X-Men: Red Annual #1

Issue Date: 
July 2018
Story Title: 

Tom Taylor (writer), Pascal Alixe (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Travis Charest (main cover artist), Dave Johnson, Arthur Adams & Sabine Rich (variant covers), Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino & Carlos Lad (graphic designers), Chrstina Harrington & Annalise Bissa (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia & Jordan D. White (editors), C.b: Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The X.-Men welcome back the resurrected Jean Grey and both verbally and telepathically catch her up on everything she’s missed. She introduces herself to Old Man Logan. Afterwards, Nightcrawler takes her to the mansion at Central Park, as everything gets to be too much for her, and they have a confrontation with a racist youth. Afterwards, Jean looks up her daughter Rachel and the two take flight together exchanging thoughts. On Jean’s insistence, they visit Laura Kinney. Laura is stoic about Jean’s visit, while her clone sister Gabby fangirls Jean. Jean asks Rachel and Laura to accompany her to New Attilan, where she confronts Black Bolt over his role in Cyclops’ death. As she contacts him telepathically, Black Bolt is able to apologize. Later, Jean stands at Cyclops’ grave and vows she will change the world. She is unaware that the evil Cassandra Nova secretly takes over Rachel’s mind…

Full Summary: 

Jean Grey is standing somewhere near the Xavier Institute, wearing her new red and blue uniform. She recalls that she was the Phoenix. She burned so brightly. And then she was dead and everything was dark. And now she is alive again. She addresses someone, explaining that she needs that person to understand she is not content to return to the same life. She refuses to accept the world for how it is. She is going to change it.

She sent the Phoenix away. Afterwards, she was surrounded by so many people she loved and she could feel they were afraid. Not of her. They were afraid if they touched her, she’d break or maybe just fade away. They were afraid for about ten seconds. Hank McCoy grins and engulfs Jean in a bear hug. And moments later, the others join in.

Jean learns what happened while she was away from her friends’ thoughts and words. Of battles with villains and against each other. They talk about destructive division that sounds like petty squabbling to Jean. She is amazes at the story how Kitty phased a bullet through the planet. And every time she learns about someone else being gone, she grieves. And then, she meets a familiar face with a totally foreign mind.

He is from… somewhere else, she decides about Old Man Logan. He’s not him. He agrees and adds she is not her. What do they do now? Jean suggests they start with introductions. They shake hands. He is Logan. Just not hers. She is Jean. She was never his, she adds with a wicked smile.

Nightcrawler gently suggests she could do with a break. Does she want to go? She agrees and he teleports her away. Moments later, they are outside the Xavier Institute in Central Park. Kurt tells her it was named after her for some time and, despite all she has been through, that still feels big to her.

Among the picnicking crowd of Central Park, one young man shouts a racial slur at Nightcrawler and throws his Hot Dog at him. Jean telekinetically stops it and Kurt jokes that that’s the first time a Hot Dog has been used as a projectile weapon. Maybe they should program Hot Dogs into the Danger Room. He grabs it from the air and bites into it. Taste like mustard and bigotry, he decides.

The young man tells Jean to keep her monster friend away from them. Her “monster friend?” she repeats and her eyes glow. She informs him his name is Kurt. Along others, he has saved this city and world countless times. Without him, he wouldn’t be standing here. And even if that weren’t true, he is still one of the most beautiful souls on this or any other plane she has visited. He, however, Chad Townsend… Kurt interrupts her. Jean looks down and doesn’t continue her tirade. She powers down instead.

It’s okay, she tells Chad but nevertheless gets in his face. She’s having a pretty big day. He could not have picked a worse time to come at her and her friends with a bun full of processed meat and intolerance. She informs him she could humiliate him. She could tell all those people what he does with his time. She could let them know about the bile he writes to strangers from the anonymity and safety of his room. But she can feel he is scared. He doesn’t understand half the things he professes to hate. He’s worried that he is what he hates and it disgusts him and he ends up disgusted with himself. That’s an all too common vicious circle. She tells him his parents are idiots and suggests he stop listening to them. Ignorance is never an excuse for hatred. Go home. Learn something! She tells the audience telepathically to go back to their lives.

Kurt points out that she is in the building. Is he a mind reader now? Jean teases. Just intuitive, Kurt replies and offers to come with her, but Jean wants to do it alone.

She steps into the mansion to find her adult daughter from anther timeline, Rachel, sitting there. Rachel felt her coming. She doesn’t know what to say. There is too much. Jean suggests she doesn’t talk. She telepathically reminds her they don’t need to. She suggests Rachel lower her defenses.

So the two fly together, enjoying for once being alive together being in the same timeline together and their minds drift together and all the complicated thing that would have been hard to say sort themselves out.

Jean tells Rachel there is someone else she needs to see, a child she hasn’t met. Will Rachel take her? Rachel wonders why Jean wants to meet her. Because she’s Logan’s, is Jean’s reply.

Laura Kinney, sometimes X-23 but currently going by Wolverine, doesn’t seem overjoyed to see them and asks if it would have killed Rachel to call ahead. Jean asks if she can come in and Laura tells her she is welcome in her home but not her head.

Laura asks Jean why she is here. Jean explains she hasn’t much family left. Laura and Rachel are connections to people important to her. They are interrupted by Laura’s younger, clone sister Gabby, who is utterly star-struck at meeting Jean. She asks her what number she is thinking of. Laura chides her for demanding party tricks. Seven and a half, Jean answers smiling.

Jean gets up to leave. She just felt someone in New York. Someone unexpected. Actually, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do when she sees them, but she is going to see them. Is it going to be a friendly visit? Rachel asks and is told no. Laura dons her cowl and announces she will accompany them.

Jean asks Gabby to stay behind with her pet wolverine Jonathan. As she heads to the door, Jean pauses and tells Gabby 437,603 and 2/5ths.

Soon the three women float to New Attilan near the Statue of Liberty to confront the man responsible for Cyclops’ death. Jean finds out that the Inhumans’ psychic defenses aren’t strong enough. They can’t see the three of them. He isn’t in the throne room, she muses. Almost like he isn’t welcome…

Jean and Rachel senses someone else sensing them. Moments later, the giant dog Lockjaw teleports his master Black Bolt in. Black Bolt stomps and the three women lose their footing.

Wolverine immediately extends her claws, ready to attack Lockjaw. Rachel intends to assault Black Bolt. Jean orders her to wait, then gets between her and Black Bolt. She turns to the Inhuman king and warns him that she is not connected to the Phoenix anymore, which means she can use everything without fear of the Phoenix taking hold. She doesn’t know what that means, yet, but one thing she does know now is the all-powerful cosmic being was holding her back!

She powers down and asks who sensed them. Who speaks for Black Bolt? A small, blue Inhuman with lots of eyes speaks up. Jean explains she didn’t want any violence. She is not here for revenge against Black Bolt for his part in the death of Scott Summers? the child asks. No Jean assures them. She is here for something else, but this was careless. They are working to change perceptions. They don’t want a world that hates and fears them. That would be easier if they didn’t get into a superpowered fight in an ominous castle in front of the Statue of Liberty. She states the youngster is a telepath. So they should be able to sense she doesn’t want to hurt Black Bolt. Part of her wants to hurt him, the child points out. Is she going to? Jean asks. No, is the reply.

Jean turns to Black Bolt and asks him to come with her. She takes him with her onto the Astral Plane, where he can communicate. He asks where he is. Her mind, she explains. He calls it fractured. Just busy, Jean replies. She’s also in the mind of a small mutant child in the Institute. She’s borrowing her mind passively to watch over her friends. She’s in the mind of Laura and Gabby’s pet wolverine watching over Gabby, to make sure she doesn’t follow them. She’s in the mind of a young man called Chad. He is arguing with his parents. She’s making sure he isn’t hurting himself or someone else. She thinks he will be fine though.

Black Bolt asks why she is watching them. Because she wants to protect them and more. He is a ruler, so she knows he understands. She has some understanding of the fight between his people and hers. She knows of the Mists he unleashed that killed Scott… they were a terrible accident. She thought about sharing her pain and her loss with him, letting him feel it all. But that doesn’t help either of them. They are going to have to be able to rely on each other. That starts here.

He asks what she needs. Jean replies she needs him to speak. He points out he cannot. She tells him to speak with her voice. Say it! And using Jean’s voice, Black Bolt announces that he is sorry.

Jean narrates it was all she could ask for. It was a beginning. But she needs him to understand she is not content to return to the same life. She looks at Scott Summers’ headstone. She refuses to accept this world for how it is. She is going to change it. She touches the grave to say goodbye, then leaves. She wishes he were here to change it with her.

Back at the Xavier Institute after Jean has left:
Big day? Kitty Pryde asks Rachel, who admits it feels like everything could get better. That’s Jean, Kitty agrees, wishes her a good night and leaves.

Alone Rachel senses something. Is someone there? she calls.

No, there’s no one here, Cassandra Nova replies to an entranced Rachel. She gloats that Rachel is strong but she is not her mother yet. She is no threat to Cassandra. However, when the time is right, Rachel will be an impressive weapon to wield against Jean…

Characters Involved: 

Jean Grey
Beast, Honey Badger, Kitty Pryde, Magik, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, Prestige, Rogue, Wolverine II

Black Bolt

Chad Townsend

Story Notes: 

The story takes place right after Phoenix Resurrection: the Return of Jean Grey #5 and continues in X-Men: Red #1.

Jean’s death scene is taken from New X-Men (1st series) #150, though the costume is wrong.

Nightcrawler shouldn’t be able to teleport the distance from New Mexico to New York.

Rachel wasn’t with the others, since she was taken out in Phoenix Resurrection: the Return of Jean Grey #1.

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