After I finished the nearly two years in length project covering the various aspect of Spider-Man, I had some people mailing in to cover the X-Men and Avengers. I’m a Marvel Zombie, but there’s so much damn material that it could take forever. At the same time, we were undergoing a series of changes on the website and I thought about launching a new section to contain them all. Things lines up and here we are. I welcome outside contributions and notes, but for now…let us begin.
Professor Charles Francis Xavier started life as the child of two nuclear technicians. Or, he might have met a Young Mystique as a child in Upstate New York. Newer readers might know him as an openly proud mutant that leaves his wife and heads off to the Savage Land to help Magneto start a new society. Most of mainstream society thinks he’s Patrick Stewart. No matter what view you have of the character, there are certain truths that tie the man together. Professor Xavier is a Jerk!
Professor X is one of those characters who had a ton of time spent on their origins. Especially in the Silver Age when Stan Lee was giving artists plots while he was plopping one out on the toilet. EXCELSIOR! The Professor was a privileged kid who never commanded enough of his parents’ attention and eventually felt threatened by the arrival of his step brother Cain Marko (The Juggernaut). Marko felt that the little balding kid received too much attention and eventually pouted his way into being a giant Cyttorak Gem powered freak. But, that’s a story for another time.
Eventually, the Professor left for school and fell in love with a young Scot named Moira Kinross. They loved each other, but Chucky couldn’t stay tied down to one woman. This would become a recurring motif throughout such memorable characters as Amelia Voght, baby mama Gabrielle Haller and charter student Jean Grey. There was always something creepy about his attention and intentions for Jean Grey that no one touched upon until Mark Waid used it for the formation of Onslaught in the 1990s.
While it’s easy to dismiss a lot of what Professor X was doing as Stan Lee desperately trying to work out an angle for a school of mutants, there is the whole age thing to consider. Even if we use the sliding timeline of the Marvel Universe, Chucky still had nearly a decade on Jean. Due to retcons and having to slide the timeline, Jean keeps getting younger in these flashbacks, while Chuck ages. Basically, he’s a predatory teacher taking a student into a private school with other minors that can’t or won’t tell on any misdeeds. Professor X frequently spends time on her abilities and giving her private tutoring. No other female mutant that has attended the School ever got that level of attention. Crack open your long boxes and look it up. Jean Grey got more Professor time than Wolfsbane, Magma, Magik, Shadowcat, Jubilee, Karma, Polaris, Dazzler, Psylocke or Storm combined.
While I’m not here to call Professor X a telepathic pedophile, I will say this. X-Force #19 showcases everything that is wrong and right about Professor X. This story arrived in the early 90s immediately following the end of “X-Cutioner’s Song”. That was a crossover that was designed to fix a lot of the long standing issues with Cable and Stryfe. It was also the start of the heavy-handed Legacy Virus and all that entailed. Basically, Professor X isn’t willing to let the X-Force kids go, as most of them are former New Mutants that he trained or help. Cannonball leads the group and says that they’ve got to go out on their own. Professor X answers back with the fact that you’re dumb kids and you’re going to get yourself killed. Ultimately, Professor X leads them go lead their lives.
Charles Xavier might be a dick, but he’s also a pioneer in his field. It’s easy to forget that in the Marvel Universe, he was the first one publically and privately trying to help other mutants. Sure, Nathaniel Essex (Mr. Sinister) and En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) were out there first experimenting and gathering specific mutants. Xavier sought to create a refuge where mutants wouldn’t have to worry about being killed or tortured. If he wanted to, Xavier could’ve used the threat of Trask Industries, Operation: Wideawake or the U.S. Government to keep his students in-line.
But, he didn’t. Xavier might know better than 99.9% of the mutants out there, but he was always willing to give them a choice. Wolverine didn’t have to leave Department H, Colossus didn’t have to leave his family in Russia and scores of other mutants didn’t have to take up his call. Being a part of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters is accepting a dream. Whether it’s fictional or not, it’s a beautiful idea that different races and species can live together under a united cause. Just, don’t pay attention to Xavier making eyes at you. He likes what he sees and he can telepathically order you to have drinks with him.
When I was younger, I used to read the comics and wonder what kept Charles Xavier from siding with Magneto. After all, Magneto was right. The humans were continuously throwing together plans to eliminate Homo Superior. But, Magneto was also giving the humans cause to do just that. It was a battle that neither side was willing to draw definite lines, but the ball was definitely in Magneto’s court. Sure, that would eventually lead to something like “House of M”, but so what? Professor Xavier was having people learn to use their abilities as part of a paramilitary force and ultimately go into hiding to prevent blowback.
It isn’t healthy to let kids be left to murderous mobs, but you’re also training them to be child foot soldiers like some schlubs in the Congo. I don’t think it was the fact that they were mutants that freaked out the Marvel Universe so bad. After all, this is a world that worships Captain America and had to worry about Galactus stopping by for a snack. If anything, it was Xavier and Magneto’s choice to build private armies in secret to fight out ideologies on a global scale. In the real world, we call that fundamentalist terrorism.