Marvel is really driving me to drink this week, aren’t they? A second Marvel Mimosa in two days time. Two “what? why? huh?” issues in one week. DC’s annuals were tame compared to Marvel’s offerings.
The last of the Phoenix Resurrection released this week (or as I like to call it, the “Phesurrection”), and HOO BOY DO I HAVE SOME THOUGHTS. And words. And some yellings that will probably occur on next week’s podcast. As a note of warning, I will get into spoilers. No apologies, no excuses. This is just what I am doing.
Jean Grey died many, many years ago. Marvel kind of brought her back with the young Jean Grey, but I suppose that wasn’t enough. We can’t have too many of the old school X-Men dead, right? Now that Scott is dead, it’s time to bring someone else back. Although he seems to be a two-fer-one deal, since Jean Grey and OG Wolverine have both returned. Jean Grey at least makes some sense, since she was a phoenix, the mystical bird that always rises from its ashes. As for Wolverine, I’ll delve into that another time.
Speaking of the phoenix, this all starts with the sighting of a fiery phoenix in the sky, and it consequently goes downhill from there. Here we go!
I have trouble coming to grips with most of this story. First, two kids are found dead, leading the X-men to instantly tie it to the Phoenix Force, mostly because of how badly it affected Rachel. Then all of the psychics go missing, which is apparently covered in the Jean Grey series. The X-Men decide to dig up Jean Grey’s coffin, and upon finding it empty, they split up to visit places they think she would go.
Meanwhile, there’s a random small town where Jean Grey is alive and well as a waitress at a diner. She’s dating Scott Summers, still lives with her parents, and Logan is the town’s mechanic. Oh and a fiery phoenix looms in the sky that no one is able to see. This isn’t weird at all.
Okay, so it kind of makes sense that the Phoenix Force would be looking for a new host, and since Jean Grey was the best host in ever, why not bring her back to life. However, incubating Jean in a literal egg-like thing that places her in a Pleasantville scenario in her home town is an odd choice at best. The entire set-up is convoluted, even for a comic book, but what happens after Jean remembers her former life is beyond ridiculous.
Obviously, the Phoenix doesn’t want her to leave and finds all these reasons for her to stay. Of course it’s going to do possess her, but she’ll be so happy in her Pleasantville, right? Everyone she loves will be there with her. She has all she needs to be happy. When she counters she knows what the Phoenix will do with her, it brings in the big guns.
I expected this play. Once upon a time, Scott had the Phoenix Force as well. It would make complete sense to bring him back too, especially now that everyone knows he didn’t start the war against the inHumans. However, they both know the Phoenix only brought him back to entice her, but I wasn’t prepared for this:
And by we, she meant “he,” as she lets him die and yet stays alive. If that wasn’t creepy enough, the X-Men welcome Jean’s return while looking down at Scott’s corpse like he was a dead bird or a stick. She says that they were better off dead, and yet only he dies. That doesn’t quite seem fair. Or could this just be a play for Jean to have a real hookup with Wolverine now that he has returned? Somehow, though, I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of OG Scott Summers.
After Scott dies in her arms, she tells the Phoenix to simply go away. She doesn’t want it, its power, or its seduction of eternal life. In a move weaker than the moment of Wolverine’s death, the Phoenix does what she asks.
That’s all it took, huh? All she had to do was tell it to go away? The most powerful being in the cosmos will just leave quietly when asked? Why haven’t any of them done this before? Maybe Scott wouldn’t have accidentally killed Xavier if they could have told the Phoenix Force to go away. Did the writers really have no other plan for ending this mini-series than Jean telling the Phoenix good-bye?
I get it; the writers wanted to bring back Jean Grey and they knew they needed the Phoenix to do it. But was this all you had to make it work?
Well, here’s your big chance to make it all worth it. Make this mess of a story have a purpose with X-Men Red that releases next week. Perhaps now Jean Grey will be a decent character, and not one who is defined by her relationships with Wolverine and Cyclops. You’ve messed up her resurrection. Let’s not mess up her character. Again.