And so, as was rumored, an X-Man apparently met his maker yesterday in this week's X-Men #207. This wouldn't be the first death for Marvel's team of mutant outcasts, and not even the first death for this particular character, but nonetheless, we're leaving the identity of the possibly departed until after the jump for those of you who want to stay relatively unspoiled. Which is to say, spoilers ahead.

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So, yes. Professor Charles Xavier, the bald telepathic part-time cripple (his spine has been healed at least twice before a re-crippling event occured, which really has to smart) was shot in the head and not breathing at the end of Messiah Complex, Marvel's big X-Franchise crossover storyline. It wasn't the most heroic scene - he was shot by accident by former-hero-turned-time-travelling-villain Bishop - but considering this is at least his third possible death (ignoring deaths in alternate timelines, realities and Patrick Stewart exploding in X-Men: The Last Stand), I'm sure he's not that bothered anymore. His first death - which was later retconned into being an imposter - was part of a plan to save the world, after all (His second was a genuine death. It's just that his soul survived, and then ended up in a cloned body. Ah, comics).

Why do I keep referring it to it as a possible death when he was shot in the head on panel and isn't breathing afterwards? Because, despite appearances, he isn't actually dead, as the solicitations for the next few months' worth of X-Men comics reveal:

The X-Men's past becomes the present as Xavier fights the greatest battle of his life. With his mind hanging in the balance, one false move can cause irreversible damage. Help arrives from an unlikely source, but in the world post-Messiah Complex, sometimes your enemies are the only people you can trust.

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And, if you're wondering who that unlikely source is, all you have to do is scroll down the page and see the solicitation for the next month's issue:

Xavier and Magneto face-to-face again! With Xavier comatose and Magneto depowered, these old soldiers appear sidelined. But neither man has abandoned his dream. With the future of mutantkind in flux, how far will these men go to reclaim their place as firsts among their people? And what will happen to those who get in their way?


So much for the big finale fake-out. Here's a suggestion, Marvel: If you want people to be surprised by your comics, try not to give away the stories when you're advertising them months ahead of time.

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Divided They Stand: X-Men Declassified [Marvel.com]