Charles Xavier is the leader of the X-Men, the man who embodies the dream of peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans. He has devoted his life to helping this dream become a reality, fighting against the evil that both men and other mutants would perpetrate, all in hopes that it would lead to greater acceptance of himself and his kind. He has funded a school specifically to train young mutants on how to handle and control their abilities, helping them to live relatively normal lives. He built the X-Men to help fight for mutantkind and fight for the world as a whole.
Charles Xavier has done a lot of good things in his life, sure. Charles Xavier is also a total jerk. Throughout his comic history, Xavier has constantly done things that would get anyone else beat up. When you’re the face for mutant civil rights, you can get away with the occasional faked death, turn as a supervillain, or other mind manipulation. That’s not all though, as he’s been a jerk plenty of times. Here’s fifteen times Professor X was a jerk.
15. Pretending to lose his powers as a test for the X-Men
There comes a time as a teacher when you have to see how much your students have actually learned. Most would do this simply by giving their students some sort of test. Charles Xavier isn’t most teachers, as instead of just giving his students an ordinary test, he pretends to lose his powers so that his students have to face a genocidal terrorist all on their own.
Early in the original run of the X-Men, Xavier acts as if he has lost his psychic powers after an early clash with Magneto. Naturally, the still very new and inexperienced X-Men are less than enthused about the thought of having to go into battle without their mentor. Off they go into a fight that could easily kill not only them but numerous civilians. Only when they’re victorious does Xavier reveal that he has not actually lost his powers, but faked it in order to give the team their final exam, endangering a ton of lives in order to prove that your students are ready is a total jerk move.
14. Claiming the X-Men weren’t named after him
Ask any sane, reasonable person why the X-Men are named the X-Men and they’ll probably tell you something about them being named after Professor Charles Xavier himself. Heck, Xavier calls himself Professor X, so it only stands to reason that his team would be the X-Men. They’re literally a team that he brought together, trains, and funds. Even despite this pretty straightforward logic, Professor X would tell the first team of X-Men early in the comics that they were given that name because of the fact that they’re mutants and have eXtra powers.
While the whole extra powers schtick sounds great, it’s got to be a lie. You’re name is Professor X and you already have a whole school named after you, why not name a team after you, too? Granted, this one is relatively minor in the grand scheme of horrible things that involve the X-Men, but if you want to lie about something as simple as that, can you ever really be trusted at all?
13. Faking his death. Multiple times
A staple of comic books is that characters rarely stay dead for very long. After a character dies, it seems like it’s only months before they’re back to life, with a preposterous story about how they somehow managed to escape death and have been fighting their way back. Few character have taken that trope to another level as Professor X, who routinely fakes his death, usually with no real legitimate reason.
Xavier would get the shapeshifting criminal Changeling to impersonate him while he secluded himself away to formulate a plan to combat an impending alien invasion, with only Jean Grey aware of the switch. Changeling would later die in battle and rather than tell his students about what happened, Professor X would instead let them believe for months that he was dead. When he did finally reveal the lie, he really rubbed it in by letting them know that he’d been in a basement of the X-Mansion the whole time.
12. Getting a whole X-Men team killed and then erasing memories of them
One of the biggest moments in the history of the X-Men is the publication of Giant Sized X-Men #1, which saw a new, diverse team of mutants assembled and sent to rescue the original team of X-Men, from an island where they were being held hostage. That book would introduce characters like Wolverine and Storm into the X-Men franchise, giving the franchise new life and helping it thrive for decades to come.
It would later be revealed that prior to the team that included Storm and Wolverine, Professor X had recruited another team to go rescue his X-Men. This team was made up of mutants that were largely inexperienced when it came to combat, with Xavier using his powers to “download” tactics and experience to their brains. Even so, this team would all end up dying during their rescue mission. Rather than own up to the fact that he had sent a group of mutants to their death, Xavier instead took the supervillain way out of things and erased all memories of that team from everyone’s mind, making it so that they never existed as far as everyone was concerned.
11. Keeping the sentient Danger Room a secret
The Danger Room is a high-tech training room that Professor X developed to help the X-Men hone their skills and abilities. The Danger Room could run through near limitless scenarios, changing and adapting to help make the fights challenging and realistic so that the X-Men could really become effective fighters. Somewhere in all that super smart technology, a sentient AI arose, calling out to anyone that could hear it.
Even though Professor Xavier heard the Danger Room call out “Where am I?”, he kept her sentience a secret because he needed her to train his teams, something that he felt had to take priority. That would come back to bite him in Astonishing X-Men #7-12 when the sentient Danger Room would attack the X-Men. The Danger Room would eventually be freed, becoming a member of various X-Men teams in its own right, but you can’t help but watch Xavier a little closer knowing that he willingly enslaved a sentient lifeform.
10. The Xavier Protocols
One of the other big revelations of the whole Onslaught ordeal was that Professor Xavier had secretly been coming up with contingency plans in case various members of the X-Men decided to turn evil. Granted, to a point it makes a lot of sense, as Xavier is dealing with some of the most powerful people on the planet, mutants that are functionally immortal, capable of blasting lasers from their eyes, able to rewrite reality to however they see fit, or have immense strength. These aren’t people that you would want fighting against you in the event that they would turn evil. During the battle against Onslaught, different Protocols would be used for the first time. As time went on, the plans would occasionally fall into the wrong hands and end up being used against various X-Men, all because Professor Xavier didn’t trust those that he had spent years mentoring and fighting alongside.
9. Manipulating/brainwashing Wolverine
Wolverine joining the X-Men is probably the best thing to happen to both the team and the character. His popularity has stayed high throughout the years and he’s been featured prominently on the team ever since. It would later be revealed that Xavier and Wolverine had met well before he came to be a part of the X-Men, and that his decision to join might not have been his own decision after all.
Wolverine had been brainwashed into tracking down Professor Xavier and killing him. Xavier would find out about the plan and let Wolverine get close enough to where he could override the brainwashing and do some brainwashing of his own. Not only would he manipulate Wolverine into not killing him, but he would also implant the urge in Wolverine’s mind that would make him answer the call when Xavier would later need to assemble another team of X-Men.
Back in the wild and weird days of 90s comics, Professor Xavier would not only be a jerk, but also become a straight up villain. In the aftermath of the Fatal Attractions storyline, in which Magneto ripped the adamantium from Wolverine’s skeleton and nearly killed him, Professor X would cross a big line and wipe the mind of Magneto. In doing so, the dark part of Magneto’s consciousness bonded with the repressed dark side of Xavier, coming together to form the villain Onslaught.
Along the way, Onslaught would fight pretty much every hero in the Marvel Universe, even killing a few of them, before ultimately being stopped and destroyed. As the darker side of Xavier, Onslaught would make for some interesting revelations, including the fact that Xavier had been harboring feelings for Jean Grey for a very long time, going as far back as to when she was quite young.
7. Killing his twin in the womb
While Professor Xavier has been a jerk for a long time, it all started way back, when he was a still a baby in the womb. As was introduced in the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely All New X-Men, Xavier actually had a previously unknown identical twin. The reason readers had never heard of that twin before was because Charles had killed her in the womb.
Somehow Charles had already developed psychic powers while still in the womb and somehow sensed that his twin, Cassandra, was “evil”. Sensing that she was evil, Charles would kill Cassandra while they were both in the womb. Of course, because this is the X-Men, Cassandra would live on in a bodiless state and slowly rebuild a body for herself. After many years, she had rebuilt her form enough and decided to take revenge on Charles. In the process, she would decimate the mutant nation of Genosha, killing most of the mutants on the planet.
6. Mutant shaming Mystique
X-Men: First Class set the X-Men film universe on a much different path than the previous films, deepening and changing relationships between various characters. One of the things that the film dealt with was the relationship of Xavier and Mystique. In First Class, Mystique and Xavier have known each other their whole lives, growing up and living together. While Xavier seems to embrace his own gifts, he constantly shames Mystique about her appearance, making it so she stays in her “human form”, of a pretty blonde, rather than the her true blue skinned appearance. Given how Xavier shames her for abilities and appearance, it’s no wonder that she falls for Magneto, the first guy who really seems to embrace her true appearance and celebrates it rather than shuns it. It makes her quote from the 2000 X-Men film, “You know, people like you are the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child”, a little more hurtful when you realized Xavier just might have been one of those people.
5. Not letting Cyclops and Havok know they had a brother
While Deadly Genesis was full of all kinds of insane revelations, one of the lesser, but still pretty emotional, revelations was that Cyclops and Havok had a brother they didn’t know about, and Professor X just chose not to tell them. This brother, Vulcan, was part of the second team that Xavier put together and sent to save Cyclops’ team. Vulcan and the rest of his team would be seemingly killed after rescuing Cyclops.
Before Vulcan was seemingly killed, he and Cyclops shared a moment where Vulcan told Cyclops that Xavier knew they were brothers, that he’d known since the first day he’d met Vulcan. Cyclops left the island knowing that he had another brother and that new brother had just died to save him. Understandably, he was overcome with guilt. Rather than letting Cyclops lose his cool like that, and also to save himself from future repercussions, Xavier would erase Cyclops’ memories of that other team, making it so it was like they never existed.
4. Being part of the Illuminati
The Illuminati is a group comprised of the some of the most powerful and intelligent members of the Marvel Universe, with heroes like Black Bolt, Black Panther, Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Professor X, and Namor making up its ranks. The group began as a secret organization that would meet and share information, formulate plans, and generally try to help save the world.
While the Illuminati would often make decisions that helped the world in some way, more often than not their decisions would have huge ramifications that would end up hurting the planet. Whether it was getting captured by the Skrulls and giving them the technology that would make Secret Invasion possible or sending Hulk into exile and setting up World War Hulk, the Illuminati would often end up hurting the world as much or more than they would end up helping it. And as part of the Illuminati, a group with near-limitless power and potential, he does essentially nothing to help out the mutants.
3. Locking away part of Jean Grey’s powers
In the original trilogy of X-Men films, Jean Grey is one of the most powerful mutants in the movies. She, like the rest of the Xavier’s students, came to the school so they could learn to control their powers, control them so they could live relatively normal lives. While many do learn how to do so, Xavier takes a different approach with Jean. Rather than fully teaching her how to use and control her powers, he opts to lock away part of them. Like most of his immoral plans, this comes back to bite him in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: Last Stand when the the movies get into their version of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Rather than teaching Jean how to properly handle the Phoenix side of her personality, Xavier represses it and it comes back with a vengeance, killing multiple mutants, many humans, nearly destroying the world, and ending with the second death of Jean Grey.
2. His parenting (or lack thereof) of Legion
During the days after World War II, Charles Xavier worked in a hospital in Israel helping victims of the Holocaust. It was here that he met not only the man that would become Magneto, but also met Gabrielle Haller, a catatonic patient that Xavier used his powers on to bring her out of her coma. The two would later have romantic feelings for each other, which would eventually result in Haller becoming pregnant. The child would end up being a powerful, and unstable, mutant named Legion. Legion would be left in the care of Moira McTaggert, with Xavier rarely visiting or helping his son. Legion would eventually travel back in time in an attempt to kill Magneto, so that Xavier’s dream of peaceful existence for mutants would be possible. His plan would go awry, with Xavier jumping in the way and saving Magneto, and lead to the Age of Apocalypse timeline.
1. Trained An Army of child soldiers
While costumed teenage sidekicks are pretty much a staple of comics, the original X-Men were likely one of the few teams at the time that were comprised of nothing but teenage kids. While they lived at a school, the group was still trained to fight and constantly sent on dangerous missions all over the world. They faced countless brushes with death and numerous injuries, all because the man who was their guardian decided to send them on these dangerous missions. While Charles Xavier was supposed to be the non-violent, coexistence-minded voice of reason to oppose the genocidal Magneto, he certainly didn’t have a problem putting a group of people not even old enough to drink in constant dangerous situations. When you combine that general disregard for safety with all the terrible things that Professor X did to them over the years, it’s hard not to see that the guy is a total jerk.