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Sep 27

Jean Grey #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

JEAN GREY vol 2 #2
“Dead Reckoning”
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colourist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1: Jean with a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops.

PAGES 2-3. Jean recaps the original Phoenix story.

For those just joining us, Jean was killed in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023, and this miniseries appears to follow her disembodied mind as it replays various events from her life and imagines how things might have played out if she had made different choices. In other words, it’s a series of “What If?” stories, but presumably in one way or another, this is setting up her resurrection at the end of “Fall of X”.

“Back when I was practically a child, I chose wisely…” Jean is referring here to the events covered in issue #1, where she returned from her foray to the future (i.e., the Brian Bendis run), and chose to erase her memory of it and let her life follow its existing course. Issue #1 played out what would have happened if she had done otherwise, and naturally it didn’t go well.

The Phoenix storyline. For the most part, these two pages are a faithful recap of events from X-Men #100-101 (1976), since the rest of the story only makes sense if you know how it played out the first time around. And even though this is a very well known storyline in X-Men continuity, it’s still nearly 50 years old by this point.

“The irritating new guy.” At this point in continuity, Wolverine’s been around for less than ten issues (and Jean hasn’t even been with the X-Men during that time), so she barely knows him.

Obviously, much of this issue is based around the long running romantic triangle with Jean, Scott and Logan. Although some retcons have brought it earlier, the original story is the point where Wolverine starts showing an interest in Jean. Cyclops and Wolverine are the only two X-Men in the original story who try to talk Jean out of piloting the shuttle (Storm gives her a farewell hug). However, Jean shows no interest whatsoever in Wolverine at this point.

“With my last breath, I cried out for help.” This comes from the expanded re-telling of X-Men #100 in Classic X-Men #8, which shows Jean actually meeting the Phoenix Force, instead of just emerging from the bay transformed into Phoenix.

“None of knew I was possessed by a symbiotic power that was drawn to passion…” This is a somewhat simplified version of the retcon that was used to bring Jean back after Phoenix died. More accurately, Jean’s body is left in suspended animation at the bottom of the bay, and Phoenix creates a copy of her body along with a portion of her mind and soul as a template for it. For most practical purposes, though, saying that she’s “possessed” by Phoenix gets the key point across.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits. The recap actually focusses more on explaining how Jean died. Oddly, it says that “[m]ost recently, she was a member of the Quiet Council”, which she quit years ago in publication terms.

PAGE 5. Jean agrees to let Wolverine pilot the shuttle instead.

In the original scene, Wolverine has the same line asking Jean whether she’s “buckin’ for martyr o’ the year or something’?” She tells him to “make it quick”, and he asks her what she’s trying to prove by committing suicide. Jean then yells at him, tells him that he’s an “obnoxious little upstart”, and sends him away. In this version, Jean asks Wolverine for an alternative suggestion, and gets a reasonably sensible one: he pilots the shuttle under her direction, and he relies on his healing factor to keep him alive.

Jean’s rationale in the original story is that “My telekinetic powers will screen out the harmful radiation”, which seems wildly optimistic, and indeed doesn’t work.

PAGES 6-7. Jean sees Wolverine’s memories as he pilots the shuttle.

This scene serves mainly to give Jean the insight into Wolverine’s history that lets her understand him and love him, which wouldn’t happen in the actual comics until she got to know him a bit better in due course.

“He calls himself Logan.” Wolverine doesn’t reveal his real name to the X-Men until X-Men #139 (1980), when he takes Nightcrawler with him to visit Alpha Flight.

“Logan … with claws.” This is Logan using his claws for the first time at the end of Origin #2.

“Military service – in World War I and II.” Assorted stories have covered Wolverine’s activities in both world wars – see part 3 and part 4 of my Incomplete Wolverine posts.

Weapon X. The other three figures in page 7 panel 1 are the Professor, Dr Cornelius and Miss Hynes, from the “Weapon X” arc in Marvel Comics Presents.

“He came to us looking for a haven, though he didn’t know he needed one.” That’s broadly the classic version of why Wolverine joins the X-Men, but the 2008 “Original Sin” crossover has him being sent by Romulus to kill Professor X, and being reprogrammed by Professor X to free him of Romulus’ control. You can square this on the basis that Professor X did a better job of erasing the relevant parts of Wolverine’s memories, or conceivably on the view that Jean doesn’t know this information and thus can’t include it in her dream – except that she saw the whole of Wolverine’s life during the Life of Wolverine Infinity Comic in 2022. Of course, Romulus has an odd status in continuity these days, where he’s never officially been retconned out, but everyone just ignores him in stories where he logically ought to be relevant.

PAGES 8-9. Wolverine becomes Phoenix.

This is the opening of X-Men #101, playing out with Wolverine instead of Jean. Since Jean has accidentally unlocked Wolverine’s memories of Weapon X, and Phoenix is all about passion, Wolverine is off to Canada to kill everyone involved.

PAGE 10. Professor X sends the X-Men on holiday, but Jean insists on going after Wolverine.

In the original story, Phoenix is hospitalised soon after emerging from the bay. Professor X then sends the X-Men on an “enforced vacation” to Ireland so that he and Scott can focus on Jean’s recovery. The X-Men then get to hang out with leprechauns in X-Men #101-103. So in that version too, Scott and Jean are absent from the Irish group. (Wolverine is also missing in this version, but presumably that doesn’t make much difference to the outcome.)

Jean suggests later that Professor X knows about Weapon X and about the fact that Wolverine is going to Canada to deal with them, which would be consistent with “Original Sin”.

PAGES 11-12. Cyclops and Jean tail Wolverine.

Fairly self-explanatory, except for Cyclops’s slightly odd comment that Jean “loves” Wolverine – which might be true now that she’s been closely exposed to his mind, but would be very recent if so. It’s possible that the idea here is that Jean has forged with Wolverine a version of the same psychic rapport that she and Scott had in the original Dark Phoenix Saga. It’s also possible that this is just intentionally odd – issue #1 featured a number of weird continuity oddities, apparently to make clear that these were not actual alternate timelines but scenarios playing out in Jean’s mind.

PAGES 13-16. Wolverine destroys Weapon X.

Phoenix Wolverine is basically suicidal – he sees himself and his tormentors as monsters, and wants to wipe them all out. He regains his senses somewhat on realising that Scott and Jean are there.

PAGES 17-21. Wolverine asks to be killed.

All this mirrors Phoenix asking Cyclops to kill her at the climax of the  Dark Phoenix saga in X-Men #137. However, it’s Cyclops enthusiastically arguing that Phoenix (Wolverine) must die, and the references to his own passion attracting Phoenix presumably indicate that he’s at least partially motivated by jealousy. Cyclops is not a particularly suitable host for the Phoenix because he’s basically logical and it isn’t, but his strength of feeling for Jean makes the difference. Wolverine ultimately reclaims the Phoenix and kills himself.

PAGE 22. Jean looks for another departure point.

Well, Phoenix didn’t work. So now Jean is going to try altering the ending of Inferno, which is the point where she first properly confronts her clone Madelyne Pryor. More of that next time.

PAGE 23. Trailers. The Krakoan reads OBSESSION.

Bring on the comments

  1. Jon R says:

    This feels perfectly okay. Not bad at all, but also not the most interesting. Maybe because this one felt much more ground that’s been covered in What If. Whether or not it actually has been, it just felt like it in a weird way.

    It’s a pity we don’t get the counter of any decisions Jean made that *were* just absolutely the wrong one.

    Also this should be an ongoing series that reaches back into random Jean moments. “Maybe.. if I’d instead worn the wedding dress Jubilee picked out when I married Scott… oh no. No no no that somehow ended with everyone being turned into Hounds. Whew, glad I went with my gut on that one.”

  2. Luis Dantas says:

    Sigh. I was so hopeful for this series after #1. But #2 is exactly the sort of story I wish never existed. I want my two minutes of time back.

  3. Michael says:

    The problem is that literally nothing happens each issue. If Gimmick changes her name to Feint in Dark X-Men 2, it might be referenced in Fall of House of X. If Banshee changes his name to Sandman in Jean Grey 2, it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a What If.
    And next issue features a What If with Maddie, but the Dark X-Men are spending five issues fighting an alternate Maddie.
    The annoying thing is Marvel did dream stories as the end of Steven Engllehart’s run on Fantastic Four and the fans hated it. I’m surprised they’re basically making the same mistake again with this limited series.

  4. Si says:

    Maybe this is just a What If minus the title, or a companion to the X Lives of Wolverine. But it might end up being more. We’ve had Moira and Sentinel Woman explaining that they’ve gone through every alternative and the end result is always disaster (for them). Maybe this series is a third exploration of the theme, this time showing not telling.

    I can see two ways this might play out in an important way. First, Jean might cone back to life and say “I’ve run all the numbers, this is what we need to do next to avoid disaster.”

    Or, less likely, Jean comes back as Phoenix, and does a soft reset of the timeline, reversing the Orchis attack, or even the whole Krakoa era, with various unexpected side effects to explore. I’ve said it before, the whole Orchis takeover feels a lot like an event miniseries that’s undone at the end. That’s why Orchis has both taken over the world and also hasn’t been noticed by any other superheroes. Messy, but possible.

  5. SanityOrMadness says:

    Michael> The annoying thing is Marvel did dream stories as the end of Steven Engllehart’s run on Fantastic Four and the fans hated it. I’m surprised they’re basically making the same mistake again with this limited series.

    Odd thing to reference – is there even anyone at Marvel now who was involved in the “John Harkness” thing? That was 40-odd years ago! More time has passed between then and now than between FF #1 and then.

  6. Chris V says:

    Not to mention that Englehart was phoning it in on those issues on purpose. He was upset at editorial interference and decided to write the issues as “Harkness” in protest. He then, basically, attempted to sabotage the FF comic. He makes a point about these “dream stories” are the FF stories you could have been reading, but these other stories are the type of stories that Marvel wants you to read. It’s really amazing that DeFalco (who Englehart was in this fight with) allowed those comics to be published.

    We basically got the same sort of thing as the Englehart FF stories (except less satirical) from Hickman in Inferno #3. His alternate Life Ten was his sketching out the direction the line would have moved had he stayed, but then it was all wiped out when Omega Sentinel travelled back in time.

  7. Aro says:

    I find it unlikely (though I suppose not impossible) that any of the FoX mini-series are going to have major, on-going repercussions for the line.

    I suspect the Jean Gray series has been specifically structured so as to not need to impact other storylines in any specific way. They only tend to pull in ‘legacy’ creators like Simonson to do nostalgic takes, and I think this is a clever way to do that while still having it be in the present.

    The whole structure of this event reminds me of something like Age of X, where it it’s designed to act as a placeholder while they get things lined up for the next big relaunch. Sure, the stories are happening ‘for real’, rather than in an alternate reality, but they’re all set to end at the same time, and they’re fairly disconnected from each other. The continuity issues are probably happening because editorial’s priorities are setting up the relaunch.

    ‘Fall of the House of X/Rise of the Powers of X’ will probably act as a multi-month ‘conclusion’ that ties off this era.

  8. Jason says:

    “(Storm gives her a farewell hug)”

    the shade

  9. Luis Dantas says:

    I’m not bothered that this history is a “What If?” of sorts. Nor that it will have little impact on continuity. Those are fine.

    I’m bothered that it exists and it is a vehicle for the ideas that “Wolverine is the best there is” and “Jean and Wolverine are alike minds”.

    It probably doesn’t help that this particular story relies on Wolverine’s most ridiculous trait being canon well before it existed in actual publication time.

  10. Michael says:

    @Aro- Uncanny Spider-Man might, because it seems to have been written to (a) redo Kurt’s origin and (b) address what Ruth meant when she said Kurt was the “key” to stopping Orchis and/or the Dominion. Uncanny Avengers also might, since it’s written by Duggan- I could see Uncanny Avengers becoming an ongoing series with Burnside/Stevil/whoever’s under the mask becoming their archenemy after the Krakoan era ends.
    Dark X-Men looks like, at the very least, it will get Ben Reilly out of the Limbo Embassy. And it’s already made clear that whoever’s writing those “Fall of the House of X” pages, it’s not one of the Quiet Council.
    You’re right, though. in that some of the others involve villains that have nothing to do with Orchis- Children of the Vault, Realm of X.

  11. Thom H. says:

    It’s quite possible this mini-series will be setting up Jean for a big role in the main X-narrative. Why else include it under the Fall of X banner? Louise Simonson could write a retro Jean Grey mini anytime, and Marvel has other ways of marketing that kind of series in their line. I think we’re finally going to see some semblance of Hickman’s ultimate plan for Jean/Phoenix in the greater FoHX/RoPX wrap-up.

    I agree with Luis that this issue didn’t live up to the promise of the first. Jean/Scott/Logan romantic drama is not very interesting, and watching them play Phoenix ping-pong is even more boring. Making the Phoenix fair play for almost any character has got to be the worst decision ever made with that concept. I guess Grant Morrison is to blame? I’m not sure it’s what they meant when they were writing New X-Men, but it opened the doors for lots of bad Phoenix stories down the line.

    As an aside: the expressions on everyone’s faces when Scott professes his love for Jean in this issue are priceless. Just pure disgust and boredom. So funny.

  12. Chris V says:

    I’m not sure why it is Grant Morrison’s fault. If anything, I’d say that Morrison attempted to correct prior writer’s discrepancies with the Phoenix. Jean Grey was the one, chosen host of the Phoenix until she died, which Morrison meant to be permanent at the end, then the force chose Quire to become host of the future Phoenix. Simple.

    It was A vs. X which ruined the concept. There were examples beforehand which showed that the Phoenix could take hosts not related to the Greys though. The most egregious example (prior to A vs. X) was when Professor X becomes the Bald Phoenix in the Starjammers mini-series from 1990.

  13. Luis Dantas says:

    It has been about 40 years, and the nature of Phoenix only becomes more unclear and more contradictory as time passes.

    For a long while it seemed to be an exclusivity of Jean and later Rachel. But it was featured in the New Teen Titans/X-Men crossover where it briefly possessed Scott, and it went through several different, confusing origin tales involving the M’Krann crystal, the Ultraverse, something about one of Excalibur’s foes, and apparently it is now involved with Earth’s origin. It is also variously said to be unique in the multiverse and one of several. Its personality and danger level are not stable either.

    It is all over the place.

  14. Chris V says:

    Part of the discrepancy is baked into the premise. Claremont saw the Phoenix as the evolution of Jean Grey. It’s what she/her powers would have become, naturally, with time had she not been forced to push herself in order to survive the radiation, which caused her to evolve into the Phoenix earlier. Byrne, on the other hand, saw the Phoenix as some type of cosmic force which was possessing Jean Grey.

  15. Omar Karindu says:

    Chris V said: Claremont saw the Phoenix as the evolution of Jean Grey. It’s what she/her powers would have become, naturally, with time had she not been forced to push herself in order to survive the radiation…

    And even before that, Claremont and Cockrum apparently saw it as “if cosmic rays make humans into the Fantastic Four, what do they do to someone who’s already a superhuman mutant?”

    I think the idea that Phoenix was everything about Jean turned up to 11 was an idea closer to the Cockrum-to-Byrne transition when they come up with the Dark Phoenix idea.

    Almost everything else — Phoenix as cosmic possession, Phoenix as the highest stage of a psychic mutant, other people being the Phoenix, etc. — has a lot more to do with the mess around bringing Jean Grey back without the Phoenix as baggage. And that was something Claremont never intended.

    IIRC, even Byrne’s “cosmic possession” idea was, essentially, working from a suggestion by Kurt Busiek via Roger Stern. Claremont and Byrne’s original idea was that Jean-as-Phoenix would effectively be turned into a baseline human via the removal of her psychic potential, until Jim Shooter made them kill her off.

  16. wwk5d says:

    @Chris V

    But didn’t we see other Phoenix’s (or whatever the plural is) besides Quentin?

  17. sagatwarrior says:

    You had the Phoenix Five when you had the Phoenix possess Cyclops, Namor, Colossus, Magik, and Emma Frost. Then you had Jason Aaron come up with the abortive idea that the Phoenix was the mother of Thor.

  18. Chris V says:

    Yes, I believe they were all from the past though (maybe some could also be from the far future, post-Quire; based on what Quire revealed about the White Hot Room).
    Davis’ Excalibur had already established that the Phoenix existed long before Jean and the identity of the first host. So, the intimation would be that there is one, chosen host for the Phoenix until they die and then a new host is chosen. Jean was the current incarnation, but she chose to allow herself to die in the end, with Quire chosen to take up the mantle in the future, until he chooses to die.
    Meaning, not just anyone can become the Phoenix as we saw in later stories like A vs. X, which ignored Morrison.

  19. So this is at least the third version of Wolverine to turn into a Phoenix? Wild. XD

  20. Thom H. says:

    Yeah, I’m not saying Morrison ruined Phoenix by putting it in every character around. Just that showing multiple not-Jean Phoenixes at once may have opened the door for AvX Phoenix-diluting shenanigans.

    And my understanding of Morrison’s intent was that the Phoenix is like a hand whose fingers are poking through into our dimension and inhabiting different hosts, there can be multiple at once. Which is why Jean was displaying early signs of Phoenix-like powers at the same time Quentin was sublimating into light or whatever. But I could be wrong.

  21. Chris V says:

    That’s not how I read it. I read it as Quentin discovering his destiny in the White Hot Room that he would someday become the chosen Phoenix host.
    Quire then made the comment that he remembered being in the White Hot Room before he was born where he met his parents.
    I think Morrison’s intent is that the White Hot Room exists outside of space and time, so everyone who has ever been or will ever be a Phoenix host exists in the White Hot Room for eternity.

  22. Sam says:

    I think it says something that no one has mentioned that Scott dies in this issue, not Paul, not anyone in the comments.

  23. thewreath says:

    I heard a rumour this was originally supposed to be a run of X-Men Legends but got retooled into a mini with a couple passing references to Fall of X for sales. Anyone hear anything about that? Would kinda make sense.

  24. K says:

    The funniest thing about everybody playing Phoenix ping-pong was that, if this was how it worked, then at the end Jean seeing both Scott and Logan die within seconds of each other should have been taken by the Phoenix immediately anyway.

  25. Chris V says:

    thewreath-There’s an interview with Louise Simonson where it sounds as if the editor, Sarah Brunstad, asked Simonson if she’d be interested in writing a Jean Grey mini-series, which may very well have been for X-Men Legends. Simonson stated she was having a hard time coming up with any original ideas for Jean. She had run a number of ideas by Brunstad, but Simonson was having trouble making any of them work. After the Hellfire Gala, Brunstad ran one of the ideas by Simonson again and asked her if she could tie it into the “Fall of X” event, at which point Simonson said she realized the story she wanted to tell with Jean.

  26. Asteele says:

    After this many years I do feel we should have an official story. Instead of me completely unclear what actually was supposed to happen in the dark Pheonix saga.

  27. Mike Loughlin says:

    Asteele: for me, the Dark Phoenix Saga is the only major Phoenix story that makes sense. The Phoenix Force retcon muddied everything, but it was still workable. The Phoenix seeing Rachel Summers as a “do over” and channeling its power through her was acceptable, but then…

    -Alan Davis had the Phoenix fight Galactus in an excellent, beautiful issue of Excalibur. The Phoenix was said to take its power from “life not yet born” or something, which made no sense. Rachel was exiled to the future a few issues later.

    – There’s a Phoenix in the original Guardians of the Galaxy’s future. I never read it, but remember the cover. No one references it again.

    – The Phoenix interacts with the Ultraverse. It sucks and no one cares.

    – Jean might be turning into or possessed by the Phoenix a few years later (1998). That went nowhere.

    – Morrison messes around with the Phoenix. It’s a good use of the concept, but ties Jean to the entity. She dies before too much craziness happens, only to be reborn in an alternate future wearing a skimpier outfit. Also, Quentin Quire gets the Phoenix Force in that future despite having no redeeming qualities.

    – Phoenix: Endsong and Phoenix: Warsong are confusing messes that suck. The Phoenix concept is further cheapened.

    – AvX: The Phoenix comes back, possesses 5 mutants, and tries to solve Earth’s problems but ends up mad. The Iron Fist is involved somehow? I think the story sucks so I might have missed something. At any rate, Phoenix’s purpose and nature are made even less consistent.

    – In Jason Aaron’s Avengers, Phoenix came to Earth in prehistoric times, joined the proto-Avengers, had a human-like personality, rejected Odin’s advances, is like a godmother to Thor, and then a bunch of superhumans fought to be her host or something. Echo won and, oh yeah, there’s a bad Phoenix from another dimension who possessed Mystique but don’t worry there’s a good one that possessed Wolverine and helped Echo win… man, that comic suuucccckkkked (nice art, though).

    Now, Phoenix is… not Jean Grey exactly, but maybe kinda? It’s a powerful something that exists for some reason and does stuff, just ‘cuz. Also, there’s supposed to only one of it, but nah there’s a bunch in the multiverse, just ‘cuz.

  28. Alexx Kay says:

    “This is a somewhat simplified version of the retcon that was used to bring Jean back after Phoenix died.”

    I think that, like Romulus, bothe the writers and editors now feel that that idea was a serious misstep, and do their best to avoid it. (Perhaps on the theory — which I agree with — that no “fix” would be worth the pain of bringing the problem back into focus in thr first place.)

    “Cyclops is not a particularly suitable host for the Phoenix”

    Arguably true, but I feel it’s worth pointing out that Cyclops *has been* a host for the Phoenix in the main 616 timeline. Though, again, that was part of a story that no current creators seem to want to reference.

  29. wwk5d says:

    I dunno, I kind of liked what Alan Davis did with the Phoenix.

  30. Omar Karindu says:

    Perhaps they could go meta with it: “The Phoenix burns away what doesn’t work,” including revising its own nature.

    Though that runs the risk of being a bit too much like the Sentry, and we all know how that turned out. (Come to think of it, the original Sentry plotline is a bit like the Dark Phoenix Saga with a meta twist already.)

  31. Mike Loughlin says:

    My solution (which no one asked for):

    Phoenix is Jean powered up by cosmic rays. The body at the bottom of Jamaica Bay was created by Phoenixed-Jean as a back-up, perhaps unconsciously. It wasn’t healing, it was gestating in that cocoon. After her corporeal form was destroyed in Uncanny X-Men 137, the Phoenix Force was the result. Her human memories damaged or destroyed, the confused Phoenix Force wandered through space and time. Eventually, it will get itself together and serve its purpose at some point in the future, perhaps teaming with Galactus to bring the next universe into existence.

  32. […] GREY #2. (Annotations here.) Well, it looks like we really are doing four issues of What If…? with Jean Grey centred […]

  33. Taibak says:

    wwk5d: I did too, but it’s telling that nobody’s ever mentioned it again.

    Hell, look how long this discussion has been going and how few times Rachel has come up.

  34. Mike Loughlin says:

    I love the Davis Excalibur run, I just don’t think “Phoenix gets energy from unborn life” works.

    I think Excalibur gets less attention than it should have because David’s run featured a lot of humor and absurdity, in contrast to the deadly serious X-Men and X-Force. It didn’t cross over with or have much to do with main X-Men continuity. It didn’t have a Wolverine or a Cable. 3/5 of the main characters were women, and none of them were ‘90s “bad girls.” Alan Davis can draw rings around any of the Image founders, but he and inker Mark Farmer didn’t use the hyper-detailed rendering so popular at the time. The Davis run should be a bigger deal. I blame fanboy tastes.

    Also, very few readers cared about Rachel Summers. Writers didn’t know what to do with her, either. She stayed in character limbo for years, and has been relegated to background status more often than not.

  35. Daibhid C says:

    @Mike Loughin:Also, there’s supposed to only one of it, but nah there’s a bunch in the multiverse, just ‘cuz.

    Well, that’s kind of how the multiverse works, and “character is unique in the multiverse” is a terrible idea that never works. (My current favourite is that the MCU version of America Chavez is supposed to be unique in the multiverse, which can only be interpreted as a shot in the ongoing feud between the MCU and Marvel Comics as to whether they’re the same multiverse or not.)

    The idea other worlds in the multiverse have their own Phoenix Forces is, I think, first established in What If? #27 in 1981, which says that on Earth-81727, the entire Dark Phoenix Saga happened just as on 616, until Jean got lobotomised by the Shi’ar rather than killed. It didn’t end well.

    If there’s only one Phoenix Force in the entire multiverse then every X-Men What If? has to be “What if the whole Phoenix Saga never happened?”

  36. Thom H. says:

    @Mike Loughlin: That theory is my official head canon from now on.

    I had completely forgotten about What If? #27. What a great story.

  37. Michael says:

    @Daibhid, Mike Loughlin- The problem is that during his run on Excalibur, Claremont suggested that there was only one Rachel Summers in the multiverse. This was contradicted not only by the What ifs but a Fantastic Four story where the FF encounter a son of an alternate Rachel and Franklin who heals Ben’s face after it was injured by Wolverine. Later writers resolved this discrepancy by claiming the Rachel in that story wasn’t a “true” alternate self but more like a sister- but in other stories, we’ve seen alternate selves with different genders!

  38. ylU says:

    I guess the nice thing about cosmic stuff at the level of the Phoenix is that it’s so big it almost feels like it can accommodate contradictions, in a weird way? At least for me.

    Like, if you have an actual regular flesh-and-blood character being born in Boston in one comic and New Orleans in another, that’s just a contradiction, no two ways about it.

    But when you have something big and cosmic, it’s like… sure, why can’t it be both, in some way beyond human understanding of casuality? Like light being both a particle and a wave. Or like Marvel humanity arising both from evolution *and* from magical Asgardian waters falling on two trees.

  39. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Daibhid C: agree completely! I was listing ways that Marvel has screwed up the Phoenix because they won’t keep the lore straight and allowed statements like “Phoenix is unique in the multiverse” without following through. I love What If…? and chuckled whenever a version of Phoenix showed up because it’s not supposed to work. I’m not a continuity buff, I mostly share @ylu’s view stated above. Marvel should have already defined the Phoenix, however, and stopped producing so many mediocre stories that complicate the concept.

    @Thom H: cool, thanks!

  40. Pseu42 says:

    For the record, I do not care for comics published after my birth being referred to as “nearly 50 years old”.

    It’s not inaccurate. I just do not care for it.

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