Friday, October 2, 2015

From The Ashes Rises... Jean Grey!?

Dissension In The Ranks

When resentments and disagreements boil over,
even allies can turn against each other in fierce battle that can bring the house down.

(And often does!)


Cyclops and Phoenix

It's probably more accurate to say that this disagreement is between Cyclops and Jean Grey--though this dispute has reached its boiling point because Cyclops is convinced otherwise!

Currently, Jean, along with Scott Summers and the other members of the original X-Men, are charter members of the new group known as X-Factor--mutant-hunters to the world at large, but secretly using that vocation as a cover in order to rescue and offer sanctuary to persecuted and hunted mutants who are discovered and reported by alarmed humans. Before the group's founding, Jean had been discovered alive and in suspended animation, which led to the conclusion that the Jean Grey operating as Phoenix was a doppelganger, the Phoenix entity taking her form until it decided to end its mortal existence. In effect, the woman that Scott had loved was again alive and well; but during X-Factor missions, there were instances when Scott had begun to wonder if Phoenix and Jean were indeed one and the same--and lately, he's found it difficult to conceal his doubts.

Finally, one of X-Factor's young mutant charges, Rusty Collins, begins to wonder about his feelings for a girl who's also come into X-Factor's custody, and he seeks Scott's advice concerning his own relationship with Jean. Unfortunately, Scott is unaware that Jean is within earshot of the conversation--and Jean learns of a very tender and personal moment between Phoenix and Cyclops.

What neither Jean nor Scott knows is that X-Factor's duplicitous public relations manager, Cameron Hodge, has his own reasons for sowing dissent amongst the ranks of X-Factor--and the rift forming between Scott and Jean is one that's ripe for fanning into a flame.

But two can play the undercover game--and Scott's belief that there's more to Hodge than meets the eye leads him to question Rictor, a recently rescued mutant who has had exposure to "the Right," an anti-mutant group that Hodge is secretly involved with.  But in doing so, he crosses paths with Jean, whose patience with Scott has finally reached its limit.

Scott, now on the scent of Hodge's true history and motives, is unaware that Hodge has anticipated his next move and sabotaged the X-Factor computer to produce information that will instead serve Hodge's ends and take advantage of Scott's current emotional state regarding Jean. As for Jean, her timing couldn't be worse.

Now, you'd think these two graduates of Charles Xavier's school would air out their differences like adults. Of course, if your definition of "air out" means smashing through the walls and ceilings of X-Factor HQ, you'd be right!

Jean has a right to feel slighted and outraged, though she's failing to read between the lines of Scott's ranting. To Jean, Scott is desperate to identify her with the "woman" he lost on the moon, the woman he was intimate with in New Mexico. But Scott's feelings go beyond projection, adding 2 + 2 to come up with 5--collating the scant evidence he has of Jean manifesting as Phoenix and reaching a hasty conclusion that will somehow make everything all right and wash away all the suffering and grief that he's endured.

Leech's revelation hits Scott like a bucket of ice water, and brings his delusions to a sudden end. Whatever Hodge's motives for engineering this deception, it's had the effect of settling this matter for Scott once and for all. As for Hodge, what goes around comes around--and thanks to Rusty, as well as to the image-projecting talent of young Artie, Hodge will soon have much to answer for.

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