Monday, December 15, 2008

Shadowy Charley: Mindcontrol Xavier style

So, just where had Charles been while the King was busy conquering Earth?

Well... long story short... A while ago, Xavier got mugged by an anti mutant mob and would have died if the Morlocks hadn't taken him to their healer. He managed to put ol' humpty dumpty head back together again, but Charles didn't allow himself any time to fully heal. This caused him to have a fatal heartattack in Uncanny X-men # 200.

Luckily, his ladylove Shi'ar empress Lilandra had been aware of his anguish thanks to their mental link. She came to his aid and teleported him away so he could get the proper medical attention on board the Starjammer. But when the stargate to Earth got destroyed, Charles was left stranded in space.

This meant the X-men were cut off from their mentor for an extended period of time. But as luck would have it, another crisis brought the X-men and Xavier together again. Lilandra's terrorist sister Deathbird asked intergalactic teleporter (and singing sensation!) Lila Cheney to bring the X-men to her. Lila complied and after a brief struggle, Deathbird told the X-men what was wrong. Well, take a look. She wasn't kidding: something was very-very wrong indeed...

Professor Xavier, using his mental powers to enslave the Imperial Guard along with the Shi'ar empire itself? Surely, its still years before every writer started to paint the X-men's benign leader as an evil mastermind, so this is totally out of character for the man. But the mind control fun didn't stop there, because when the X-men confronted their mentor, he got a few new playthings.

"The X-men are mine"

But who are you, anyways? Turns out the real professor Xavier was being kept in a stasis jar, while his body and powers were copied by... A Skrull. More than 15 years before Secret Invasion, Claremont had undercover Skrulls trying to destabilise other worlds. After his ruse was discovered, the Skrull dropped the Xavier guise and took on Psylocke's form when the team tried to free Xavier. Luckily, Forge wasn't as vulnerable to Psy-Skrull's psychic knife as he'd hoped.

 "You've disrupted my pattern... triggered a partial reversion to my base form..." 

You just gotta love Claremont's knack for over-X-plaining the obvious. But still, Forge's battle with the Skrull formerly known as Xavier/Psylocke marked the end of the battle for domination of the Shi'ar empire. Professor Xavier was freed and, when told about the Shadow King threat, he decided to return home and deal with the crisis. Lets take a look how he chose to start the fight against his mind controlling arch nemesis.

That's Charles, dressed in Shi'ar battle armor (hence the triangular helmet), mind controlling a group of Scottish soldiers to hand over the X-men's old Blackbird jet. Charles had hoped the King wouldn't notice his return until it was too late, but the Shadow King was very much aware.

In fact, he sent someone very close to Xavier to take care of the professor. The King mind controlled Peter Nicholas to confront Charles when he was at the X-men's former headquarters in Salem Center. Peter who? Remember how Psylocke suckered Colossus into the Siege Perilous?

No? Well, it was one of his better deaths... Colossus was reincarnated as Peter Nicholas, a New York artist who, rather conveniently, was a dead ringer for Peter Rasputin. So much for advancing on the karmic scale. Of course, once the Shadow King found out about him, Nicholas was forced to attack Xavier and Stevie Hunter. Close to death, Xavier found himself with no other alternative than this...

Yup, that's Charles Xavier for ya... Destroying an entire person (a soul, if you will) to save his own life. He erased Peter Nicholas and brought back the original template of Peter Rasputin, who the Shadow King hadn't managed to get his claws into.

Talk about character suicide... Still, it worked and good ol' Colossus was back in the game... And did we need him! Shadow King finally revealed himself to Xavier... take a look.

Ow yeah, the King meant business. He had taken over the mutants on Muir Island: Legion, Strong Guy, Multiple Man, Siryn, Rogue and Moira McTaggert as his personal strikeforce.

His 'Islanders' had already taken out most of the X-men, but Xavier alongside X-Factor managed to defeat the King. However, it turned out to be a costly victory...

The Muir Island/Shadow King saga brought Claremont's 16 year run on Uncanny X-men to a close. He would later return for two more mind controlled runs, which we'll cover next time!

No comments: