other. David enlists the help of Hannah because she’s the best chance he’s got at taking care of Lord Trauma. But when Hannah’s body is suffering the effects of his mindscape, David’s biggest concern is whether she can stay alive to cure him. Hannah’s main motivation, on the other hand, is to keep all the glory that will come out of treating a patient like David and prevent her competitors from stealing that spotlight. Helping David helps her career, and that’s why she’s so quick to take him on.

The way Hannah and David are working independently of each other and yet with each other is a sign that LEGION is about to make really unique use of its characters. LEGION #2 is definitely the Dr. Hannah Jones show, with David seeming to be on the sideline. However, David has much more influence on the narrative than it appears at first glance. Every obstacle that Hannah faces — for the purpose of curing David — is a product of David’s own mind. In addition, Tami Haar, as one of David’s alters, is a part of his own personality. As such, David is very much in on the action alongside Hannah — just in a different form. This also speaks to the nature of the conflict in LEGION: it’s all David’s inner battle.

LEGION #2 Lays the Groundwork for What’s to Come

legion #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The content of LEGION #2 is fascinating when you dig into it. On the surface, though, the story is paced pretty briskly. It’s understandable for a limited series; this team has a big story to tell, and only five issues to do it. But as a result, the action can feel a little static, and climactic moments lose their impact. The dangers Hannah and Tami encounter — from a young David during a “Guilt Trip” to Lord Trauma himself — jump from one moment to the next, with little time for the reader to ruminate about the stakes. In addition, the tension that builds within David towards the issue’s end happens suddenly and quickly, causing LEGION #2’s cliffhanger ending to feel less momentous.

However, LEGION #2 sets the stage for some really interesting developments. While in David’s mindscape, Hannah and Tami uncover Lord Trauma’s endgame and how they can stop him. Hannah concludes that in order to defeat Lord Trauma — a rogue fragment of David’s fractured mind — they need to gather all of David’s strongest alters and work together. This not only remedies the shortcomings in characterization in LEGION #1, but it subverts expectations of how Milligan can utilize David’s potential as a character. It seems thus far that along with Hannah, David’s alters will be taking center stage in LEGION. If that’s the case, I’m looking forward to how each piece of David’s personality will fit together in this story.

The Art of David’s Mindscape

Legion #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The concept of David’s mindscape is made more fascinating by Wilfredo Torres and Dan Brown’s art. The physical manifestation of David’s memories, like Bittersweet Spores and the Nightmare Beach, result in colorful and vibrant scenery. In addition, Torres’ character designs continue to be beautiful, especially in slower moments featuring Hannah and Tami.

However, the art still underutilizes Milligan’s beats and the nature of this story. Especially in a setting as chaotic and uncertain as David’s mind, the art could have really let loose. While the final moments make creative artistic use of David’s intrusive thoughts, Lord Trauma’s alters and David’s unreliable sense of reality all appear underwhelming. Still, with the pending collaboration between Hannah and David’s alters as they face off against Lord Trauma, there’s the potential for the art of LEGION to show what it’s capable of.

What We Can Expect From LEGION Season Two

Final Thoughts

Though this series has yet to fully embrace the visuals a character like Legion can offer, LEGION #2 excels in its intricate character work within the framework of David’s mind. As this series gears towards David and Hannah’s showdown against Lord Trauma, Milligan, Torres, and Brown are ultimately telling a complex and fascinating story.

LEGION #2 by Peter Milligan, Wilfredo Torres, and Dan Brown
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Though the art still doesn’t fully utilize what a character like Legion can do, LEGION #2 excels in its characterization by pitting David’s mind against -- and with -- Hannah in unique ways.
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A Complex Inner Battle

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