|Luckily for us, they named themselves the Evil Brotherhood of Mutants so we'll know that they're evil.|
Although, Jean Grey is in the above picture, it is best to start with Cyclops because Cyclops was the first X-Man, the first student recruited by Xavier to fight a lifelong battle against oppression and Toad-slime. He was the X-Men's field leader, their moral centre, and a true believer in Charles' dream of peace for mutant and human alike.
Unable to ever let himself truly relax for the fear of letting loose the uncontrollable beams raging from his eyes, he can appear stoic and stiff but that is only because he was afraid of hurting someone by his powers. Powers he can't control except by the quartz visor (or sunglasses) he has to wear constantly. Every day. That means he has to see everything as ruby coloured for the rest of his life because he doesn't want to hurt anyone. Because he wants to control the uncontrollable. Because he cares.
|He cares so much.|
In the comics, Cyclops is a badass, plain and simple. Although, a believer in Xavier's dream, he realises that in order for mutantkind to survive they have to adapt to the world they live in, not make-believe they're living in a world they want to live in. So, when nearly all the mutants lose their powers following the events of the House of M storyline, where the Scarlet Witch altered the fabric of reality to bring back her dead children, he gathers the remaining 200 or so mutants to Magneto's Island off the coast of San Fransisco. He then declares it an independent country and safe haven for all mutants under his protection. He becomes the leader of the entire mutant race because he had to. Because he was the only one who could.
|Even Magneto. a man who has been trying to kill him since he was a teenager, submitted to Cyclops' leadership.|
But Cyclops, as we all know, was shortchanged in the movies. Seriously shortchanged. After a decent role in the first X-Men movie, he was relegated to secondary status in X-Men 2 and sidelined for much of that movie as Wolverine stole the show. He was then killed off-screen early in X-Men: The Last Stand since such an important character in the history of X-Men, and Marvel comics as a whole, doesn't deserve an onscreen death.
|Because apparently shooting fucking force beams from your eyes isn't cool or something.|
Cyclops was lost fighting the good fight for freedom and quality... by making out with his girlfriend... who also fought the good fight for freedom and equality... and came back from the dead... But he still died while 'fighting' an evil mutant which is what Xavier's dream is all about. Fighting evil mutants in order to end discrimination.
But Jean herself died in the movies following Xavier's dream. Twice. Because she believed so much in dying for one's cause she had to do it more than once. She also killed Cyclops and Professor X because Brett Ratner.
|Ratner also did this. Never forget.|
Although, Xavier comes back to life in Days of Future Past because Patrick Stewart is immortal, he still lost his life believing in his dream for mutantkind and trying to help his students control the awesome powers they wield. He died as a teacher, a mentor trying to help those under his care. From the beginning of the X-Men, Professor X has had the best interests of his students at heart.
|Which is why he is always in touch with his X-Men. Always.|
While Professor X may seem like a bit of a pervert for constantly being inside his students' minds, violating their privacy (as in, the privacy of their own thoughts), that is not the case at all. No, he is a pervert for being in love with Jean.
Just so everyone's on the same page, Jean is one of his students. And is a teenager while he is a man in his 30s or 40s. That's totally not inappropriate or raising any red flags. There's no need to go into this in any more detail because Cracked covered it much better here. But in Professor X's defense, if you can call it a defense, all the X-Men lusted over Jean in the beginning.
|Little did Bobby know, she WAS poured into that uniform because that's how women put on clothing. |
They pour themselves into their clothes while men are watching because something, something, misogyny.
But aside from seeing his most favourite pupil, Cyclops, make out with his most 'favourite' pupil, Jean, on a regular basis, Charles had to face a lot of adversity in his life as a super rich, straight white male with the ability to read and control people's minds. Adversaries like,
|His greatest foe.|
But Professor X is more than just creepo pervert in love with one of his students who has had a lifelong conflict with stairs. As he questionable feelings towards his students suggest, he is far more morally ambiguous than his Martin Luther King Jr. dream for mutants to be judge on the content of their character and not the terrifying powers they possess would suggest.
For example, during Joss Whedon’s absolutely amazing run on Astonishing X-Men, the team learns that Professor X knew of the growing sentience of the Sh’iar technology enhanced Danger Room and then... just ignored it so his students could train. Because students need to train. At the expense of a sentient lifeform who reached out to him for help, asking in confusion, "Where am I?". Danger, as she calls herself, escapes the confines of the Danger Room and takes form following the death of a student that allows her to break free of her programming. Because of his actions, or lack thereof, Professor X endangered the lives of his students such that one died.
And because Wing was a minor character, he won't be coming back to life anytime soon.
|Yeah so... this happened because Professor X really needed his X-Men to train. Like, really needed them to train.|
So, Professor X has made some mistakes and errors of judgement. Mistakes that show he doesn't always follow his own dream for mutantkind where mutants die fighting bad mutants. That is understandable. No, really it is. Especially when you consider his powers. Professor X can read minds. He is probably the most powerful telepath in the Marvel universe, definitely on Earth. So, he has to constantly block out the voices coming from other people's heads at all times. Otherwise it would drive him insane. That's not a joke, it would literally drive him insane.
Some people have tinnitus, when there's a soft ringing in your ears that persists even if there's nothing actually making the sound. Imagine that but in your head. And it's flashes of whatever someone is thinking. Coming at you from all directions all the time. And you have to learn to block it out or it will make you crazy. Was that thought you just thought your thought or someone else's thought? How could you know? You'd need to block it out and learn to identify what are you own thoughts and make the confine of your mind a sanctum secure against the never-ending onslaught of other people's thoughts. It's slightly more complicated than unfollowing someone on Twitter.
"People keep tweeting what food they're eating as they're eating it and it comes in your feed? How horrible that must be for you.
I just have to deal with knowing that they thought their last crap was quite satisfying because I felt their satisfaction in my head, but no, I'm sure your problem is worse."
Oh, and Professor X is also way more of a badass than he ever gets credit for. Case in point, this panel happens just before he fights Danger, who he knows is on her way, who has near limitless power, who just defeated the X-Men because she has fought them a million times before as the Danger Room and knows all their moves and battle tactics,
|No caption is necessary for awesome of this magnitude.|
Despite all that's been said, this single panel (and the fact he is played by Patrick Stewart AND James McAvoy) more than makes up for any wrong Professor X might have done in the past, including repeatedly trolling the X-Men for shits and giggles.
Note: In regards to Cyclops, I didn't go into the questionable things he does during and after the Avengers vs X-Men storyline (such as wanting to train the kid X-Men to fight, the split between him and Wolverine, killing Professor X and wearing a Nightwing/Robocop mash-up costume) as I didn't want to concentrate too heavily on one character. Besides, it also totally derails my argument. Feel free to comment on how Cyclops is an asshole anyway though, if you like.
Gentlemen of Leisure review of X-Men #3
In Defense of Cyclops
Professor X Wikipedia page
Professor X on Marvel.com
Professor X Marvel Database page
Professor X's Comic Vine page
Days of Future Past Marvel Database Page