PRESTIGE: Page 7 of 10

Publication Date: 13th Jan 2022
Written By: Peter Luzifer, Monolith and Ruth.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Douglas Mangum.


As the Shi’ar Civil War continued, Rachel became more focused on her need for revenge on the Death Commandos. She pressed Lilandra for details about the secret order of the Shi’ar that operated in the shadow of the throne and ordered the attack on her family. Rachel also ended her relationship with Korvus, finding it too hard to navigate the ramifications of their forced connection. Havok and Ka’ardum led the Shi’ar rebels in gathering military forces to defect from Vulcan and swear allegiance to Lilandra and her claim to the throne. The tide was turning against Vulcan when a third faction entered the war. Their name was Scy’ar Tal, translating as “death to the Shi’ar.” Having lost a holy war against the Shi’ar 1,000 years ago, the Scy’ar Tal had returned for vengeance.

The Starjammers initially considered an alliance with the Scy’ar Tal against Vulcan, but the crusaders hated all Shi’ar and killed billions when their doomsday weapon called Finality, constructed of weaponized star gate technology, dropped a star atop a Shi’ar colony world. Havok and Vulcan reluctantly formed an alliance to stop Finality and the Scy’ar Tal. Rachel in particular had to restrain herself after Chancellor Araki, lord of the secret order, brought the Death Commandos to the parley as well. The Starjammers and Imperial Guard found a stellar nursery being used by the Scy’ar Tal as an ammo depot. Vulcan naturally betrayed the Starjammers and prepared to use Finality to destroy the Scy’ar Tal homeworld. Havok dispatched Rachel and Korvus to intercept the homing beacon guiding Finality, but they failed. Major-General Ka’ardum chose to side with Vulcan permanently against the greater threat to the Shi’ar and the rest of the Starjammers were captured, leaving Korvus and Rachel alone. [X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1-5]

Rachel and Korvus reconnected with Lilandra (set loose by Ka’ardum before his betrayal) and they eventually reclaimed the Starjammer. While on the run, Rachel killed several members of the Death Commandos sent after her and her comrades. Rachel and Lilandra made a daring raid on Gladiator’s quarters to extract from his mind the location of the prison holding their friends. On Kr’kn, Rachel used the power of the Phoenix to hold back the Shi’ar fleet while Lilandra and Korvus teleported down to the planet into the buried prison. They found Havok and the other Starjammers already in the process of freeing themselves, but the escape attempt was stymied by the arrival of Vulcan and Deathbird, the Imperial Guard and the new Pretorian Guard as well. Worse yet, the Phoenix Force chose that moment to consolidate all aspects of itself, the excess power abandoning Rachel and Korvus’ blade. The Starjammers were reunited and fled from the battle, but were unable to end the threat of Emperor Vulcan then and there. [X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4]

Lilandra and the Starjammers sought sanctuary in the Kree Empire, recently taken over by the Inhuman Royal Family of Earth. She accurately warned Black Bolt and Medusa that Vulcan’s lust for conquest would be turned their way soon. Lilandra was kidnapped from the Kree homeworld by the Imperial Guard in the midst of Princess Crystal’s wedding to Ronan of the Kree, severely injuring the groom. Still, Rachel and her friends not only managed to rescue Lilandra, they convinced Gladiator to turn on Vulcan as well. Back on Chandilar, Lilandra attempted to reclaim her throne in Vulcan’s absence, but the city degenerated into chaos from rival protestors. Rachel and the Starjammers attempted to provide cover for Lilandra, but a Raptor assassin killed the Majestrix on the streets. Rachel and Gladiator took out their aggressions on Araki’s secret order and the Death Commandos. Rachel saved Gladiator by killing Black Cloak (leader of the Death Commandos and who led the massacre of her family) and Gladiator ended Araki’s life as well. The war ended with Vulcan dead in battle with Black Bolt and the Shi’ar subjugated to the Kree for a time. Their original mission accomplished, Havok, Polaris and Rachel decided it was time to return home to Earth. [War of Kings crossover]

On their way home with Korvus, the former Starjammers encountered a dire situation in Shi’ar space. Rachel attempted to reach home mentally, casting her astral form across light-years of space to contact the X-Men. As bad luck would have it, however, her mind arrived just as a rogue personality from the Omega-class mutant Legion inverted reality. The X-Men’s new island base Utopia was rewritten as part of a pocket reality, creating alternate lives and histories for everyone present. Only partially present in her astral form, Rachel was recast as a psionic energy ghost called Revenant. [Age of X crossover] Even after reality was restored, Revenant’s memory was jumbled, leaving her unable to recall her body’s location or the message she intended to bring. Revenant slowly dispersed as her astral energy was called back to her body, but she had no idea where that would be. Rogue was able to touch Revenant, though, getting a sense of the real Rachel’s location to follow up on with her X-Men squad. [X-Men: Legacy (1st series) #248-250]

Rogue and her X-Men eventually found Rachel and the others dealing with Shi’ar occupation of a space habitat. They survived the adventure and returned to Earth. Although Korvus came with them, Rachel quickly recognized her former lover just wasn’t suited for life on Earth. Their strong attraction wasn’t enough to make the warrior-born of an alien race feel comfortable among humans. With Rachel’s approval, then, Rogue arranged for Korvus to leave Earth as the captain of a crew of scavengers they met in their travels. Rachel and Rogue were among a number of X-Men who left the island fortress of Utopia soon afterwards, helping to re-establish the school in Westchester, re-named in honor of Rachel's mother as the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. [X-Men: Legacy (1st series) #254-260]

Rachel Grey became one of the teachers at the newly established Jean Grey School. She taught psychic defense to the students while also coordinating with Rogue to protect the school with the teaching staff of X-Men. Rachel had the particular duty of keeping tabs on Quentin Quire, a teen anarchist and telepath paroled into the school with Captain America’s blessing after the youth attacked human minds at the United Nations. During psychic training, Quire tried to provoke Rachel by reawakening her memories as a Hound, but she shut down his juvenile prodding and left the rebellious teen with a nosebleed. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #1-3, X-Men: Legacy (1st series) #261.1]

When a psychic shockwave left both Rachel and Quentin temporarily comatose, it became clear that the Phoenix Force had returned. In Rachel’s absence from Earth, the Decimation had been partially undone thanks to the arrival of a mutant messiah named Hope. Now it seemed Hope’s existence was due to the Phoenix, and it intended to use her to reawaken the X-gene in the human race. Or possibly destroy it. The Avengers feared the Phoenix Force’s arrival and wanted to control Hope and prevent her from uniting with the cosmic entity. Cyclops and the X-Men of Utopia fought against them, leading to Hope fleeing Utopia and beginning a race between the factions. Wolverine and Beast sided with their allies in the Avengers, but Rachel and several teachers at the school chose to aid Scott’s team. Rachel knew from personal experience that the Phoenix was neither evil nor inherently bad, and she chose to support the mutant race.

Matters became more complicated when Iron Man intercepted the Phoenix Force before it reached Hope, splintering it into five fragments that immediately possessed X-Men from Utopia, including Cyclops. These “Phoenix Five” X-Men began ushering in a new age of peace and enlightenment on Earth, but Captain America and the Avengers remained suspicious of their intentions. They removed Hope from Utopia, prompting Cyclops to declare “No More Avengers.” Rachel uncomfortably fell back into her old role as a Hound, hunting the mutant “traitors” in the Avengers, such as Wolverine, Beast and Quicksilver, as they searched for Hope. Beneath the surface, Rachel seemed jealous of Hope and the Phoenix Five and of how the Phoenix left her behind. While she was conflicted over what to do over Hope, Rachel had no confusion at all when Gladiator and the Shi’ar brought the Death Commandos to Earth to prevent another Phoenix event, and she tore through the murderers of her family without hesitation. [Avengers vs. X-Men crossover]