This week’s Astonishing X-Men has finally revealed how Charles Xavier managed to survive the events of AvX; he was saved by the Shadow King. Several years ago, Professor X was seemingly killed off during the events of Avengers vs X-Men, when a Phoenix-Force-possessed Cyclops came after him. The last that we saw of the erstwhile leader of the X-Men was his body in the dust, ruined by the extreme power of the Phoenix Force.
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The Return Of Charles Xavier
After five years of X-Men without Xavier, the first issue of the new Astonishing X-Men shocked fans when it revealed Charles Xavier on the final page, chained but very much alive. This discovery was made as the new team (Psylocke, Bishop, Angel, Mystique, Rogue, Gambit, Fantomex, and Logan) came together to deal with a massive psychic attack on London. When Psylocke realized that this was the work of the Shadow King, she sent everyone but herself, Bishop, and Angel onto the Astral Plane themselves, to try and prevent the Shadow King from breaking free and destroying the world.
Throughout the past four issues of Astonishing X-Men, we learned that Charles was being held on the astral plane by the Shadow King, as the two fought it out using the souls of the X-Men who had been sent there by Psylocke. Slowly, Charles attempted to contact each of them, tricking the Shadow King into thinking that he was winning by maintaining multiple realities within this universe. It’s a plot that is taking its toll of the Professor, but he seems to have a plan to escape the Astral Plane, and he needs the X-Men to help him
How The Shadow King Saved Professor X
Although he’s been involved in the past four issues, we still didn’t know how Professor X made it from the battle with Cyclops into the Astral Plane in the first place; until this week. In the latest issue, Professor X manages to bring Rogue, Mystique, and Fantomex into his presence in secret, and tells them that he is the real Charles Xavier, and he needs their help. He explains that when he was killed by Cyclops (and he was killed), the Shadow King managed to ‘collect his spirit’ and bring it to the Astral Plane. Charles’s long-time nemesis wasn’t willing to let him die. Instead, he wanted to ‘play’ with him in a battle throughout the Astral Plane.
Charles goes on to describe their battles over the past five years (although to him, they have felt like a thousand), and how he has struggled against his captor but is unable to beat him. This is why he now needs the help of the X-Men.
Is Charles Really Back?
While all this is happening in the Astral Plane, the Shadow King has managed to take hold of Logan and Gambit, and in the real world, they are infecting the people of London with a kind of possession-plague. Psylocke must struggle to stay connected to her friends in the Astral Plane, while simultaneously helping Angel to defeat the Shadow King’s plan in their realm. It’s an impossible task, but of course, the X-Men are sure to be up to it!
It’s not yet clear how this battle will end (or whether Charles can still save Remy and Logan), but it seems that this arc is going to be the one to bring Professor X back into the X-Men fold. Presumably, he will find a way to escape the Shadow King and the Astral Plane and rejoin his friends; although given that he has no body in the real world, that might prove something of a hurdle for his to overcome. However he manages it (assuming he does), it seems that one thing is clear: Professor X is back!