Monday, October 24, 2016

HERO OF THE WEEK: PROFESSOR X (Marvel)
Real Name: Prof. Charles Xavier
First Appearance: X-Men #1 (September, 1963)
Fight Club Ranking: #344

Featured Fights:
- vs BROTHERHOOD OF EVIL MUTANTS: X-Men #6 (Jul 1964)
- vs MAGNETO: X-Men #25 (Oct 1993)
- vs X-MEN: Onslaught: X-Men #1 (Aug 1996)
- vs XORN: New X-Men #150 (Feb 2004)
- vs SINISTER: Ultimate X-Men #49 (Sep 2004)
- vs LIZARD: X-Men: First Class #2 (Dec 2006)
- vs THE MIND GEM: New Avengers: Illuminati #2 (Mar 2007)

We very nearly talked about today's Hero of the Week way back in May, when James McAvoy was starring in X-Men: Apocalypse. Serendipity would have it that Apocalypse, Magneto and Quicksilver took the crowded spotlight back then - so we can talk about Professor Xavier here and now!


Beloved nude nut Patrick Stewart is back to play a weathered future Xavier, seen in a striking promotional photo [above] and in the first official trailer for next year's Logan!

All ready, the trailer has dashed a few of my assumptions and questions. We discussed last week the inevitable differences this story would have from the Mark Millar story Old Man Logan.

It's been long known that Professor X would essentially replace Hawkeye as a travelling buddy, which inevitably changes the dynamic. Given Xavier's mental powers, I had really begun to wonder if he would be a figment of a troubled Wolverine's mind, or perhaps a vestigial psychic echo. A reminder of a tragedy Wolverine would somehow be responsible for, even if an arch-villain would have mutantkind's blood on his hands, rather than Wolverine's claws. Something like The Legacy Virus made sense, with the last X-film teasing Mr. Sinister, and the obvious incorporation of young gender-swapped Wolverine clone X-23 into the story.

All of those questions seem to have melted away with the trailer, though. The images remind me of lukewarm 2009 cartoon series Wolverine and the X-Men more than any comic book reference. There's very little to suggest Professor Xavier is anything but a tired old man in the film. A dear friend with a different role to play, even if he might not make it all the way. A death that could very likely motivate this vulnerable, short-haired, Johnny Cash inspired Wolverine.

The music of the trailer was a questionable, clich├ęd choice. Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt has been in constant rotation since it was released in 2002. Nothing will diminish the poignancy of the circumstances of its recording, but as a soundtrack choice it's on the nose. It does, however, make it very clear to the viewer that this is not the usual Wolverine movie.

Perhaps more than the film itself, I'm really interesting to see what the reaction from the audience is! Fans who've followed the project over the past few years will have had some idea of what to expect, but the western tone of a desolate future that isn't the famed 1981 post-apocalypse of Claremont and Byrne's Days of Future Past will probably come as a shock to everyone else! Even more than that future, Logan promises a world that's stark and dry. An even bigger risk than Deadpool!

Will audiences embrace another harsh shift in tone and reality, or will this be Hugh Jackman's final starring turn as Wolverine - whether he likes it, or not? We won't find out the answers until March.

If we make it that far, I'll be looking forward to talking a whole lot more Wolverine! In the mean time, be encouraged to find more by following links, or checking out the Issue Index. The first Hero of the Week for 2016 was Dr. Strange and we're about to dive head-long into a world of mysticism as The Sorcerer Supreme braces for Marvel Entertainment's next theatrical release, November 4th! Be here!

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