I liked this. Less kaboom and splatter and a more ponderous character introspection.

After comicbook death #gajillion, Xavier is resurrected. This would be annoying if it wasn’t actually used to look at a character which has dominated the series and shaped the X-Men universe. It feels like Carey is turning the character over and over in his hands and asking himself what it is.

The big contradiction of Xavier’s character is he preaches peace while training an armed militia. He stresses that he should never use his power to bend people to his own will, yet he takes impressionable and vulnerable youth and indoctrinates them in what is essentially a military academy. For a man who talks about freedom and peace, he sure has molded a lot of people into weapons.

As Xavier 2.0 is stitched back together from the ruined meat of his brain and what memories Exodus allows him, you see a man who is unsure if his life’s work was right or even worthwhile. Magneto comes to speak to him, perhaps to watch him die, perhaps to save him, perhaps because at the last he is simply his friend. Their conversation draws him back from the brink. As Xavier relives the memory of everyone he ever sent to their death, everyone who died because of his inaction and mercy towards the merciless, it seems his life’s struggle has been one of folly and inadequacy. When he emerges from his psi-coma state and speaks directly to Eric, it is not to debate if peace is something only the victors can make or if peaceful co-existence is something which can only occur if you give up the drive for the upper hand. Instead he says to Eric, “We became irrelevant. The future walked around us.”

In terms of the x-Universe, this is important as the stories grow to reflect a post-ideological world but also important for the character. For this to be where he ends up after all the fighting, all the loss, all the sacrifice, not in bitter defeated or messianic implacability, but a quiet acknowledgement that for all his accomplishments and failures, he was one man, and history is larger than any one man.

It makes the new Xavier interesting, less sure of himself, but also less rigid in his morality. He no longer seems to feel the burden of being the figurehead of a way of life, an ideology of peaceful co-existence which he had to embody in every facet of his life. He seems freed by the knowledge that he is one man among a universe of souls. He may wish to regain memory of himself but he has no wish to become himself once more.

Liked this. Good book.