Strip Talk #10: Just where did Charles Xavier go wrong?

Lyn­d­sey Mosley, edi­tor in chief

Charles Xavier: For­mer leader of the X-Men, founder of the Xavier Insti­tute for Higher Learn­ing. Morally ambigu­ous leader who mind wipes foes. Yes, Xavier is capa­ble of great things and then there’s that ten­dency for him to get into the dark side of his human­ity and kill people.

Just where did Xavier go wrong?

First, let’s exam­ine the good that came from Xavier’s actions. In cre­at­ing the X-Men, his strike­force for per­pet­u­at­ing the good of mutan­tkind, Xavier gave a home to and helped many a mutant with a tragic back­ground. These peo­ple may not have had any other place to go, killed them­selves or oth­ers if not for the benev­o­lence of the pro­fes­sor. How­ever, there’s two sides to every story and Xavier didn’t always prac­tice what he preached in tak­ing in way­ward mutants.

The list of ques­tion­able actions aris­ing from the cre­ation of the X-Men didn’t come to light until much later, and when it did, Xavier had to pay. I mean, who does things such as: tam­per with a mutant’s mind to pre­vent their assas­si­na­tion (Wolver­ine); let a sen­tient being remain enslaved while know­ing they are capa­ble of advanced thought and feel­ings (Dan­ger Room); tell a mutant for years that he can help them when he really can’t (Rogue); and erase the mem­ory of fallen com­rades that he sent unpre­pared into the field and who sub­se­quently died solely to cover his tracks (Vul­can, Petra, Sway)? That would be Xavier in a num­ber of story arcs. When even Cyclops and Wolver­ine are dis­gusted with you, you have a problem.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love the early char­ac­ter of Xavier. He was mod­eled after Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr., a per­sonal hero, so there’s much to love about him. How­ever, his prob­lems with lying and secret-keeping are an imme­di­ate deal­breaker in terms of char­ac­ter lik­a­bil­ity. The more recent story arcs seem to be reha­bil­i­tat­ing Xavier into a broken-but-honest man. Let’s hope they con­tinue down that path.

Lyn­d­sey Mosley is edi­tor in chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She pon­ders the human­ity of the X-Men at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

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