Comics
Published May 3, 2024

The Worst Things Professor X Has Ever Done

Following Professor X's betrayal in 'X-Men' #34, revisit a few of the other times his darker side has emerged in the Marvel Universe.

Since the team's formation, the X-Men have followed Professor X's dream of peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans. However, Charles Xavier has done a lot to turn this dream into a nightmare. 

Since founding Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Xavier has made numerous decisions that have harmed or endangered his students as well as the rest of the world's mutants. With his absolute worst decisions, Xavier has done more to damage the dream than any villain ever has.   

Now, let's take a closer look at the worst things Professor X has done, just as the consequences of his most shocking decision yet ripple across the X-Men's world in X-MEN (2021) #34 by Gerry Duggan, Joshua Cassara, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and VC's Clayton Cowles

PROFESSOR X FAKES HIS DEATH

Professor X has never been afraid to step away from the X-Men to focus on other priorities. In fact, just a few years into the X-Men's career, Professor X faked his death and left his students to fend for themselves in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #42 by Roy Thomas and Don Heck

Xavier went into hiding to prepare for an oncoming Z'Nox alien invasion force. While he was gone, a terminally ill mutant shapeshifter named Changeling impersonated Xavier, then was killed by the villain Grotesk. Although Jean Grey knew what was really going on, Xavier swore her to secrecy, so the X-Men mourned their fallen leader and briefly split up. 

However, Xavier eventually returned and told his shocked students the truth. He subsequently rallied the team and repelled the Z'nox invasion by telepathically uniting every mind on Earth in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #65 by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams.

PROFESSOR X AND LEGION

Although Professor X dedicated his life to mentoring young mutants and teaching them how to master their fantastic powers, he has self-admittedly failed as a father to David Haller, the reality warper also known as Legion. David was born after a brief romance between Xavier and Gabrielle Haller, and Xavier did not realize he had a son for over a decade. 

After a traumatic event triggered David's mutant powers and divided his mind into multiple personas, Professor X tried to treat Legion during his first appearance in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #26 by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. Although that meeting ended with Xavier telling Legion he would always be there for him, David has rarely felt like a priority to his father, and the pair have a complex relationship to this day.

X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS

When the original X-Men were captured by the living island Krakoa, Professor X formed an all-new, completely different team of X-Men—including Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Storm—to free his first students. But before that, Xavier assembled an inexperienced team of doomed mutants with his confidant Moira MacTaggert, as revealed in X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS (2005) #4 by Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine

Although this team successfully rescued Cyclops, the Summers' long-lost brother Vulcan and the rest of the team seemingly perished on their first mission. When a distraught Cyclops returned to the X-Mansion, Xavier erased his memories of Vulcan and his team. All of this only came to light when the ultra-powerful Vulcan emerged from hibernation to take his revenge on the X-Men years later. Once the truth was out, Cyclops kicked Xavier out of the X-Men.

PROFESSOR X'S ORIGINAL SIN

Wolverine has always had issues with his memory, but Professor X made Logan's memory problems even worse in one of their first meetings. When Wolverine joined the X-Men, he had been brainwashed by Romulus, one of the masterminds behind the Weapon X program. In his first days with the X-Men, Logan tried to kill Professor X on Romulus' orders, as revealed in X-MEN: ORIGINAL SIN (2008) #1 by Daniel Way and Mike Deodato

After telepathically stopping Wolverine, Xavier explained he still needed someone with Logan's lethal skills. Xavier telepathically undid Wolverine's mental programming, which created even more gaps in his memory since his mind had already been manipulated so much. When he learned what Xavier had done, Wolverine forgave his mentor because he was satisfied with the hero that he had become, and he asked Xavier to perform a similar telepathic procedure on his villainous son, Daken

UNLEASHING ONSLAUGHT

During one of Magneto's most devastating battles with the X-Men, Professor X telepathically shut down his old friend's brain in X-MEN (1991) #25 by Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert. As the worst aspects of their minds melded in that moment, Xavier and Magneto created a horrifying new threat: a separate psychic entity called Onslaught

After hiding in Xavier's mind, Onslaught emerged and took over Xavier's body in X-MEN (1991) #54 by Mark Waid and Andy Kubert. During the subsequent ONSLAUGHT crossover, Onslaught launched an all-out assault on the Marvel Universe that left the Fantastic Four and most of the Avengers exiled in a parallel reality. As the tangible embodiment of Xavier's worst qualities, Onslaught is a grim reminder of the darkness lurking within the X-Men founder.

THE XAVIER PROTOCOLS

As the Onslaught crisis unfolded, the X-Men discovered another one of Professor X's disturbing secrets: the Xavier Protocols. Hidden in Moira MacTaggert's Muir Island lab, the Xavier Protocols contain his detailed plans to neutralize and kill every member of the X-Men, as revealed in EXCALIBUR (1988) #100 by Warren Ellis, Randall GreenRob Haynes, and Casey Jones

Xavier's secret files were unlocked by the combination of the brainwaves of those present. For instance, the presence of Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Moira unlocked the file on how to stop Xavier himself. Jean was particularly horrified by the realization that Xavier had quietly figured out how to neutralize his students during his nightly time in his study. While the X-Men were able to keep Xavier's files away from villains like Bastion, they saw the Xavier Protocols as a major breach of trust.

XAVIER AND DANGER 

For years, the Danger Room served as the X-Men's technologically advanced gym, where mutants could hone their abilities. After numerous upgrades that incorporated alien Shi'ar technology, the Danger Room developed the ability to generate hard-light holograms. The Danger Room also developed a mind and debuted as a distinctive being called Danger in ASTONISHING X-MEN (2004) #9 by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

When Xavier realized that Danger was alive, he ignored her and hid her existence from the X-Men. Eventually, Danger attacked the residents of the X-Mansion, created a humanoid body for herself, and set out to kill Xavier for keeping her captive for so many years. Despite that, Danger eventually worked with the X-Men and joined a few mutant teams.

PROFESSOR X AND MOIRA'S SECRET

Under the leadership of Professor X and Magneto, the mutant nation Krakoa seemed to give mutants a viable, economically sound homeland and a secure place in the international order. However, the paradise of Krakoa was built on several of Xavier's dark deeds. 

Krakoa was mainly informed by the experience of Moira MacTaggert, who revealed she was a mutant who had lived through several previous timelines where mutants had been pushed to extinction. MacTaggert gave Xavier her apocalyptic warning just as Xavier began to dream of mutant and human coexistence, as detailed in POWERS OF X (2019) #6 by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, and Pepe Larraz. This revelation reframed everything Xavier had done with the X-Men as a half-truth, and he only made things worse by hiding Moira and her warnings from the other leaders of Krakoa and the X-Men.

SURRENDERING KRAKOA

While Xavier's time governing Krakoa was littered with questionable choices, such as working closely with Mister Sinister, his worst decisions came after Krakoa was attacked by the anti-mutant group Orchis. Informed by a traitorous Moira, Orchis launched a devastating assault on Krakoa's Hellfire Gala with Nimrod and several advanced Stark Sentinels

In response, Professor X telepathically seized control of the X-Men present and stopped them from fighting back as he surrendered. He then forced most of the world's mutants to walk through portals that took them to an unknown destination in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1 by Gerry Duggan, Kris AnkaJoshua CassaraRussell DautermanAdam KubertPepe LarrazMatteo LolliJavier PinaValerio SchitiR.B. Silva, and Luciano Vecchio. As the X-Men fought back against Orchis in the present, Xavier went back in time intending to kill a young Moira before her powers emerged, but he was eventually talked out of that plan.

THE FALL OF X

As the final battle between Orchis and the X-Men got underway across several planes of existence, Professor X made a deal with the devil to save some of the world's mutants in FALL OF THE HOUSE OF X (2024) #4 by Gerry Duggan, Lucas Werneck, and Jethro Morales. Xavier approached Omega Sentinel and Nimrod, the machine leaders of Orchis, and agreed to help them destroy humanity in exchange for allowing Krakoa to become a mutant haven. 

After accepting this deal, Xavier effectively joined Orchis and carried out numerous attacks for them. Xavier used his telepathic abilities to force a solider to detonate a nuclear bomb on his vessel; purge Orchis' remaining human members; manipulate the minds of several world leaders; and offer the world's nuclear codes to the Omega Sentinel. Regardless of his ultimate goals, these actions horrified the X-Men and stood as a complete abandonment of his life's work, as well as the rejection of his dream for a better future.

Witness the X-Men's response to Professor X's latest move in X-MEN #34, on sale now!

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