Monday, July 6, 2009

Let's talk about chicks, man: Jean Grey-Summers/Marvel Girl/Phoenix

Jean Grey was first introduced in X-Men #1, way back in September of 1963. Then, she was just known as Marvel Girl (I remember hearing Stan Lee hated that name, but he couldn't come up with anything better at the time). Jean Grey is an Omega-level mutant, and has been one of the physical hosts of the vastly powerful Phoenix Force who possesses god-like powers and is one of the most feared beings that ever lived. With the Phoenix Force, Jean has potentially limitless psionic powers of telekinesis and telepathy - Hank McCoy (the ever-lovable Beast)has said that, based on her massive power levels, "on the Richter scale, she'd be a 12". When bonded to the Phoenix, she is said to outclass mutants, granting her complete control over matter, energy, thought, and unlimited psionic energies. She can tap into reserved energies for future generations, denying them existence. So much for that girl next door image.

Along with being best known for being one of the founding X-Men, the romance between her and Scott Summers aka Cyclops is pretty legendary. Probably rivaling that of Peter and MJ for the longest-running in Marvel history. At the beginning of the series, Jean and Scott harbor a mutual crush for a long time but neither is aware of the other's feelings (though the readers are made aware early on) and both are too shy to make a move. Jean once has a date with Angel, but insists on taking Scott along, which confuses and frustrates both men. For a while, Angel has feelings for Jean which lead to some bad moments between him and Scott. When Jean leaves to pursue tertiary education at Metro College, it further widens the gap between Scott and Jean; however, Jean and Scott later date openly. At one point, Professor X seems to have some romantic feelings for her. However, he believes that she could not reciprocate because he is a paraplegic; therefore he says nothing of it, instead channeling his energies into an increasingly intimate mentor/student relationship with Jean. This forces her to keep his secrets and, at one point, transfer his own power into her. Weird, huh?

Now here's where things get tricky with Jean. She taps into this powerful force appropriately called the Phoenix Force. Like I stated above with her powers, she is not a chick you would want to cross. The thing I hated about the whole Phoenix saga is that it didn't really feel like X-Men. Aliens and all that stuff really felt more like an Fantastic Four thing, or to a lesser extent, Avengers. Don't get me wrong, Clairmont is STILL the X-guy to this day, but there is such thing as too much power and that's the Phoenix saga in a nutshell.

So to pay for her sins, Jim Shooter killed her off. Though her return was enivitable, I mean the name is "Phoenix" after all. She's been a major staple in the x-books, later in New X-Men, they battled Xorn (who had revealed himself to be Magneto but would later was imposter), who then mortally injures Phoenix by transferring a large amount of electro-magnetic energy to her brain, inducing a "planetary-scale stroke." As Jean dies in Scott's arms, she tells him to live. It was revealed later that before she died, Jean created a empathic matrix crystal for Rachel and imprinted it with her essence so that, no matter what happened to her physically, her soul would always be with her. Pretty damn touching and she hasn't been seen since. Though you know it's only a matter of time. I've heard she'll be back sometime after "War of Kings" is over.

This is the costume I most remember, mainly because it was the one I grew up with. Now I'm not sure what's going on here. It almost looks like something from Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Anybody remember that? Huh, huh? She was still a staple of the X-books when they were relaunched in the 90's. It's the book that also put Jim Lee on the map. When the comic became a smash animated show, they gave her this costume, but I'll go into that show possibly somewhere down the line. Now that show covered a lot of things, but they simplified the Phoenix Saga a bit, and thank God for that. She did appear in her Marvel Girl go-go attire.

This costume is probably my favorite. It's not practical, but it's great to look at. Plus, it was the 70's. Go figure. She was also in various other X-properties, such as X-Men Evolution, X-Men Legends, and of course the X-Men movies, played by Famke Janseen. Interesting story, they originally were going to put Beast in the movie, but later just added the Dr. title to Jean. Now with how everything is sort of a skewed in the X-books, I wonder HOW she'll come back. In Uncanny X-Men #510, when Emma Frost is psychically incapacitated during an attack, she unexpectedly encounters what seems to be Jean Grey communicating to, and assisting her, seemingly from within the astral plane. No further reference is made to this afterward. Weird to just drop this. This should be a bigger deal.

Though I wonder if they'll continue the love triangle among Jean, Scott and Emma. Now THAT I would buy into.

Whew. That was pretty hefty amount of info. Next week, I'll probably keep it simpler: Jem, as in "truly outrageous".

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