Fantastic Four #286
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #286
Thanks to the popularity of X-Men, Marvel was developing a new X-Title, X-Factor, to feature the original X-Men and be written by Bob Layton. But Jean Grey was dead, so Layton intended to replace her with Dazzler. Bringing a dead hero back to life would have been unusual and controversial but not without precedent (Professor X), but there was the further complication of Jim Shooter's legendary edict that Jean Grey had to die due to her actions as Dark Phoenix. However, Kurt Busiek had an idea about how to get around that, which forms the basis of this issue.
We've already seen that the Avengers have picked up a capsule from the bottom of Jamaica Bay and we the audience know that it contains Jean Grey, although the Avengers do not. The Fantastic Four, who are staying at the Avengers Mansion, arrive after a jaunt in space, and the Invisible Woman's powers make it possible to look inside the capsule and see Jean.
None of the Avengers or the FF recognize her, however (she is out of costume).
After an all-nighter (note Captain America unmasked in front of Reed)...
...Mr. Fantastic uses a "gentle bio-radiant stimulation" to attempt to bring Jean out of her coma, which... works, but Jean is disoriented, with at least a little bit of amnesia. The last thing she remembers is battling Stephen Lang and his X-Sentinels...
...and she assumes that the Avengers and FF are more robots, especially since Mr. Fantastic is wearing the "wrong" color costume and Sue is referring to herself as the Invisible "Woman" (she doesn't comment on Hercules' He-Man costume but she wouldn't really have known Herc enough to notice that anyway).
Sue is able to subdue Jean...
...and it's kind of intriguing (and probably unintentional) to see Sue reveling in her abilities, almost to the point of being megalomaniacal about it, and also a little reckless when it comes to blocking Jean's telekinesis without concern for the people stuck on the ceiling, especially Jarvis.
Jean, meanwhile, is really playing up the persecution angle, an interesting glimpse into mutant vs. non-mutant psychology.
Sue is mocking, but that will change when she hears Jean's story and she'll actually become the most sympathetic to Jean's plight (see one of the References below for that).
Also note in that scene above, Jean describes herself as having "extra power". And after Jean recaps the X-Men's encounter with Lang, Sue suggests using the bio-stimulator again, but Reed says that he can't and that he wouldn't have used it at all if he'd known that she was an "ESPer" because it could have caused permanent brain damage. This may have been meant to explain the changes in Jean's powers; in addition to her increased telekinesis, we learn that she no longer has telepathy.
Jean suggests instead going to Professor X. He's off planet, which the Avengers and FF don't seem to know, but Captain America rules that out anyway due to the fact that the X-Men are associating with Magneto.
A couple things here. Jean takes the news hard. She's clearly on the edge of a breakdown. And i guess that's why she doesn't ask to at least see Cyclops, although it's hard to believe that her first thoughts wouldn't be of Scott. But i really do have a problem with Cap, here. Cap just recently sat down and ate a turkey with Magneto. And even if he doesn't completely trust him, he must have seen that Magneto was trying to make an effort at outreach. I mean, he didn't try to arrest the guy, despite calling him a "war criminal" here. And as i mentioned on that issue's entry, there's a little bit of hypocrisy with Cap being a sponsor of Sub-Mariner's membership in the Avengers while completely rejecting Magneto's claims of reformation.
I'm not saying Byrne is doing a bad job of writing Cap here. This reading of Cap (and the other Avengers and the FF) goes back to the original Secret Wars, if not earlier, and it just represents a legitimate blind spot, which i think is interesting. (I also recognize that one could draw a distinction between Magneto's past actions and Sub-Mariner's especially if we don't count some of Namor's more murderous Golden Age stories as canon, but i think it's a fine line.)
In any event, the back-up plan is to take Jean to her parents' house. They surprisingly leave Jean in her torn dress and barefoot even though Sue takes the time to change out of her PJs. But Jean does seem to have regained her composure.
At the house, Jean finds the Shi'ar holempathic matrix crystal. Holding it restores her memories, and this is where we learn that every appearance of the Phoenix since the X-Men's return trip from Stephen Lang's satellite was not actually Jean, it was a separate Phoenix entity that replaced her.
The dialogue here struck me as fairly Claremontian but at first i thought it was just my own projection. However, when checking Sean Howe's Mavel Comics: The Untold Story to make sure i had my story straight about the fact that Dazzler was originally meant to be a member of X-Factor, i also found this:
X-Men editor Ann Nocenti broke the news to Claremont on a Friday night... Claremont, in high dudgeon, raced for a pay phone, only to realize he couldn't remember Shooter's direct line. Nocenti refused to give him the number, though, and when he considered going back to the office to confront his editor in chief, she told him to sit down, order another drink, and relax. "If I had actually gone to see Shooter on Friday night, Claremont recalled, "I would have quit." X-Factor mangled Claremont's ride-into-the-sunset plans for Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor...
If your copy of Uncanny X-Men #100 came from the reprint in Classic X-Men #8, and you're reading your comics in chronological order like you're supposed to, you've already seen a version of this scene. Some of the dialogue is the same, some is slightly altered, and much is added in the Classic X-Men issue. Part of me wishes that if they were going to insert extra stuff in the CX issue, they would have just re-used what was shown here. But the CX issue adds the creepy element of showing Jean's dessicated, radiation-damaged body as she negotiates with the Phoenix Force, and continues further than this issue, showing Phoenix's surprise that Jean's body still (barely) survived the merger, something it wasn't expecting.
Captain America simultaneously researches X-Men history while Jean, Reed, Sue, and Herc are experiencing the scenes from the Shi'ar crystal, and he arrives to fill in some of the pieces. The consensus is that the Phoenix was neither a force for good or evil, but its connection with Jean is both what corrupted it and what ultimately forced it to sacrifice itself.
This solution attempts a best of both worlds approach. Jean Grey herself is absolved of the actions of the Phoenix. But the classic Phoenix story is not entirely invalidated, since the creature that replaced her was in essence her, and it was her spirit that guided its actions. So its love for Scott was real, the corruption and temptation and ultimate self-sacrifice were real.
Of course i can be sanguine about this because this is basically where i as a reader was coming in. I hadn't read the Phoenix saga in realtime and i was only aware of it through glimpses in flashback (a lot from Alpha Flight #17). The Classic X-Men reprint series hadn't even started yet. So to me, this is an "of course that's what happened" situation. But looking at it now, and especially thinking about it from the perspective of older readers who had a more direct connection with the Phoenix story, i can just imagine the outrage. And i sympathize with it. I said that the story "is not entirely invalidated", but still, to a large degree, it is. Certainly this wasn't Claremont or Byrne's original intent. But at least Byrne and even Claremont had a degree of say in how their story got retconned. We even have Terry Austin on inks. And while this was largely an editorial fiat, it's worth remembering that the same is true of the original death of Phoenix story.
A word on that Shi'ar crystal. Recall that the crystal was repaired in Uncanny X-Men #201 by Rachel Summers, and in the process she inserted her own essence. That isn't referenced here. When Jean is done experiencing the scene where she was duplicated by the Phoenix, she says "These memories... they're mine, but there's something else here--! Another image recorded alongside mine in the crystal." But of course that refers to the Phoenix Force, not Rachel. I guess things are already confusing enough for Jean, and the fact that there's actually a third essence in the crystal would be too much to recognize. It's unclear to me how much of the Phoenix' memories Jean actually experiences, but we'll cover that more when we get to the X-Factor issues.
The issue ends with an epilogue where Jean is still at Avengers Mansion, saying that she's decided not to contact any of her family or friends until she's able to explain things better, and that she's therefore on her own. If this weren't all leading up to the formation of X-Factor, i could imagine her hanging around with the FF for a while like Tigra and Thundra did in the 70s, or maybe joining the Avengers. Instead, Mr. Fantastic realizes that while "the X-Men are... 'out of bounds'", there's still another group he can contact.
In addition to all of this, Byrne manages to not forget the Human Torch and She-Hulk, adding these scenes.
I quite enjoy this issue. Despite being a retcon story and one that has the potential to be really convoluted, it comes across cleanly. And it's got great Byrne art (i love the little scenes like Cap and Reed and Herc sitting exhausted around the computer monitor) and some intriguing character moments for all involved. I wish John Byrne continued to be involved in the launch of X-Factor; then you would have had the team that produced the Phoenix story that helped the X-Men explode in popularity now each split to one of two ongoing X-books, and Byrne shows that he can write a nice Jean here. I would have loved to see him writing Bobby and Hank and Warren as well, and i have a feeling the Scott/Madelyne/Jean thing might have been addressed better. It's actually pretty strange that this was all being handed off to Bob Layton.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from Avengers #263. At the end of that issue, the Avengers are asked to return to the airport to continue the investigation of the Enclave's crash, and that's where the Wasp, the Black Knight, Captain Marvel, and the Sub-Mariner are during the beginning of this story. Additionally , this issue begins with the Fantastic Four returning from space after a period of a "few weeks" where Mr. Fantastic has been taking the team on "one detour after another" investigating "anything of the slightest cosmological interest". This was originally meant to show the FF's return from Fantastic Four annual #19, but that's not possible due to their appearances in Secret Wars II #5-6, so this must be a separate trip into space. That said, the FF must have left soon after Secret Wars II #6 since the Power Pack tie-in for that issue (#18) has Franklin saying that his parents are away, and they are still away in Power Pack #19. I like the idea that Mr. Fantastic had the team out for a purely scientific investigation, but another possibility in light of New Avengers: Illuminati #3 is that Reed took the group out to investigate the asteroid Ceres for clues about the Beyonder without telling them exactly what they were looking for. This issue ends with Mr. Fantastic about to call the Defenders, and he's shown making that call (or a follow-up) in Defenders #152.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (14): show
Wow with all the those legendary writers this must've been enjoyable.
Posted by: doomsday | October 26, 2013 4:14 PM
Byrne's original artwork is up here:
Posted by: Michael | October 26, 2013 4:46 PM
Shooter's "Jean must die" edict is a myth, according to Shooter: http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/06/origin-of-phoenix-saga.html . He thought Claremont's depowered-and-sent-home ending was a cop out, Claremont thought Shooter's prisoner-of-the-Shi'ar ending was unworkable. That said, maybe Shooter did want her exculpated as well as resurrected.
A second team of X-Men was something of an inevitability. Years before, Gruenwald had suggested a West Coast X-Men consisting of characters Claremont wasn't using in the early '80s. Louise Jones staved that off by proposing New Mutants instead. Angel and Iceman got picked up by Defenders, but Bob Layton asked Shooter one day why the original X-Men were being wasted on that title.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 26, 2013 6:27 PM
I do link to Shooter's version on the UX #137 entry. But considering the drastic measures taken here, i suspect that there was some sort of decree stronger than he admits or remembers, or least Byrne and Stern interpreted things that way. Otherwise they could have simply revealed that Jean was replaced by a Shi'ar duplicate at the last second so they could fake her death and keep her imprisoned until they extracted the Phoenix force from her or something.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 26, 2013 6:44 PM
The Illuminati idea is just creaming out for someone to come along and erase it. The easiest way out is to say that Xavier, Namor, et al, were RECENTLY given memory implants and that any flashbacks/continuity inserts depicting those characters operating together were delusions. It's ONE retcons that would fix COUNTLESS retcons. Bendis put no thought whatsoever into the Illuminati and it causes A LOT more damage than SECRET WARS II (which Bendis used the Illuminati to eradicate. SW2 was just a bad story, but it wasn't impossible to reconcile like most of Bendis' crossover events).
Posted by: jay patrick | October 26, 2013 8:14 PM
Ahem... "Screaming", not... "Creaming".
Posted by: Jay Patrick | October 26, 2013 8:16 PM
How did I never notice how much cheesecake was going on at Marvel in the 1980s? These scans are enlightening to an adult eye. It's a good issue, but parading Jean around "bottomless" for the whole thing is a mite tacky. No one at the Avengers' mansion had a robe or a pair of jeans for the poor woman?
Posted by: Todd | October 26, 2013 10:00 PM
I think Cap's "blind spot" to Magneto and not the Sub-Mariner is easily explained. Namor has a legitimacy as first the heir and then king of Atlantis protecting his subjects which Magneto never had. Second, Namor did fight alongside Cap extensively during the Second World War. So not only was Namor a long time ally of Cap, Cap also had time to get to know Namor and understand his nobility and sense of duty.
Lastly, Namor was always something of an anti-hero, not an outright villain. He was always a controversial figure, and often an enemy, but many surface worlders acknowledged he had legitimate grievances. Magneto however was an outright villain; there is no question around that. He also displayed bullying tendencies towards Toad which showed his real character, and that he had huge problems even besides his war with humanity.
Claremont could very well side step that in various ways while writing X-Men, but it was always by dubious means. Magneto seemed to be someone who wanted to be forgiven and move on, but never wanted to actually pay the penalty for his past actions. "I apologized already, get over it." I can easily see other characters not to see past that and legitimately question Magneto's intention.
Posted by: Chris | November 3, 2013 1:22 PM
To be fair, Magneto DID surrender himself to face judgement before the World Court. Still, the problem of the X-Books wanting characters to reform but not actually face the consequences of their actions is a real one- look at not only Magneto but also Rogue, Emma Frost and Gateway.
Posted by: Michael | November 3, 2013 2:05 PM
Okay, so why is Jean (or "Jean") parading around in this issue in a short torn black dress? Well, way back in X-Men #s 98-101, when Marvel Girl initially transitioned to Phoenix (or so we thought . . .), Jean was wearing a long black dress that inhibited her movement. So Wolverine "fixed" it for her with his handy-dandy claws. "Hey! Not so blasted short!" she had cried. Wolverine clearly enjoyed his handiwork, as did the gallery. The artist was Dave Cockrum. And here the superior Mr. Byrne obviously relished picking up on this situation and drawing Jean's legs for a full issue. We can appreciate the fruit (er, stems) of his labor. And most of those present at Avengers' mansion were guys.
That said, as someone who bought and devoured the Dark Phoenix Saga hot off the racks, this issue is Blasphemy. I have to dial out a lot of later Marvel "history" to maintain my interest. This is almost as bad as if it turned out that Captain Marvel *really* hadn't died of cancer; instead, it was his cousin Car-Vell or something. Sheesh.
Posted by: Instantiation | August 15, 2014 1:17 PM
Well, as a kid reading this issue, I didn't mind Jean spending the issue in a (hand made) short skirt!
Heck, as an adult now, I guess I still don't mind...
Posted by: Bill | August 15, 2014 2:45 PM
I hear you, Bill!
Worth noting that this subject connects to considerations elsewhere on this site of Marvel's increasingly evident move toward titillation during the 80s. I'm saying nothing new in noting that this reflects changing mores as well as the changing demographics of comics readers.
It's hard to draw the line, but obvious attempts to exploit female characters and manipulate male readers became too pervasive, I think. The manipulation works for profound biological and cultural reasons, of course, and empowerment and exploitation of female characters stood side by side. My main objection is that it seemed clear that a kind of crass business formula was being substituted for what comics should have been aspiring to at this point: genuine artistry.
This FF issue might be said to offer a mild instance and is based on Byrne's typically knowing use of past comics history but nonetheless also seems indicative of a larger oncoming trend.
However, Byrne has strong credentials, I believe, as a feminist comics artist. He was part of the team that made Jean Gray the most powerful (and tragic) of all mutants and that made Mystique the leader of the new Evil Mutants (still a "Brotherhood," though). And on his own, he invested a lot in developing Sue Richards' character and powers as well as transitioning her to being called The Invisible Woman. In addition, he balanced out the FF as two men and two women (even if it really annoyed this fan to see The Thing, my fave FF character by far, exit).
I wonder if he pushes things here early on, in his desire to make this a showdown between the two female characters, by having Jean be able to telekinetically pin Hercules? Without studying the precedents, this surprises me, as Herc, a true demigod, is well established to be just about the strongest of all Marvel heroes, with only the possible exception of a fully enraged Hulk. In terms of sheer physical strength, he has been shown (at least at times) to be a bit above even Thor and the Savage Sub-Mariner and thus The Thing, Colossus, etc. But there is the bit here about Jean's "extra power." Hmm.
To return to the main subject: I'm no prude by any means and am an unabashed worshiper of the female form, and I also think it was an inevitable part of the evolution of comics that they became "sexier". (But sexy characters such as Black Canary, Cat Woman, etc. have been around for ages, and just for instance, Neal Adams' gorgeous, curvaceous Black Canary in her fishnets was making male readers' eyes pop out of their heads at the beginning of the 70s.)
It just raises some tricky issues that require tact and artistry. The idealization of human bodies, both male and female, is integral to the superhero genre. But when we start to wince at obvious exploitative elements and feel like the main appeal is to hormones rather than artistic appreciation, something has gone wrong. (And, to be clear, I'm thinking less of this particular issue and more of later developments, such as have been discussed in relation to X-Men 240-41.)
And I won't even get back into my hatred of retcons such as this one . . .
Excuse this fossil's long-windedness. I'm of the pre-tweet generation.
Posted by: Instantiation | August 21, 2014 1:41 PM
No need to apologize for any perceived long-windedness. I'm also of the pre-tweet generation and love to read others thought out and well put points of view.
You do raise some good points about everything. Personally, I think the reason Jean was kept in her torn dress for the duration of the story was just for the sake of simplicity. That's what she was wearing at the time of her (supposed) transformation into Phoenix, so obviously it's what she'd be wearing here (good touch by Byrne). Keeping her in it was probably to help keep her quickly recognizable to readers. She didn't have a current recognizable costume to change into, after all.
Jean Grey in civilian clothes makes her "a face in the crowd". I think this is less a manipulating of readers and more keeping a character recognizable. What's the old expression? "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Now, as we move along in the years at Marvel (and comics in general), there's plenty of examples of the female characters being used specifically for eye candy and such...
Posted by: Bill | August 22, 2014 11:32 AM
Everybody is complaining about Jean not getting some pants, but hey, at least Byrne gave Sue some pajamas. We know from X-Men #167 that Sue has been known to sleep in the nude.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 6, 2015 12:48 PM
Capes and Rob Liefeld-style pouches notwithstanding, superheroes have generally been the nude human form. I always cite Byrne's "X-Men" #139 (I think) where Xavier is chewing Warren out for his mistake in the Danger Room. The Angel is a muscular man, in spandex, in profile, a few feet away from the reader's eye, and there isn't the hint of a penis, at least nothing that gets past his (anatomically-correct) muscular thighs.
Meanwhile, ten feet behind them, there's Kitty Pryde, a 13-year old girl who is not remotely in profile, and she's got a lot more going on up front than Warren.
Me, I blame Chris Claremont. Ewwwwwwwww...
Anyway, I suspect Claremont's contribution to this story was Jim Shooter trying to keep everybody happy. Byrne was fine bringing Jean back, but Claremont wasn't. The recent announcement that Byrne had signed a contract to reboot "Superman" probably didn't help, but even without that, what could be more natural than to let the popular "X-Men" writer re-write a crucial scene from the popular "Fantastic Four" writer, as long as it leads to another new Mutant title starring the original five. If Byrne's already leaving, there's nothing he can do about it anyway, so why not redraw as well?
Posted by: ChrisW | March 1, 2016 9:58 PM
And just so we're clear, John and Elaine Grey come home to find that their front door has been smashed by the Avengers, and there's no explanation whatsoever. Was a supervillain attacking? Someone trying to steal Jean's holowhatsis? One assumes they spent a few weeks going through the entire house to be sure nothing else was missing or broken. And they still believe their daughter to be dead, and it won't be long before their other daughter goes missing, again with no explanation whatsoever for the longest time.
It's not easy to be John and Elaine Grey.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 12, 2016 11:15 PM
It's worth noting that in every single other Phoenix appearance after this the Phoenix force possesses someone, rather than duplicating them, even if those stories take place in the past. It's not even discussed as a possibility in, for example, Phoenix Endsong or Avengers Vs X-Men. I agree that it was the right decision in this case. I can't really enjoy reading Hal Jordan any more, since he's a mass murderer, no matter what the circumstances. But I don't think it's ever been explained in-story why in this one case, the Phoenix duplicated Jean, rather than possessing her.
Posted by: Andrew | May 24, 2016 9:18 PM
@Andrew: It's possible that this was an experiment done by the Phoenix Force, though after what it had been through, I doubt it was willing to try that stunt again.
Posted by: D09 | May 24, 2016 10:59 PM
@Andrew Well, Jean's body was well on it's way to death as shown in Classic X-Men #8. It was probably easier to create a new one from her template instead of repairing Jean's own body.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | May 24, 2016 11:23 PM
ChrisW's comment suggests that John Byrne's impending departure from Marvel was a contributing factor to Shooter deciding to let Claremont rewrite two pages. But fnord's quote from Howe's book suggests the rewrite was a contributing factor to Byrne's decision to leave. Byrne himself has indicated that he felt the rewrite was Shooter getting back at him for his decision to leave, lending more credence to Chris's sequence.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 29, 2017 9:33 PM
Howe's source for the version of events detailed in his book is Byrne's version of events from his website, where Byrne claims "Of course, Shooter got Claremont to do it, as he knew that would be twisting the knife."
I find this a hilarious lack of awareness that the resurrection of Jean ruins Claremont's plans for Cyclops' happy ending with Madelyne, ruins Claremont's plans for Rachel Summers, and nearly causes Claremont to quit X-Men entirely, but Byrne only sees Shooter persecuting him. From Claremont's perspective it probably seemed more like Byrne was twisting the knife into him.
Once Shooter told Claremont that X-Factor was happening whether he liked it or not, Claremont suggested a number of ideas which Shooter shot down. As ChrisW says, it's only logical Shooter would try and keep Claremont from leaving too by letting him retain his "mother of stars" version of the Phoenix's cosmology. Byrne should have no reason to think this was an attack on him, it's well established that in Shooter's reign, the character of Phoenix would belong to X-Men editorial.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | February 1, 2017 2:13 PM
Byrne: "Chris was never able to let go of the changes that were forced upon us in X-MEN 137. Luckily, I was able to take a step back, look at the finished product, and realize it was actually better than what we had planned. But Chris has spent all the years since trying to "undo" 137 -- most pointedly by changing Phoenix into a benevolent force that was corrupted by Jean's humanity (not even close to the original point!).
Byrne does have a point that making Phoenix a benevolent entity is not how it was portrayed at the time, but then this issue making the Phoenix who died only a copy of Jean is not how it was portrayed at the time either. As for corrupt humanity, the whole (confused) point of the Black Queen/Dark Phoenix plot is that Jean has some darker urges she is trying to repress, just as Claremont & Mantlo have Xavier's dark side raping & murdering in the Micronauts crossover.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | February 1, 2017 2:39 PM
Per Byrne's quote, he was basically trying to return the Phoenix to the creators' original intentions (an almost parodically "John Byrne" thing to do), well aware that one of the creators was still on the book & had been trying to take the Phoenix in a different direction.
It's worth noting that Byrne has also said that his conception of all of the characters was different to Claremont's, and also that Claremont's actual original conception of Phoenix (before Byrne joined the book) was simply that she was Jean with a power boost, not a separate entity at all.
Anyway, so Byrne is by his own admission fully aware that his depiction of the Phoenix as an evil, uncaring entity taking Jean's body by force (rather than a benevolent entity who Jean accepts by choice) is totally at odds with how Claremont would have wanted Phoenix portrayed, but still manages to believe that Shooter had the book changed just to get at him.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | February 1, 2017 2:49 PM
Above link didn't copy correct so here it is again: http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=20852&PN=0&TPN=2
One last thing: I always liked this issue and think it sold the return of Jean about as well as it could have. And it was only in the past year or so that I saw Byrne's intended flashback sequence.
I've already said some objections to Byrne's intended portrayal of Phoenix here, so maybe I'm not unbiased, and maybe I'm just used to the comic as I've known it for 30 years, but looking at Byrne's original flashback pages they just don't seem to work, and I do think they would have been a blemish on the rest of the issue. Ironic that like Jean's death in X-Men 137, Jean's return in FF 286 also met with some editorial interference, & both times for the better.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | February 2, 2017 5:02 PM
I won't say 'ending of an era,' but it does feel like 'moving onto the next chapter.' This issue was Shooter, Byrne and Claremont at their arguable worst. Byrne has an excuse because he's already been hired to write Superman, but from the editorial interference at both ends of Dark Phoenix, it feels like something important has happened.
Posted by: ChrisW | February 18, 2017 7:17 PM
So that last flashback panel has Phoenix Jean in her red Dark Phoenix costume. It should have her in the green version of the costume (with the black area on the chest and much smaller bird icon), as in all of her appearances up until, what, UXM 234? Seems like a rookie coloring mistake. I guess you can No-Prize it away saying it's supposed to be some kind of post-foreshadowing, but that seems pretty lame to me. [/ContinuityGeekGrumbling]
Posted by: J-Rod | May 2, 2017 2:01 PM
The original Retcon, the one that started it all. Sure, there were retcons before. The majority of stories in the 60s ended with the villain supossedly dead, only to be retconned alive a couple of issues later with a half-cocked explanation. But this one was years afterward and it was major. And it didn't stop here. The retcon era never stopped, sadly.
Posted by: Will | September 19, 2017 12:42 AM
As of mid-2018, Jean Grey - who has a very undeserved reputation for doing this more often than the average Marvel hero - has returned to life a second time and is now leading her own X-Men team. Her return was chronicled, as seems to be standard practice now, in a whole limited series. It involved a bit of interaction with the Phoenix Force, which has apparently been retconned by Jason Aaron in recent years as a largely benign with a bit of a fixation on Earth.
I haven't read much of it, but it seems to me that such a take is in sharp contrast to previous portraits, and probably not reconciliable with several of those, particularly Excalibur #52. To be fair, it is probably too much to hope for coherent explanations of that many stories along so many years.
As for Captain America mistrusting Magneto, I may have been influenced by meta knowledge that Jean would join X-Factor, but it never struck me as a blind spot. Instead, it is the change of attitude of the X-Men since Uncanny #150 and Secret Wars I that is difficult to explain.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 10, 2018 6:04 PM
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