Death And Dying: Thoughts On Avengers vs. X-Men #11
Full spoilers for Avengers vs. X-Men ahead! I waited a week to do this column, so if you still haven’t read issue 11, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
He’s dead. If you somehow haven’t heard by now, Professor Charles Xavier has bitten the big one, and gone to that big wheelchair in the sky. Yes, it’s been done before (five times before actually), but the death of Prof. X in the penultimate chapter of Avengers vs. X-Men actually matters. No really, it does!
Think about it, what has Professor X done since “House Of M”? Aside from being revealed as a member of the Illuminati, throwing Hulk into space, and lying to Scott Summers about his brother Vulcan, not a whole lot. In fact, those stories I just mentioned occurred almost immediately after “HOM”, which also gave him the use of his legs again for some reason. For years now Xavier has been a secondary character, showing up to express his disdain to Scott Summers over how he has been leading the few mutants left alive, or to occasionally bicker with Magneto. Charles Xavier will do way more good dead in the Marvel universe than he does alive. As the most well known face of the mutant rights movement, his death could potentially cause something positive to happen for Marvel’s mutants for once. Or probably cause humans to freak out again thanks to Cyclops’ “phoenix phreak out”.
Speaking of Cyclops, holy crap, is this going to do a number on him. In fact, this put him in an extremely interesting position, providing he survives Avengers vs. X-Men. My money says he will, since he’s on the Marvel Now! promo poster in a shiny new costume (which now makes a little more sense after seeing the events of this issue). While there are some interesting aspects to the current Cyclops, the upcoming All-New X-Men series is now suddenly on my radar, mainly because it will be interesting to see how a younger Scott Summers reacts to a world not only with Professor X dead, but with his future self being the one that killed.
Of course, this could all go “Daredevil in Shadowland” on us real quick and make it so Cyclops can’t be held completely responsible for his actions. While it’s most likely that Marvel will play this card, I do want to see them actually make a character go bad and stick with it. Sure, Summers will definitely feel extremely guilty over killing Xavier (again, if he survives), but in the end, it would be even more powerful if we find out that Cyclops is more in control of the Phoenix than we realized.
Quick thing before I wrap this up: how awesome was Olivier Coipel’s art? My god. From the opening pages of Captain America recruiting Hulk, to the amazing splash page revealing the Avengers holding back Cyclops, Coipel really stepped up and delivered the goods with this issue. Even if you had the events of the book spoiled for you, or were dismayed that this was the 6th time Professor X died, this was a great read, and easily the best issue so far.