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I've been wondering why Professor X, generally considered to be one of the most powerful mutants, was susceptible to physical attacks to his head and body by people using helmets to block his telepathic mind-reading abilities (Magneto and Juggernaut for example).

My point is that telekinesis, the power to move objects with thoughts (used by characters such as Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and Psylocke to name a few) is also an ability that stems out of the mind, so are they just extensions of the same ability in the X-Men Universe and if so, why doesn't Xavier ever expand into that area?

Professor X shot

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Hope you don't mind me expanding the question a little to encompass all physical attacks rather than just being knocked unconscious – Richard Feb 1 '14 at 20:50
Yes, that's fine. – user15235 Feb 1 '14 at 20:53
FYI Emma Frost does not have telekinetic abilities. – 22nd Century Fza Feb 2 '14 at 10:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, they aren't manifestations of the same ability. Most super-powers are controlled mentally, and of course each superhero's non-super abilities are also all controlled via their minds as well.

  • Most telepaths, such as Psylocke, Professor X, the White Queen, are not telekinetic.
  • Telekinessis in its pure form is significantly more rare than telepathy, but there are some pure telekinetics such as Hellion who are not telepathic.
  • "Impure" telekinetics, who have the ability to move objects or manifest energy fields by virtue of some related power, usually have no telepathy either. Prominent examples include the Invisible Woman and her brother.
  • It only seems as if telepathy and telekinesis go hand-in-hand because of the Jean Grey family heritage, with the original X-man and her four genetic descendants (Rachel Grey, Nate Grey, Cable and Stryfe) all displaying similar power.
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Psylocke hasn't been telekinetic for most of her existance, although there was a brief period during Morisson's run when her power was switched to telekinesis instead of telepathy without explanation. – DougM Feb 1 '14 at 21:01
I think I meant by mental only that for example if a train is coming at you, you react by stopping it with your mind and not creating a net ala Green Lantern from DC @DougM. – user15235 Feb 2 '14 at 1:32
@DougM - There is an explanation for Psylocke's telekinetic shift. During Morisson's run, but not in New X-Men, Psylocke had a run in with the Shadow King and imprisoned him in her mind. Afterwards her powers shifted from telepathy to telekinesis... I still no idea why and if I recall correctly she died shortly after that and was brought back to life with her telepathic powers intact by Jamie Braddock (her brother who has reality warping abilities). – 22nd Century Fza Feb 2 '14 at 10:26
"I'm imprisoning the shadow king so now I have telepathy" is worse than no explanation. Of course, it IS Morrison, so nonsense is par. – DougM Feb 2 '14 at 15:24

In regard to telekinesis (also called psychokinesis) and telepathy:

  • All telepaths are not telekinetic (Charles Xavier), and all telekinetics are not telepaths (Vance Astrovick/Justice).

  • Telekinetic effects can be achieved in a variety of ways using magical abilities or advanced scientific technologies. The Marvel Universe has an abundance of psychokinetic characters with telekinetic abilities, at varying levels, from a variety of sources.

  • In the case where a person has both, the capacities of each ability may be unequally distributed (Psylocke). In others, a person may have both capacities at outstanding levels (Cassandra Nova, Phoenix, Absolon Mercator) and can be used for a variety of amazing feats.

  • Telekinesis and Telepathy are both completely distinct abilities, their only similarity is they are both mentally controlled and tend to require active manipulation of the powers, unlike passive mutant abilities such as Colossus' transformation to Osmium which once activated remains until he changes again.

  • Mutant abilities come in a spectrum of relationships and some of them can be found in pairs such as the powers of telekinesis and telepathy in the Jean Grey family line.

On the subject of Charles Xavier

  • Depending on when you read the character, there have been times where he has exhibited telekinetic ability. But that has fluctuated depending on the writers and for the most part his telekinesis has been rarely demonstrated in modern comics.

  • Charles Xavier is primarily telepathic. But contrary to most knowledge, Xavier's genome had quite a number of other potential genetic capacities including telekinesis. We learn this when the character Cassandra Nova appears and has all of Xavier's considerable genetic potential at her fingertips.

  • Cassandra Nova began life at the same time as Charles Xavier. Conceived without a body, Cassandra improvised one by copying Xavier's DNA to make her own body, effectively becoming his twin sister.

  • Jean Grey later discovered that Cassandra Nova is the mummudrai (from a Shi'ar legend, meaning opposite) of Charles Xavier. "Legend says each of us faces our own personal mummudrai in the womb, shortly before birth - it is our first experience of the alien, the other, the different." In reality, the mummudrai are a parasitic species born bodiless on the astral plane, and it was only through becoming entangled with Charles Xavier's developing telepathic mind that Cassandra Nova created a body for herself.

  • The mummudrai are usually forced to fight with the mind of their host over a body. However, given the vast potential in Xavier's genome, Cassandra Nova was able to build her own body, mimicking human traits as best she can. Cassandra Nova is able to access the full spectrum of latent mutant functions in Xavier's genome (she seemingly has the powers of Charles Xavier, the ones he could have and the ones he might receive as a result of latent mutation), granting herself vast psionic powers. These powers include telepathy, telekinesis, and a phasing ability.

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