The First Death of Professor X
That’s right, this is the death of Professor X. His very first death… of many, which means don’t worry too much. Seeing an issue promise the death of Professor X doesn’t carry the same weight that I’m sure it did back in 1968, and issue 42 is pretty quaint by today’s standards. Charles Xavier has died several times. Heck, he’s dead right now. What of it? Yet this issue must have been quite a shock back then, when Professor X was seemingly killed off permanently and without warning. At the hands of Grotesk? This seems like a high honor for such a boring monster.
The story picks up with Angel and Iceman arguing with Jean and the Professor. Charles still refuses to send the remaining members to assist Cyclops and Beast in their underground subway battle with Grotesk, and is being very mysterious as to why. Warren and Bobby accuse them of being traitors, trying to be as heroic as he can while he wears those ridiculous red suspenders. Of course it’s impossible to take anyone seriously when they’re dressed like Warren is, so they stand their ground. The group is as divided as its ever been.
Meanwhile, Cyclops and Beast are barely keeping themselves together as Grotesk gives them a beating. It is their luck that Grotesk ignores a chance to gain the upper hand, and instead flees to another purpose. He hears the machines starting up again, the really smart earthquake machine that some really smart scientist invented.
When the two X-Men return to the mansion, they are horrified to learn that Charles and Jean refused aid with no explanation. The Professor is gone and Marvel Girl has been tasked with keeping the team at the mansion. The four guys are ready to overtake Jean and go stop Grotesk on their own, when she is forced to use her telikinetic ability to freeze them in place. Then, as comical as it is abrupt, Charles reverses course and orders them all to come to him immediately.
Grotesk has reached the earthquake machine and starts thrashing the man controlling it. Surprise! That man is Charles Xavier in a rubber mask.
The team shows up and they do an excellent job of keeping this creature busy. Angel stole some “solar orbs” from Xavier’s lab and is putting them to good use. Just what kind of insane tech does Xavier have lying around? Did he never think of giving Angel some solar orbs, so that maybe he can be useful and not get his ass kicked all the time? He fights monsters on a regular basis, so it would make sense. From now on when the X-Men leave to fight monsters, Angel should take his balls with him. Solar orbs, whatever.
Grotesk somehow has set the earthquake machine to a setting that will destroy the planet, which is a feature that this machine would obviously have. Only Charles Xavier knows how to stop it, and he uses his mechanical leg braces to get to it. Marvel Girl watches with hope as Charles tries to shut down the machine.
Eventually the machine just explodes, and Grotesk appears to die in the wreckage. Charles is crushed under debris, and the team finds him mortally wounded.
And there you have it. Xavier’s last moment with his X-Men, before slipping off into that long good night. For all of time I’m sure.
Obviously the Professor will be back, but the question is when. These things can take months or even years to reconcile, but for all we know he could pop up in the next issue. Roy Thomas’ run as writer of X-Men is almost drawing to a close, and boy is he going out with a bang. It’s the least he could have done for all the piss poor monster-of-the-month garbage he threw at us. Up to this point, his biggest achievement was Factor Three, a surprise that managed to disappoint even after I’d lost all interest.
Again, this is some pretty huge resume material for such a forgettable monster as Grotesk. Professor Charles Xavier, mutant legend who has gone toe-to-toe with Magneto, Master Mold, and the Juggernaut lost his legs to wimpy Lucifer and his life to boring old Grotesk. This reminds me of Superman and Batman getting taken out by shitty Doomsday and Bane in the 90s. Remember that bullshit?