Xavier and Magneto: A Cause For Concern?

Posted by SC (13108 posts) - - Show Bio

Hi, I am SC, you may remember me from such blogs as I Suspect My Dad Is Mystique, Greg Land: Modern Day Andy Warhol, or Just Some Guy Who Traces From Porn? As well as How To Make Stuff Up and Sound Completely Fake When Doing It.  
   
I tend to rant too, so if you get bored easy, maybe stop reading now and return to page index. lol

Anyway today I wanted to blog about something a bit less series. Discuss something that may cover a broad range of subjects, but hold Xavier and Magneto, the two X-Men characters at its center and as the cohesive bond holding the thread together, and I would also like your opinion if possible on principles, and worthy causes. Specifically the way comics presents a character's causes and generally other principles, motivations, movements, and the more generalized the better. Meaning their methods and goals relating to race, gender, wealth and all that oh so simple topics.  
 
I always personally believed and maintain that one of the primary reasons that the X-Men achieved such popularity and held such poignancy in its stories is because of the Xavier/Magneto dynamic set up in its pages and the philosophies both characters held and instilled into their patrons (or students as Xavier refers to them as alternatively acolytes for Magneto) and to touch on the dynamic, its generally to perceive that we have humans over here on one side, and mutants over here on the other side, or really, we have the majority over here on one side, and over here we have a minority. So again, you think minority you may think a bunch of different things than the next poster might or might not, you might be considered a minority in a few different ways, you may not, and of course no doubt with many of you, you might realize that a word that often walks hand in hand with the word minority is the word discrimination. The extent of this discrimination can vary from the mundane and inconsequential, to the very extreme, and global.  
 
Back to Magneto and Xavier, we have these two characters who are in a minority group, both who realize that discrimination and prejudice are going to present a bunch of hurdles for them individually and others like them, just like it has for anything thats ever been different. Neither character is passive with their cause, but we are presented with Magneto, who is very aggressive and then we have Xavier, who by comparison is more of a pacifist, and from that extends the X-Men, and as heroes in a fictional universe it works out pretty well for them. Their stance is particularly justified, but Magneto is kept fairly captivating as a villain or an antagonist by way of us realizing that he isn't pure evil and out to steal a princess so that he can hide in his castle, transform her and build her into an über weapon that will kill all life as we know it. He has simply adopted a very aggressive stance and methodology that is usually flawed and hypocritical but has reasoning behind it. Then other characters are introduced that somewhat justify Magneto, third party characters, like the various humans who do try and kill mutants. Magneto's methodologies and ethics having enough reason behind it, so much so to the extent that even in recent times, X-Men have crossed over into the lets just kill them before they kill us, and for trying to kill us, and for killing us, game. Somewhere out there the Punisher just smiled, and then ripped off a guys ear off.  
 
Still, lately I have seen opinions from posters and even comments from actual writers talking about Magneto and Xavier and their relevancy and both Xavier and Magneto have changed and developed as characters of course too. Still I have a belief that their initial interactions, differences and similarities and what each other's defined causes were a potent driving force behind the drama behind so many X-Men stories. Their actual presence was never needed with all of the stories as well. You don't need an extreme example to question a character or even yourself when it comes to contemplating whether you are doing enough for your cause. Are you too passive? Are you lacking in intelligence, or knowledge, or wisdom, in pursuit of carrying and upholding your particular cause or causes? Numbers? Support? The direct opposite of those things can be good, but they can also be bad, Magneto is often characterized as cocky, ego driven, stubborn, and as someone that uses people, gathers support, he is charismatic after all too, but he often abuses his followers (I think he killed Senyaka twice alone) and as the argument goes, he ends up usually directly hurting his cause much more than helping.  
 
Another important subject I wanted to incorporate into this blog, is actually having a cause. Do you have a worthy cause in real life? Do you appreciate when certain causes, and characters with particular generalized and worthy causes factor into your comics, or are you more inclined to appreciate something more neutral? Something I personally find really, really odd sometimes, with people and posters opinions, they seem skeptical or even reject a person based on that person not actually identifying as a direct member of the minority the overall cause my be looking to benefit. I have even seen people deny the possibility that Storm is a gay icon, on the basis that Storm is not gay herself. Strange to me. Most of my favorite female characters are women, I am neither African America or Asian, but I have a high appreciation for racial and ethnic diversity and having visible representations of African America and Asian and etc more characters on panel. You don't have to be gay to like and support gay characters and themes or attribute attractiveness to a male character lol, you don't need to be a female, to prefer Wonder Woman over Superman, find a female characters dress sense lacking doesn't make you a feminist either necessarily. This similar line of thought could continue and apply to a lot of examples so I'll stop. 
 
Back to Xavier and Magneto, actually I always felt that X-Books somewhat lacked non mutant characters. No super powered beings, just lacked more characters like Moira MacTaggert, Gabrielle Haller, Stevie Hunter, etc, I mean, they had a few as I just pointed out, but still. After all most of the pro mutant supporters in real life are humans. lol Oh and of course a few of the characters in the current X-Club are human, I like that, its nice.  
 
I now return to Magneto and Xavier once more. The context this time, is that we have established you don't need to be the thing you fight for, and I know many people on this site, endorse are inspired, and motivated and hold causes in all sorts of real ways and fictional. Our entertainment. Some are mundane or trivial, others a lot more important, these things are up to our discretion. I am curious how others, if others place a similar Magneto/Xavier dynamic with their own causes. Am I being to passive? Am I doing enough? Am I too aggressive, am I hurting my cause? I do this myself, in comics and real life. In comics I am pro female characters and creators, pro diversity, pro creator, pro indie books, pro ethnic and racial diversity and I could go on... but I like to question myself often, in a way I like to think that with comics, its practice for real life, and a similar Magneto/Xavier dynamic with real life issues. Which is why of course I think it was so potent in the first place. Ideally in real life we want answers to bigotry and racism but we probably see anything actually answered as in solved for a while yet. Coincidentally this is one of the reasons i think current X-Books lack a little. Not enough ambiguity, and choice. Its all last option, we have no choice and this and that is necessary yadda yadda... I'll save that for another blog.  
 
Anyway, causes in comics? Do you disagree with my fascination with Xavier and Magneto? We know at times they were modeled after Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, do you think in real life you have the perfect mix of passiveness and aggressiveness with any worthy causes you take up? Do you think comics does a good job of creating accurate and realistic characters who take up causes themselves? Did my post make any sense at all or did it seem like a way to just make fun of Greg Land?  Do you have causes, do you think Magneto and Xavier are overrated? Who do you think could be other characters that could step up to exemplify this conflict of trying to achieve your goals, aggressively, at any cost, or a bit more passively, with certain lines on actions drawn. Appreciate any one who read all the way to the end. ^_^

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#1 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that Xavier and Magneto are quite an interesting subject and I think that they will be spotlighted more in the near future, with both the end of Cyclops's I am a bada*s routine meaning that Xavier is probably returning as well as the fact the X-Men: First Class is going to bring popularity to the rivalry between the two.   
What I think we disagree (I'm not sure where your stance is), is that Magneto and Xavier do not need to go back to their old rivalry. I believe they have evolved and Magneto is becoming more passive while Xavier is becoming more aggressive. I see them meeting not at mid way, but more at Xavier's side. They do not need to completely disagree with each other, but I think that the time for their debate haas come to an end with Decimation and M Day. What writers should be focussing on is Wolverine and Cyclops's rivalry and that in many ways they are similar to Xavier and Magneto: Friends who believe in the same thing, but in the end thinking that their way is right.

#2 Posted by SC (13108 posts) - - Show Bio
@ReVamp said:
" I think that Xavier and Magneto are quite an interesting subject and I think that they will be spotlighted more in the near future, with both the end of Cyclops's I am a bada*s routine meaning that Xavier is probably returning as well as the fact the X-Men: First Class is going to bring popularity to the rivalry between the two.   
What I think we disagree (I'm not sure where your stance is), is that Magneto and Xavier do not need to go back to their old rivalry. I believe they have evolved and Magneto is becoming more passive while Xavier is becoming more aggressive. I see them meeting not at mid way, but more at Xavier's side. They do not need to completely disagree with each other, but I think that the time for their debate haas come to an end with Decimation and M Day. What writers should be focussing on is Wolverine and Cyclops's rivalry and that in many ways they are similar to Xavier and Magneto: Friends who believe in the same thing, but in the end thinking that their way is right. "
 
We don't disagree, my stance is that Magneto and Xavier do not need to return to the past, its that the past was important and its worth asking why. Then taking those reasons and seeing how they apply today.  
 
I would personally prefer Magneto and Xavier entering politics as a team, using their charisma and intelligence and the gift of the gab to pave way new roads for mutant/human relations though that particular arena.  
 
Thank you for sharing your views! ^_^
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#3 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, so we agree.  
Also the 11-year old in me wants to point something out for giggles. 
 

"I have even seen people deny the possibility that Storm is a gay icon, on the basis that Storm is not gay herself. Strange to me. Most of my favorite female characters are women, I am neither African America or Asian, but I have a high appreciation for racial and ethnic diversity and having visible representations of African America and Asian and etc more characters on panel.      "
 
I also really like the way that both these men compare to Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr., I think that we can see from both these scenarios that pacifism is the best way to acomplish the goal but agressivity is needed for this to be done. One cannot make it without the other. Ying and Yang.

#4 Posted by SC (13108 posts) - - Show Bio
@ReVamp said:
" Yeah, so we agree.  
Also the 11-year old in me wants to point something out for giggles. 
 

"I have even seen people deny the possibility that Storm is a gay icon, on the basis that Storm is not gay herself. Strange to me. Most of my favorite female characters are women, I am neither African America or Asian, but I have a high appreciation for racial and ethnic diversity and having visible representations of African America and Asian and etc more characters on panel.      "
 
I also really like the way that both these men compare to Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr., I think that we can see from both these scenarios that pacifism is the best way to acomplish the goal but agressivity is needed for this to be done. One cannot make it without the other. Ying and Yang.

"
   
I think we agree yes. 
 
No I was being serious, in many cultures, men are considered female too, or something other than male. Female gender and of the female sex aren't always the same thing. Most of my favorite female characters are women. (lol earlier today i did make a post about how Hulk crushed Thong in World War Hulk though... *sigh* lol)
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#5 Posted by RazzaTazz (9638 posts) - - Show Bio

The question of causes is an interesting one and one fundamental to most people living in any part of the civilized world (that is to say the whole world).  What do we stand for and how do we achieve it?  Is it OK to achieve our goal at any cost?  Where do our own ethics begin to play a role.  After all Magneto is in many ways just a mirror image of Xavier, they both want what is best for mutants, and both have at least some apprehension towards humans.   
 
When you consider your cause, there is also the issue of a legacy.  For instance MLK had his historic "I have a dream speech" but then on its anniversary this last year, the nearly brain dead Glenn Beck has his own rally on the same day.  Was Beck's cause as important as the Doctor's?  Of course not but his name was attached to it by proxy.  Legacies can be a tricky thing and they can be used against us long after we are gone.  Will future mutants long after the passing of the two mutant leaders be acting in their names in ways that the two never imagined?  Well if it was the real world then for sure yes.  

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#6 Posted by Mr.Q (1050 posts) - - Show Bio
where there is light there is inevitably shadow. the contrast between Charles and Eric has always fascinated me. the best of friends make the best of enemies. and the thing that made Magneto such an amazing "villain" was his cause and purpose. it's hard to hate the villain when you agree with him. I agree that every hero needs a cause but some times the hero outshines the cause, Batman and Superman do this a lot. I don't really like how they are treated almost like religious figures and the cause 'serve, protect, do what's right' is put on the back burner to make room for the 'legend of the Dark Knight' or the legacy of the 'last son of Krypton' ignoring why they started doing this in the first place. but on an unrelated note, I never heard anyone ever imply Storm being a gay icon. when did that start? but more to the point I agree with Xavier's and Magneto's fearful symmetry.  
#7 Posted by oldgum (326 posts) - - Show Bio

In the deepest of their hearts, they are the same. Magneto grew up in a more tragedy live, he had being through concentration camp,  poverty things and experience the apathy, hatred... every darkness of society. While Xavier lived a live of the upper class, his only and greatest trouble come from Cain Marko and he learned to solve problems in peaceful ways--to endure for greater good. Lower class people can not solve through endure, they have to fight for their rights. This lead to Magneto's aggressive  attitude and Xavier's far peaceful characteristics. 

#8 Posted by doddy (251 posts) - - Show Bio
@oldgum said:

" In the deepest of their hearts, they are the same. Magneto grew up in a more tragedy live, he had being through concentration camp,  poverty things and experience the apathy, hatred... every darkness of society. While Xavier lived a live of the upper class, his only and greatest trouble come from Cain Marko and he learned to solve problems in peaceful ways--to endure for greater good. Lower class people can not solve through endure, they have to fight for their rights. This lead to Magneto's aggressive  attitude and Xavier's far peaceful characteristics.  "

 

meh…i don’t think so. some people get attracted to those who are similar to them in their values, beliefs, background and interests, and some people become close friends because they just like apples and oranges. magneto had been sent to auschwitz, he’d experienced unimaginable pain and suffering that professor had never experienced. they’ve done totally different things using their completely different ways, which were by their own choice. That’s a huge difference.

@ReVamp said:

"  What writers should be focussing on is Wolverine and Cyclops's rivalry and that in many ways they are similar to Xavier and Magneto: Friends who believe in the same thing, but in the end thinking that their way is right. "

haha, that's a great idea!  scott has drifted away from professor's philosophy, but logan set up uncanny x-force behind soctt's back. i think writers should be focussing on scott and storm's rivalry, lol
#9 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio
@doddy:
I disagree. I still agree with my original statement. What I want to bring up is that neither Scott or Wolverine have to follow Proffesor X's philosphy, hell, he doesn't either. What I mean is that their friendship is similar to Magneto and Professor X's relationship, with them being friends with different ideologies. Logan supports killing, but has a much more brotherhoodly attitue with his friends (not in X-Force, but y'know what I mean), while Cyclops is all about the we don't kill, but has a strict, milatiristic approach. This might have changed since I haven't read anything since Second Coming.
#10 Posted by doddy (251 posts) - - Show Bio
@ReVamp:  i think i misinterpreted, sorry. but scott had no choice, maybe that's the price he pay as a mutant leader facing the danger of mutantkind extinction.
#11 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio
@doddy said:
" @ReVamp:  i think i misinterpreted, sorry. but scott had no choice, maybe that's the price he pay as a mutant leader facing the danger of mutantkind extinction. "

I've heard that way too much. You have a point, as the leader of mutant kind, Scott did have a reason for being so cold and distancing himself from the others. But he did this too much and it wasn't justified, Scott doesn't have to act like a dick everytime he is on panel.
#12 Posted by A_O_N (352 posts) - - Show Bio

Very nice thoughtful and thought provoking blog!

Much like you said, Magneto and Xavier are two sides of the same coin and they have one of the best rivalry in comics others being Iron Man and Captain America, and Superman and Batman. Although being good buddies, it is their different experiences that causes a rift in their ideologies. Magneto having seen the horrors of humanity pursues an aggressive stance. I would argue that Xavier is definitely passive and not just passive in light of Magneto's ideology. He has the power to change people's perception of mutants, at least he could have used his powers on members of the anti-mutant campaign. Xavier is portrayed almost as a Jesus type figure, believing that humanity will surpass their current predicament and a heavenly dream will become reality where mutants and humans can live together in peace.
Furthermore, I don't understand why Magneto is supposed to be based off of Malcolm X. I don't see a strong connection but a minor similarity between the two where they both don't condone violence. Even Martin Luther King, in one of his last speeches said something along the lines that violence may be necessary. But no one ever remembers King for saying that; it's not what gets remembered and celebrated. Malcolm X on the other hand, is given the complete other end of the spectrum almost making these two figures as comic book arch-rivals. However, in reality they would have had a lot in common.
I like how both Magneto and Xavier have evolved and have gotten closer on the political spectrum. Mutants certainly follow precedents set by these two though they don't openly acknowledge them. Also, I agree that both Xavier and Magneto are a testament to why the X-men are popular. It gives the characters a setting, and doesn't make the X-men feel outdated because they have a connection to relevant issues like discrimination which let's face it will always be around unless we become a Utopia.
P.S. Mocking Greg Land was of course funny and you know got me interested to read. You should wrote more awesome blogs!

#13 Posted by Edgeworth_11 (4656 posts) - - Show Bio


I love these caharcters! Among my favs so you know I am excited like a school girl at a Ricky Martin concert to watch X-men First Class.

 

I do hope to see more of them in upcoming stories. I like how they have developed. They dont need to go back to their old ways, but something dynamic, that could have some consequences.

 

I am starting to catch up to the recent plots, but what exactly is Xavier's role these days?

#14 Posted by SC (13108 posts) - - Show Bio

Thank you everyone for posting! Some great views, i have appreciated reading though quietly! 



@Edgeworth_11 said:
"I am starting to catch up to the recent plots, but what exactly is Xavier's role these days?"

Professor X has taken a bit of a backseat in the X-Books of recent times. He did play quite an important part of the Age of X storyline, which is a bit hard to explain and get into! In fact funnily enough in the last couple of weeks barring Age of X, Xavier has shown up more in Avengers, however I see Xavier is on the cover for the Prelude to Schism. Schism will be like the upcoming big X-Event, and its been heavily suggested that Xavier will be a key character. So his role is still undefined other than sort of standing around in the background making inappropriate hand gestures at the camera when it scales past him. 
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#15 Posted by Edgeworth_11 (4656 posts) - - Show Bio

@SC:
Thanks. I did actually read Age of X (loved it) and Prelude to Schism. I need to read Second Coming though.

What is he doing in Avengers?

#16 Posted by SC (13108 posts) - - Show Bio
@Edgeworth_11:  His role in Second Coming was pretty small, so hopefully your expectations aren't too high. 

In Avengers they have been covering some more of the Illuminati storyline, of which Xavier is a member. I put a link to the general team makeup. Its fairl average stuff. Its by Brian Michael Bendis as well, just in case if you are a fan, or not a fan of his. 
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#17 Posted by Edgeworth_11 (4656 posts) - - Show Bio


Yes I am aware of Illuminati. Awesome. Thanks for your help.

 

Just out of curiousity, with ten adjectives, describe past Xavier while he was leader,  and current one.

#18 Posted by thehummingbird (3380 posts) - - Show Bio

You wrote this on my B-day =D 

#19 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio

I realize you wrote this four months ago, but do you think that Schism sort of provides the opportunity for exactly what you're suggesting?  Two mutants fighting racism having opposing points of view (passive vs. aggressive) that could step up and exemplify the type of relationship/tension that Xavier and Magneto had....   Wolverine (aggressive) and Cyclops (passive.)  We already know they're going to be split apart and end up fighting each other in Schism....  This could be the beginning of EXACTLY what you're suggesting... Perhaps, Marvel read your blog....

#20 Posted by Kallarkz (3303 posts) - - Show Bio

was clicking around and I found this. 
A very nice read. Especially the last few paragraphs. 
"You don't have to be female to prefer Superman over Wonder Woman". 
Something that more people should think about...not that literal phrase but more if they don't let themselves likes certain things because of labels like fay/lesbian or Asian or Native American. 
 
Take care

#21 Posted by Raiiyn (3523 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome =)

Causes are great **thinks about checking app on facebook called causes** No, but seriously, seeing characters take a belief or cause and put themselves into that cause, wholly and completely, is one of my favourite things about comics, especially the x-men<3

And Magneto and Xavier.. I always thought their relationship was refreshing. Two completely opposite ideals of how to deal with the same issue.. and the way their relationship has played out of the years is one of the reasons I stuck with the x-books for so long. They both felt/feel so strongly for their different beliefs... I think that passion is one of the things I enjoyed most about the earlier books =)

Great blog.

#22 Edited by lykopis (10746 posts) - - Show Bio

Re-reading this blog just makes me sigh for what was.

The dynamic between Xavier and Magneto was so compelling, really grabbed at me as a young kid reading the X-Men. The nostalgia I am feeling is bitter-sweet. It's a whole new X-World now.

And this blog is stellar.

#23 Posted by SC (13108 posts) - - Show Bio
@thehummingbird said: 
You wrote this on my B-day =D 
 
Totally done on purpose of course. Come back to CV you.
 
@Raiiyn: Thank you! One of the reasons I liked X-Men First Class so much was because of how they depicted Xavier and Magneto, and got across the latter especially passion.  
  
@Kallarkz: Thank you Kallarkz, I like how you apply what I wrote in a more broader context. Great point and examples! 
 
@lykopis:  Thank you for reading and the kind words, much appreciated. **smiles**
 
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#24 Posted by Raiiyn (3523 posts) - - Show Bio

@SC: OHH ME TOO! The chemistry on screen was absolutely outstanding... Really made the movie for me =)

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