Marvel’s primary superteam, The Avengers, have battled the mutant X-Men in the company’s big 2012 event. The odds that this conflict ended without somebody dying weren’t good.
That somebody is Professor Charles Xavier, the mutant who founded the team. Professor X has had a diminished role in the X-titles recently, so his death isn’t really the shocking part. The culprit is what has message boards ablaze. The professor dies at the hands of longtime student Scott “Cyclops” Summers, possessed by a cosmic entity called the Phoenix Force. It’s the same being that often possessed Cyclops’ deceased lover, Jean Grey.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis told Newsarama this is a death “of biblical proportions,” and that it will drive much of the Marvel universe story from here. Two upcoming books, Uncanny Avengers and All New X-Men, deal heavily with the fallout from Prof. X’s death. The “All New X-Men” are actually the first class of X-Men, launched forward in time and shocked at the current Marvel status quo. That inaugural class includes Cyclops, who now knows that someday he’s going to murder his mentor.
Bendis used the term “biblical” to describe Prof. X’s passing. The biblical character comic book heroes identify with most is Lazarus, because they seldom stay dead. Captain America and the Human Torch are among the numerous Marvel heroes who have died in recent years, then gotten better.