The first issue of Marvel’s Phoenix Resurrection series teases that Jean Grey may not be the only character about to return from the dead. Death has always been a revolving door in the X-Men comics. That’s especially the case for characters associated with the Phoenix Force, such as Jean Grey. The Phoenix has been described as a “cosmic force of death and rebirth,” burning away the old in order to allow the new to flourish. As such, it’s sided with mutants many times before.
The ultimate Phoenix Host is Jean Grey, and fans know this latest X-Men event is building up to her resurrection. But the first issue has teased that Jean may not be the only one about to return. In fact, it opens with an ominous scene featuring what seems to be Jean’s childhood friend, Annie. In the comics, Annie’s death was the trigger for Jean’s mutant powers. Annie was injured in a car accident, and Jean entered her mind and comforted her friend as she died. Marvel has recently retconned that this use of Jean’s telepathic power was what drew the Phoenix to Earth in the first place.
Phoenix Resurrection #1 kicks off with two children stumbling across Annie’s body in the road. She’s lying still in a pool of blood; then, in a sinister twist, time begins to run backwards and the blood returns to her head. Annie sits up and looks at the children with hollow eyes. “Daed ffo retteb erew ew,” she tells the terrified kids. Reverse the words, and she’s saying: “We were better off dead.”
As the issue continues, the X-Men investigate strange energy surges linked to this sinister event. At each site, they face characters they believe to be dead. One group battle an old ally of Magneto’s, an Acolyte from the ’90s known as Seamus Melloncamp. Another find themselves tussling with a horde of Hellfire Club goons. And the Weapon X crew tangle with Wolverine. Although the X-Men don’t draw the connection, all the battles take place at sites related to Jean or the Phoenix.
Partway through, the issue takes another twist. It introduces us to what seems to be another reality, one where Jean Grey is a waitress working for an unknown woman named Gladys. As this brief scene continues, it reveals other characters who have been killed in recent years; Jean briefly talks to “Mr. Cassidy” (a.k.a. Banshee), and returns home to see her parents. Phoenix Resurrection #1 ends with Scott Summers himself knocking on the door of Jean’s house.
Recent issues of Jean Grey have teased that the Phoenix Force has some grand strategy in mind. Jean Grey #10 saw the Phoenix take almost all previous Phoenix Hosts off the table. It even killed the time-lost Jean Grey! This issue sees the last remaining Phoenix Host, Rachel Summers, wind up in the infirmary. Matters are clearly building to a head, and these visions of the dead come to life are a crucial part of it.
In X-Men lore, Jean Grey has been waiting in the “White Hot Room.” This is a mysterious spiritual realm, and the souls of Phoenix Hosts reside in the White Hot Room after they’ve died. It seems likely that the mysterious reality glimpsed at the end of the issue is actually the White Hot Room. If that’s the case, Jean’s spirit may well be accompanied by the souls of friends and enemies alike. This may neatly explain why Marvel has resurrected Wolverine just before a major resurrection event featuring the Phoenix. It’s possible that Logan’s return is somehow related to Phoenix Resurrection.
The first issue of Phoenix Resurrection raises far more questions than answers. It teases that this story isn’t only about the death and resurrection of Jean Grey. Rather, this event will explore the Phoenix’s role as a force of death and rebirth. That means other X-Men could well return from the grave as well.
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