PHOENIX IV: Page 8 of 11

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12th April 2007

BIOGRAPHY - Page 7
A few weeks later, quite many of Earth’s mutants underwent so-called secondary mutations. Jean was apparently among them, as she regained access to her telekinetic abilities. When it came to her love life, though, things wouldn’t revert back to what they were before just as easily. While free of Apocalypse’s influence, the experience left Cyclops a changed man and he became more ruthless than before. Both of them being on the active roster of the X-Men again, the marriage started undergoing a strain, as Jean felt that Scott was keeping things and Scott was acting cooler towards her, even refusing to sleep with her. The fact that their new teammate, Emma Frost, was heavily flirting with Scott didn’t help much either. [New X-Men #114, 116, 118]
When Professor Xavier (actually Cassandra Nova inhabiting his body) left to visit Lilandra in the Shi’ar Empire, Jean became acting headmistress of Xavier’s school. She was alone with the school’s many students when the mansion was attacked by the U-Men, a radical group who dissected mutants to gain their organs and powers. In her battle with them, Jean displayed incredible telekinetic powers - both when it came to raw power as well as fine motor control. She managed to catch the U-Men’s projectiles in mid air and arranged them in a beautiful pattern, before moving the content of their stomachs up and down until they had to throw up. Obviously, she was tapping into the Phoenix Force, as she burst into flame. Disarmed, beaten and humiliated, the U-Men ran away screaming, just as Wolverine returned from the mission he was on. When he saw Jean, he couldn’t help but recall Dark Phoenix and wondered whether the woman he secretly loved was headed down the same road. [New X-Men #120]

Feeling empowered, Jean became less insecure about her relationship troubles with Scott, while ironically her growing power actually troubled Scott even more. Jean’s abilities seemed to increase on all fronts, from heightened sensitivity to immense power stunts. For example, she stored the dying Xavier’s memories and personality in her own brain, before making use of Cerebra to split and store it in every mutant brain on Earth. This action provided the means to defeat Cassandra Nova, for when she attempted to use Cerebra (still controlling the professor’s body), Xavier’s mind put itself back together again, enabling him to cast Nova out and reclaim his body. [New X-Men #126]

Shortly afterwards, Jean asked Xavier to test the scope of her powers, as she wanted to squash her teammates‘ fears that she was turning into a threat. However, the professor was surprised too, as the results confirmed that she could do things that Jean shouldn’t be capable of. Halfway through the experiment, he also found another personality in Jean – apparently the Phoenix Force speaking through its chosen host and avatar. The Force believed itself to be the last hope against something terrible happening in the future. What that role Phoenix exactly was to play remained unclear, though. A few days later, however, the Shi’ar put Earth under quarantine as they noted “toxic“ aggression levels among Earth’s mutants. Before leaving, though, they hinted that nature would deal with that problem: “The Phoenix has hatched – and she is terrible.” [New X-Men #128, 133]

Jean accompanied Xavier on a good-will world tour, during which they visited all of the newly erected X-Corporation headquarters. During her absence, Scott and Emma were growing closer in a strange sort of psychic affair that had actually started out as therapy. Eventually returning to the mansion in Westchester, Jean caught Scott and Emma in the psychic act, so to speak. Furiously, she used her powers to tear through Emma’s mind demanding to know whether she and Scott had actually slept together and, along the way, punished the other woman by making Emma face some uncomfortable truths about herself. Scott finally put a stop to this, showing Jean that they had done nothing before he stormed out angrily. [New X-Men #138-139]

Emma was found murdered soon thereafter, her diamond form split into thousands bits. Jean was but one of many suspects, but pretty soon the true culprit was revealed. In a desperate move, the Beast had collected every single shard of Emma’s body and, sensing that her consciousness still lingered around them, Jean used the Phoenix Force to fuse the pieces of Emma’s diamond form back together. While reviving her rival, Jean acknowledged that Emma could give Scott something she couldn’t. [New X-Men #140-141]

A short while later, Jean flew a plane to save Logan who was stranded on an asteroid. It turned out to be a trap and now both were stranded on Magneto’s old headquarters, Asteroid M, which was hurtling towards the sun. Jean shared her concerns with Logan: her growing powers, her fears about the Phoenix replacing her and her knowledge that she had to let Scott go out of love. Not able to see her slowly die, Logan killed her instead. As a result, her Phoenix-self was freed and, now fully empowered, Jean used the sun’s energy and the molecules of the asteroid to create them a craft that brought them back to Earth. Along with the other X-Men, they confronted a Magneto imposter who had been posing as the X-Man known as Xorn. As his last act, “Xorneto” sent all his energy into Phoenix causing a stroke within her. Jean died in Cyclops arms, telling him all she ever did was die on him and urging him to live. [New X-Men #146-150]

150 years later, in some dystopic, war-torn future, a Phoenix egg was found in the Moon’s blue area. However, before Tom Skylark could bring it to the X-Men, the egg was stolen by the Beast’s armies. The Beast had it hatch and out came a burning, yet reborn Jean, who due to being hatched prematurely didn’t really remember who she was, just that she was there to “fix something that was dying.” After injecting himself with Phoenix DNA, the Beast sent her to erase several of his enemies, including the present-day X-Men. Among them were Wolverine, Cassandra Nova and the mutant brain, Martha Johannson, all of whom had survived from the present day. Accessing the Shi’ar files on Phoenix, Cassandra and Martha discovered how to briefly separate Jean from the Phoenix consciousness. It was long enough for Jean to remember her true identity and purpose. Quite horrified, she learned from Logan what happened in her absence. Heart-broken after her death, Scott had left the school and, while the Beast tried his best to keep the Xavier Institute open, he ultimately wasn’t wasn't capable of handling all the responsibility that had been thrust on him. Eventually, he began taking the drug Kick to cope with the pressure and, as a result, Hank became the new host body for Sublime, the sentient microscopic lifeform who existed in aerosol form within Kick.

While the future X-Men died in the battle with Sublime, buying her time, Jean turned back into Phoenix. Facing Sublime, she separated the rogue intelligent bacterial colony from the Beast’s body and burned it out of reality - by amputating the entire future. Her work done, she returned to the so-called White Hot Room, where she was expected by an army of Phoenixes – although as a “white Phoenix of the crown” she apparently played a special role. Jean learned that she could build a new future, but she would have to water it with her heartblood. As that particular future had been made possible because 150 years earlier Cyclops had refused Emma Frost and her offer to reopen Xavier’s school together, Jean reached back through time to her funeral. Urging Scott to “live,” Jean made him choose Emma, thus opening another path for the future. [New X-Men #151-154]

When the X-Men put the inscription “She will rise again“ on Jean’s gravestone, they couldn’t have known how soon that would actually happen. It being common knowledge among the Shi’ar that the Phoenix Force always comes back, a group of renegades caused it to return incomplete and way before its time. They intended to destroy the Force once and for all with a new experimental weapon, but one tiny spark of the Phoenix remained and escaped to Earth. Taking on a humanoid shape, the Force approached Jean’s grave, animated her body and made her dig herself out. Despite Jean’s protests, the Force fully restored her body and entered it. Struggling for control, Jean had Wolverine kill her time and again, further weakening the Force, before burying herself deep underneath the frozen sea in the Arctic region.

The X-Men tracked her down, only to find that the Force had left Jean’s body again. In its weakened state, it wanted to absorb the energy of Cyclops‘ optic beam, so it took on Jean’s shape again and asked Scott to open his eyes. However, when Emma Frost interrupted the process, the Force realized that Scott now loved her and it chose Emma as its next host. It was actually a trap, as right upon merging, Emma (and Scott) entered a special containment chamber to lock in the Force in. It didn’t hold for long, though, and bursting free it became quite clear that Emma couldn’t withstand the Phoenix’s vast energies for much longer. Therefore, after being blasted free from her icy grave, Jean attacked the Phoenix in its new host, and eventually extracted her from Emma’s body. Explaining that they would have to return to the White Hot Room and to wait for all their missing pieces to arrive, Jean convinced the Force to listen to her, and again they merged. Instantly on the verge of being overwhelmed and corrupted again, the X-Men prepared to fight Jean, but Cyclops had a different idea.

Emma mindlinked Scott with all the other X-Men and, bundling all their love and support for Jean, she sent it to Jean. Thus grounded to her human roots, Jean got a handle on her new status. At that point, the Shi’ar launched their weapon again, creating a miniature black hole to get rid of the Phoenix. Jean threw herself in the way of the blast, saving her friends and teammates. About to depart to the afterlife once again, Jean admitted that she was scared and asked Scott to let her see his eyes a final time. As he took off his visor, Scott reminded her that no matter where she would go or how much she would grow, she should always remember that, deep down, she is Jean Grey. [X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong #1-5]

Without a doubt, the Phoenix Force will return someday and, unless it finds a better avatar suited for its needed, Jean will be along as the Phoenix’s host and heart. Only time can tell when that return will occur and what dire situation it will be that requires the Phoenix‘ attention for it to return. Additionally, it will be quite interesting to see how Jean will react to the fact that the Shi’ar have wiped out her entire family, in fear of them producing another mutant offspring capable of wielding the Force.