Brian Cronin’s weekly feature Comic Book Legends Revealed is an incredible source of answers to comic book questions you didn’t even know to ask. He’s covered everything from Superman to Howard the Duck in his 300+ entries. One of his most interesting topics, to me at least, came in part three of his #300 special feature and dealt with a subject very close to where I currently am in my effort to read the entire story of the X-Men all the way through.
The background story had been building for nearly a year throughout both Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants. Professor X had been mugged by students who believed him to be sympathetic to mutants (and then learned him to be actually a mutant himself) and left for dead on the street. He was saved by the Morlocks, whose Healer barely managed to bring him back from death, but his full recovery depended on allowing himself time to rest and recuperate. Needless to say, he pushed himself harder than ever and his body began failing on him to the point that he lay dying at the close of issue #200 forcing Magneto to swear to take over for him at his school and serve as headmaster for both the X-Men and the New Mutants. And then the Starjammers suddenly appeared and fixed him.
But the interesting bit wasn’t the debate on whether the original plan had been to actually kill Xavier or not at this point. On that note, it certainly seemed like that was the case – especially Magneto’s reaction at the close of the issue, despite knowing Xavier would come out peachy-keen. No, the real story would come from a rather snooty-looking Brit who appeared for the issue’s signature event – the Trial of Magneto.
This was a less-than-likable character (I mean LOOK at him!) who popped in for a one-off appearance, made an ass of himself, and was never seen again. My first time reading this issue, I thought very little of him, believing him to simply be a character used to vocalize anti-mutant hatred as a foil to someone else who could defend mutants. After the issue, I never thought another thing about him.
But as Mr. Cronin revealed in his dealing with the matter, there was far more to Jasper James planned, only the plot was scrapped due to disagreement between Marvel and Alan Moore (yes THAT Alan Moore) that forced a retooling of the X-Men plotline. The tale is not just interesting in what was planned and was forced to be changed, but also how those ideas were eventually retooled and used in Uncanny anyway.
Read more of this post