PRESTIGE: Page 8 of 10

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


With the fall of the Phoenix Five and the undoing of the Decimation, the Jean Grey School became more populated than ever. Rachel and the teachers tried to get back to normal, but they also faced a growing threat from the Hellfire Club, who promised to destroy their school and murder the children under their care. Rachel was asked by Wolverine to skim Salem Center for the thoughts of Kade Kilgore and his cronies after their student Broo was shot in the head. However, Rachel was increasingly uncomfortable with using her powers to invasively track thoughts, as it reminded her of her days as a Hound. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #19] She continued to make compromises, though, especially after several students went missing and were seemingly recruited by the rival Hellfire Academy. Rachel Grey began exhausting herself skimming the thoughts of every person on the planet, desperately searching for a sign of their lost students. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #31-33]

After the Hellfire Academy was disbanded, it became clear the X-Men needed an active field team at the school once more. The ageless, bacterial consciousness known in the modern era as John Sublime presented himself to Rachel and the X-Men at the school. He warned them about the return of his sister organism, Arkea, a techno-possessor. Sure enough, Arkea arrived at the mansion and forcibly inhabited the Omega Sentinel body of Karima Shapandar. Rachel and a group of X-Men led by Storm defeated Arkea and purged her from Karima’s systems. Sublime proved surprisingly helpful dealing with the extinction-level threat of Arkea, and Rachel seemed to see a spark of humanity in his actions. On the other hand, Rachel was very resistant to Storm’s leadership when she risked sacrificing Karima to end the threat. This kept a wedge between them, even as Rachel started operating as Ororo’s second-in-command for the new field unit brought together by these circumstances. [X-Men (4th series) #1-4]

Due to her busy schedule, Rachel Grey was among the last to learn that the original five X-Men had traveled forward in time from their teenaged years and taken up residence in the present. The very idea of interacting with younger, time-traveling versions of her parents was too daunting for Rachel, and she mostly avoided “Teen Jean” and “Tykelops.” [All-New X-Men (1st series) #15] That being said, Rachel was supportive of their decision to remain in the present and fix things before going home. Being a temporal refugee herself, Rachel could hardly blame them. When a group of X-Men from the far future journeyed to the present to force the “O5” to return to the past, Rachel was hesitant to force the original X-Men to return against their will, wanting it to be their choice. She was also supportive of Kitty Pryde, who had become the O5’s main instructor in the present. Most of the X-Men were not as supportive, although it became moot when the X-Men’s time cube inexplicably refused to return the O5 to the past anyway. Kitty took the O5 away to attend Cyclops's more supportive New Xavier School, and Rachel had less of an opportunity for awkward encounters with her young parents. [Battle of the Atom crossover]

Arkea resurfaced when the nano-cybernetic villainess Lady Deathstrike sought to augment her own abilities using Arkea tech. Agents of her Sisterhood infiltrated the mansion and retrieved an Arkea sample from Beast’s workshop. Rachel called Sublime to confer with him about his sister’s potential return, but Sublime withheld information from her as he tried to deal with Deathstrike directly. Psylocke caught him in the enemy camp and extracted Sublime to find out what he knew. This exchange drove Rachel and Sublime apart, and any possibility of a relationship between them was negated. The Sisterhood was convinced to abandon Arkea when she proved less than successful (despite her arrogance), and a “psychic microbial smart bomb” devised by Sublime allowed the X-Men to eliminate her entirely. [X-Men (4th series) #7-12]

When Jubilee’s adopted child Shogo was threatened, Storm finally asserted herself and formalized the ad hoc strike team she and Rachel had been dithering with for weeks. Ororo’s confidence and commanding attitude impressed Rachel as it had in the past, and the two of them put their issues behind them. [X-Men (4th series) #13-15] Rachel was also thrilled when Nightcrawler was brought back to life thanks to the Bamfs that infested the Jean Grey School. Kurt had died while Rachel was off in space, and she had missed him terribly. They spent time together getting reacquainted as she helped him adjust to life at the new school. [Amazing X-Men (2nd series) #1-5, Nightcrawler (4th series) #1]

Agent Brand called Rachel and the X-Men to the Peak station when S.W.O.R.D. discovered a badly wounded Deathbird floating in space. Technically Rachel’s aunt-by-marriage, Deathbird had apparently been in stasis ever since she was badly wounded at the onset of the War of Kings. Cecelia Reyes diagnosed Deathbird as pregnant just before a horde of Sidri recaptured her from the Peak. Rachel, Monet and Psylocke pursued her and were joined by D’Keth and the Shi’ar Weather Council on a similar mission. Rachel could sense D’Keth was uneasy around her, and soon pressed him to reveal why. As advisor to the throne, it was D’Keth who conceived the plan of eliminating the Grey genome to prevent another Dark Phoenix event. The X-Men saved Deathbird from the Providian Order and, despite her rage, Rachel saved D’Keth from death at the hands of their enemies. Still, before they parted, she telepathically forced him to experience the full emotional turmoil she lived with every day over her family’s murder. [X-Men (4th series) #18-22]

Rachel’s concern for her students made her paranoid when the non-mutant Spider-Man joined the school. She couldn’t understand why one of Logan’s last wishes was for the web-slinger to come to the Jean Grey School as a guidance counselor for troubled kids. Matters only got worse when Spider-Man’s lack of psychic defenses caused his thoughts to leak out, and Rachel learned he was a human corporate industrialist named Peter Parker. Rachel remembered what human-made weapons and technology had done to her future, and she tried to force her way into Spider-Man’s deeper thoughts, only to be rebuked by his student, No-Girl. In the end, though, Spider-Man proved himself to the Special Class and the X-Men. [Spider-Man and the X-Men #1-6]

Eventually, Rachel became burnt out after the death of her father Cyclops and the threat of M-Pox scouring the mutant community thanks to the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mists. [Death of X #4] She took a leave of absence from the X-Men and began living in London to recuperate. In time, though, she was sought out by Magneto out of concerns over a new Inhuman named Ulysses who could profile the future to create highly accurate predictive visions. Storm’s X-Men were trying to work peacefully with Medusa and the Inhumans, but Magneto feared Ulysses gave the Inhumans an edge in the inevitable conflict to come. Rachel agreed to join Magneto’s X-Men and secure Ulysses away from New Attilan. However, Magneto aborted the mission once he saw a vision granted to him by Ulysses’ power, one showing mutants dying as X-Men fought X-Men because of his goals. Deciding to find another way to address the problem, Magneto and Rachel retreated from New Attilan. [Civil War II: X-Men #3-4]