Apr 18, 2018

Cassandra Nova Is Charles Xavier

There is something Gnostic in the number of evil sides of himself, that over the years, Professor Charles Xavier has had to tamp down or exorcise. Most media, most serial characters would be satisfied with one evil double, one gone down the wrong path version. There are the supervillain foils, his famous nemesis, Magneto, his bully of an older stepbrother, Cain Marko, aka the Juggernaut. And, there is always an excuse when some horrid monster crawls up from his mind, from his urges, takes a body and wreaks havoc. “He was psychically tainted by some heretofore unknown mental power of Magneto’s.” “There was a cosmic confluence that reached over galaxies.” “I think she is the first of a new, unforeseen species.” “The Shi'ar mystics call this a mummudrai.”

Cassandra Nova Is Charles Xavier
Travis Hedge Coke

My favorite thing about these evil sides, including the above excuses and explanations, is that we are, from the beginning, invited to disbelieve them. When the earliest of these evil sides attacks Xavier-proper and his school, it possesses him, he fights against it. It is seen as a clearly distinct being, called the Entity. However, the Entity is Charles Xavier, and even he eventually has to recognize this truth.

Onslaught, the seemingly all-powerful monster who seemed to be the death of most of the major superheroes in the Marvel Universe, was born out of Xavier, expressing his guilts and lusts explicitly, but later, we see that when he put Magneto in a coma, some evil creature, a seed of psychic energy, crawled up from Magneto’s brain into Xavier’s and clearly, that must be at fault.

We “see,” however, a memory, a replay from perspective. Memory is not reality, and in the Marvel Universe, memory and reality are not immutable or undeniable.

The Entity can stand proud, can conquer and rape in his conquistador helmet, with his working legs and his open condescension. Onslaught appears as a towering armored beast and as a wicked child, openly goading with guilt and promises of friendship. They don’t befriend and compromise, but command and disrupt.

So, we come to Cassandra Nova, a demonic inversion that is currently bedeviling Jean Grey in a new X-book just now. Cassandra is described by the Shi'ar, as a mummudrai, as an inversion of all that something is, a mummudrai is all that something proper, is not. Everything has a mummudrai. “The mummudrai of in, is out.” Up, down. Awake, asleep. Cold, hot. But, Xavier’s mind is so powerful, even before birth, that his mummudrai is also thinking and psychically-empowered. With that psychic power, and that awareness, she is able to have form in this world, and to act.

What the aforementioned Jean Grey and her colleague Emma Frost see in Xavier’s mind, amidst boobytraps and bruises left by Cassandra’s attack, are memories of prenatal Xavier attacking his twin sister in the womb, strangling her with her umbilical cord, causing their mother to fall down a flight of stairs and miscarry one of her children. It is a primal scene mixed in with cues of the primal scene. His spinal injury and a sense of castration are thrown around, his father becomes himself in a snow globe of semen, standing proudly beside his mother as if at their wedding. We understand that the weirder things are symbolic, cannot be real, but the vibrant and contained struggle of the twins? We take it for granted that it is true in a boobytrapped mind.

Later, we learn from other sources, that when Cassandra first gained consciousness, she made her body out of discarded cellular matter in a sewer. So, not a near-to-term fetus.

Still, most of the audience clung, and clings yet, to the fantasy that plays out in his damaged mind, because, well, Grey and Frost saw it, and we saw them seeing it.

It never happened. What we saw was memory only, or, if you prefer, it was presentation alone.

It was guilt and disassociation, which grew, by will alone, a physical, walking, talking, id-driven body, and then covered that body in armor and a pretense that it’s a living “not-me.”

Like Onslaught.

Like the Entity.

Cassandra is not a new species. She is not a magical demon from the nether realms. Not an abandoned, rejected twin fetus. She is an anxiety-fueled imaginary fiend. An intimate projecttion, a thought even a baby did not like having. Like the other evil sides we had seen, she is a subconscious rejection by Xavier, a thing of rejected feelings, rejected temperament, pushed away so strongly, by such a powerful mind, that they could pretend autonomy and act distinct from Xavier. But, she is still a projection, a willed being. She is still Charles Xavier, even if Charles made her up while still in his mother’s womb.

Cassandra Nova is not Charles Xavier’s twin sister. She is Charles Xavier.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Excellent observations!

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