Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jean Grey Must Die!

I don't know how many of you recall the death of Jean Grey. Yes, you read that correctly--the death of Jean Grey. The real death of Jean Grey. The one that "took." It may not have prevented Marvel from bringing her back, but...

But--hold on, you interrupt. If Jean was brought back, she wasn't really dead, now was she.

Well, there are two schools of thought on that, and they come down to this: Jean was either "sort of" dead, or "sort of" alive again. Either way, it's hard not to feel a little taken advantage of here.

To put it all in perspective, we have to go back a bit to Jean's rebirth as Phoenix--or what we thought was Jean's rebirth. Once Phoenix met her end, due to Jean's self-sacrifice so that the universe would be safe from her deadly power, we'd later be told that Jean never became Phoenix at all--that Phoenix, instead, placed Jean into stasis and took her place as an exact duplicate of her:

Yes, what you just saw was Jean returning from the "dead." Sort of. See how that works?

And so Jean joins Scott and the original X-Men as part of X-Factor; and throughout the run of her stay there, and in future X-Men stories, Marvel continuously dangles a carrot in front of its readers and alludes repeatedly that Jean has some connection to the Phoenix force. We start to believe that Jean IS Phoenix, and is coyly avoiding the subject. It's almost like seeing Lucy hold the football for Charlie Brown, Lucy in this case being Marvel and all of us being poor Charlie Brown. We come running up to kick the football with the Phoenix crest on it, only to have Lucy snatch it away at the last moment before we can make contact with it. Back and forth we go, with no X-Men writer willing to definitively nail it down for us.

Finally we come to a story in New X-Men which sees--no snickering, now--the death of Jean. But how is she brought to death's door this time--and once and for all, is this woman Phoenix?

The "how" involves Magneto, who's attempting to exterminate humanity and isn't interested in making any deals for its survival. To pull this off, he's schemed very carefully to take down the only group which could stop him--the X-Men, including Charles Xavier. And as we can see by this recap, for all intents and purposes he's succeeded:

And so Jean and Wolverine end up on Asteroid M, Magneto's old orbiting base--only it's been blasted from its orbit and is heading toward a collision course with the sun. Jean and Logan are running out of air--the base is heating up--and needless to say, their time is running out:

Now, since Phoenix is known to travel through space, Logan asks a pertinent question that seems like it would be their ticket off this rock and give them safe passage home.  Assuming that Jean and Phoenix are one and the same, that is:

If you're thinking that Jean, in that last panel, resembles another comics character by the name of Lucy, your instincts are dead-on. It seems like we're finally about to kick the hell out of that football, doesn't it? Jean is going to stop playing coy and spill the beans on her connection with Phoenix. But slow down there, Hoss. Apparently, the only one Jean is going to tell us about is, well, Jean Grey:

In other words, that sound you heard was Charlie Brown landing on his backside again. Jean is simply answering Logan's question about why she can't fly them out of there. And all we know is what we already knew--that Jean has a connection to Phoenix. Thanks for nothing.

But the clock ticks down, and there's no last-minute rescue from the X-Men--and so Asteroid M's incineration is imminent. Logan and Jean are just about out of oxygen, and you can imagine the intolerable heat level. And thanks to Logan, we're witness to Jean's second death.

I hope you didn't place any wager on that death scene, because you're out a pretty penny about now. We know that Logan's healing factor can, ridiculously, survive exposure to the sun's 10-million-degree heat, so he'll live to slash another day. As for Jean, we finally see the Phoenix solidify its hold on her--or, we finally see Jean fully embrace the Phoenix. Take your pick:

And so Jean returns them to Earth, where a pitched battle with Magneto has him on the ropes. Unfortunately, Jean underestimates the master of magnetism, for the last time:

Yes, I did say the last time, didn't I--and this time I mean it. Because this third death of Jean Grey is real, and as final as it gets:

Three strikes, she's out.

But if you glance around, you're liable to see Lucy nearby, smirking and still holding that football. We'll have to follow up later with X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong, and see if Jean is content to stay dead, if not buried.

1 comment:

dbutler16 said...

I'm glad I stopped collecting the X-Men when I did.
Jean Grey being resurrected has become a running joke.

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