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An Education: Who Was the X-Men's Best Teacher?

Which of the X-Men's many teachers was the most appropriate to shepherd mutantkind?

Everybody needs a little bit of guidance. Think back to all your years spent in school and filter through all the teachers you had growing up; I bet there is one teacher who, above all the rest, sticks out the most to you in your mind. We all have at least one--a teacher who inspired us to reach for our goals, or taught us that whatever we put our mind to, it’s possible with hard work and a little bit of faith. Most importantly though, that teacher is likely the person who helped guide your character. Maybe that teacher helped you develop your ethics, your morals, and the structure of many of your personal beliefs. That’s something I think we all have in common with the X-Men--at one point or another we all had a good teacher.

The most recent issue of Uncanny X-Force takes the X-Force team into the Age of Apocalypse; a world without Professor Charles Xavier to influence and lead them. It’s interesting to see how different the world is for the X-Men without the guidance of Charles Xavier--but does that make for a better world? Over the years, the X-Men have had many teachers, and each provided their own individual and unique school of thought and philosophy for each new class of young mutants. So, how do you gauge which of these teachers was the best?

== TEASER ==

Magneto was to the X-Men and the mutant race what Malcolm X was to the African American civil rights movement in the United States. This comparison isn’t at all a new concept, and is something the guys at Screened discuss in greater detail in a recent editorial. Eric’s philosphy on life and the mutant race being more powerful than humanity is something that evolved over time, and was due in part to bearing years of discrimination and ostracism. Eric suffered as both a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp for being Jewish during World War II Germany, and again for being a mutant. He taught his children and his students that mutants are the superior race; doing everything in his power to “advance his cause of mutant supremacy.” While Magneto has sometimes been depicted as cruel and closed minded- his greatest concern has generally been for the survival and success of his race. Magneto’s ideologies helped drive many of the X-Men’s major story arcs including Mutant Massacre, Secret Wars II and House of M.

Since she was first created by Len Wein in 1975, Storm has been a prominent figure of leadership for the X-Men. Not only was she one of the first major black comic characters, but she was also one of the first female characters at Marvel to hold a position of power. In a sense, Storm endured discrimination on more than one level, similar to Magneto; unlike Eric, however, Storm grew up and became more like Charles Xavier than anything. In Charles’ absence, Storm became the leader of the X-Men and lead them through major events like the Mutant Massacre and Inferno. Once Charles returned, he split leadership responsibilities between Ororo and Cyclops. More recently, Storm married T’Challa and became Queen of Wakanda- but she has since returned to the X-Men. No longer holding position of leadership, she continues to be regarded by her peers (with the exception of Emma Frost) as a wise counsel. Storm is often written as a maternal and compassionate character.

New Mutants #24

Founding Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters was one of the many things Charles Xavier accomplished during his tenure with the X-Men. Charles is often seen as the foundation for the X-Men- responsible for bringing them together. Professor Xavier has always stressed the importance of his ideology: to strive for a peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans, and that no race is more important than the other. Charles acted as both a teacher, struggling to help his students harness and control their powers, and protector; often taking in mutant children who suffered ostracization and discrimination; giving them a place where they no longer felt like outcasts. However, his peaceful nature was later perceived by members of the X-Men as passive, and his leadership abilities were considered sub par. While Xavier did protect many mutants by taking them in, he also often left them vulnerable when he sometimes withheld important information pertaining to their existence.

Once a member of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost has since reformed and joined the ranks of the X-Men. Following the death of Jean Grey, Emma was appointed co-headmistress of the Xavier Institute. However, long before that, Emma Frost had her own set of students, the Hellions, during her tenure with the Hellfire Club. The Hellions, who died under the tutelage of Frost, left a deep scar and she has since felt tremendous guilt over their deaths. Emma often utilizes her psychic abilities to help her students harness their powers to their utmost potential- linking Synch and Jubilee, for example, allowing Jubilee to reach her full potential in order to defeat the Phalanx.

These are, of course, only some of the X-Men’s more influential teachers, and there are several others (Cyclops and Beast, for example) who I haven’t mentioned here. Which X-Man do you feel is the most important and influential? Which mutant do you feel was the best X-Men teacher and why? Do you think Charles should have stepped down sooner? What would their world be like if another mutant had been there to teach?

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Posted by papad1992

Storm for the win!!!
Posted by Nic_tarik

interesting.. First!

Posted by Skaddix

Anybody but Frost. Her death rate is sky high. First the Hellions, then GenX, then the new x-men.

Posted by Feliciano2040

I don't know why people keep making the "Magneto = Malcolm X" comparison, people IT'S NOT THERE, Malcolm X didn't validate murder or reckless violence against others, specially when it was founded on a piss poor argument of "inherent superiority".

Posted by arcano_19

we all know is emma   is her passion

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Pure genius. You put it perfectly in saying Magneto was exactly like Malcolm X, and that's just how I feel about it too. I'd say then he was the most influential since, like Brother Malcolm, he encouraged pride in mutants, even if in the past it did lead to a bit of an extremist edge.  On the flip side of that though, I would contend that Professor X was the Martin Luther King of the two mutant ideologues.  Perhaps then its safe to say that the X-Men needed guidance from BOTH.

Posted by Man of Lengend

prof. X was my personal favorite but i would say cyclops is by a long shot the best leader of the mutant race

Posted by Whitley

Originally it was Professor X. Absolutely no doubt about it. These days though it is probably Kitty Pryde (when she can stay tangible). 
 
There was a reason that Cyclops brought Pryde back to teach way back in Astonishing X-Men. She is the girl next door, one of the rare mutants that actually was well adjusted before joining Xavier's school. She is from middle class roots making her very relateable to many newcomers (though not all). A lot of new mutants think that their power is lame, well Kitty has a nearly purely defensive power but through brains and hard work she has consistently shown that she has offensive capabilities as well. In the long term, (given what Cyclops is now, Storm being married and Jean Grey well---dead) she is probably the most likely to take over the leadership of teaching the next generation of mutants and being a defacto leader when Cyclops steps down/is killed. 
 
Posted by SpidermanWins

Besides Xavier Storm was their best leader because Scott is a jerk, Emma was a good leader is sort of hard to decipher and untrustworthy sometimes, and Magneto.... do I really have to explain him?

Posted by JonesDeini

Sigh...I wonder if any body who compares Magneto to Malcolm X has read his autobiography, his speeches, or has any knowledge whatsoever about the man outside of what they told you about him in that one sentence in your high school text book. I guess If he's X that would make the brotherhood the Black Panthers and Mystique Angela Davis and of course that makes Frenzy Assata Shakur and Exedous Huey P. Newton...:-/ 
 
And nothing against you personally, Babs. It's just that that glib little metaphor's been tap dancing on my nerves for most my life.  Good piece nonetheless.  

Posted by SC

Claremont. lol Really at this stage though, its easier to judge the consistency of the writers, characterization has been so broad at times with the characters. To me its also impossible to divorce the student from the teacher. Then there is awareness and choice. You really need greater awareness to have true choice and so Magneto was an important aspect of the lessons Xavier imparted. I'd have to, if pressed tend to think Xavier though. Just on sheer numbers and years as that role to so many mutants. 

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Posted by MrSeaman70

Storm's the winner :) She's well balance character-wise. 
 
Prof-X not really - As Onslaught pointing out to Jean Grey, Prof-X longs for a romantic relationship with some of his students. 
 
Magneto - Pushes his students very hard and to some degrees even killing them. 
 
Emma Frost - Her boobs cloud my judgement at the moment. I'll get back to you guys on that.
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus
@JonesDeini: You're absolutely right of course.  The extent to which Magneto would go was far more than what Malcolm would have done.  I think the comparison though is more philosophical in the sense that Magneto, at least from a violent point of view, tried to inspire pride in his own kind, just as Brother Malcolm did for African-Americans.  Of course Malcolm didn't advocate violence whereas Magneto did.  I guess its just all too easy for people to try and then liken the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to the Nation of Islam and that's where the comparisons come.  
Posted by Emperormeister734

I go with Storm and Wolverine they make a combo of tough love

Posted by SC
@JonesDeini:  Remember, that become the active intent of the writers, to present Magneto that way, albeit a more extreme version because thats sorta what comics does (Magneto/Malcolm X), because a lot of writers like CC, didn't want a stock standard villain, to hero dynamic, and so most of Magnetos worst, horrific, and most hypocritical acts, come under other writers. CC if anything was pushing the Magneto character more to the center. (plus ironically the intent of what was wanted with Magneto, much like the real Malcolm X, has become subverted by other writers/real life presentation) 
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Posted by fbdarkangel

if anyone says Cyclops I'll smack you!

Posted by Transmetal

Sorm is the rightful heir to that school, She should be the headmistress. Cyclops is starting to fall Magneto's path and honeslty has become an uncaring a**. I doubt Jean would like him anymore. Frost is to cold and cannot realize the people around her matter. She may have done the mutants good recently, but she will always look out for herself first. besides them Magneto seems to have mellowed out enough to be a good source for the students. An example of what not to do. Beast is another obvious teacher with his great intelligence, personality, and general attitude. Maybe Deadpool could sub one day...yeah right
Posted by goldenkey
@fbdarkangel
haha that's funny.  I'd go with Wolverine before Cyclops
Posted by johnnie619

pro x then cyclops and wolverine
Posted by Namor1987

Wolverine he's like the old stubborn tough love gym teacher with a shady background plus he's trained nearly the majority of mutants in hand-to-hand combat in the Institute.
Posted by Roninidas

Emma Frost.  Hot Teachers always receive 100% Full Attention.  It is just the way of the world.
Posted by Squares

Good question. Magneto spent a lot of his face time during his reformation period back in the 80s trying to convince people he wasn't evil, so we didn't really get to see him do all that much teaching, especially with the New Mutants. And I found Xavier to be a bit unconvincing as a teacher, so he's not my pick. Beast seemed to make a pretty meaningful connection to some of his students, like Beak, so I think he's probably my favourite teacher.

Posted by darkcloakx

i vote for emma frost she best the teacher to me. then storm  is 2nd place

Posted by riri4life

Storm FTW! Aside from being made of awsomeness, she has always displayed the most common sense and humanity out of all these "teachers". 

Edited by JonesDeini
@SC said:

@JonesDeini:  Remember, that become the active intent of the writers, to present Magneto that way, albeit a more extreme version because thats sorta what comics does (Magneto/Malcolm X), because a lot of writers like CC, didn't want a stock standard villain, to hero dynamic, and so most of Magnetos worst, horrific, and most hypocritical acts, come under other writers. CC if anything was pushing the Magneto character more to the center. (plus ironically the intent of what was wanted with Magneto, much like the real Malcolm X, has become subverted by other writers/real life presentation) 

True, indeed it has become their thing. Sigh too bad nobody figured out how to do it nearly as good as Claremont. Nearly every other writer who wanted to do the Martin/Malcolm dichotomy has resorted to making Erik/Chuck into hollow, exaggerated caricatures of both men.   
 
@RedheadedAtrocitus
said:

@JonesDeini: You're absolutely right of course.  The extent to which Magneto would go was far more than what Malcolm would have done.  I think the comparison though is more philosophical in the sense that Magneto, at least from a violent point of view, tried to inspire pride in his own kind, just as Brother Malcolm did for African-Americans.  Of course Malcolm didn't advocate violence whereas Magneto did.  I guess its just all too easy for people to try and then liken the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to the Nation of Islam and that's where the comparisons come.  

Bingo. Magneto's willing to shed the blood of his people to meet his political ends. Malcolm would've never advocated such actions.  
 
As far as best teachers go. I'd say Rogue/Storm. 
Posted by TheWhiteKing

Emma  Frost, no doubt about. 
 
Sure she has mad some mistakes (some bigger than others), but in the end she is one of the most powerful, and intelligent mutants around.
Posted by Fantasgasmic

Beast! who else can teach molecular biology AND gym at the same time?

Online
Edited by dorsk188
@Feliciano2040 said:

I don't know why people keep making the "Magneto = Malcolm X" comparison, people IT'S NOT THERE, Malcolm X didn't validate murder or reckless violence against others, specially when it was founded on a piss poor argument of "inherent superiority".

I agree, in part.  You could certainly model Magneto as Malcolm X to Charles' MLK in an adaptation (and make a compelling story out of it) but he only acts that way some of the time in the comics, arguably like his attempts to found Genosha or side with destructive mutants against the authorities.  I think this caricature is due to the demonization of X after his death and the nigh canonization of MLK which makes people see the two in black and white terms.  
 
On point, I'd nominate Nightcrawler's theater class for the best in the Institute's curriculum.  Worst?  Iceman's accounting class.  Bo-o-o-o-oring.
Posted by ImperiousRix

I've always felt that Storm was the best teacher at the Xavier Institute.  She not only has the "in the field" experience and control over her powers to be a good mentor to the students, but she also has a lot of compassion and seems to relate to them the best. 
Storm for mutant teacher of the year award...

Posted by AgeofHurricane

Storm.

Posted by TheRyanHimself

I don't know why, but I think Scott is the best. I am really basing this on gut instinct. When he's in charge, as a reader, I feel more comfortable with everything. I believe he'll make the right choices, and even if he makes mistakes, they'll be made for the right reasons.

Posted by jerfro23

i say charles was best so was storm but each there own way was good metor to theres student though mageneto and ema did go over bord on how to teacth there students own how use there powers or make fell more dominat than another race

Posted by A Boy Named Art

My vote goes to Sue Sylvester. Those kids have the mutant power of SONG!

Posted by Nerd Of A Hero
@Emperormeister734
You mean like in X-Men 3 LOL
Posted by daak1212

Magneto

Posted by EdwardWindsor

Xavier or Wolverine since both where more than teachers they where mentors to the ones they trained. They had more important relationships with their students as a result of the added emotinal investment they had with them. Case and point Charles with original xmen (Scott and jean especially) and Logans with Kitty and Jubilee.

Posted by Rogan2112

Professor X...not even sure why this is a debate, honestly. 
 
As far as the Cyclops I'll smack you...he's THE field leader (Have to admit, Storm is his equal, they just have different strengths). But teacher...um..no.
Posted by SuperXAsh

Pre-2000's Xavier hands down as the best teacher. He was the guiding force for like... YEARS.
 

Posted by Aero_gt

Emma for the teaching and Scott for the leading. No brainer.

Posted by Rogan2112

Okay...of COURSE Magneto and Professor X aren't Malcom X and MLK.  I'd say it's fair that SOME writers have based some of their archtypical behaviors and ideologies on these two ACTUAL men who would probably make pretty boring mutant super hero/villian comic book characters.  I think that in GENERAL the dynamic holds up, but AGAIN, only in an achtypical, hyper dramatized setting where people run around in spandex, hang out with Norse Gods (who appear in cool movies) and what not.  What Malcom X's WHOLE deal, holding up M-16s and bellowing "By any means neccessary? "  read Alex Haley's book.  Of course it wasnt?  Did you know that MLK's FIRST response to some of the violence directed against him was to pull his pistol out of his bedroom, but was talked out of it by cooler heads?  Point is...THEY weren't stereotypes...they were REAL MEN.....Magneto and Professor X aren't...no matter how much some of us geeks might wish otherwise ;)
Posted by GREGalicious

I would choose STORM as the best teacher, followed by THE PROFESSOR. Storm has always been very kind yet assertive in everything she does.

Xavier wouldve been #1 but that DEADLY GENESIS/hidden X-MEN stuff kinda put a sour taste in my mouth w/ him, MAGNETO likes WAR way too much, and EMMA's students tend to end up DEAD so she's not even in the running.

Posted by Ristar_

Storm probably.

Posted by TheRealJeanGrey

In a perfect world I think it should've been Jean. She's not as coddling as Storm (love her tho). Not as severe as Wolverine but more severe than the Prof. Not as cold as Emma and willing to see students as people more than just weapons unlike Scott.
Posted by charlieboy

wolverine is probably the best after the prof. he helped kitty and jubillee develop into who they are. and he seems to be doing the same for armor.
Posted by RedHood_DCU

Id say Storm and then Scott, then Prof. X. 
All great is certain areas and diffrent areas.

Posted by ArtJoker

Dude! Xorn! He taught the special class that while they didn't have visibly worthwhile powers, they were still just as important. also he took them backpacking as well. most chill teacher ever! he even let them run around NY when he put his Magneto face on.

Posted by xerox_kitty

I'm glad that Emma is included in the Article. After all, there wouldn't be a school any more if it weren't for her (not that they've been actually teaching much in the last few years).

Magneto was a terrible teacher. He increased Cypher's feeling of worthlesness, helped drive Sunspot to run away from the school, was easily swayed by Empath into handing the New Mutants over to Emma Frost. He put them under a permanent lock down that repeatedly drove them away, and ultimately saw them as his soldiers for the future... His own students rejected him.

Cyclops, Wolverine & Storm have never really been teachers. They've been leaders of the X-Men. I don't equate being an X-Man to being a teacher.

All in all, Professor X was the best teacher that they ever had to offer. He was more patient and gave his students the space & time they needed when integrating them into their new lives as mutants. His students have a better mortality rate than Emma Frost too.

Moderator
Posted by Mercy_
@ArtJoker said:
Dude! Xorn! He taught the special class that while they didn't have visibly worthwhile powers, they were still just as important. also he took them backpacking as well. most chill teacher ever! he even let them run around NY when he put his Magneto face on.
LMFAO! Best post of the last 24 hours. 
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Posted by AlKusanagi

I loved when Magneto was the headmaster of the school and in charge of the New Mutants. That was pretty much the first time he tried being a good guy.

Posted by Eyz

I actually liked Magneto in charge :/

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