Phoenix Resurrection: the Return of Jean Grey #2

Issue Date: 
January 2018
Story Title: 
All Lesser Birds

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Rafael Fonteriz(inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Leinil Francis Yu & Rachelle Rosenberg (main cover artists), Marcos Martin, In-Hyuk Lee, Victor Hugo (variant covers), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chrstina Harrington & Chris Robinson (assistant editors), Darren Shan (associate editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Jean Grey created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Kitty Pryde and a team of senior X-Men discuss the recent events and realize the Phoenix is returning, though they don’t know what that means for Jean Grey. With all other psychics missing or out of commission, Cable accesses Cerebro to find out more, but it overloads and he is sent into a coma. However, they get some coordinates for multiple locations and Kitty sends teams to all those places. Nothing happens except to the team at the former Hellfire Club. They confront what seems to be Magneto who behaves in a decidedly eccentric way and disappears mid-fight. Elsewhere, Jean Grey still lives her life as a waitress while suffering from strange dreams of dying. In the diner, she meets a strangely familiar seeming man named Erik, who disappears and reappears. Jean doesn’t notice that outside the diner the world is burning…

Full Summary: 

256 miles above the Earth:
An astronaut, Dave, floats outside a space station for some repairs and complains to Earth about his fellow astronaut who apparently kicks in his sleep. Suddenly, he sees something, looking down, looking like an energy conflagration. He asks if they are seeing that as well…

Jean Grey is asleep in her bed in the throes of a nightmare. “It’s better that way,” she murmurs. “Quick. Clean. Final.” Her telekinesis lifts objects around her, then she drops them again. The noise of things crashing wakes her up and she sits there, lost in thought.

It’s 7:36 and she runs outside, clearly too late, coffee in hand. The gardener Jamie greets her. Jean wonders how he gets it done. She can’t even get to her job in time and he seems to be in ten places at once! She hesitates and asks if he felt something weird last night. Like everything shook, then she decides it was just a dream and drives off. She orders herself to keep things together.

At the Xavier Institute, the X-Men have gathered. Jubilee summarizes they have no frigging clue what’s going on. Beast chides her for not being constructive. Kitty announces, they are still trying to get a handle on these coordinated attacks on their people around the planet. Iceman points out that he agrees with Jubes. He gets that they don’t know what happened, but shouldn’t they—

They do know, Old man Logan interrupts curtly. It’s the Phoenix. If Jean is truly back, Storm begins. Nobody said Jean was back, Logan corrects her. They can argue about it all day while they wait for Hank to give them a printout that shows what they already know. The locations, the people materializing out of thin air, the bird in the sky. It ain’t Jean Grey but it sure as #%&$ is the planet-eating monster that lived inside her!

Beast agrees. Cerebro’s signals didn’t show them a mutant per se. But it’s what Cerebro does! young Cyclops states surprised. Not this time, Hank replies.

Storm suggests they should be out chasing more of those signals then. Hank and Kitty exchange a look, then Kitty admits there haven’t been any new signals, since they don’t have anyone to use Cerebro. Psylocke is still recovering from her injuries. Nobody knows where Monet and Legion are. And Hope, Quentin Teen Jean and the Cuckoos… are missing. They assume it’s related to the Phoenix phenomena. They are looking for them. But for now all of their psychics are down or missing. Not all of them, Cable reminds them with a tiny smile.

Jean is standing at the counter in Annie’s Diner when a customer calls her. It’s a middle-aged man with white hair, wearing a Star of David necklace. Jean apologizes for not noticing him. She is still waiting for her morning coffee to kick in. Addressing her as Jean, the man asks if she had a rough night. Jean babbles about her nights, then is taken aback that the stranger knows her name. The man points to the nametag she is wearing on her waitress uniform.

Embarrassed, Jean remarks he seems familiar and he replies his name is Erik. He was friends with her old teacher. Mr. Claremont? Jean asks. Not him, is Erik’s reply. What would she want, if she could have anything? The Lumberjack is favorite of hers, is Jean’s reply. He agrees to go with that.

The Xavier Institute:
Several X-Men have gathered around Cable in the Cerebro chamber. Iceman wonders if Cable knows what he is doing. Cable marvels at the sight Cerebro gives him. Beast wonders how to guide him to find what they are looking for. Rachel described it as a feeling or emotion rather than an actual living being. Like a memory or trauma. Cable doesn’t find that very helpful. First, he senses nothing, then pain. A moment later, he screams. Cerebro short-circuits and Cable is unconscious. Iceman helpfully points out, now they are out of psychics.

In the diner’s kitchen, Jean orders the Lumberjack Breakfast from the cook, John Proudstar. Annie asks what was going on out there. Jean avoids her questions. The guest looked familiar, she claims, then admits she has been feeling off for weeks. She can’t sleep. She’s lost her appetite and keeps having nightmares. When Annie tries to calm her, she states she dreamed last night that she died on the moon! And she’s seeing things out of the corner of her eye, like things are happening below the surface and she can never get a good look at them. She feels like someone is poking around in her brain.

Annie is starting to get worried. Even when Jean demurs, Annie asks her to speak to Dr. MacTaggert. Wickedly, Annie adds she is not surprised at her lack of sleep. Scott is back in town, isn’t he? Not enthusiastic, Jean admits when he came for a date she’d forgot—

John interrupts their talk with the finished order. Jean plasters a smile on her face and brings the breakfast out, but Erik is gone.

Outside the Xavier Institute, Kitty Pryde informs the X-Men that some of their psychic teammates are missing and they are looking for them. They are operating under the assumption that their disappearance and the current psychic phenomena are related. Based on the evidence, all seems to be pointing to one explanation: the Phoenix is coming back. They managed to salvage some coordinates before Cerebro overloaded and took Cable with it. It’s a handful of locations, so they are splitting into squads again. She stresses the Phoenix can end all life on the planet, if it chooses. They must prepare for the worst. Beast and Jubilee’s teams are going to look for their missing teammates. Everyone else is on Phoenix duty. She wishes them good luck.

Sometime later:
Team 1 (Kitty, Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler) are at Jamaica Bay, where everything is calm. Kitty asks the other teams to check in.

Silver team (Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Domino) are in the ruins of Genosha where nothing is going one either.

Black Team (Dazzler, Strong Guy, Shatterstar and Pixie) are in the Manhattan Sewers. Nothing.

The original time-displaced X-Men and Rogue are in the Savage Land. Apart from all things that want to eat them, nothing, Rogue reports.

Iceman, Boom Boom, Chamber, Hellion, Wolverine (Laura) and Longshot (aka Team Yellow) are at the abandoned Hellfire Club building. Iceman suggests, if he were looking for the Phoenix, he’d know where to go - Arizona! Nobody laughs at the joke, even when he explains it. Suddenly, they see Magneto hovering in front of them.

Hellion nervously asks they are still cool with Magneto, right? Depends on his definition of “cool,” Boom Boom opines. Longshot wonders why Magneto is wearing his original costume. Iceman orders them to spread out. Wolverine unsheathes her claws.

Not all born with mutant powers are fit to rule the Earth, Magneto announces. They must be destroyed!

Iceman orders an attack. Longshot throws his knives at him, which Magneto, of course, deflects with his powers. Creating an iceshield, Iceman suggests Longshot not throw metal at him.

Chamber blasts him. As Magneto fights back, he also politely asks for a fresh cup of coffee. He grabs Wolverine and wonders what she is. So familiar. Let her remind him, Laura retorts and with a kick buries her footclaw in his skull. A moment later, he and the whole metal mess he created have disappeared.

In the diner, Erik suddenly sits at his place again and orders a fresh cup of coffee. He apologizes for leaving. He though he saw some people he knew. And? Jean asks. He didn’t know all of them, he replies, his nose beginning to bleed. When Jean points it out, he explains it’s an old war injury. He was in the war? she asks. He was the war, he corrects her.

As he drinks his coffee, he notes she seems to feel better. She agrees and looks outside where everything is burning, the flames forming a vague bird shape.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Boom Boom, Cable, Chamber, Colossus, Dazzler, Forge, Iceman, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Longshot, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, Prestige, Rogue, Shatterstar, Storm, Wolverine II (all X-Men)
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman (time-displaced X-Men)
Domino, Sabretooth, Warpath (Weapon X)
Armor, Dust, Hellion, Pixie III, Rockslide (students)

Dave (astronaut)

Magneto (construct)

Jean Grey

Phoenix Force

Annie Richardson (construct)
Magneto, Multiple Man, Stacy X, Thunderbird (constructs)

Story Notes: 

The title is taken from a poem by John Donne:
“Up then, fair phoenix bride, frustrate the sun;
Thyself from thine affection
Takest warmth enough, and from thine eye
All lesser birds will take their jollity.
Up, up, fair bride, and call
Thy stars from out their several boxes, take
Thy rubies, pearls, and diamonds forth, and make
Thyself a constellation of them all;
And by their blazing signify
That a great princess falls, but doth not die.
Be thou a new star, that to us portends
Ends of much wonder; and be thou those ends.”

Jean’s words in her dream are the final words she / Phoenix spoke in X-Men (1st series) #137 before committing suicide.

Marvel Girl, Kid Omega, the Stepford Cuckoos and Hope Summers (arguably not a psychic) are missing due to events happening at the same time in Jean Grey #9-11.

“Magneto’s” words are from X-Men (1st series) #1.

“Mr. Claremont” is of course, a homage to the most influential X-Men writer Chris Claremont.

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