Professor X vs. Cyclops & Emma Frost

Remember X-Men: Deadly Genesis?  That’s where the X-Men found out that Professor X’s been abusing his mind powers with manipulation and memory adjusting.  The jigs up and the old man gets kicked out of his own group.  I covered it in more detail in a previous article.  Well, despite his horribly broken relationship with Cyclops, the good professor still needs a few questions answered. Whether Cyclops wants to or not.

We’re picking up today in X-Men Legacy #215-216, written by Mike Carey and drawn by Scot Eaton. Since Xavier’s no longer allowed near his mutant tribe, he has to resort to sneakier methods.

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Do you know about Emma Frost?  She’s terribly confident, extremely powerful, and generally unpleasant to be around.  Also, she’s Cyclops’ girlfriend.  We’ll cover her history and powers in a later article, but understand that she’s a psychic very close to matching Professor X’s abilities. Anyway, how’s the camp-out go?

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Y’know, for one of the world’s most intelligent and introspective people, Professor X does some really dumb things.  He knew that Cyclops wouldn’t voluntarily meet him, or at least not in a private setting. Using his telepathy, Xavier subtly influenced Scott’s mind to meet him at this exact spot.  While certainly a jerk move, this type of behavior is the exact reason Cyclops kicked him out of the X-Men in the first place.  The man’s essentially learned nothing.

Scott, being the bigger man, decides to walk away before he does something he might regret.  People forget Cyclops has a temper, like say, Professor X.

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Let’s be fair to the professor — his reasons for having to meet Cyclops are valid.  Mr. Sinister, probably the X-Men’s greatest foe now that Magneto switched sides, has the powers of the most powerful psychics and a horrifyingly genius intelligence.  The supervillain can also mind control dudes, and if Cyclops has any Sinister timebombs waiting in his brain, that could singlehandedly bring down the X-Men.

But we’re talking Professor X here, and he doesn’t really have permission nowadays to go through the brains of the people he lied to and manipulated.

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Heads up, this article has a ton of philosophy and ethics discussions.  Not so much fighting, but that’s mainly because Professor X can stop lasers with his mind.  First, Scott brings up an important question.  How does Professor X justify his actions and still unrelentingly claim to be a hero?

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It’s a lost cause.  Realizing he won’t be able to convince his star pupil, the professor gives up.  Surely he can find a dumber mutant to Mission Impossible-style pry out memories and leftover psychic residue.

Just one problem.

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Welcome to part two, where two unlikable psychics battle for supremacy within Professor X’s brain. Unfortunately, telepathic battles involve less mind-chucking cars at the enemy and more like a race to relive traumatic emotional experiences until one of them breaks down into tears.  Except Emma Frost cheated and she won the race before Xavier knew they were competing.

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Oh, how the tables have turned.  Not only does Professor X not get to look inside Cyclops’ mind, but now he gets to be strapped down with the Sexy Ghost of Christmas Past instead.  I’m not really going into many of Xavier’s most frustrating memories, and you can read the book for the whole story, but both Emma Frost and the professor make a few great points I want to discuss.

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Professor X takes this round.  Emma could simply put on a psychic rubber glove and feel around for a bit, but the whole deal of taking Xavier through his worst moments most certainly borders on torture. Professor X got in trouble for erasing traumatic memories, not leafing through them like a pop-up book.

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Emma scores a point here.  Y’see, when Spider-Man fails to save a civilian or something, that’s because his web gave out or the bad guy had him distracted.  He’ll mope about it for weeks before finally moving on as a better, stronger person.  Spider-Man, for all his power, can’t permanently remove that memory and horror from his mind instead of the normal growing and understanding the purpose and cause of his errors.  But the professor can and does.  The amount of sin for abusing power is determined quite simply by the amount of power being abused.  We’re talking about a merchant who refuses to give his employees benefits versus a king who slaughters entire groups of people that he views as threats.  Both are abusing power, but one’s way worse than the other.

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Emma’s final point?  Suck it up and stop with the self-pity.  Trust me, Emma’s done far worse things than the professor with her powers and she sleeps happily and snugly every night.  Professor X’s more distraught because he views himself as the moral center for the entire mutant race, when truthfully, he’s skirts the ethical line like every superhero ever.  And it’s about time he accepts that about himself.  I mean, do you know how much unwarranted assault and building damages go unpunished and unpaid in the superhero community?

So how do we know the battle’s over?  Well, I told you how these things end:

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More importantly, Cyclops and Professor X’s relationship changes once again:

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While Professor X doesn’t rejoin the X-Men, at least he has regained the respect and love of his protégé and successor.  That’s as good a start as any.

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One Comment on “Professor X vs. Cyclops & Emma Frost”

  1. […] better than other forms of literature.  Not to unashamedly plug my own stuff, but remember this fight between Professor X and Emma Frost (and Cyclops)?  Brain battles tend to get both weird and […]


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