After last month's cliffhanger, Marvel fans are finally treated to some explanations about the return of a long-dead X-Men.
Charles Xavier is back… but is he the same mutant that we once knew? Well, physically; no. Mentally; the jury is still out.
In Astonishing X-Men #7 by Phil Noto, Charles Soule, and Clayton Cowles, the man known as Professor X returned from the Astral Plane, replacing Fantomex in his own body and taking on the new moniker X.
And though X appears physically younger, he should be the same person. But he's not. He seems cockier. More arrogant. More… James McAvoy-ish.
After defeating the Shadow King with the help of the X-Men in issue #6, X turns his attentions to providing his former students with gifts as a means of thanking them. But he also has to deal with the British government trying to drop bombs on its own citizens, as well as the reason for those bombs — a psychic plague unleashed on the streets of London.
First X disables the planes by giving Warren Worthington full control over the Archangel body. Then he puts everyone in the war room to sleep, preventing them from sending any more planes from taking to the sky.
And then he starts eliminating the plague from London's citizens, zapping it from their brains and collecting the psychic remnants in a giant green orb floating over the city.
But while the original Xavier was calculated, resolute, and careful, this one's arrogance gets the better of him. X believes he can simply disperse the plague and get rid of it, but as Bishop's talking encyclopedia of future events informs him, he's only made things worse.
Instead, the orb explodes and reveals the latest issue's cliffhanger — the return of the villain Proteus, one of the X-Men's most powerful foes.
It remains to be seen exactly how this X differs from the Xavier we all know and love. It might just be a case of youthful exuberance. But his dialogue in this issue teases that there's a lot more to the story that will likely be revealed. Given how much time he spent with the Shadow King in the Astral Plane, is it possible that the X-Men foe rubbed off on Xavier?
Astonishing X-Men #7 is on sale now.