Thursday, September 6, 2012

AlphabeThursday – Superhero Style – P is for Professor X

Meet Professor X

Professor X is the head mutant.  The most powerful one of the lot.  He isn't as flashy as some of the other X-men, but don't let the wheelchair fool you.  All he needs is his brain.  He can read your mind, erase your memories, create visual illusions, and scariest of all, he has the power to completely control the minds (and thereby the actions) of others.  Who needs razor claws when you can do all that?

The X-men stories go on the premise that mutants are among us, and are born mutant.  They call themselves mutants because they all have one thing in common, an X-Gene.  They aren't turned mutant by exposure to gamma rays or things of that nature, and each child born with the X-Gene has special powers that usually become stronger as they reach adolescence.  The mutants may have amazing strength, speed, agility, or sensory powers.  Some mutations manifest in physical form, such as gills, wings, or other animal like features.

Professor X, born Charles Xavier, would seek the mutants out and bring them to his "School for Gifted Youngsters" where he trained them, and helped them to hone their talents and abilities.

Charles himself had the usual sad past.  His father died, and his mother remarried.  His stepfather was a boorish fool, and his stepbrother became one of his biggest foes, eventually taking on the persona of Juggernaut.

Charles witnessed both his mother and stepfather die on different occasions.  It was definitely not a childhood of sweetness and light.

Things picked up for a short while.  He went to England and studied at Oxford where he met a girl and fell in love.  That was dashed when he joined the US Army and had to leave her behind.

When his tour of duty came to an end, he traveled around the world, stopping for a time in Israel.  This is where a lot of things happen that shape the rest of the legend.  While he worked at a clinic for Holocaust survivors, he met a friend.  This was a good news, bad news thing. They worked together to battle an evil man, Baron Von Strucker.  It was then Charles realized that his pal was a violent sociopath.  Not only did this create an end to their friendship, but this guy also is the fellow who becomes Magneto, an arch foe of the X-Men.

On the bright side, he had met a wonderful woman there, Gabrielle Haller.  They had a lovely relationship right up until Lucifer, (a villainous alien) caused a huge rockslide that left Charles a paraplegic.  He left Israel, and also left Gabrielle behind.  He was not aware of the fact that she was carrying his child.  The baby was a boy named David, but fans know him better as the mutant Legion.

And this is how Charles became the man in the wheelchair - the finder of mutants.  With the aid of a device called the Cerebro, he was able to amplify his telepathy and find his kind from far and wide.  Starting with a smaller team, Angel, IceMan, Cyclops, MarvelGirl and Beast, he taught them that mutants and humans could peacefully coexist.  Through selfless acts of kindness and heroism, their goal was to give the mutant image a much needed facelift, and help them to feel good about themselves.

Over time, the band of X-Men grew, and included some of the names you may be more familiar with - Wolverine, Banshee, Storm, Colossus, and NightCrawler.  The stories got more complicated as the X-Men team grew.  They include intergalactic battles more aliens, and even a time when the professor moves his soul and mind into a new body with functioning legs.

There is plenty of drama along the way -  because that's the way comic books roll.  The Professor X/Magneto story line does a lot of evolving, and at one point, the Professor finally mind wiped his old friend - only to realize he created an even MORE sinister being, and the aftermath is tragic.

There is also one more significant fact about Charles Xavier.  He was a twin.  His sister's body died in her mother's womb, but her life force remained, and she is one evil thing.  She is constantly trying to harm her twin, and his allies.

You can find Professor X in print, animation, and even in big screen film.

I love Professor X.  He overcomes heartache and obstacle after obstacle.  He teaches his students that "different" is not a bad thing, it simply is what it is - and different can lead to greatness.

Thanks to Jenny, who blogs at  . . . off on my tangent. . . for hosting AlphabeThursday each week.  Stop by and visit the other inspired "P" related posts.