Phoenix Resurrection: the Return of Jean Grey #4

Issue Date: 
March 2018
Story Title: 
That a Great Princess Falls, but Doeth not Die

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Ramon Rosanas (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Leinil Francis Yu & Marte Gracia (main cover artists), Mukesh Singh, 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: 

While Jean doesn’t notice that the reality around her is burning chaos, the X-Men enter the invisible cocoon and the burning town within. They are soon confronted by dead X-Men and students, whom they have to fight, while a small group makes their way to the only undamaged building in town - Annie’s Diner, where Jean is at work oblivious to their presence. When the others soon rejoin them, Beast theorizes that the Phoenix is using this place to get Jean into the right mind frame for them to join together. After the Phoenix Raptor lands on the roof, they quickly realize it wants them to fight in front of Jean, hoping it will push he over the edge. Instead, Old man Logan enters the diner alone to talk to Jean, while inside Annie is subtly trying to push her to become the Phoenix.

Full Summary: 

Jean Grey lies on the ground in the ruins of a house. She wakes up and swears that she has overslept again. She leaves the house for work. To her, everything looks normal. She grumbles as she can’t find her car keys. Whatever us in front of her, everything looks normal, while everything outside of her field of vision is a blazing inferno.

While inside her line of site, Mailman Joshua Guthrie greets her and asks if she doesn’t work today. Just late, she replies. Joshua promises to be by at the diner later for some of John’s pot roast. Jean’s neighbor Maria calls her lying in her chair. She asks if that Gleason boy has been sniffing around here again. Her little Tier is simply terrified, referring to her small dog.

When Jean looks at them, everything seems normal. Jean repeats she is late for work. As she walks to works, she stares at her phone. Before her, behind her and some distance away, everything is broken and burning. Around her everything is fine. She has a short chat with the paperboy.

New Mexico:
The X-Men have found an invisible dome and a door in it has opened. Kitty Pryde summarizes they only know the Phoenix made this and what it wants is probably bad for them and life in general.

Hellion shouts they should go in there and kill the Phoenix. Beast reminds them it is a galactic being of unknown origin and unimaginable power. It’s death and birth incarnate. They can’t just “kill it.” So what do they do? Hellion demands. Let’s go say ‘hello,’ Beast suggests.

Who’s crazy enough to go in first? Glob Herman asks and is unsurprised when the answer is Old Man Logan, claws unsheathed.

They step inside to see the burning town. Are they in hell? Hellion wonders, to be told ‘no’ by Magik, who is something of an expert on the subject.

As the Icemen iceblast the flames, the younger one remarks he thought they’d find Jean in Arizona. Adult Iceman is the only one who laughs, as he made the same joke the other day (and nobody else laughed either).

As they make their way through the conflagration, Colossus wonders if poor Jean has been trapped here all the time. Kitty sees something in front of them and warns that they found the people who live here. The first person they see is Josh Guthrie aka Icarus. When the smoke clears, they see Feral, Esme Cuckoo, John Proudstar, adult Cyclops and more – all of them dead X-Men or students.

Thunderbird attacks his brother Warpath. Colossus shouts it is not his brother. The way they move… their silence… they are Phoenix creatures like they fought before! Storm agrees, they are an abomination and tells her teammates to fight, which they do.

Colossus battles lots of Madrox dupes, Logan fights Vulcan. Wolverine manages to stab Vulcan, saving several teammates whom he had trapped telekinetically and is hit in the back by Wolf Cub.

Kitty tells them the Phoenix is trying to slow them down. Warpath is more worried about it killing them.

Kitty orders a group led by Beast to keep them busy, while she orders Polaris, Iceman, Logan and Magik to accompany her. Another Madrox tries to attack and Logan stabs him, announcing he has wanted to stab a Madrox since the first time he met him. Feels even better than… He shuts up when they seem to have found their destination. An untouched, whole, glowing diner, set amongst all the ruin and conflagration.

To their surprise, they see Jean coming out. She ignores them, carries out the trash and returns inside. They realize she couldn’t see them.

Inside the diner, Jean remarks to Annie that it is a slow morning. She wonders where everyone is. Maybe they learned to make their own pancakes? Annie suggests. Jean sits down beside her and Annie notes her good mood. Did the dinner with Scott go well? Jean demurs. She had to call it off. Her car was…

Annie claims that she sees what this is. Car breaks down. Take it to Mr Howlett’s garage. Spend some time at the garage. With Mr. Howlett. Get your car fixed. By Mr. Howlett. Go home and dream about… Mr. Howlett.

Jean stops, protesting and muses she did have a very intense dream last night. She dreamed a powerful goddess followed her home and wanted to talk to her. But when she saw her, the goddess was Jean!

She was a goddess? Annie asks. Must be nice. Jean continues, she doesn’t think she was her exactly. She was so powerful and confident. So at rest. And it was like she was trying to prepare her for something. That sounds lovely, Annie remarks.

Outside, Kitty’s group is joined by Hank’s group. Beast describes that their dead friends just vanished. Seemed like an omen but he doesn’t know whether good or bad. What did he miss? They saw Jean. She was taking the trash out, Logan summarizes. He is having trouble paring that metaphor, Beast replies. She put garbage in a trashcan, Logan explains.

Interesting, Beast decides. Maybe they still have time. He has a theory. He believes the Phoenix built this whole place for Jean. It brought her back to life so it can merge with her again. It needs a host.

Why go to all this trouble? Kitty asks. Beast points out that Jean has rejected the Phoenix in the past. It’s had other hosts that didn’t work out. This time it intends to get it right. So it’s preparing her. Incubating her. They are in its egg. The good news is, she’s alive. She’s here and, if she is playing a role in this world, she is still Jean.

Young Cyclops interjects that they have to get her away from it. Beast replies there is no getting her away from it. It can be anywhere. And if they merge… They are all dead, Logan finishes the thought. He didn’t want to say that, Beast states, but yes, they are all dead.

Inside the diner:
Annie keeps on about the dream. What does she think “Goddess Jean” wanted to prepare her for? Jean still wonders whether it was or wasn’t her or could be her. Annie takes Jean’s hand, pressing whether it could be an aspirational dream. Jean dismisses it as just a dream. Annie urges her not to do that. Dreams are the mind’s way of telling her things she needs to hear. Her mind wants her to be prepared for something. A big change. Does she feel prepared? Jean doesn’t know.

Outside, Beast continues, he doesn’t understand why the Phoenix let them in. Maybe it thinks they will do less damage in here than trying to smash it apart from the outside. Or maybe it has no power out in the real world, so it lured them in to stop them. Younger Beast chimes in: the Phoenix does have power in the real world. What about all the Phoenix-related phenomena they have chased? His older self wonders if those were Jean-related phenomena. Young Beast continues the theory. So Jean may be pushing back from inside the egg. These manifestations were her cries for help? Storm announces, then they will help her.

That moment, something big lands on the roof of the diner and they realize the Phoenix knows they are here. The giant raptor has landed perches on the roof of the diner and glares at them threateningly.

Kurt muses it’s more impressive than he remembers. Gods always are, Kitty states darkly. Rogue wonders what they do now, to which Logan simply states they kill a god. Kitty tells him to wait and asks Hank if the Phoenix is in a weakened state, since it hasn’t bonded with Jean yet. He agrees in theory. Kitty continues, noting that if it is bonded with Jean, it could wipe them all out. Again, he agrees, in theory. Kitty states, it let them in for a reason and now it wants to fight them to death in front of Jean. Why? He points out he doesn’t know the reasoning of cosmic beings. Kitty continues, Hank described this dome as an egg. And it let them in so they wouldn’t destroy what’s inside. She wonders if it wants a fight because the sight would really push Jean over the edge. What if they are there to help Jean hatch? She suggests they don’t give it what it wants. If it wants a fight, they instead send a person to talk.

Young Cyclops pipes up that he will do it. Logan tells him he has stones but he will go instead. This isn’t his Jean in there. The woman Scott loves will turn up fine. But the woman inside isn’t her. Scott doesn’t know her. He doesn’t love her. Logan did.

Kitty agrees then whisper to Logan if the Phoenix manages to bond with Jean… He walks toward the diner and replies he knows what to do…

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Bishop, Chamber, Colossus, Iceman, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Magik, Magma, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, Polaris, Rogue, Storm, Strong Guy, Wolverine II (all X-Men)
Dust, Glob Herman, Hellion, Ink, Oya (X-Men students)
Domino, Warpath (Weapon X)
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman (time-displaced original X-Men)
Jean Grey

Phoenix Force

Annie Richardson, Cyclops, Feral, Icarus, Multiple Man,  Onyxx, Rusty Collins, Sophie Cuckoo, Sway, Tier Sinclair, Vulcan, Washout, Wither, Wolf Cub (all constructs)

Story Notes: 

The title of this issue as well as all the other issues 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.”

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