SPOILERS - A Surprise X-MAN Returns In EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1?

Extraordinary X-Men
Extraordinary X-Men
Credit: Marvel Comics
Page from 'Extraordinary X-Men #1'
Page from 'Extraordinary X-Men #1'
Credit: Marvel Comics

WARNING: Possible spoilers for Extraordinary X-Men #1 ahead.

Jeff Lemire has promised that his new flagship X-book, Extraordinary X-Men, would shake things up for Marvel's merry mutants, and judging by the latest preview of the first issue, he's not wasting any time rocking the boat.

The preview in question (via ComicBook) shows two pages of story, in which Storm, headmistress of the Jean Grey School, confesses to an unseen person that she's struggled to maintain order and "keep the dream alive." On the next page, it's revealed to whom she is speaking - none other than Professor X.

To understand just how significant Professor X's supposed return could be, we have to back all the way up to 2012's Avengrs vs. X-Men in which the Phoenix Force returned to Earth, resulting in Xavier's death at the hands of his prize pupil, Scott Summers, A.K.A. Cyclops. The death of Professor X lead to an irreparable split between Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men, with only those other mutants possessed by the Phoenix Force (and Magneto) following him as he attempted to create his own X-Men team.

Panel from 'Extraordinary X-Men #1'
Panel from 'Extraordinary X-Men #1'
Credit: Marvel Comics

The split drove a wedge between Cyclops and even his closest friends, such as Iceman and Beast, who saw the murder of Professor X as unforgivable, and ultimately drove Beast to bring the original X-Men's younger selves to the future, where they remain. Cyclops and his squad remained fully sequestered from the rest of the mutant population right up until Secret Wars, though their exact fate is unknown.

Panel from 'Avengers Vs. X-Men'
Panel from 'Avengers Vs. X-Men'
Credit: Marvel Comics

What we do know about the current state of the X-Men is that something has happened to mutants in the 8-month gap between the end of Secret Wars and the launch of Extraordinary X-Men - something big. It seems that Cyclops may be lost (or dead), and something occurred between mutants and Inhumans, possibly as a result of the Terrigen Mists that are sweeping the globe and deactivating latent X-genes, putting mutants once again on the brink of extinction. With mutantkind in such dire straits, the X-Men, lead by Storm, have created "X-Haven," which seems to be a safe space for mutants. 

Credit: Marvel Comics

So what could Professor X's return mean for the X-Men, and for mutantkind in general? For one thing, the cause of the X-Men would once again have a figurehead, and moreover, a seat at the table when it comes to the movers and shakers of the Marvel Universe. Professor X was one of the original "Illuminati" that worked behind the scenes to shape the events of the Marvel Universe - a position later occupied by Beast, who, while effective, simply doesn't have the cache of Charles Xavier.

A resurrected Professor X could be exactly what the mutant race needs to unite and overcome not just the stigma of Scott Summers, but also the threat to their very existence in the form of the Terrigen Mist. But is this reveal so simple? Would Marvel just blow such a major twist this close to the book's actual release?

It's not impossible, but it seems unlikely, especially when there are so many ways Professor X's reappearance could be a bait-and-switch. Xavier has disappeared and resurfaced before, even when presumed dead (and death is not forever in Marvel's world), but this vision of Professor X could just as easily be some kind of hologram or psychic projection meant to keep us guessing.

The truth is, we likely won't know for sure until Extraordinary X-Men #1 hits shelves on November 4, 2015.

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