X-Men Origins: Jean Grey

Issue Date: 
October 2008
Story Title: 

Sean McKeever (writer), Mike Mayhew (artist),Nate Piekos (letterer), Will Panzo (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

At the end of their rope with their young daughter Jean who, after a traumatic accident, has mentally withdrawn and displays frightening psychic abilities, the Greys search the help of Professor Charles Xavier. A telepath himself, Xavier mentally contacts Jean and learns that the trauma of her friend, Annie, dying before her eyes in a car accident awakened Jean’s telepathic talent and left her at its mercy. Xavier practices with Jean and manages to reconnect her with her family. After some time, he tests her control over her powers by taking her to the mall. This goes horrifyingly wrong. After being startled by a boy, Jean can’t help hearing everyone’s thoughts and lashes out telekinetically. Xavier tries another tack and suppresses Jean’s telepathy, allowing her to develop sufficient maturity before having to handle her telepathic gift. Years later, Xavier suggests teenage Jean enroll at his school, since she needs more than the help he’s given her so far. During a training session Marvel Girl does extraordinarily badly and doesn’t know why, though Xavier insists she is just being a typically teenager. Not even sure what that is after the past few years, Jean skips on an X-Men mission, leaves the mansion and meets a human girl, Carian. Just as they are in the process of becoming friends, a truck goes out of control and Jean telekinetically saves the people. Later, Xavier chides her for secretly leaving and endangering herself, although he is secretly glad that she is exhibiting typical teenage behavior.

Full Summary: 

A nice detached house in winter. A young, red-headed girl stands at the window unmoving, her gaze sad and inwards.

“Hello Jean,” a newcomer greets her, having just wheeled into the room that is empty, save for a bed and has damaged walls and a damaged ceiling, her anxious parents standing behind the stranger. His name is Charles Xavier, he tells Jean. He hopes she’ll forgive the intrusion. Her parents have been kind enough to allow him to visit her today. He wanted a chance to meet her, because he knows. He knows what is to be different, to feel different inside. And he knows too well the desperate need to control that which makes them different. He has come to help her, he projects right inside her mind. And for the first time, Jean reacts a bit, slightly turning her head towards Xavier.

Later in the living room, Xavier talks with the rest of Jean’s family. Elaine Grey sighs that the last two years, ever since the accident, have been a living nightmare. Jean screams in pain whenever they take her anyplace. They had to empty her room to keep her from hurting herself anytime she… Elaine doesn’t finish her sentence.

Professor John Grey admits they had Jean see every sort of psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, and faith healer phony astrologist one can imagine. Xavier is the first one to even get her attention. Jean’s older teenage sister, Sara, mumbles unhappily that she wants her sister back.

Xavier admits that he won’t sugarcoat it. This is only the smallest first step on a long and difficult journey. It’ll be one thing to teach her to control her talents… but they are dealing with a psyche so damaged, so traumatized that the act of healing her falls just short of a resurrection.

After a moment of silence, Elaine asks hopefully that he can do it, right?

Xavier enters Jean’s psyche, finding her reliving the car accident that killed her best friend Annie Richardson before her eyes. Annie, don’t go! she screams mentally. Jean, what is it? Xavier asks her. Jean replies she can feel her dying inside. I’m dying. I’m dying!

No, Jean, Xavier replies and gets out of his wheelchair and stands up to stand next to Jean. It’s Annie who’s died, he corrects her. Jean’s emotional state triggered her mutant talents and she experienced her friend’s death through telepathy. She’s alive he sends to her mind. She’s alive and she doesn’t have to be here. Come with him, he tells her, offering his hand and Jean takes it.

The dreary winter mindscape gives way to that of a beautiful summer meadow. Where are they? Jean asks as she happily runs though the flowers. Where they’ve been all along, Xavier explains. In her mind, Jean realizes he’s right. She used to have dreams about this place. And she still can, he assures her. She needn’t spend the rest of her life endlessly revisiting past miseries. She simply needs to take the proper path. He can train her to control her telepathy, and her telekinesis as well. He can help her to confront her fears. He can show her the way.

In reality, in her empty room, Jean turns around and states that she’d like that.

And so, over the coming time, Xavier helps Jean, teaching her to control her telepathy, her telekinesis, helping her confront her grief over Annie’s death. Finally, a smiling Jean stands before the mirror in a new dress and walks out of her room.

Her sister Sarah sits on the couch, reading a teen mag. Jean addresses her carefully. First, Sarah reacts automatically, telling Jean she is reading right now. Then she realizes what is happening and jumps up happily and hugs Jean, relieved and welcoming her back.

Some time later, Professor Xavier takes Jean to the mall. The girl is resistant, suggesting that maybe they should postpone this trip. Xavier assures her she can do this and tells her to trust in herself. Jean walks around, followed by Xavier and indeed she is doing fine. She can block people’s mental voices out. She thought she’d never be able to be around people again, but here she is, she tells Xavier smiling and thanks him.

Suddenly, a boy bumps into her. Xavier warns her to stay focused, but too late. Jean’s mental walls crumble and she hears everyone’s thoughts pressing onto her like scream. Xavier shouts at her to control it. Helplessly, Jean lashes out with her telekinesis.

Later, she seems to be back where she was at the beginning, sullen and withdrawn, staring out of the window.

Xavier apologizes to her parents. He thought she was ready, but he pushed her too much, too soon. He realizes now what must be done. He’s going to wall off her telepathic abilities. That way she can…

Enraged, John Grey asks him why he hasn’t done that already if he can do that. Get rid of all of it – the mind stuff. Her memory of the accident… That isn’t what he does, Xavier corrects him. Jean’s abilities aren’t an affliction. They are a gift. The psychic barriers would only be temporary. Her telepathy will rematerialize over time, but not until she’s ready, Not until she’s learned to cope with everything else. And he’s afraid that’s going to take longer than he’d originally hoped. How long? Elaine asks, desperate.

Jean’s mindscape:

Jean relives the accident again, thinking of her friend, Annie. Cradling her corpse, she thinks that not a day goes by that she doesn’t wish she had thrown that Frisbee anywhere else but there. Maybe if there had been just a little less wind… She gets up. Anyway… the thing is Jean doesn’t belong here with Anne. She never did! It just took her some time to realize it. She just wanted, before she left, to say good-bye. She’ll miss Annie.

With an evil look on her face, a monstrous Annie comes alive, screaming No! Jean can never leave her! She lunges for her, trying to drag her down. Jean panics first, then realizes now that this isn’t really Annie, just a part of Jean that’s afraid to let go, but she outgrew her fear.

The whole ground vanishes and Jean flies upwards. Xavier tells her “good work.” Staring upward, she sees a wall rising. Is he almost done? Jean asks. Just about, Xavier assures her. After today the only voice she will hear in her head other than his will be her own. At least for a while.

Years later. Jean sits in front of the mirror reading, while idly telekinetically brushing her hair. She listens in to a conversation her parents are having with Xavier. The Greys are enthusiastic and grateful. Xavier admits that Jean’s made great strides these past years, She’s happy, she’s sociable but she needs more. They’ve seen it on TV. There are others like Jean out there and the rest of the world isn’t taking it too well. He’s opening a boarding school of sorts. An academy for mutants, where he can train and prepare them. Where they can learn to accept themselves, and where they won’t have to live in constant fear.

Uncomprehending, Elaine states that they’ve just got their little girl back. Now he wants to take her away from them. Xavier understands how she feels but he doesn’t believe Jean has any other choice.

And so, some time later, Jean hugs her parents goodbye, while her taxi is waiting for her. She’s not doing it to be safe, like he said, she assures them. She just needs… something. After a tearful goodbye, Jean is brought to Xavier’s school. Nervously, she tells herself to take a deep breath.

Later. The Danger Room:

Marvel Girl is lost in thoughts and doesn’t notice the flying rocket heading for her until Cyclops shouts a warning. At the last moment, she telekinetically swats it aside. Cyclops warns her she isn’t out of the woods yet, as it returns to her. Jean hesitates. Cyclops gets ready to blast the thing out of the air. Xavier mentally tells him not to. This is Marvel Girl’s test.

Jean feels the rocket is too quick. She strains trying to hold it, finally managing to cause it to fly over her head and straight at Iceman, who fortunately protects himself with an iceshield from the explosion. Feebly, she apologizes.

Later, alone with Xavier in his office Jean admits she doesn’t know what happened. He was going to say the same thing. Xavier points out she’s done it before. In fact, she’s accomplished greater telekinetic feats out in the field. He thinks she does know why she failed this. What’s troubling her?

She takes off her mask and admits she is grateful for all he’s done. For this school, her teammates, her friends. She’s learned so much and feels she’s really grown as a person, but there’s something missing that… She doesn’t know what it is, but there’s this empty place inside.

Good! he replies with a smile. Jean frowns. That’s good? It’s wonderful, he assures her. It means she is a perfectly healthy teenager. What does that even--? she begins to ask. They are interrupted by Beast who anxiously informs them that they saw something important on TV. The X-Men are needed!

Not much later, the X-Men set off in their jet when Cyclops suddenly notes that they are traveling a little light. Marvel Girl isn’t among them.

Jean instead has opted to walk through the city’s streets alone. Strolling past an electronics store, she sees in the news that her teammates are confronting Magneto.

“Crazy”, a girl standing close to her suddenly states. Sorry? Jean replies. Mutants, the other girl says. That stuff’s crazy. She has nothing against them or anything, but she means, what are people like them supposed to do? Carina, she introduces herself. Jean also tells her her first name. Is she skipping school too? Carina asks. Pretty much, Jean admits. They begin to talk about school.

Close by, an ambulance driver is momentarily distracted and sees a closed road too late. He drives against the sidewalk and crashes, beginning to slide down the street.

Carina tries to get Jean to run away. Jean sees the panicked people on the street like a mother with a stroller sure to be hit by the out of control car. Telekinetically, Jean lifts mother and infant above the car and out of harm’s way, then strains to stop the sliding ambulance. Finally, it comes to a screeching halt mere inches in front of Jean’s foot. ,Exhausted she leans against it.

Carina stares at her, mouth agape. She’s a… she’ a … she tries to say. A perfectly healthy teenager? Jean asks with a smile. Yeah. She knows. With that she levitates away.

Later in the mansion’s garden, Xavier has a serious talk with her. He’s placing her in detention, he announces. She’s not to leave the campus for any reason. She broke the rules.

Jean apologizes. Her teammates might have fallen without her and she, in turn, placed herself in harm’s way, Xavier continues sternly. Will she ever do it again? No, she replies, looking away. She’s lying, he remarks, that’s irresponsible. Jean gives him a playful smile. Good girl, there’s hope for her yet, he remarks.

Characters Involved: 

Professor Xavier

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)

John & Elaine Grey (Jean’s parents)

Sarah Grey (Jean’s sister)


Boy on skateboard


in Jean’s mindscape:

Annie Richardson

Story Notes: 

Jean’s origin was first told in Bizarre Adventures #23 by Chris Claremont & John Buscema.

There’s a continuity mistake as young Jean’s parents seem well aware of her powers. In past depictions of her origin, Jean became catatonic after Annie’s death, but didn’t actively use her telekinetic powers. Her family only learned of her powers and her status as an X-Man in X-Men (1st series) #105 when Firelord crashed their dinner.

Sarah is depicted as a blonde here, though in the past she was always shown to be a brunette. Perhaps she is experimenting with her hair color here.

When Jean sees the X-Men battling Magneto on TV, it shows pictures from their first battle (from X-Men (1st series #1). Of course, it can’t be that particular battle, as Jean was present then and Xavier and Jean’s conversation made it clear that she’s been with the team for some time, whereas the first battle against Magneto occurred immediately after she joined.

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