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X-Men: Marvel’s Cerebro Is Charles Xavier’s Secret Weapon

The X-Men’s Cerebro is one of the most important inventions in the Marvel Universe, and Professor X has used it to build a mutant empire.

The X-Men have been one of the defining teams of the Marvel Universe and the public face of mutantkind for decades. Drawing together individuals from all around the world, Professor Xavier built the ideal team to defend his dream of a peaceful coexistent between humanity and mutants.

While his dream has shifted in recent years, Cerebro has been an essential part of his mission, now more than ever before. Now, we’re taking a look back at this mutant-finding machine and how it shaped the world of the X-Men.

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THE FIRST CEREBRO

Cerebro made its first appearance in 1964’s X-Men #7, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After deciding that Cyclops should be the new leader of the team, Professor Xavier brought him to a previously unseen part of his academy. Specifically, Xavier brought Scott Summers to see Cerebro, which was then described as a “complex E.S.P. machine,” that the Professor was using to detect and track mutant brain waves the world over. By amplifying the telepathic abilities of the user, Cerebro was able to locate those that he would eventually bring under his wing as the X-Men, as well as any mutants that might pose a threat. Cerebro also proved to be a powerful weapon in the wrong hands, such as when Magneto led Emma Frost to the machine in hopes of her using it to eradicate all of humanity in 2011’s X-Men #13 by Christopher Yost, Paco Medina, and Dalibor Talajic.

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CERBRO’S UPGRADES

FORGE - Cerebro

During 2019’s Powers of X #5 by Jonathan Hickman and R.B. Silva, it was revealed that Xavier had at one point approached Forge to ask for a very particular upgrade to Cerebro years ago. Namely, he wanted to expand Cerebro’s ability to locate mutant brain waves to include copying them completely, effectively creating a backup of that mutant’s persona and memories. The technology didn’t exist anywhere on Earth at the time, but Forge knew just where to look for it, and so he incorporated Shi’ar technology into Cerebro’s systems.

This proved to be exactly what Professor Xavier was looking for, and he soon expanded Cerebro beyond one massive, single unit and into a small fleet of handheld devices that he could keep on his wheelchair or in the X-Men’s Blackbird.

CEREBRO BECOMES A VILLAIN

In the ’90s, Cerebro fell into the wrong hands when the X-Men were raided by the human-Sentinel hybrid Bastion. Bastion’s attempts to access the information within Cerebro proved to be worse than futile when the machine’s defense systems released a virus to erase all of the data held within that unit. To top things off, the presence of Bastion’s nanotech combined with Cerebro’s already alien technology somehow allowed it to gain sentience, and it soon enough began stalking the X-Men in 1998’s Uncanny X-Men #362, by Steve Seagle and Chris Bachalo.

Taking on the form of Professor Xavier, the now-sentientCerebro created its own X-Men from nanites and clashed with the original team over the hunt for the missing Professor Xavier. By the time that Cerebro caught up with its creator, it had gone almost entirely mad after splitting itself into multiples in order to launch a coordinated global attack. Thankfully, Professor Xavier was able to prevent this from happening, though not without Cerebro effectively dying.

CEREBRO IN HOUSE OF X

When the time came for Xavier to reevaluate mutantkind’s place in the world, he decided to put the earlier modifications that Forge had made to good use exactly as he had intended. When the nation of Krakoa was first revealed to the world in 2019’s House of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz, Xavier stood proud wearing the latest version of Cerebro on his head, almost treating the device as a de facto crown.

Using the brain waves that Cerebro was now able to harvest, as well as help from a group of young mutants called the Five, Xavier ensured that all mutants could be reborn in new bodies whenever they perished, even long-dead mutants. This has not only solidified mutantkind’s numbers in the wake of numerous blows to their global population, it has cemented their place in the world as all but immortal. While it will always be better utilized as the tool to bring people together, this proves that Cerebro is much more than a mutant tracking device.

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