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Legacy Virus: Misc


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Up to date as of February 09, 2010

From Marvel Database

Colossus injecting himself with the cure as seen in Uncanny X-Men #390

In the Marvel Universe the Legacy Virus was a devastating plague that ripped through the mutant population, killing hundreds and mutating so that it affected baseline humans as well, until it was cured almost overnight by the sacrifice of the superhero Colossus, a member of the X-Men.



The Legacy Virus was actually a viroid and was released by Stryfe, a terrorist from approximately 2,000 years in the future. It originally existed in two forms, Legacy-1 and Legacy-2, but later mutated into a third form, Legacy-3; all were airborne agents.

Legacy-1 and Legacy-2 searched for a target organism's "X-factor", the sequence of mutant genes that gave a mutant his/her superpowers. If it did not find an activated X-factor in the target, the viroid would die off, leaving the person completely unaffected. If, however, it did detect the X-factor, it would begin inserting introns (junk DNA sequences) into the transcription codings of the victim's mutant RNA, the process commonly being triggered after the patient used their powers for the first time after contracting the disease. The result was a major compromise of the replication and transcription process so disruptive as to eventually render the body incapable of creating healthy cells, ultimately resulting in the death of the victim.

Revanche when infected by the Legacy Virus.

Legacy-1 attacked general transcription and replication of all cells, a messy and non-selective process that resulted in a condition akin to a fast-replicating cancer. This is the version that infected Illyana Rasputin, sister of Colossus. Legacy-2, however, was much closer to Stryfe's original template and more in tune to his desire to stir a species war between humans and mutants. Its attacks were selective, working only on the X-factor genes. The net result was that a victim would eventually lose control of his superhuman powers. In addition to developing at a far slower rate than Legacy-1, victims of Legacy-2 developed skin lesions, fever, cough and overall weakness (symptoms displayed by the telepathic X-Man Revanche). The slow nature of Legacy-2 is why St. John "Pyro" Allerdyce survived for years following his initial infection.

Legacy-3 was a complete fluke, accidentally created in the body of the mutant woman known as Infectia. Her powers allowed her to scan and visualize the genetic structure of a living being and then alter it according to her own whims; she was essentially a walking genetics laboratory. Infectia had herself been infected with the Legacy Virus, which her own powers tried to stave off. In doing so, they caused a replication error in the Legacy-2 viroid that was killing her. The viroid's conditioning-to not infect if no X-gene was found in the host-was stripped. When Henry McCoy opened Infectia's containment chamber in an act of compassion to allow her one final look at the night sky, he inadvertently released this new "free agent" strain. Legacy-3 was capable of infecting any living being that fit within the parameters of its general original template; that is, hominids only, not canines, felines, etc. Moira MacTaggert, long-time ally of the mutant X-Men and one of Earth's top geneticists, seemed to have been the first non-mutant human to be infected with Legacy-3. She passed on the data she had gathered to McCoy, before being killed by an explosion, at her research station on Muir Island, caused by the shapeshifting terrorist Mystique. Professor X did manage to telepathically retrieve the critical information before Moira died, and Beast was able to synthesize the cure a few weeks later. Though one that had a price; the virus had first been released by the death of the first victim, so the release of the cure would cause the same reaction. They vowed to keep working until a safer cure could be found. Colossus, whose little sister Illyana had succumbed to the Virus months before, could not abide by that decision and injected himself with the cure, sacrificing his life to save the world from the disease.

The Legacy Virus was based on a virus created by Apocalypse in the distant future, which was intended to kill the remaining non-mutants. At the time that this alternate version of Apocalypse was killed, the virus had not been perfected, and much like Legacy-3, it targeted all humans indiscriminately. As a result, this virus was never deployed, until Stryfe acquired it and altered it for his own purposes.

Mystique had also created (or commissioned the creation of) a strain of the Legacy viroid that only attacked non-mutant humans, leaving mutants completely untouched.


During the X-Cutioner's Song crossover, the villain Stryfe gave Mister Sinister a canister that he claimed contained 2,000 years worth of genetic material from the Summers bloodline. When Gordon Lefferts, a scientist working for Sinister, opened the canister (in X-Force (vol. 1) #18, January 1993) after Stryfe was apparently killed by Cable, they found nothing inside. Far worse than that, the canister actually contained a plague, Stryfe's "legacy" to the world.

When Colossus' sister Illyana fell ill and died in Uncanny X-Men #303 (August 1993), he left the X-Men and joined Magneto's Acolytes, but later returned. His teammate Beast developed a cure for the virus, but in order for it to be quickly dispersed, a mutant had to sacrifice himself. Colossus did not want any more people to suffer his sister's fate, so he injected himself with the Legacy cure and activated his mutant powers, transforming his body into organic steel. This supercharged the Legacy cure and simultaneously killed him and stopped the spread of the Legacy virus (in Uncanny X-Men #390, March 2001).

Much later, it was revealed Colossus had been resurrected by alien technology and was being used as a test subject for an experimental formula that would reverse mutations; he was eventually rescued by the X-Men, however, and rejoined the team.

Unfortunately, this rapid cure had unforeseen geopolitical effects. Thousands of Legacy-infected mutants and mutates had been quarantined on the island nation of Genosha, which was controlled by Magneto at the time. The instant cure gave Magneto a vast army overnight and allowed him to begin carrying out his plans for world conquest in the Eve of Destruction crossover.

In X-Factor (vol. 3) #10, it was revealed that Singularity Investigations was creating a virus designed to kill mutants. While Jamie Madrox referred to this as the Legacy Virus, it is unclear whether Singularity is actually recreating Stryfe's virus or merely engineering a new one with a similar purpose.

Infection list

listed alphabetically

Character First Appearance of Infection Notes
Absalom X-Force (vol. 1) #37 (August 1994) Virtual immortality, ability to extend razor-sharp spines from his body. Killed by Selene in X-Force (vol. 1) #54.
Abyss Cable (vol. 2) #40 (February 1997) Malleable body houses a dimensional vortex. Was saved from death when Colossus sacrificed himself to release the cure.
Avalanche Power vibration generation. Survived the Legacy Virus.
Bradley, Chris X-Men Unlimited (vol. 1) #8 (September 1995) Bio-Electric generation/manipulation. Survived the Legacy Virus.
Burke Killed by the Virus.
Feral Feline appearance. Survived the Legacy Virus.
Infectia Mutagenic touch. Killed by the Virus in X-Men (vol. 2) #27 (December 1993).
Lefferts, Gordon Revealed to have been the first victim killed by the Virus in X-Men (vol. 2) #27 (December 1993)
MacTaggart, Moira Excalibur (vol. 1) #80 (August 1994) Publicly designated as the first human to contract the Legacy Virus in X-Men Prime.
Madrox, Jamie Duplicate infected in X-Factor (vol. 1) #91 (June 1993). Duplicate died from Virus in X-Factor (vol. 1) #100 (March 1994).
Illyana Rasputin Magic user, chrono-variant teleportation. Killed by Virus in Uncanny X-Men #303 (August 1993). Later revived
Mastermind Illusionist. Killed by the Virus in Uncanny X-Men Annual #17.
Maverick Healing factor put the Legacy Virus into remission.
Mister Sinister May have been infected, though if so, his own healing factor must have greatly slowed its progression.
Mutate #24601 Only Mutate "named"; many others infected and presumed killed.
Nicodemus X-Force (vol. 1) #20 (March 1993) Undefined fire-based abilities. Revealed to have been killed by the Virus in the same issue.
Psynapse Killed by teammates for being infected and causing him to be "unfit".
Pyro X-Men Annual (vol. 2) #2. Psionic manipulation (but not generation) of fire. Killed by the Virus in Cable (vol. 2) #87 (Jan 2001) after saving Senator Kelly from an assasination attempt.
Random Shape-shifting. Survived the Legacy Virus.
Revanche X-Men Annual (vol. 2) #2. Telepathy, psionic blade generation. Mercy-killed by Matsu'o before she succumbed to the Virus in X-Men #31 (April 1994).


  • The Legacy Virus storyline ran through various Marvel comics titles from 1993 to 2001.
  • Some fans have compared the Legacy Virus, to early rumors of HIV, and AIDS. Both effect the production of healthy cells, and were primarily felt by a minority group (LV mutants, HIV Homosexuals). Some even believed HIV was a government conspiracy.

This article uses material from the "Legacy Virus" article on the Marvel Database wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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