Well we now know who dies in the 11th issue of Avengers Vs X-Men and I must say I am not surprised Professor Xavier may have been the founder of the X-Men he has not played a large part in the X-Men saga here of late and has not had a very big say in the direction of the mutant population for a very long time. Marvel has chose to go in a different direction with the school he started and the ideal of mutant and human getting along for the benefit of both. In number 11 Cyclops finally gives in to the corrupting influence of the Phoenix and kills his former mentor, Professor Xavier. What does it mean in the aftermath of the series remains to be seen, perhaps a revival of his ideals and a recognition of how much he really meant to mutant-kind.
Both writer Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel Senior Editor Tom Brevoort discussed the big death and how it will impact Marvel’s post-AvX plans. Brevoort noted that the decision to kill Xavier came fairly late in the planning process. “We didn’t start out looking for someone to kill or having a hit list or anything. In fact, the discussion about killing Xavier went back and forth for a good, long while as we were dealing with the middle point. The five guys who were working on this weren’t always of one accord. By the end of it, one writer was still regretful that we ended up going this way. He was just out-voted by the rest of the group.” He continued, “It was such a visceral thing. Their relationship was so Shakespearean that it proved, at least in our estimation, that it was the direction the story needed to go.”
Brevoort reveled that most of the credit/blame for the decision was Bendis himself, saying that Bendis and Jason Aaron “did a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of outlining the super-structure of AvX. Brian is sort of the main Avengers guy, and Jason was the guy most currently heavy in the X-Men world. It made sense for them to do a lot of our outline process and run those outlines by the other three writers and have them vetted.”
Bendis said, “I was moving into the X-office, and I was surprised how out of the loop Xavier was. He wasn’t really a part of the plans or any books going on. It just seemed to me, and maybe it’s because I’m a father, but his point of view was one of the most interesting. I kept pushing for it, and they were like, ‘Well, he’s not in any of these books right now.’ And then we started talking about why Xavier had outgrown the X-Men franchise. He wasn’t really part of it. I thought that was interesting. Is he more interesting now in death than he was in life? Does the idea of him being sacrificed to all of this make the X-Men as characters that much more interesting? And if so, what kinds of stories can we get out of it? And that’s when the serious talks started happening.” Interview from IGN.
Bendis explained the issue leaves room for interpretation as far as whether Xavier willingly allowed himself to perish in battle. “Does he do an Obi-Wan and just close his eyes, or does he fight to the death? I kind of have it up to interpretation. This didn’t happen privately – this happened in front of the entire Marvel Universe. So a lot of people are going to have a lot of interpretations about what they saw and what it means. That is certainly something to consider. Even if he fought to the death, does he somehow know that, either way, he might win? Is this the final thing he could give to the X-Men – his final sacrifice?”
Brevoort added, “I don’t know that I’d reduce Xavier to being better off dead than alive. He’s a person with ideals and dreams and hopes and so forth. The power of this moment and what it means for Scott to strike him down, even in a moment of losing his cool, striking down the guy that was essentially his father. Xavier took him from being a guy who was homeless and had these uncontrollable optic blasts and gave him a life to live in and surrounded him with friends and got rid of his loneliness and gave him purpose and a cause to believe in so strongly that Cyclops took it to this point… As a moment or a capstone or the beginning of the end for the journey of Scott Summers, it was a necessary, important beat.”
The question now is whether Cyclops is wholly responsible for the death of Xavier. Bendis nor Brevoort could definitively reveal whether Cyclops survives the final battle in issue #12 but Bendis said, “I’m getting right into that in my new series, because a lot of people have very specific ideas about just how much he is to blame for what has happened, including himself. That’s a question we’re going to explore throughout the book, and writing a character in this situation is just about as interesting a challenge as I could have as a writer. This is as big a hole as you can dig for yourself. Let’s say the Phoenix was completely responsible and Scott wasn’t in his right mind. How do you live with that?”
Bendis continued, “I’m coming into the X-books with a lot of notoriety. In a positive or negative way, I don’t know. It was weird with House of M, particularly with Wolverine’s memories, to put such a giant piece of storytelling out into the world, yet not be the one who takes it to the next step.” he continued, “But now, at least with Xavier — and a lot of this is happening after AvX — I’ll be able to be one of the guys following through on the promises made in the event. And as I’ve discovered over the years, that’s really the best part.”
Bendis elaborated on how Xavier’s death will impact the course of All-New X-men, specifically how the five original X-Men respond to the discovery. “I’m certainly excited that this element of the story is finally revealed to the public. One of the big questions since we announced what All-New X-Men is partially going to be about is ‘Well, what about Xavier? How does this happen?’ With the death of Xavier, people can start to put together ‘Oh, that’s why they’re here.’ This is Days of Future Past to the original X-Men. This is a nightmare. Xavier is gone and Scott killed him? This is definitely worth pursuing from the eyes of the original X-Men. Now people can see where we’re coming from a little better. Here’s the original five. Now imagine you’re Cyclops and you’re at your most idealistic in the original days of the X-Men, and you come here to find out it all goes to hell. And how do the other four feel? Can Jean possibly still love Scott when she discovers what he’s capable of becoming?”
Brevoort directed readers to All-New X-Men and Uncanny Avengers as the two primary books to deal with the fallout of Xavier’s death, as well as the AvX: Consequences mini-series. “Xavier’s death is going to have a greater impact than just AvX #11. It’s going to be a central point in all the material Brian has coming out during Marvel NOW!. It’s part of All-New X-Men. It’s certainly going to be a central, motivating factor in Uncanny Avengers. Xavier’s funeral is going to be in Uncanny Avengers #1, so it’s the big kick-off of that. You’re going to see it reflected throughout the Marvel line, at least for now.”
Well Marvel has outdone themselves this time with a mind blowing issue. Avengers Vs X-Men #11 may have changed the Marvel universe more than we know at this moment. There is certainly much more to learn about the direction in story. You can bet we will be there at Comic Talk, stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt