Several comic stories have left impressions that have lasted over the decades. These include epic story arcs like The Great Darkness Saga as well as individual issues.
One such issue is a Fantastic Four story called Childhood’s End. Reed, Susan, Ben and Johnny are attacked by a young adult of incredible power who is able to overpower them with dare. All the time their assailant poses two questions, “Why can’t I remember?” and “Who am I?” The answer it turns out to the second question is that he is Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Susan Richards, aka Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman. Franklin had involuntarily warped himself from being a kid of about six or seven to being a young adult and the first question, “Why can’t I remember?” refers to the void of the missing years, to the absence of experiences in the intervening time. Franklin goes on to become one of the opt powerful beings in the universe, but it is the child-man that he is in this tale, that out of the whole of comicdom, is for of a metaphor for Xave.
We live in a flat (apartment) where the rules are inimical to childhood and that coupled with a rock circle of friends has led to what I think must be a very boring life for Xave. His life becomes intertwined with that of Ben Tennyson and Uncle Max, with that of Steve Rogers and Bruce Wayne and Dora the Explorer. He makes his own Omnitrix, complete with different colours for when it is recharging, voices his concerns that Ultron will attack the Avengers and explores the world with Dora and Diego. There are days when he obsesses about Smurfs and talks incessantly about them describing the ingredients needed to make Smurfette, talking can’t the villainous Gargamel.
All this has not been without benefit and has contributed to his knowledge extensively as well as played a monumental role in his speech development. He can discuss volcanoes, dinosaurs, Egyptians and much more. Yet, devoid of experience, these are the worlds he inhabits and finds so much more fulfilling than the real world, where he has his own girlfriend (a real one). When asked how she is, he will reply, “Good. Can I tell you about the Penguins of Madagascar?”
When asked what he did at school was, he recites a stock list of activities, but can go on for hours about the Justice League describing each member reciting texts and scripts. When I berate him with, ” Batman is not real, mate. Bruce Wayne is not real,” he responds with,”I know, Daddy. This is just imagination.”
That he knows this delights me and shows that despite spending so much time lost in other worlds, he is still centred in reality. That he spends so much time in these places is because his reality is devoid of experiences. Xavier as Franklin Richards – “Why can’t I remember?” and devoid of a sense of self – “Who am I?”