ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

WARNING: The following contains multiple instances of Professor Charles Xavier being a massive tool. Proceed with caution if you'd prefer to only think of him as the kindly mentor we know and love from the X-Men movies and animated TV series.

So. Professor X.

Over the past few weeks, we've taken a closer look at some of the truly horrendous things that beloved superheroes like Batman, Superman and Daredevil have gotten up to over the years, with criminal highlights including murder, fraud and organized crime. Surely, though, even in a world where Superman has defrauded a whole bunch of innocent shareholders, there are still some superheroes whose innate goodness remains fully intact.


Take Professor Charles Xavier, for instance. There's no way the kindly, shiny-headed mentor of generations of X-Men could ever have been anything other than a fundamentally good dude, right? RIGHT?

Well, as it turns out, not so much. Y'see:

Professor X Is An Absolutely Terrible Person

Not when he's being played by Picard, of course...
Not when he's being played by Picard, of course...

Over the years, the good professor has actually consistently proven himself to be anything but — with his most consistent gifts to the world being less mutant and human coexistence and more pain, death, suffering and intense creepiness.

As Kitty Pryde famously put it:

Here, then, are six of his all-time worst moments...

First up?

6. He Was A Deeply Inappropriate Teacher

While a lot of this list comes from the 1990s and beyond, by which point comic books had taken a very definite turn for the dark and brooding, it actually turns out that Professor X has been something of a massive creep since his very first few appearances.

Take this touching professorial moment from way back in 1964's The X-Men Issue 4, in which not only does Xavier reveal that he's secretly in love with the (at this point incredibly young) Jean Grey...

...but that he's basically just waiting for the right time to spring his creepy feelings on the young woman he lured into joining his team of militaristic mutants only a few issues earlier.

Now sure, the heart wants what the heart wants, but you've got to think things must have gotten a little awkward when Jean later developed telepathic powers. Except they probably didn't, seeing as Professor X was constantly wiping the memories of everyone who opposed him.

That's right:

5. He Mentally Manipulated EVERYONE

Constantly lying to whichever student, villain, government agent or miscellaneous parent who comes his way, Professor X has never had too much of a problem with fiddling around with the memories and mental states of those around him. One of his most fundamentally unethical plays, though, was that time when he brainwashed Wolverine into being part of the X-Men.

Yup, that totally happened:

Way back before Wolverine ever joined the X-Men, he was actually brainwashed and sent to kill Charles Xavier. The professor's response? To brainwash him right back, and turn him into a weapon...

Which basically invalidates all of the good that Wolverine has done over the past 40 years of comic book appearances, seeing as it was all little more than a mental suggestion from Xavier...

4. He Constantly Puts Children In Harm's Way

Wolverine, though, was at least a full-grown, seriously old adult — one who had long since been a soldier and professional assassin.

A whole lot of Xavier's students very much weren't either of those things, however. Instead, they were children.

Who Professor X almost immediately sent into battle against — one of his own oldest enemies. A detail he didn't even bother to tell them.

However, in fairness, the original X-Men were Professor Xavier's first real students, so he could perhaps be forgiven for having thought that he wouldn't actually be putting them in harm's way.

A few years later, though?

Well, then he up and started recruiting X-Men even younger. Kitty Pryde, after all, was only 13 when she joined the team, with many of the New Mutants being little older...

Xavier always made a point of telling his young charges that they weren't supposed to actually see combat — but a) that never worked, and b) he was still very much training them to be his future soldiers.

Or, in other words, they were child soldiers. Not cool, Chuck. Not cool.

What's worse is that he even came up with a backup plan, on the off chance that training up all of those mutants came back to bite him in the butt:

3. He Came Up With A Secret Plan To Kill All Of The X-Men

Yup, that's right. Not content with actively putting his charges in danger, Xavier also thought it would be a smart idea to hatch incredibly detailed ways in which to kill them, should they ever step out of line.

Otherwise known as "that thing Batman did that one time which worked out really poorly for the Justice League."

Now, in the end, the X-Men were able to defeat the evildoer who inevitably found and implemented the protocols, but that really doesn't diminish just how much of a dick move it was.


2. A Whole Lot Of The X-Men's Deaths Were His Fault

There are plenty of deaths out there that Xavier is arguably culpable for — with the multiple fatalities involving children right up at the top — but one of the most appalling was made doubly so because he just turned right around and lied to everyone about it for years.

Remember Giant-Size X-Men, Issue 1, the one-off issue that introduced a whole new (Storm, Wolverine and Nightcrawler) lineup of X-Men back in 1975?

Well as it turns out, that whole lineup of X-Men that Xavier sent in to fight the giant island monster Krakoa wasn't actually the first — or even the second. Y'see, after the original team of X-Men was captured during the original mission, Xavier formed a new team of inexperienced heroes.

These guys:

Who, lacking anyone cool enough to survive, were immediately killed. But not before one of them — Vulcan — revealed to Cyclops that he was actually his long-lost third brother. Who Professor X had known about for years, but never thought worth mentioning.

Plus, as an added bonus, Professor X wiped Cyclops's memory of the entire operation, meaning that all of those heroes up there didn't even get the dignity of being remembered for their sacrifice.

Though, in fairness, third time's the charm, right?

Except, of course, when one of those mutants you left to die turns out to still be alive and ends up taking over the Shi'ar Empire.

Worst of all, though?

1. He Actually Killed All Of Your Favorite Heroes

Or, rather, a whole bunch of them died in order to defeat him, after he accidentally turned himself into a world-threatening monster named Onslaught.

At one point in the early 1990s, Xavier decided to wipe Magneto's brain — partly in order to stop him from blowing up the world with nuclear weapons, but mostly because he did this:

That, though, turned out to be a pretty spectacularly bad call, since the stress of having done something so terrible to his greatest frenemy of all basically caused the professor to transform into the superpowerful being, known as Onslaught:

Who was so ludicrously powerful that the only way to defeat him turned out to be to sacrifice the lives of all of the nonmutant heroes in the area — meaning all of the Avengers and Fantastic Four had to die.

Now, of course, they came back, but not before we were introduced to pretty much everyone's least-favorite thing from the '90s: Heroes Reborn.

Otherwise known as "that time the Marvel Universe was rebooted, and absolutely no-one was OK with it."

So y'know what?

Professor X has a lot to answer for...

But, thankfully, Patrick Stewart's inherent adorableness when teamed up with Ian McKellen isn't part of it...

What do you think, though?


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