Jean Grey is under the sea, sure that something is stalking her. Cynically, she tells herself “what else is new?” Ever since the Phoenix thing started, she’s been feeling like the puff-brained star of her own personal slasher movie. She isn’t some dumb scream queen, Jean announces, deciding to confront the underwater monster, only to find that it is a lot larger than she anticipated.
King Namor shows up, effortlessly harpooning the beast. Quite a clever ploy there, he mocks. First lull the beast into submission with her drylander dog paddle, then simply drown herself before he can eat her. The end result is roughly the same, crimson cloud of freckled backwash, but she gets the satisfaction of going out on her own terms.
Jean guesses to herself that that’s why nobody likes Namor. So snide and self-righteous, he is going out of his way to mock her, even as he saves her land-loving life. But that’s exactly why she came her, exactly what she needs. This jerk may be the only one who can save her from her flaming fate.
As she watches him battle the monster, she is impressed despite herself. This whole underwater “Conan the Destroyer” vibe is working. However, the kraken’s tentacle stings him from behind. Concerned, Jean asks if he is ok, while the kraken flees.
Fine, he replies brusquely and gives chase. Jean follows via telekinetic propulsion but asks if they can stop and talk for a second. This is hard for her! And here he was hoping they could spend the whole day together, he snarks. Undeterred, she continues that she has a couple of questions about the Phoenix. His favorite topic, Namor mocks. Sadly, he is busy dragon-slaying at the moment. Jean snaps she is an omega level telekinetic. She can help him with his dragon, but her thing is pretty important, too.
Namor sighs and stops. Jean doesn’t stop in time and bumps into him. Every bit as graceful as she is charming, he remarks. Shut up! she snaps. He tells her to get on with it. She explains about her Phoenix visions and how it is coming for her. She talked to the other Phoenix hosts but they are all super messed up by it. He’s the only one who came out unscathed. She was hoping he’d tell her how.
Look at her, Namor chuckles. Just a tiny flailing tadpole of a thing. Nowhere near the terrifying specimen that was the real Jean Grey. And even she couldn’t begin to handle hosting that horrible bird. What hope is there for her? She is clearly quite sunk.
They are interrupted by a shark exodus, courtesy of the kraken. Mind if he gets back to it? Namor asks. Jean watches him attack and muses that, while he is usually condescending, if anything he seemed to be sad for her when he answered her. Which is a whole lot scarier.
Namor is about to harpoon the creature but then freezes in mid-throw. Some help here, Omega level tadpole? he sends. It would appear the beast is poisonous. He appears to be paralyzed from the neck down. Good thing they paused for that chat, he adds snarkily.
Jean slams the creature telekinetically away, then catches Namor. “My hero,” he mocks. She points out he didn’t realize the creature was poisonous. He blusters that he rules 70 percent of this planet. When does she suppose he’d have time to catalogue every bottom- feeding creature? No way to guess how much time they’ll have until that thing finds them. Better get to it, he orders. Jean doesn’t understand. Her query, he clarifies. She wants to know how he got through the Phoenix fire unscathed. She is a psychic, so hop in. The water’s fine.
Jean swims in to find both sea creatures and Atlanteans dead, Atlantis in ruins. She swims into the throne room. Namor sits on his throne, the Phoenix flaring on front of him. Not meeting her eyes, he admits he lied about the water. It’s a bit hot. Jean sputters then begins to understand. He seems so cool and together and unaffected. She thought he had the answer, but he’s no different than the rest.
He’s King Namor! he shouts. The mighty Sub-Mariner! The supreme ruler of the deep! He’s lived a dozen human lifetimes. He has no equal! How dare she lump him in with those X-fools? He is nothing like the rest! But the Phoenix burned him just the same, Jean states calmly.
Does he think they lost it? Jean asks nervously. Maybe they lost it and they can wait out the poison and just swim away. Namor laughs briefly. And perhaps the Phoenix has forgotten all about her. Out of sight, out of mind, yes? Perhaps all of the monsters have given up and gone away and the two of them can live happily ever after. But he thinks they both know better. They both can agree that, once a monster has your scent, the beast will never stop coming.
Which it does, as if on cue. What do they do? Jean shouts panicked. The only thing they can do, he replies. If it’s any consolation, for once in his life he doesn’t take satisfaction in being right. Enough “cool guy snark,” Jean orders. Tell her how to do this! He wishes he could, Namor replies. It’s time for her to leave him. There will be an opening when the creature breaks free.
Jean refuses. Impatiently, he tells her that she has her monster, he has his. She isn’t leaving, Jean insists. Yes she is, he replies, equally stubbornly. She just hasn’t accepted it yet. Now be a good little hero and bring him his trident. If today is his day, he will go out with his birthright clutched in his cold dead hand. Or teeth, as the case may be, he adds recalling his momentary paralysis.
Jean tears the trident free. Namor shouts a challenge at the kraken and orders Jean to go. Instead, she lashes out with her telekinesis at the monster. Namor chuckles, amused and impressed. A tadpole no more, he has to admit as Jean skewers the beast’s brain.
He congratulates her and admits he is impressed. Jean in turn admits she doesn’t like killing things. Could have fooled him, he chuckles before admitting somewhat reluctantly he might have been wrong (which happens rarely). Wrong about what? Jean demands. About her and that Phoenix of hers, he replies. Look at what she’s done. A natural born warrior. If she lets that bird anywhere near her brain, it will burn it to a crisp. But what if Jean doesn’t allow it? What if instead she fights to the bitter end? What if she snuffs that wretched bird’s flame with her bare hands and lives to tell the tale?
Having found a new option, Jean thoughtfully stares at the bloodied trident in her hands.