Once upon a time, Charles Xavier died. Then he came back to life. Then he died again. Then he came back to life. Then he died. Then he came back. Then he died, When the Shadow King hatched out of his head.
Astonishing X-Men #12
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover: Greg Land with Edgar Delgado
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
What You Need to Know:
The Shadow King has busted out of X’s head in our prior issue. Proteus has been defeated by the X-Men but his reality warping “seeds” grown from his garden have taken root throughout the globe and now the Shadow King plans a debilitating psychic assault on the X-Men and the entire planet. This concluding issue remains almost entirely in the psychic plane and so nothing has actual lasting consequences. As a handicapped Mystique declares on page 1, “Nothing on the Astral Plane is real.” Well, the global psychic assault I suppose is the only real time effect while the battle the X-Men will take on in this issue will be internalized mental conflict.
The preface of the story on the title page regarding Xavier’s constant seeming deaths and rebirths can be recounted as follows:
DEATH 1 Uncanny X-Men #41-42: Xavier seemingly dies in battle with a character called Grotesk. It turns out Xavier was actually hiding elsewhere to prevent an alien invasion while another mutant died in his place.
DEATH 2 Uncanny X-Men #167: The X-Men have a space adventure where they fight various aliens and then end up facing off against the Brood. Xavier is infected and appears to have died yet his soul essence remains and is implanted into a clone.
DEATH 3 Avengers v. X-Men Round 9: The Phoenix force possessed Cyclops kills Xavier for a good stretch of continuity. But lo! His assault was mostly psychic and as discovered in the first 6 issues of this title the psychic aspect of his being again survives his physical destruction.
Our title page preface of death and rebirth now can be summarized as follows:
“Once upon a time, Charles Xavier died. Then he came back to life. (Death by Grotesk) Then he died again. Then he came back to life. (Alien Brood infestation followed by a new cloned body soul insert) Then he died. Then he came back. (Death by phoenix 5 possessed Cyclops) Then he died, When the Shadow King hatched out of his head. (Last issue!)” Back to the present issue…
Our Astonishing X-Men Cannon Fodder:
Bishop: My visions of the future! I should’ve taken a Pepcid AC!
Mystique: Unable to lend a hand
Gambit: N’est-ce pas?
Archangel: My metal wings can’t survive a flight into space for unknown reasons!
Old Man Logan: Snikkity smoker with 6 pig stickers!
Rogue: Jus’ die a good death Xavier, because ah am dun with all the various parts of yer bodae shugah! Oh, you resurrected yaself? Sheoot!
Ye Olde Relevant Psychic combatants:
Psylocke: By your powers combined: I am the sum totality of the psychic planet!
X: Megalomania suits me like a skintight blue and yellow suit with my initials on it.
All Shadow King’s Forces and All Shadow King’s Vines Couldn’t Prevent Xavier Coming Back Together Again!
So as if we’re shocked that our constantly resurrected eponymous X comes back to life, Xavier finally gets his detritus in gear and stands up, which is exciting of course because he is usually in a wheelchair.
Old Man Logan, Archangel, Bishop, Gambit et alia suffer mental attacks leading to suicidal tendencies which are all ultimately thwarted by X’s recovery. With a shout of “Farouk!” which of course is Comics Code Authority speak for “$@#!” he squashes the Shadow King spider-beast as if X is a giant can of Raid. But X and Psylocke also have to deal with the concurrent global psychic assault seeded by Proteus in earlier issues and coming to fruition via the efforts of the Farouk-wad Shadow King.
Wonder Twin Powers Activate. Form of: Global Psychic Power Mindmeld.
So to save the world, Psylocke and X decide to combine their powers along with the entirety of the planet’s psychics, some of whom we can recognize here and others we have hitherto never seen before and in all likelihood never will again. The utilization of this global mindmeld overpowers the Shadow King and leaves our heroes victorious.
World threat ended, X assures Psylocke that he is entirely himself now despite having sprouted a Lemnosian Lemon of a psychic Farouk-King spider monster just last issue. The non-psychic X-Men are not buying this fresh brand of X after having only slightly trusted him in the face of the threat of Proteus in issues prior. The trust is now fully gone after X hatched the Shadow King who had been hiding within his mindscape all along. X had previously assured the X-Men that the threat of the Shadow King was dealt with at the end of issue 6, but after the Shadow King springs back into action last issue X’s veracity with regards to the defeat of the Shadow King is called into question. X is now declaring the Shadow King defeated once again and the X-Men do not believe him.
So, what is X to do? What he always does: mind wipe everyone whose thoughts are an inconvenience to him because he is lacking in any sense of moral boundaries and maintains his megalomaniacal Zeus complex. He “gifts” them with random trifles by giving them things they really already had yet wanting to credit himself because of his solipsistic egotism. Allegedly to keep himself honest he allows Betsy to retain her memories. Mostly because he probably does not have the power to also mind wipe one of the world’s foremost developed psychic talents after battling Farouk.
And here we conclude with what we hope will be a new magnanimous direction and leadership for our societally oppressed Homo Superior. However, given that he just forcibly mindwiped all of the non-psychic X-Men on an unrepentant whim and is walking around in a body he swindled from Fantomex in the course of issues 1-6, it seems highly unlikely that an altruistic end goal will result from Xavier’s 1..2..3..4th resurrection.
Ranking: 6/10 (minus 1 per death)
Final Thought: Professor X has been unleashed upon the world again in a new, fully functioning host body with an undefined dream with no declared tenets and unrivaled psychic abilities. The ideology not looking sunny or bright after he just forcibly mindwiped the X-Men against their will.
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