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Professor X Revealed His Real Reason for Forming the X-Men – And it’s Heartbreaking

The following contains spoilers for Immortal X-Men #10, now on sale from Marvel Comics

The X-Men has, since the very beginning, been rooted in the optimism that comes with education. The Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters was meant to be a place mutants could feel safe and accepted, given guidance that could turn them into heroes. But all along, there was a far more pessimistic purpose behind the team’s formation.

Professor X spends most of Immortal X-Men #10 (by Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, David Curiel, and VC’s Clayton Cowles) reflecting on the true nature of the X-Men as a team, and why he formed them in the first place. While his reasoning makes perfect logical sense in-universe, it paints the entire concept in a dark light while subverting fundamental aspects of the franchise.The majority of Immortal X-Men #10 is focused on the aftermath of Mister Sinister’s slaughter of a quarter of the Quiet Council. Despite targeting Hope to dismantle mutant resurrection, Synch’s increased capabilities allow him to revive the fallen mutants. As a result, Xavier is able to take part in the hunt for the villain, helping condemn him to the Pit. Throughout the issue, Xavier quietly notes to himself how dangerous people in his orbit are. Starting with himself and working all the way down through his students, there is a massive well of power that was waiting to be tapped. Even beyond Omega-Level Mutants, the X-Men have enough power to bring down pretty much any threat thrown their way.

Xavier notes that while he always wanted to help people, his telepathy has always granted him a pragmatic perspective on others and himself. Xavier confesses that when he recruited the X-Men, Cerebro gave him access to see all mutants. But rather than fully dedicate himself to helping people like the Morlocks or even working towards saving as many as he could, Xavier became quietly selective about his recruits. This explains the sheer wealth of power found in the X-Men’s ranks — even beyond mutant capability, as Xavier was drawn to Beast’s potentially terrifying intellect and Angel’s overwhelming wealth. The mutants he approached were often ones with skill sets and abilities that made them uniquely capable of handling all sorts of threats.

On the one hand, this ensured his handpicked team could protect other mutants from external dangers — and made them exceptionally capable of dealing with other uncontrolled mutant threats. But Xavier acknowledges and understands why humans fear mutants — and on some level, understands it. Mutants like Proteus, Legion, and Marvel Girl have the power to unmake entire worlds by pure accident, and people like Magneto prove mutant fury can come with a large body count of humans and prospective mutants alike. As such, the X-Men were ultimately formed as a means of making sure mutants don’t wipe themselves and the rest of the world out, helping those they can while handling the ones they can’t.

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