Grim_Noir’s POP/Ed: The Assassination of Chuck X
By The Coward Brian Michael Bendis

Professor X dead
I wanted to walk around with my reaction to the death of Professor Charles Xavier in Marvel’s AvX #11 for a few days while the news spread out to the comic reading community. (This can hardly be called a spoiler since Marvel themselves leaked the story to the NY Daily News and USA Today several days before the issue hit the racks.)

Now, I’m a long time comic reader and I’m used to characters being killed off. And I fully expect Professor X, like all previously dead characters, to return sometime in the not-too-distant future. Even if he doesn’t, I’ve read enough manga to understand that the death of a mentor or teacher is rich soil for fertilizing future plotlines and character growth.

You would think that as a jaded pop culture commentator, I would be immune to such a shallow and orchestrated marketing “event,” however you’d be wrong.

AvX 11 cover
What has made me sad is the idea Brian Michael Bendis has expressed in interviews: The concept that Xavier was “an anachronism” and “irrelevant” to today’s comic readers. This really concerns me. I see only two reasons for these statements:

Either Bendis is wrong, in which case, we are dealing with a bullpen of lazy scribes at Marvel. This is entirely possible, since this crew of writers have proven in the past to be unable to write solid marriages or even credible female voices. The very idea of having to write for a compassionate, semi-retired elder spokesman who believes in discussion and diplomacy must have filled them with dread on a near-daily basis. After all, Bendis himself is better suited to writing Modern-Family-for-superheroes scripts. (Here’s a hint, folks: The writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation managed to make negotiation and understanding visually interesting for over 178 episodes and four movies.)

The other alternative is that Mr. Bendis has his finger on the pulse of today’s youth, who are apparently primed to settle everything with fists and fury. In which case, I gotta ask, “Do we really wanna pander to this element for a temporary spike in profits?”

For centuries, society has passed along its morals and values in its myths and folklore. And what are superheroes but 21st Century mythology? I’m not sure what message is being passed along by taking out a humanitarian character like a punk for the sake of a quick buck, but, unlike most current politicians, I DO NOT approve of this message.

 

 

Ol' Grim Hisself * The views and opinions of GRIM_NOIR are his and his alone and do not represent the views of the owners nor editorial staff of PopTardsGo. Please feel free to comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter if you agree or disagree with any of his statements.

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13 Comments to “Grim_Noir’s POP/Ed: The Assassination of Chuck X
By The Coward Brian Michael Bendis”

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  1. JD (Host) says:

    HMMM. I’m not sure. I think I said on PhonoGraphics that his time had come and gone. But maybe that isn’t the case with the character, but with the fact that we haven’t SEEN Charlie in what feels like forever. The guy just hasn’t been around that much as far as I know.

    I do believe in moving forward though. I say let people die in comics. Let a legacy be built. I used to give DC props for doing just that until about a year ago!

    My problem was that the battle was just so…..lame.

    Don’t make me do this!

    Don’t YOU make ME do this!

    NO! Don’t you make ME do THIS!

    ….whelp it’s done. You’re dead.

    Feels like it should have been much more epic.

  2. Grim_Noir says:

    It’s the “meta” of HOW they chose who to knock off that bothers me.

    It’s like, in some alternative universe somewhere, the editors of PEOPLE and US WEEKLY are deciding who should die in some “Hunger Games”-like way based solely on who their readers “can relate to.” Their list is Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, MLK, and Henry Kissinger, because world peace is “so last century, ya know?”

    As for the “fight,” it was like watching a 13-year-old girl argue with her dad: “I hate you! You NEVER understood me!” And then substitute a psychic death blow for the expected door slam…

  3. Rob Truthfeld says:

    While I very much disagree that Charlie is no longer relevant, I do feel that the Cyclops’ story has been heading in this direction even as far back as Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men #2. Cyclops was raised to take Xavier’s place but he is NO Xavier. Scott has always had the weight of the world on his shoulders and now that he’s carrying the fate of the mutant race as well and I think he finally snapped. This could lead to some very interesting stories but only if there are consequences to it. I cannot possibly imagine a situation where Scott gets to continue leading the X-Men after this and I hope that Marvel deals with this one properly instead of sweeping the whole thing under the rug and acting like it never happened.

  4. Grim_Noir says:

    Agreed. Repercussions are always an integral part of a good story, Rob. So the odds of Marvel following up those story threads is about 50/50 ;) Marvel NOW seems poised to sweep a lotta things under the rug…

    Scott has always been an intersting contrast to Nightwing, who has also spent his entire life preparing to step into some very big shoes. We all put more weight on our own shoulders than anyone else could ever place there.

    How we deal with that weight often determines our character. Scott is no Charles because he has never been as able to cope with the self-pressure like Xavier could. People followed Xavier because he was charismatic, smart and empathetic. I feel that the Marvel universe lost a great deal of those qualities when the writers and editors casually decided he was the one to die…

    BTW, my personal over/under for when Professor X returns is about the time the trailers for “X-Men: First Class – Days of Future Past” begin to circulate…

  5. Rob Truthfeld says:

    Except it’ll be a young and “hip” Xavier in his early twenties with hair who was somehow brought back from the past and he’s not quite sure what he wants to do with his life yet because God forbid you have anyone in comics who is “old.”

  6. Grim_Noir says:

    :) Then he really will be calling himself “Chuck X.”

    And I will be calling shenanigans, since they already DID that plotline with Magneto.

    On a semi-related note: you should check out Andi Parks’ portrayal of Kato, Sr. in Dynamite’s current “Green Hornet.” His Kato is greying, but still a crafty tactician and a badass in his own right. (If only the art reached the levels of the writing…*SIGH!*)

  7. JD (Host) says:

    @Grim: “As for the “fight,” it was like watching a 13-year-old girl argue with her dad: “I hate you! You NEVER understood me!” And then substitute a psychic death blow for the expected door slam…”

    - That about sums it up. Well done.

    @Rob – First of all: great name! Hilarious. Secondly, I agree that Scott has been heading this way for a long time, and perhaps this even NEEDED to happen to seal the deal.

  8. Rob Truthfeld says:

    Thanks for the recommendation Grim. I’ll check it out.

    JD, it’s funny that you liken the Phoenix to a 13 year old girl because that’s how I always perceived the Phoenix to feel like when inside a human host. Dealing with emotions and feelings that it can’t quite cope with and at the same time has the power of the freakin universe at it’s fingertips. I’m curious though, how would you have preferred to see the death of Xavier go down?

  9. Grim_Noir says:

    Rob, my review of “Kato #12″ includes a good panel of what Kato, Sr. is like these days http://www.poptardsgo.com/?p=2594

  10. jaydee says:

    @Rob: The 13 year old girl quote was actually Grim’s that I was agreeing with lol

    I think that in a visual medium that can show us special effects without budgetary concerns, I would have liked to see something far more visually interesting instead of two guys on a beach threatening each other. I picture massive devestation between the two that is only taking place inside their heads..I’m thinking of cool visuals like the city folding in on itself in Inception..

  11. Rob Truthfeld says:

    Oh shit. Perhaps I should pay attention to more than just the comment above my own. Let me just cut and paste the following then
    Grim…
    it’s funny that you liken the Phoenix to a 13 year old girl because that’s how I always perceived the Phoenix to feel like when inside a human host. Dealing with emotions and feelings that it can’t quite cope with and at the same time has the power of the freakin universe at it’s fingertips. I’m curious though, how would you have preferred to see the death of Xavier go down?

    JD
    I would’ve liked to have seen a psychic battle as well but I think it would’ve been pretty cool if Xavier was trying to calm Scott down by bringing up memories of better times (first joining the X-Men, getting married to Jean, first meeting Jean) but these could’ve been the actual art from the issues in which these things happen, then Cyclops “tears up the pages” as he destroys more and more of himself metaphorically all culminating in Xavier’s death. But what do I know I’m just a fan boy who can’t even draw feet.

  12. jaydee says:

    feets are for jerks anyways!

    you absolutely win the “shouldawouldacoulda” game. that sounds awesome. Hits the emotional beats that it needs to hit to drive home the weight of what was going on, I really would have liked to have seen that version!

  13. Grim_Noir says:

    Rob, I gotta agree with J.D. (and he can tell you how rare THAT is :) ), your finale sounds SO much better than what they did.

    This goes directly to Bendis’ strengths and weaknesses: He can write very witty dialogue when he wants, but he does not know how to move characters around, especially in an action scene.

    If anybody wants to see drama, action, and character development done right, check out the trade of Archie Goodwin’s & Walter Simonson’s “Manhunter.”

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