As the greatest frenemies in the X-Men world, Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier are often seen as polar opposites. Magneto is the violent radical prone to violence, while Professor X is the level-headed upholder of peace. Basically, Magneto is put into the camp of evil and despicable, whereas Xavier is the good one.
However, Professor Xavier’s “good guy” persona only runs skin deep. Beneath the surface, Professor X is pretty despicable. Yes, the same can be said of the Master of Magnetism, but at least Magneto is up-front about it. When Magneto goes full-evil, it’s a public spectacle. Xavier plays it far closer to the chest, making people think he’s acting altruistically good when, in reality, he’s doing some pretty dastardly stuff.
From manipulating the minds of friends to faking his own death for the hell of it, there are plenty of reasons why Professor Xavier is more despicable than Magneto.
Find out just how evil the not-so-good-professor can get with the 15 Reasons Professor X Is More Despicable Than Magneto.
15 He Made Plans To Kill His Students
Mutants are a force to be reckoned with. Gifted with abilities far beyond that of humanity, a single mutant can cause immense destruction. That’s why baseline humans fear mutants. It’s also the reason why Professor X created the “Xavier Protocols,” which are formal plans to incapacitate powerful mutants.
Kind of like Batman’s plans to take down the Justice League, the Xavier Protocols were also meant as a last resort. There are even certain mutants who need to be present to activate a specific protocol. For example, an attack on Cable should make use of his techno-virus which limits his powers, according to Cable’s Xavier Protocol file.
However, as with all doomsday plans, the Xavier Protocols would eventually fall into the wrong hands. Through the intervention of the X-Men villain Bastion, a sentient Cerebro would eventually enact the Xavier Protocols and nearly destroy the X-Men entirely.
In anger, Magneto has lashed out at plenty of his followers. Creating formal, strategic plans to off his disciples, however, is outside of Magneto’s range of deplorability... but not Xavier’s.
14 He Sent An Entire Team Of Mutants To Their Doom
Everyone knows about the story told in Giant-Size X-Men #1, the issue that introduced a new, diverse team of X-men, including Storm, Wolverine, and other staples of the franchise. Assembled to rescue the original X-Men from the living island known as Krakoa, the new batch of heroes would eventually be successful in their mission, saving the day.
However, they weren’t the first team of mutants sent to rescue the original X-Men. Professor Xavier actually enlisted a batch of young mutants being trained by Moira McTaggert.
Never formally trained as X-Men, these mutants (including Cyclops’s long-lost brother) were given a psychic crash-course in using their gifts in battle-- not that it really helped. The group of four mutants were completely obliterated by the living island of Krakoa, all seemingly dying in the rescue mission.
You’d think that would make Professor Xavier hesitate a bit before sending in another group of mutants, but not cold-hearted Charles. At least this deplorable act had some consequences, as told in the X-Men: Deadly Genesis miniseries.
13 He Erased The Memory Of Cyclops's Brother
Cyclops has had a really rough life. Orphaned at a young age, Scott Summers pretty much had to watch his parents die in a fiery plane crash. After being taken to an orphanage, Scott even lost his younger brother Alex. However, Scott actually has another brother named Gabriel, but his memory of him was erased from Scott’s mind by Professor X.
Gabriel, aka Kid Vulcan, had a worse life than his elder brother before being rescued by Moira MacTaggert. However, things only got worse once Xavier entered the picture.
Xavier basically sends Gabriel on a death mission to rescue the original X-Men from the living island Krakoa. Scott learns that Gabriel is his brother on the mission, and is the only one to escape, with Gabriel and his team of mutants dying on the mission.
Upon returning to the X-Mansion, Cyclops is understandably bereft. To solve the problem, Professor X doesn’t try to console Scott in any way. No, Xavier just mind-wipes the memory of Gabriel from Scott’s mind. Great parenting, professor.
12 He Put Magneto In A Coma
As one of the “good guys,” there are supposed to be certain moral lines-in-the-sand that Professor X is never supposed to cross. Killing, or completely obliterating the mind of a foe, are some examples. Except Charles Xavier isn’t really that "good" of a good guy.
During a confrontation with Magneto and his acolytes, Professor X goes way too far to incapacitate his former friend. After Magneto rips the adamantium from Wolverine’s body (which is quite the provocation, mind you), Professor X gets so enraged that he enters Magneto’s mind and shuts it down completely. In the aftermath, Magneto is left in a vegetative state.
Rendering an enemy catatonic is some super villain-level stuff, even if Xavier thought it was for the greater good. Not that it was, either, because the act of diving so deep into Magneto’s mind caused the creation of the mega-evil entity known as Onslaught, which went on to kill many Marvel heroes.
11 He Faked His Own Death To Mess With His Students
As a teacher more than a hero, Professor Xavier is supposed to have the best interest of his students in mind. While this may occasionally be true, Professor Xavier’s teaching methods can be altogether cruel.
X-Men #4 had the Professor pretend to lose his powers as a “test” to his students. The fact that the original X-Men could have died fighting the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants doesn’t seem to be a big deal to the Professor at all.
Xavier went even further in X-Men #42, where he fakes his own death. In actuality, this was the mutant Changeling and the real professor was hiding out in a secret location, warding off an alien invasion.
For two full years Xavier makes the X-Men believe he’s dead (except for Jean) before making a sudden reappearance in X-Men #65. Xavier shrugs off his supposed resurrection and gets right back to commanding the X-Men, not even giving the team time to deal with the emotional trauma caused by the death-and-return of their mentor. Talk about emotionally detached.
10 He Fell In Love With His Underage Student
The early days of the X-Men probably seem strange to modern readers. It was the '60s after all. However, one aspect of one of the first issues of Uncanny X-Men is super creepy no matter what decade you were born in, as it includes Professor Xavier lusting after Jean Grey.
Yes, it does happen, as a thought-bubble emanating from Xavier’s head in Uncanny X-Men #3 spells it out for readers. Professor X basically professes his love for Jean, his teenage student. The age difference and unfair power dynamic between the two make a romantic relationship impossible, something Xavier is aware of (fortunately) and he suppresses his desire.
Instead of dealing with his inappropriate attraction to his student, however, Xavier just locks it away in his mind. Years later, these negative emotions would manifest as the being known as Onslaught, a dark reflection of Professor Xavier. Onslaught would also tell Jean about Xavier’s infatuation, which make things more than a little awkward between the two.
Magneto, of course, is known for hitting on younger women, but at least they’re always above the age of consent.
9 He Enslaved A Living Being
As a character inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., you’d think Professor Xavier would have some major issues with the practice of slavery. That isn’t quite the case, however, as Professor Xavier is totally guilty of enslaving a sentient being.
When upgrading the Danger Room with Shi’ar technology, Professor X learns that the former training facility actually gained sentience. The Danger Room reaches out to Xavier, asking him “Where am I?”
Xavier realizes that the Danger Room has become alive, but also knows that he still needs a place to train his X-Men. Rather than grant freedom to a living being, Professor Xavier effectively enslaves the Danger Room, hiding the truth from everyone else.
The Danger Room would eventually break free from its shackles and (justifiably) try to exact its revenge on Xavier. When the truth gets out that Professor Xavier was a slave-owner, the X-Men are far from pleased.
8 He Mentally Manipulated Wolverine For His Own Gain
Wolverine is far from the poster child for good mental health. Dealing with memory loss and reprogramming from his time with Weapon X, Wolverine’s mind is fractured at best. Not that this would be enough to stop Professor X from doing some mental tinkering of his own.
Wolverine Origins #29 reveals that the Canadian mutant was originally sent to assassinate Professor Xavier. A telepath of the highest order, Xavier knew what Wolverine planned to do. In response, Xavier erases the command-to-kill from Wolverine’s mind, also adding in some mental suggestions to become a full-fledged member of the X-Men.
Why would Xavier want to keep someone who planned to kill him around? As Xavier bluntly says, it’s because he needs “a weapon.” Magneto may recruit some shady characters to his cause, but at least he lets them do it out of their own free will. Professor Xavier obviously doesn’t think that’s very important.
7 He Tried To Kill His Twin In The Womb
Calling someone deplorable since the time they were in their mother’s womb is a grand accusation. When talking about Professor Xavier, however, the statement would be fairly accurate. Professor Xavier basically murdered his twin sister while in the womb.
In all fairness, Charles was prompted to attack his twin sis because of the evil he sensed. Charles’s twin, later known as Cassandra Nova, is technically a “Mummudrai,” a parasitic-psychic entity that imprints its DNA onto a host.
This is what Cassandra did to Charles, and thus fetus-Xavier, knowing that his “sister” would grow up to be evil, decided to nip the problem in the bud. Charles kills Cassandra, and the body she forms from Xavier’s exited the womb as a stillborn.
Given that Cassandra Nova would eventually cause the deaths of millions of mutants (yes, she would survive her attempted murder), you can’t blame Charles for trying to off her. Still, it does go to show that, even from the womb, Charles Xavier was willing to cross some serious moral lines.
6 He (Regularly) Enlists Child Soldiers
Think about it-- the original X-Men were all teenagers, none of them are really “adults” (save Beast, perhaps) in any real way. From the beginning of the X-Men franchise, Professor Xavier is basically sending kids to fight his battles, never knowing if they’ll make it back alive or not.
Not that things get much better further into X-history. Kitty Pryde became a member of the X-Men at the age of 13. The original New Mutants are nothing more than a group of child soldiers made acceptable because they’re fighting for a “good cause.”
The list could go on, because having kids fight in life-threatening battles is par for the course with Xavier. At least Magneto made an effort to recruit consenting adults, at least for the most part.
5 He Tried To Control His Girlfriend's Mind
With a mind like Charles Xavier’s, one of the most powerful telepaths ever, it must be hard not to exert your will upon everyone who disagrees with you. Xavier could, theoretically, bend entire populations to do his bidding. Knowing this, image what he could do with a single person.
For most of his adult life, Professor Xavier is pretty good about not abusing his mutant gifts. Usually Xavier has some sort of justification for mind-wiping a crowd of onlookers or reading someone’s mind. Not always, however, and Amerlia Voght knows this all too well.
Meeting Charles in Tibet, Amelia helped the professor recover after losing the use of his legs. The couple returned to the United States and were happy... for a while. Politics eventually came up and Amelia (also a mutant) didn’t buy into Xavier’s dream of human-mutant coexistence.
During an argument, Amelia left in a huff, only to be stopped by Xavier, using his mental powers to halt Amelia’s storm-out. The violation was too much for Amelia and their relationship never recovered. It’s also yet another example of Xavier’s blatant misuse of his powers.
4 He's An Absentee Father
Professor X isn’t much of a father figure to his X-Men. The X-Men, however, should count their lucky stars that they’re not the biological children of Xavier, however, because true fatherhood isn’t a strong suit of the professor’s either.
David Haller, better known as Legion, is a testament to this fact. David was born in Israel, during a period when Charles was briefly involved with a Holocaust survivor named Gabrielle. The relationship didn’t last long, and Gabrielle actually kept David a secret from Xavier. As a mutant of immense power, David also suffered from mental issues. It wasn’t until David nearly killed a bunch of X-people on Muir Island that Xavier finally learned that David was his son.
Yet, afterwards, while Xavier makes some effort to keep tabs on David, he doesn’t take much of an active role in his child’s life. David stayed on Muir Island, was attacked by numerous villains, and was basically ignored by Xavier.
As an absentee fatherm Xavier seriously harmed David’s already-fractured mind, with David inadvertently causing the Age of Apocalypse to please the father he never got to know.
3 He Sent The Hulk Into Space
Never piss of the Hulk-- that’s basically a rule of the Marvel Universe. Yet, Professor X, and the entire Illuminati, did just that, with disastrous consequences.
After yet another event where the Hulk trashed a city, the Illuminati, a cabal of Marvel heroes wherein Professor X represented the mutant community, decided to take some action. The secret group decided to shoot the Hulk into space, stringing the behemoth on an uninhabited planet to live out his days.
However, that’s not quite what happened. Hulk landed on Skartaris and eventually became the planet’s saviour. Unfortunately, the ship that the Illuminati used to rocket the Hulk onto the planet caused the destruction of Skartaris. Needless to say, after being forcibly sent off of Earth, then having his new home annihilated all due to the actions of Professor X and his pals, the Hulk was pissed.
Hulk came back to Earth with a vengeance, leading to the World War Hulk crossover event. All that property damage and broken bones that ensued are all because Xavier, and the Illuminati, thought they knew what was best for everyone else. Classic Xavier.
2 He Practically Killed All The Major Marvel Heroes
Professor Xavier’s veneer of righteousness and sensibility hides a far darker personality. After Professor X inadvertently merged minds with his greatest friend and foe, Magneto, the evil aspects of his consciousness came to the forefront. After being repressed for years, the darkest parts of Professor X and Magneto’s mind formed to become the evil, sentient psionic entity known as Onslaught.
Using Professor X’s powers unrestrained, Onslaught was a world-threatening villain. The entire Marvel superhero community needed to respond to the threat Onslaught posed to the world. And, unfortunately, many didn’t make it.
To defeat Onslaught, Thor, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four sacrificed themselves, dying to save humanity. Xavier was technically removed from Onslaught at the time, but the super villain only existed because of the professor, so really, those deaths are on him.
Fortunately for Xavier, Franklin Richards created an alternate universe to house the fallen heroes, who eventually returned to the main Marvel Universe years later.
1 He Constantly Cheated In School
By the time Charles Xavier reaches adulthood, he seems to be notorious do-gooder. Always preaching to his students about the fair use of their extraordinary powers, you’d think that Professor X would have done exactly that all throughout his life. Good leaders lead by example, of course. This is not true of Professor X.
Back when he was a schoolboy, Xavier had no qualms with using his mutant gift to squash the competition. Being the smartest kid in class is easy when you can just read the minds of all of your teachers.
The same goes for being a sports star. As the quarterback, Xavier would just read the minds of the opposing team to learn their plays, and none of this even seemed to bother a young Charles Xavier. The future-professor only stopped his career in sports because it would be “too easy,” not due to any moral dilemma.
You’d think that a man who would later found an entire school would have a bit more respect for the school system.
What do you think? Is X-Men founder Professor X truly despicable? Can you forgive him of his many crimes? Let us know in the comment section.