Discussion during last night’s recording session led me to think for the first time in a while about early episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and the fact that Earth’s last, best hope came from 10th grade study hall.  Zordon’s insistence on high-school-age soldiers is given a brief explanation in the pilot, but most kid/teen superheroes don’t even get so much as a hand wave.  Bruce Wayne’s shortened timeline on the New 52 bring this into sharp focus, as he is clearly choosing to recruit Robins in their teen years.  Interestingly, though he is a repeat offender on the child soldier front, Charles Xavier at least made an effort to keep the New Mutants off the battle lines and famously got called out by Kitty Pryde for attempting to sideline her due to her youth.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) wonders if Frank Miller intended to so clearly depict All-Star Robin with Stockholm Syndrome, asking: Was Professor Xavier really a jerk for wanting to keep a 14-year-old out of mortal danger?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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10 Comments

  1. SmarkingOut Adam
    July 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    Not at all. He was running a school. This is why Scott Summers is so far off track with his new school now. Someday my kids will think I’m a jerk for not letting them do unsafe things. They will be wrong. Now, constantly pretending like there is a spider on my daughter’s shoulder–that might be stronger evidence.

  2. July 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm — Reply

    I remember reading that issue when I was 14 or so (thanks, X-Men Classics!) and I was totally pro-Kitty. What teenager doesn’t want to prove themselves in front of their peers?

    Now I look back and am totally pro-Xavier. Could you imagine Xavier having to talk to Kitty’s parents and saying, “Kitty told me she was ready, so I let her fight Fenris. She was completely disintegrated. So not only did I let a 14-year old bully me into letting her die on a battlefield, but I can’t even give you a body to bury. My bad.”

  3. Arbor Day
    July 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm — Reply

    In general I’d side with Xavier, but I’m with Kitty based on her situation in the Marvel Universe.

    Given the dynamics of the Mutant population in that world, sooner or later she’d have been in a life or death fight. Putting it off isn’t going to change that.

    On the opposite side, Batman just takes on junior sidekicks to validate his own immature revenge fantasy.

  4. July 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    I really really want to say ALL superpowered teenagers should get trained up before being allowed to do anything dangerous, and that they should be older before being allowed to go out into the field.. but then there would be less younger generation superhero comics and I really really love those, you guys.

  5. July 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm — Reply

    I’m trying to look at it through both sides of the glass. Xavier was trying to be the good teacher and keep them out of danger, but at the same time, mutant kids are going to have to learn to save themselves (and each other) sooner or later.

    But I’ll admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite. I had teenage superhero fantasies and believed I’d probably know what I was doing (although I believe I would have at least attempted training first, much like the New Mutants had a little of), but now I wouldn’t let my goddaughter do even a fraction of those things even if she suddenly developed Superman level powers.

  6. July 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm — Reply

    When it’s a fight for survival, I don’t know. Kitty wanted to be part of the action and help, but in those days, it wasn’t nearly so much of an “impending doom” feeling for the mutants. When I read Schism, part of me felt like Scott had a point, though he was a HUGE jerk about it.

    The reality is, a species fighting for survival means no one is exempt from that fight, not even a baby like Hope was in Messiah Complex. Should Xavier be recruiting teens to fight his private war? Probably not. That’s part of what I liked about the first 25 issues or so of Ultimate X-Men. Xavier was using his students as a PR stunt, and in my book, that’s easier to digest.

  7. July 11, 2013 at 4:20 am — Reply

    Only after deciding it was suddenly a problem after putting her in it repeatedly. My thoughts mirror Armaan’s, honestly – if it means enjoying a subgenre I’ve always loved, I’ll put my normal reservations at the door.

  8. Rome
    July 11, 2013 at 9:08 am — Reply

    The military requires all recruits to be 18 with a LOT of training before seeing combat. Xavier, Batman, and any other weirdo’s who adopt kids to fight their battles are quite reckless to do so.

    I suppose self defense is one thing, and everyone should be able to defend themselves, and good on you if you are trained to do so. But you should not be sent out on missions if you are untrained and immature.

    It should come as no surprise that so many Robins have been killed in action, and frankly, it should be amazing that any of the X-men’s original class survived to adulthood.

  9. Matt Britton
    July 11, 2013 at 9:47 am — Reply

    I think that recruiting children/teens to fight evil/crime is a bad idea in general, they are kids. Batman taking on teen Robins seems like a bad idea in general. When it comes to Xavier and the X-men, I don’t think that’s what he was doing. He took on kids that were going to be pulled into the fight one way or another, and yes he was training them to fight in that war, but he also allowed them to continue to be kids and grow up as normal, or at least I think that was his intention. He did stop them from jumping into the war when they felt they were ready, if he didn’t think they were. Isn’t that what parents are suppose to do? I’m not going to let my son us a chainsaw because he thinks he can, I’m going to wait till he’s old enough, but I’m also going to make sure he’s trained to do so. That’s what Xavier is doing, giving them the tools then need but still parenting them.

  10. Hezzie
    July 11, 2013 at 10:51 am — Reply

    I think the most easy answer to this is that now Kitty is all grown up and headmistress of the Jean Grey school.
    Guess who is constantly arguing with the teen students trying to keep them out of the fight now?

    I love it when things come full circle!

    So i suppose my answer is no. Xavier had the right general idea with Kitty.
    Still makes me wonder why he allowed the original X-men to fight Magneto’s brotherhood at the age of 16 though. (Pretty sure they are 16 in all-new xmen?).

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