Any casual fan of the X-Men knows about their ever-caring leader Charles Xavier, more aptly known as Professor X. As the head of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, this man believes that humans and mutants can all get along in the same world. Teaching equality and fairness to all of his students and comrades, it seems that Xavier is a gift that keeps on giving. He appears to be one of the truly “good” and principled men in the X-Men pantheon and has been portrayed that way in the X-Men movies by both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy.
However, as some of the more hardcore Marvel fans know, Professor X isn’t always the nicest person in the world. As a matter of fact, he can sometimes be quite the opposite. Falling from grace to things like pride and “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, the leader of the X-Men has easily done some questionable things throughout his long history.
For those of you that just know him from the movies, you’ve only had a small taste of this. While there were a few things here and there that caused some to raise an eyebrow, he was always, at the end of the day, a likable character that we could root for. In the comics, some of his more prolonging shortcomings have had serious consequences on not only his students, but the entire Marvel Universe itself.
Professor X is far from the perfect man some would market him to be, and just to prove it to you, here are the 15 worst things he’s ever done.
15. Creating The X-Men
Let’s start with the one thing Professor X is known for: creating the X-Men. While it definitely leads to some awesome stories and film adaptations, when you think about it, the fact that Xavier created the X-Men is kind of messed up. You see, throughout his lifetime, the good professor has always had unique ideals to unite the world. Naturally, because of his disposition, Charles has made lots of enemies over the years. Due to the constant threats that he’s had to deal with, he decides to take a select number of his students, train them for war, and send them out to fight battles that he himself should be fighting. A lot of villains are targeting Charles himself, but more often than not, it’s the X-Men that have to deal with the problem and clean up afterward. Many mutants have fought and died alongside each other. They’ve traveled through time and even dealt with massive wars. Meanwhile, Professor X is simply sitting back in his school. This is a mistake of biblical proportion. King David sent all of his soldiers to war and remained in his castle while his good men all died. That’s not being a great leader.
14. Telling His Students To Suppress Their Powers
On the note of the X-Men, there are a few aspects about how Charles trained them that bothered me to some extent. One said aspect popped up frequently in X-Men: Apocalypse and bothers me to this day. Charles often told his students to suppress their powers and keep themselves hidden, all Elsa style. That seems really counterproductive. After all, a lot of the mutants that end up at Xavier’s school are different and scared because of it. Then comes Charles who tells them that they are fine the way that they are. However, after some training and a few lessons, the student is then told to not use the full extent of their powers. What makes this problem even worse is that in the aforementioned movie, they couldn’t beat Apocalypse until Xavier told one of his students not to suppress their powers any longer. In X-Men: First Class even Mystique understood this more than Charles ever did. Mutant and proud, am I right? Either way, it’s a great strategy to destroy your students’ self-esteem when you tell them that they need to suppress who they truly are. Nice teachings, Xavier. That’s never going to bite you in the butt.
13. Not Helping Spider-Man
This entry is more of a minor complaint, but the more I think about the situation and the context, the more it really starts to boggle my mind. In Issue 17 of the Clone Saga (great setting, I know) Spider-Man undergoes a lot of internal struggles as he seemingly runs into the presumed-dead Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane becomes some kind of werewolf. All of these events lead up to Nick Fury and SHIELD showing up at Peter Parker’s doorstep, and that’s where the conflict gets really bad. During that time, Peter was dating X-Man Kitty Pryde. She saw on the news that there was a lot of commotion going down that centered around her boyfriend, so she begged Charles to send the X-Men there for quite some time. He continuously denied her, believing that it wasn’t an issue worth sending any additional superheroes for. However, as the conflict began escalating, the Fantastic Four had to show up and plead Peter’s case to the bullheaded Nick Fury, and Charles still denied any assistance. Eventually, Kitty convinced Xavier to send in the X-Men, but by the time they got there, the conflict had already died down. Kitty even pointed out that if it were Xavier’s love interest in trouble, they’d be in full battle armor to rescue her.
12. Exiling Hulk Into Space
One of the greatest Incredible Hulk stories of all time is Planet Hulk. We all remember how the green giant became an interstellar gladiator before defending the people of Sakaar. He found a love interest there, and gained some faithful comrades. That being said, it’s how he got there that is kind of tragic. After an incident with the Hulk, a group composed of big jerks, including friendly faces like Tony Stark and Reed Richards, decided to blast Dr. Banner into space. Of course, Charles Xavier was also behind this decision. Thinking that they were so smart, that decision came back to haunt them. After the planet he loved was horribly attacked, Hulk decided to return to Earth with a vengeance for the comrades that exiled him all that time ago. Once he went to Charles Xavier, he decided to leave the professor and the X-Men alone, concluding that Xavier had already done enough damage to those kids. A literal green space monster calls you out on your crap, and you still think you’re the best guy ever?
11. Letting His Ego Take Charge
Charles Xavier, despite being incredibly different, had the good life growing up. He lived in a cozy mansion, always had a warm bed, and bore some amazing powers. As he began to get older, forming his ideals about how mutants should interact with humans, his personality started to develop. Unfortunately, that personality was very cocky and self-centered. After all, he was one of the greatest minds on the Earth (and still is), so he gained a very large chip on his shoulder. X-Men First Class showed us a bit of how he became so egotistical, but the comics really hit it home. After all, the X-Men are named after him (spoiler alert- he got the idea from the Fantastic Four, who are led by another egomaniac). Furthermore, he tried to take control as some kind of war leader, a position that he had no prior experience in or true knowledge of how to do. You know why Captain America is the leader of the Avengers? Because he served in the war and knew how to lead a team from the moment he worked with other superheroes. Charles was born with a silver spoon in his mouth; he wouldn’t know how to properly lead.
10. The Xavier Protocols
In a world full of superpowered individuals, you always need to be prepared for whatever villain may walk in your door. However, some heroes go the extra mile and are prepared to deal with their comrades. Xavier is no stranger to this. After all, he formed a team of powerful mutants, so he would want to maintain control at all times. As such, he created the Xavier Protocols (such a modest name): information on the weaknesses of each mutant on the X-Men team. That way if they ever went rogue or disobeyed his orders, he would know how to deal with them quickly and efficiently. The problem with this is that it completely destroys his credibility as a leader and a friend. Batman tried it too, and the Justice League ended up kicking him out. To makes matters worse, one of the villains even got a hold of the Xavier Protocols and began working out plans to deal with each and every mutant that fought him. My solution? Get rid of the protocols altogether and learn to trust the students that YOU chose.
9. Mind-Controlling The Training Room
One of the problems with having so many superheroes in one place at a time is knowing how they’re going to get better and hone their abilities. Because of this, Xavier created the Danger Room, that could host all kinds of deadly traps and training regimes that would test the X-Mens’ powers (but if they’re supposed to suppress them, I’m not sure what good that would do). Anyway, a man by the name of Joss Whedon eventually started his own X-Men comic story called Dangerous. In it, the Danger Room started to become autonomous and gained its own way of thinking. However, the professor didn’t do much to stop it. In actuality, he knew exactly when the Danger Room came to life and did absolutely nothing about it. He simply waited to see what would happen, and chose to instead use this situation as a way to further train the X-Men. After his secret was discovered, even the morally ambiguous Wolverine called him out and even compared him to Magneto. After all, this kind of idea would certainly come from someone wanting to re-shape the world in his own image. Is Charles really that different?
8. Consistently Trusting Magneto
Speaking of Xavier’s archenemy, Professor X and Magneto’s relationship has always been complicated but interesting. They constantly butt heads but still respect one another’s ideals due to their friendship as young men. However, a lot of times there are dangers that not only threaten the X-Men but also Magneto as well. In those times, they put aside their differences and take down a foe together. Unfortunately, and the movies are especially guilty of this, Charles consistently ends up trusting his old friend and allowing him solitude in the school. While that’s a nice and touching gesture, it doesn’t make sense. Multiple times Charles has welcomed Magneto as a friend after a huge conflict, but after each time, the metal-bending villain goes right back to his old tricks. It’s a ridiculous cycle that needs to break. It would be so simple for Charles to simply detain Magneto and atone for his crimes rather than simply letting him go out in the world again where he can take the lives of those who stand in his way. Here’s hoping that future movies don’t explore this crazy cycle once more. Then again, I’m still confused as to what’s happening with the X-Men franchise as of this point.
7. Spying On Everyone In The World
There are so many things about Professor X’s powers that are not only a violation of bodily autonomy, but also of basic human rights. The first one that comes to my mind is our right to privacy. Charles Xavier can poke and prod at anyone’s brains for whatever information he needs or desires. While that’s a problem I will get to in a moment, the other problem I want to point out is how he spies on everyone in the world and the other mutants are simply okay with it. With his machine Cerebro, Charles can simply spy on anybody in the world with a functioning brain. While it can be used for tactical advantages, the difficult part is that Charles has used it for more than that in the past. If you’re still not on board with me, remember the machine that Bruce Wayne built to spy on everyone in The Dark Knight? It was very sketchy to the point where even Lucius Fox wanted no part in it. Why wouldn’t the same rules apply to Cerebro and Professor X? It’s a weird double standard that is a reflection of his pride.
6. Controlling Other Minds Continuously
Picture this: you’re a mutant who has been accepted into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Once you become an X-Men, then you’re prepared to fight and die for a belief that your leader has drilled into you. Except, has it been drilled into you, or has it been manually inserted into your brain? The other dangerous and questionable aspect of Xavier’s powers is that he can get in anyone’s head and manipulate whatever he sees fit. I suppose it’s good that he’s not a villain, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a hero either. In the X-Men films, he uses this ability to forcibly wipe away the memories of a CIA agent to “protect” her. He also did the same to Magneto in an attempt to purge his villainy. He’s not beyond doing this to his students either. Various times in the Ultimate Comics, it was revealed that he was altering the minds of some of his students in order to avoid conflict that he deemed unnecessary. It would be awfully scary to be one of his comrades, constantly wondering if your mind was being influenced by him or everything you did was by your own choice.
5. Running Away From Conflict
I believe that it’s a universal sign of a good leader that when trouble arises, they’re ready to face it head on. Like Mufasa, they don’t go looking for trouble, but they’re brave when they have to be. There are two extremes to this- either someone who goes picking fights with everyone, or the cowards that decide to run away at the first sign; guess which one Professor X is? A lot of times in Xavier’s School, there can be a lot of conflict and trouble with supervillains or the students themselves. There was one time that there was a student who disagreed with Xavier and rallied a group of students against him. In that situation, Xavier took some time off by leaving to think about what his ideals were. That’s right. He left the problem for his X-Men to deal with. In Days of Future Past we also saw how a tragic situation can leave Xavier running away from everything and becoming a drug addict instead of sticking to his guns like a courageous leader. It’s just one more reason why somebody else should be in charge of the X-Men.
4. Trying To Kill His Unborn Sister
First of all, this has nothing to do with abortion or politics, so don’t get your liberal pants in a twist. Second of all, remember in Kung Fu Panda how Master Oogway said, “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it?” That very much applies here. While still in his mother’s womb, Charles Xavier was actually part of a matching set. He had a twin sister. However, even before birth, Xavier was very adept in his mutant abilities and sensed just how immense his sister’s power was. Deeming her too dangerous, instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt, he attempted to murder her. While he did succeed and she was a stillborn, this would later come back to bite him hard. Because of comic book logic, his sister returned with a bone to pick with Charles, and aptly used her powers to destroy many other mutants (a total of about 16 million- not many, right?). Perhaps if he had just chosen to accept her and tried to work with her, something that he literally tried to do with even the most powerful mutant in the world, he could’ve avoided all of this.
3. Getting The X-Men Killed
One of the greatest stories Marvel has going for it was when a team of unlikely heroes such as Wolverine, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Jean Grey combined forces to become the X-Men. However, as it turns out, they were not the first team of X-Men. As a matter of fact, they were the third. In Deadly Genesis, Cyclops had been captured and Xavier needed him rescued. Naturally, instead of doing the dirty work himself, he sent a team of X-Men to retrieve their comrade, infusing them with special training by screwing with their minds. As you might’ve guessed by now, this didn’t go down so well and the team was slaughtered. However, instead of coming clean and dealing with his mistake like a good leader, Xavier simply sends more X-Men to retrieve Cyclops and wipes out everyone’s memory of the fallen team. What makes matters even worse is that one of them actually lived, and he was Cyclops’s brother. Yeah, Xavier was called out on his crap again, and this time, had a lot to answer for. The biggest problem with this is that in dire situations, Xavier takes matters into his own hands, refusing to allow anyone the benefit of deciding for themselves.
2. Made Wolverine A Tool
The story of the battle-hardened Wolverine has always been an interesting one. Often compared to a savage animal, this mutant eventually happened upon Xavier’s school, where he would be taken in and regain his humanity. Since then, he has become a staple of the X-Men and the Marvel Universe as a whole. However, what if I told you this story had a bit more to it than meets the eye?
When Wolverine was designed as Weapon X, one of the things that was injected into his brain was to kill Charles Xavier. Once he finally made his way to the mansion, though, Xavier could sense his mission and decided to wipe it from his brain. That’s fair. However, Xavier chose to keep him because he knew that Wolverine was an incredibly powerful weapon, and if he worked for the X-Men instead, there would be a lot more battles they could win. The icing on the cake is that Xavier didn’t even tell Wolverine for many years. He made the mutant believe that he was given a new home because of the goodness of Xavier’s heart. We see through you, Charles.
Xavier may be a huge self-righteous jerk, but at least he’s not evil. However, his foolishness did send him down that path.
When Magneto ripped out Wolverine’s skeleton, Charles decided to erase Magneto’s mind. Because of this, he gained a lot of the hurt feelings that his enemy carried for decades. That only made Xavier’s own dark emotions even stronger, and it became so difficult for him that he chose not to suppress them any longer (mutant and proud, I guess). As a result, he became one of the most devastating villains the X-Men have ever known- Onslaught. With a body made of armor and the mind powers of Xavier, he was almost unstoppable- if the Marvel Universe didn’t have so many great heroes to defend Earth that is. Nonetheless, Onslaught was a terrible force that was so powerful, he essentially killed everyone on the planet! While comic book logic resurrected them in order to defeat Onslaught, it was Xavier’s stupidity of tampering with Magneto’s mind that created the all-powerful villain in the first place. If he didn’t make everyone else’s decisions for them, a lot of conflict could have been avoided.