PHOENIX IV: Page 2 of 11

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12th April 2007


Jean Grey is the second child college professor John Grey and his wife Elaine. Growing up with her older sister, Sara, Jean had a happy childhood that abruptly came to an end when her best friend, Annie Richardson, was hit by a car. Barely ten years old, Jean held her dying friend in her arms. In that instant, her mutant power kicked in and she unwittingly read Annie‘s mind, as she slowly slipped away to death. Even though she didn’t understand her telepathy, Jean embraced Annie’s soul and tried to protect it from the darkness that was closing in, but there was nothing she could do. Annie died, and it seemed that a part of Jean died as well.

Afterwards, she became a withdrawn, almost haunted child, and none of the specialists that her parents consulted over the next three years were able to get Jean out of her depression. That changed when somebody told them of Professor Charles Xavier. He discovered that the girl was a mutant and not able to cope with her telepathy yet. Therefore, he decided to mentally block her access to it until she was mature enough to properly control it. He also helped Jean to realize her potential as a telekinetic and, while she continued to live with her parents, she would regularly meet with Xavier for training sessions, which technically makes her his first student (but not his first X-Man). [Bizarre Adventures #27, Uncanny X-Men #308]

From time to time, Xavier would temporarily remove Jean’s mental blocks to see whether she was able to handle her telepathy yet. In one of these occasions, Jean established mental contact with a teenager living in an orphanage several hundred miles away. At the time, neither Jean nor the professor could have known that this boy by the name of Scott Summers would eventually hold a very special place in their hearts. [Classic X-Men #42]

Years later, when the professor had already recruited four other mutants, one of them being Scott Summers aka Cyclops, Jean officially enrolled at Xavier’s school and joined the X-Men under the codename Marvel Girl. Only shortly afterwards, the team made its public debut, fighting Magneto. Inexperienced as they were, the X-Men were unable to capture him, but they at least managed to thwart his plans. [X-Men (1st series) #1]

From the moment they had been introduced to her, all the male X-Men heavily flirted with the young redhead, but soon the romantic tension gave way for some camaraderie and mutual friendships to evolve. Only Warren Worthington, aka the Angel, continued to show some more personal interest in Jean. However, she was more attracted to Scott Summers, who too harbored secret feelings for her but dared not show them since he was afraid of hurting her with his deadly optic beams. Additionally, he thought that his duties as the X-Men’s field leader would not allow a romantic relationship with a teammate. [X-Men (1st series) #7-8, Uncanny X-Men #308]

As she constantly practiced using her telekinetic powers, Jean further improved and eventually reached the point where she could carry her own weight. Levitating herself, she was actually able to fly, even though it was only for short distances at first. [X-Men (1st series) #14] After Jean officially graduated at Xavier’s school, her parents decided that she needed to get a college education, and they arranged for her to attend classes at Metro College in New York. Fortunately, that wasn’t too far a distance and Jean visited her friends at Xavier’s school on the weekends. Occasionally, she also helped out fighting some of the X-Men’s villains, whenever her time allowed it. [X-Men (1st series) #24]

In college, Jean befriended a fellow student named Ted Roberts and, spending her time with him, Jean got over how much she missed being a part of the team. She even pondered if she could really live a life among normal humans as one of them, and leave the world of mutants and their seemingly constant battles behind. At some point, Ted confided in Jean that he was worried about his brother, Ralph, a scientist who seemed rather obsessed. Indeed, Ralph Roberts‘ latest invention, a battle suit made of cobalt similar to Iron Man’s armor, was

malfunctioning and affected his mind. As the Cobalt Man, he caused massive destruction, until the X-Men managed to shut the suit off. Obviously, during the incident, Ted figured out that Jean and Marvel Girl were one and the same, for when Ralph was kidnapped by a villain who wanted to use the scientist’s inventions for himself, Ted called Jean and asked her to alert the X-Men. Although she did contact her teammates and they saved Ted’s brother a second time, Jean neither confirmed nor denied her secret identity. [X-Men (1st series) #31, 34]

Around the same time, Warren got together with Candy Southern, an old childhood friend, and he stopped flirting with Jean. Not willing to lose Jean to any other man again, Scott opened up to Jean about his difficulties with expressing emotions. Jean understood that he was trying to say that he loved her and Scott realized that she was feeling the same way without them actually talking about it. Their behavior towards each other grew more relaxed and they officially started dating each other. [X-Men (1st series) #32]

When Professor Xavier was kidnapped by the mysterious group called Factor Three, Jean apparently returned to the X-Men on a full-time basis. At least she did not seem to be attending classes at Metro College anymore, after the X-Men had tracked their mentor down and rescued him. Xavier was so proud of his students‘ performance that, in the aftermath of that adventure, he allowed the X-Men to wear individual costumes, each of which Jean had personally designed. [X-Men (1st series) #35-39]

Learning of an upcoming alien invasion, Professor Xavier knew that he would have to prepare against this attack in isolation. Not wanting to leave the X-Men on their own, he had the former villain known as the Changeling take his place. He also re-opened Jean‘s mental blocks to re-store her access to her telepathic powers, and taught her how to use them in a series of excessive training sessions. Naturally, the other X-Men were suspicious, especially when Marvel Girl refused to accompany the X-Men on some of their missions just to participate in Xavier’s “important experiments.“ Jean was not happy with this arrangement either but, as she was the only X-Man who knew of the exchange, she was forced to keep Xavier’s plan secret, even after the Changeling was killed in action. [X-Men (1st series) #41-42, 65]

In the wake of “Xavier’s“ death, the X-Men‘s governmental liaison, federal agent Fred Duncan, ordered the team to disband and spread their activities. Whereas some of the X-Men were assigned to operate in California, Jean stayed in New York, where she started a modeling career. This served as a cover for whatever superhero missions she would go on, as well as a reason for her family why she didn’t move back in with them. Scott also remained on the East Coast as a radio moderator, and occasionally acted as Jean’s overjealous boyfriend, to give her cover more credibility. [X-Men (1st series) #46, 48]