By Marc Strom
With the release of DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 on June 24, writer Matt Fraction and legendary X-artist Marc Silvestri begin one of the most eagerly anticipated stories of the summer.
As Norman Osborn continues to extend his Dark Reign, he assembles a group of Dark X-Men loyal only to him. This week, Marvel.com presents the Dark X-Men Dossiers, bios on each of the team's members straight from Cyclops' personal files, along with writer Matt Fraction's thoughts and exclusive art from Terry Dodson.
Still Searching For Peace
Given Norman Osborn's checkered and super villainous past, many X-fans may wonder what could possibly bring Charles Xavier to join the Dark X-Men. However,
according to "Utopia" writer Matt Fraction, the two characters ultimately both want the same thing.
"Professor X wants what he always wants, which is peaceful coexistence [between humans and mutants]," he explains. "It's the same thing that Osborn wants, it's the same thing that Osborn's putting together by putting these mutant heroes [the Dark X-Men] out there."
Put in this light, Osborn's team actually represents an ideology very much at odds with the driving purpose behind Cyclops' X-Men.
"Scott Summers has taken his team in this kind of extreme direction," notes Fraction. "They're holed up in this military bunker and they're building an army, and I don't think it needs to be like that. Peaceful coexistence is a possibility. That's what makes Osborn so enticing, is that it's hard to disagree with that message, and Professor X just backs him up [by] saying who Scott is and what Scott has become. Scott is certainly dreaming his own dreams, and he no longer has Xavier's dream. Professor X is there to back Osborn's philosophy up, and [to say] that peaceful coexistence is a reality and it doesn't need to be a militant tolerance of one another."
While Xavier's participation in Norman's X-Men may raise a few questions amongst readers, for the citizens of the Marvel Universe, Professor X aligning himself with Osborn wouldn't seem too incongruous with his heroic past.
"It's another one of those things where you have to remember we as readers know more about Osborn than the rest of the world knows," Fraction elaborates. "Right now, Osborn's the guy that won the war [with the Skrulls], and now, in the moment where there's an extreme instance of human and mutant hostility, Osborn has come in saying 'listen, there's a third way, there's a peaceful way where we can all live together happily and not hurt each other, not have to be afraid.'
"And Osborn is very seductive. He's saying, 'these people [the Dark X-Men], this is the face of law and order.' 'Dark' X-Men, that's our label as readers, he's not
calling them that. There's a whole lot of subterfuge going on. We know there's a time bomb under the kitchen table, but the people eating at the table don't. That's where the tension—I hope that's where some of the tension comes from. So, that Professor X is there backing Norman up, that's a huge—I mean, if you were an X-Man, what would you do? It's a huge thing. It really causes a lot of eyebrows to be raised [in attention] and questions to be asked."
Whether or not Xavier still has the same level of influence within the mutant community that he once had remains an open-ended question, but at the very least his presence on Norman's team lends a large degree of credibility to Osborn's message in the eyes of many mutants.
"I don't know, that's a really big question," comments Fraction, pondering whether the mutant community as a whole still sees Xavier as a leader. "I don't know that there's a simple answer, I would suspect that there's a hundred-some different answers for a hundred-some different mutants. He's unquestionably a visionary, but [the question of] is he fit to lead in this day and age is a more complicated issue."
Cyclops' Strike File: Professor X
Due to Professor X's somewhat strained relationship with the X-Men these days, it can no longer be taken for granted that the two sides will always work towards the same goal.
Charles' mindset and philosophy became outdated with the M-Day Event. Working towards a peaceful coexistence with mankind took a back seat to survival the day the mutant population became decimated, and with it ended Xavier's tenure as the X-Men's leader.
Given his history, Charles' desire to seek equilibrium between mutant and human should come as no surprise. His time as a soldier demonstrated to him the ineffectiveness and senseless brutality of war. For years, he and Magneto stood on opposite sides of an ideological divide now made moot by a lack of mutants to help Magnus reach his goal of dominating the humans.
Nonetheless, Xavier's long lasting status as a mutant community leader means that, for many mutants, he still holds a unique position of power. With current events potentially destabilizing the mutant community's standing in San Francisco, and
with threats approaching us from all sides, it would be an error to ignore the symbolic power that Professor X potentially wields.
While Xavier would not prove much of a physical threat if the X-Men were to ever find themselves in direct opposition to him, he could present a very real danger in an ideological or perception-based battle as his credibility as one of the world's foremost experts on mutant kind would cause the world to lend a very attentive ear to what he has to say.
DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 launches one of the biggest events of the summer on June 24, but be sure you check back here tomorrow for our final Dark X-Men Dossier on Emma Frost!
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