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|“||And he asked him - What is thy name? And he replied - MY NAME IS LEGION, FOR WE ARE MANY!||„|
|~ Legion (using the biblical quote on which he is based to introduce himself)|
The primary villain of the videogame Shadow Man and its comic book adaptation (itself based on the eponymous Marvel comic book), Legion is the extremely powerful demonic ruler of Deadside (the Underworld) who turned five serial-killers to half-demons to invade Liveside (Earth). Legion is based on the biblical demon of the same name.
Just like his biblical model, Legion is a demonic entity composed of many evil spirits. As such he refers to himself as both "I" and "we", and whenever he speaks several threatening voices are heard blending into one and creating a sinister echo.
Legion and his followers even use the famous quote "For we are many" as their motto. Legion also frequently says "Amen to that" when he proclaims something or when things go as he wishes, further referring to his biblical inspiration.
Legion looks like a middle-aged man of aristocratic support who wears elegant but unkempt clothing, like a neglected gentleman, and carries a long sword which he uses as a cane. His mouth is constantly bleeding, hinting at his demonic nature. (This might be but the human vessel of the demon, but nothing is truly explained.)
In his true, demonic form, he resembles a giant, floating centipede with a lamprey-like mouth full of pointed teeth among a mass of writhing, tormented human-like figures (likely the evil spirits which are part of him), long horns, two clawed tentacles and a humanoid head atop it.
Like most Dark Lords, Legion is calm and collected yet cruel, sadistic and menacing. In a creepy contrast with his dignified manners, he often swears coarsely and trash-talks his foes, whom he is not above striking in the middle of an (insult-loaded) talk. He surrounds himself with the worst psychotic killers whom he lets do whatever atrocity they like and wants to extinguish life to make everyone his subjects and claim Earth for himself.
Legion is scornful and very conceited, boastful and self-aggrandizing. He acts imposing, demanding and falsely polite, showing courtesy but strictness to allies, and mocking respect and condescending sarcasm to foes, when he does not insult and demean them. He revels in tormenting his victims and toying with their feelings under the shape of people they know. He has a sick sense of humour and enjoys telling scary jokes.
Furthermore, he is highly intelligent, devious and manipulative. He devises complex plans to direct people where he wants them to without them knowing, fooling foes to do his biddings while making them think they are opposing him.
He knows what buttons to push or which shape to assume to manipulate his targets, and he displays enough charisma and persuasion to get evil people to serve him with but a few words.
Powers and Influence
Legion can be regarded as the Lord of the Dead, for he has ruled in Deadside in the Dawn of Times. He is so powerful that the Ancients could do nothing more than seal him away. Even Shadow Man stands no chance if he is not empowered by all the Dark Souls he covets.
He has enormous influence over Deadside and controls about every demon and malevolent departed soul found here. He is implied to rule Deadside as a whole and to have turned the supposedly neutral Afterlife into such a hellish, twisted world, with every departed soul reduced to a ghastly Deadsider.
He harvests Deadsiders and awfully mutates them to create his servant monsters. Among which his mightiest, the hulking and hideous Trueforms, whom he granted the power to shoot dark energy blasts and make fireballs erupt from the ground.
He controls the Dark Souls, using them to animate Trueforms and to turn his followers into highly powerful, undying half-demons. But even he cannot harness their full power alone.
Legion knows the deads to the point of seamlessly impersonating one he never had contact with. He can appear out of nowhere, shape-shift, create and enter dreams, and many others. In the comics, he can perceive anything happening in Deadside and extract souls to place them in new bodies. It is implied that since Deadside and his guardians are linked to Voodoo magic, Legion can perform it as well, or at least knows how it works.
Several millennia before the start of the game, Legion made attempts to gather the demonic Dark Souls and use them to extinguish life, but the Lwas (divine spirits of Voodoo religion) managed to banish him away from both worlds. They knew full well that he would be back someday, so they tried to destroy the Dark Souls that he covets under their protection. As they proved indestructible, they sealed them into Govi containers under their watch.
From then on Legion kept an eye on both sides of the Veil, patiently waiting for the day he could return. Eventually, the protectors of both worlds and the bokors (Voodoo sorcerers) learnt about a prophecy that foretold Legion's return, while the old gods spoke to them through their dreams, imparting them with knowledge about the way to prevent the Apocalypse that the villain seeks to unleash... or so it seemed.
Little did they know that it was in fact Legion himself who made the false prophecy; posing as an ancient Voodoo deity and guiding them in a way they thought could thwart his plans, but in fact served his interests.
Role in the Game
In the ancient times, they were several Voodoo warriors known as the Shadow Men, wielders of the powerful Mask of Shadows and able to walk between the two sides of the Veil, who were tasked to maintain the balance between said sides and to protect them from any threat. Now that the ancients' teaching have been forgotten and that slavery, segregation and rationalism have reduced the influence of Voodoo, there is only one Shadow Man at a time, but he gathers all the power granted to the Shadow Men of the past.
In 1999, the current Shadow Man and the game's primary protagonist is Michael Leroi, a failed literature student and hitman from Louisiana, who unknowingly took a huge amount of money belonging to drug-dealers and ended up inadvertently causing of the murder of his parents and his child brother Luke, plaguing him with guilt and grief.
Michael works for the powerful bokor Mamma Nettie, who recently had prophetic dreams about Legion's imminent return and decides to send Michael to Deadside, in a quest to retrieve the - no longer protected - Dark Souls and stop the Five, Legion's demonic serial-killers followers, before they can unleash the Apocalypse.
The game's introduction takes place in November 1888, in the sewers of London, where Jack the Ripper is writing his journal. The serial-killer confesses that he sought immortality from his victims' souls, but not to avail. As he is about to commit suicide, Legion appears.
Legion offers Jack immortality if he accepts to serve him and follow him into Deadside to build a immense Asylum, where they would gather the Dark Souls and use them to fuel a Dark Engine. (Jack is depicted in the game as an architect.)
With the Dark Souls' energy Legion's Dark Engine to considerably increase the might of his demons and to break through the Veil, enabling his empowered armies to invade the Land of the Livings and take over the world. As Legion plans to bring about the Apocalypse, it is fair to assume that he wants to expand Deadside on the land of the Livings where he would extinguish all life, turning it into a demonic realm that he could rule for eternity.
During the following decades, Legion and Jack recruited four other serial-killers, Milton Pike, Marco Cruz, Avery Marx and Doctor Victor Batrachian, who helped prepare their forces and seek every Dark Souls, while keeping an eye on those who know the truth. In 1999, Legion and the Five enacted their plan at last.
A few years before the start of the game, he sends his men back to Liveside to restart a killing spree and raise Legion's influence. Three of them got incarcerated on purpose, so that they could take control of the jail and the other convicts. Meanwhile, Legion influenced Mamma Nettie's "prophetic" dreams to convince her that Apocalypse was drawing near, so that she would order Shadow Man to enter the fray.
Shadow Man investigates as Michael Leroi in Liveside and as the Shadow Man in Deadside. Whenever he is killed, he is sent back to the gates of Deadside. He must collect powerful Voodoo Weapons that prove highly useful, many items called "Cadeaux" (French for gifts) that can help him increase his life-bar and finally the 120 Dark Souls (a nod to Super Mario 64). By using his late brother's Teddy Bear, Shadow Man can teleport to any location he visited in either side of the Veil.
The game is non-linear, and Shadow Man decides where he has to go, granted that some conditions are required to visit key locations. There are several towns in Liveside where the Five, also referred to as the "Heralds of the Apocalypse" are operating and four towns in Deadside: The Temple of Fire, the Temple of Life, the Temple of Blood and the Temple of Prophecy.
Michael Leroi is powerless against the Five, so he must assemble the ceremonial dagger known as the Eclipser, to bring shadows over the world and become Shadow Man in Liveside. That way, he can collect the Dark Souls hidden there and destroy the Five to get their Dark Souls. His trusty Shadow Gun is the only weapon that can fully take them down, and as their life-bar dwindles, they turn to demonic versions of themselves similar to Trueforms.
After killing "The Five" and gathering all the Dark Souls, Shadow Man must return to Deadside and use Jack the Ripper's journal to enter the Cathedral of Pain, the inner sanctum of Legion's Asylum, in which he must destroy the engines. Then, he hears the voice of his late brother Luke pleading him for help. Shadow Man follows the voice and reunites with his brother in a gloomy throne room, giving him back his Teddy Bear.
The Final Battle
|“||Really Michael, you must learn to let the dead rest in peace.||„|
|~ Legion (teasing Shadow Man about his brother).|
Legion's first form is ridiculously easy to defeat. All Shadow Man has to do is to remain out of reach from his sword strikes and attack with concentrated gunshots. Legion is easier to hit when he stops after striking, but he is no big deal whatsoever.
When Legion appears to be defeated, he assumes his true form. The throne room is now reduced to several skybridges surrounding big chasms. Legion plunges into a chasm and emerges to attack, and Shadow Man must fire at his "face" as much as he can, before getting away when Legion dives again.
Legion fires purple energy balls that track down Shadow Man from behind, a purple energy blast, a long-lasting purple ray, or many purple homing energy balls from different sides at once. His attacks are quite powerful. Shadow Man can dive into the chasm to the lower level for ammunition, but Legion will track him down.
If Shadow Man falls, it triggers a bad ending in which Legion gets the Dark Souls and the world is doomed. Upon winning, Shadow Man forces every Dark Soul into a weakened Legion, who cannot bear it and gets destroyed once and for all, alongside his Cathedral of Pain and his Dark Engine.
The Shadow Man game was adapted and expanded in six Acclaim Comics. The first entries set up the story and fleshes out Shadow Man, his missions, his past and his friends, including an original character named Astrid Lockyer.
Legion is first seen in the Liveside counterpart of his Asylum, after sensing Astrid's first skirmish with Deadside. He identifies her as a twin, something very powerful in Voodoo, and orders his servants to target her, but he is hidden in shadows and only identified by his catchphrase and blood from his mouth.
He reappears at the end of the second entry Lwa and Order. Shadow Man just defeated the mad artist Max Dubois, who was drawing warped symbols of the Lwas all over, binding them on Liveside in a twisted state. He crippled Dubois who was shyphoning power from the Lwa of Death Baron Samedi, but Legion recruits him in the hospital, shape-shifted as a medic.
Asylum Seeker/Soul Survivor
the game unfolds in the third and fourth entries. Legion is first seen visisting Jack the Ripper under his human-like form, but when in Deadside, his demon form is different than in the game, looking like an upgraded Trueform.
Jaunty, the Keeper of Deadside, shows Shadow Man the Asylum, saying it had appeared overnight (likely hidden until now by Legion's power). They recognize Legion’s foul aura but initially dismiss his return as unlikely. As Shadow Man cannot enter the Asylum upfront due to the many abnormally powerful Trueforms guarding it, they try to find an entrance from Liveside.
Unlike the game in which Mama Nettie knows Legion but does not explain his nature to Shadow Man, he already knows him for he inherited his predecessors’ knowledge and power, including the one who destroyed Legion eons ago.
Like in the game, Legion recruited many serial-killers. One of them, the comic-book exclusive John Douglas Barber was jailed in Pascoe Prison to be executed. Barber’s last request is to speak to Astrid, whom he almost killed but who got him caught. She only agrees because she wants to learn where he hid his victim’s corpses, to give closure to their grieving families.
Alas, it was a trap. With the enhanced strength Legion granted him, Barber easily escapes, releasing prisoners in a riot that kills everyone and cutting power to keep the US army out. Shadow Man sneaks in to investigate, fending off empowered inmates and hordes of undead victims. But Barber kills himself with the electric chair to become one of the Five and Shadow Man only finds Astrid’s mangled corpse.
Mama Nettie telepathically warns him that Legion is behind all this and that the portal Barber opened leads right into the Asylum, but he does not listen and jumps in, right into Legion’s trap where the Five await him.
As Shadow Man destroys the Five and a Trueform-turned Max Dubois, It is eventually revealed that Astrid is alive, though a captive of Legion. Given that Astrid's twin sister Stella died stillborn and that her soul is resting in Astrid’s, Legion faked Astrid's death and had her brought to him.
With one twin dead the other alive, he can create the perfect symmetry he needs to open gateways anywhere he wants in Liveside, and lead his armies to expand Deadside over Liveside and take over both.
Shadow Man is captured by Jack the Ripper, here the mightiest of the Five, and brought to Legion, who beats him to near death and orders him fed to the Dark Engine. Revitalised by Stella's pure soul, untainted by both life or death, Shadow Man throws Jack in the Dark Engine and separates the twins' conjoined souls.
Freed at last, Stella sacrifices herself to destroy Legion and his Asylum once and for all, asking her sister and Shadow Man to never forget her.