You BITCH Cyclops!
So much for tenure.
Marvel Comics is bumping off Professor X — the founder of the superhero group, the X-Men, and a character who’s been around for 50 years — in a comic book landing in stores Wednesday. And in a development that what will get readers worked up, it’s his own prized student, the fan-favorite Cyclops, who delivers the death blow in “Avengers vs. X-Men #11.”
“I got a little teary-eyed when we were scoping out the moment in the room with the series’ writers and editors,” says Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso.
“He needed to be the casualty in this story. There’s no more oh-sh-- moment that you can bring than having a son killing his father.”
Charles Xavier, however, may also have been a victim of changing tastes in comics. Created with the first batch of X-Men by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963, the follicular-challenged telepath became a Martin Luther King Jr.-inspired symbol for super-powered mutants always hounded by humans.
Xavier and his X-Men were “relatable to anybody who’s felt like the other, anyone who’s felt persecuted, whether due to race, gender, sexuality or just plain nerdiness,” Alonso says. And that’s just about everyone who has ever purchased a comic book.
Cyclops is no longer the teacher's pet as he bumps off Professor X in Wednesday's 'Avengers vs. X-Men' #11.
Even as the character was ready for his closeup in the movies — played by Patrick Stewart and later James McAvoy in 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men” franchise — he was becoming anachronistic in the books. Wolverine and the team are now too old for lectures.
“He was this thing that was just floating around the X-books, with not the same amount of gravitas that he once had,” says Brian Bendis, who wrote the issue. “I did point out that he would matter more in death.”
It doesn’t take a mind-reader to see Xavier’s end is a means to put one of the publisher's popular super heroes through the ringer.
“The moment is shocking, and certainly will be talked about by message boards forever and ever, but it’s really about what you get afterwards,” Bendis says. “What Cyclops has to do now, is dig himself out of the biggest, deepest hole in the history of comic books.”
There’s always the chance that Xavier will return through some quirk of comic-book physics. DC Comics revived Superman less than a year after his “death” and had the Flash eventually sprint back to the mortal coil two decades after his demise. Captain America was killed off in 2007 — only to turn out to be lost in time, courtesy of a high-tech ray gun blast.
But this time could be different. Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort promises, “This is about as serious and lasting a death as you’re apt to get in one of these.”