Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix)

darkphoenixmovieLast character appearing in X-Men: Days of Future Past outside the main storyline: when young Charles Xavier uses his newly refound powers to explore Logan‘s mind, he gets some glimpses of his tragic future, from the experiments under Weapon X program and his killing of the love of his life, Jean Grey, portrayed by Famke Janssen. In Xavier’s vision, Jean doesn’t appear in her “normal” human form, but in the twisted and deformed version of the Phoenix as she appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand. This version pretty much differed from the original one in the comics, as in the movie the Phoenix (or rather the Dark Phoenix she becomes during the battle of Alcatraz) is the result of Jean’s personality disorder, a destructive second identity her powerful brain created in which Xavier locked up all of the girl’s aggressiveness, violence and impulsiveness (freed by the traumatic events of X2). In the comics, the Dark Phoenix’s origins are a little bit more alien and a little less psychological. Let’s see together.

When the aliens Z’Nox tried to conquer Earth, the X-Men repelled their forces, and Professor X made sure there was no Z’Nox darkphoenixcomics1remained on the planet. The Fantastic Four, however, feared Xavier’s plan wasn’t enough to guarantee Earth’s safety, and organized a mission in space to reach the enemy planet: Mr. Fantastic teleported the whole planet in the Negative Zone, thus ending the menace. While in space, Jean Grey’s was reached by an ancient and powerful entity, the Phoenix Force, which became fascinated by the unlimited potential of the young girl. Years after that episode, Stephen Lang and his Sentinels kidnapped Jean Grey, Professor X, Banshee and Wolverine, bringing them to his spacestation. The X-Men fought back and escaped from the station, but a solar storm engulfed the shuttle they were escaping on: Jean had psychically absorbed the skills to pilot the shuttle, and she was alone in the cockpit in order to keep the others safe from the radiations, but she was dying because of the exposure. In that moment, the Phoenix Force came back, and offered Jean the chance to grant her deepest wish: the girl only wanted to save her teammates, but her approaching death would have prevented that. The Phoenix thus possessed Jean, and brought the X-Men safely back to Earth, while the shuttle crashed into Jamaica Bay. The Phoenix, however, created a copy of Jean Grey’s consciousness and body, and while the original one was put into a coma, slowly healing from her injuries at the bottom of the bay in a telekinetic cocoon, the “other Jean”, possessed by the Phoenix Force, emerged unscathed from the remains of the shuttle. Without even realising why (Phoenix’s and Jean’s personalities had merged, with no memory of what had happened during the fall), Jean announced to her teammates that, from that moment, since she had risen from her ashes, she would have called herself “Phoenix”.

Nobody, not even her boyfriend Scott “Cyclops” Summers, realised what had happened to Jean. Her powers, however, kept increasing esponentially: she was able to repair the M’Kraan Crystal (a mystical artifact that served as the nexus of all realities), saving the universe, and she blocked Scott’s powers to allow him to truly see her for the first time in his life. Starting to fear her own darkphoenixcomics2powers, however, Jean tried to restrain herself…until she became the target of the psychical attack of Mastermind and Emma Frost, who used their powers to project a powerful illusion into her mind, and to transform her into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. The battle that ensued between Cyclops and Mastermind broke the last barriers Jean had erected to contain her powers, and she let them go, transforming into the Dark Phoenix. After driving Mastermind insane with a simple glance, the Dark Phoenix, wanting to tie her bonds with the weak identity of Jean Grey, defeated the X-Men single-handedly, and then abandoned Earth, looking for a fitter environment to the goddess she had become. While trying to refuel the energies she had lost in her space travel, Jean consumed a star, starting a chain reaction that killed billions of people in the nearby planets. Both the Shi’ars and the Skrulls tried to stop her from consuming other stars, but the Dark Phoenix easily destroyed the aliens’ fleets. Only Professor X’s intervention managed to rebuild the barriers Jean had created herself, and to bring the woman back to her sense. Jean, however, was later arrested by the Shi’ars, and sentenced to death for genocide: trying to save his pupil, Xavier challenged the Shi’ar empress Lilandra to Arin’n Haelar, a honor duel in which the victor was the rightful. The X-Men battled the Imperial Guard, but were defeated, and when Cyclops was apparently killed, Jean lost control again: the Dark Phoenix was back.

Jean Grey’s psychical clone is identical to the original: strong, intelligent, caring, she’s a beacon for her friends and teammates. When the Dark Phoenix persona prevails, however, she’s a being of pure instinct, conscious of her own power and greatness and eager to prove herself; whenever she feeds, galaxies die, and whenever she gets angry, the universe trembles. Her telekinetical and telepathic powers are brought to an incredibly wide extent, and she’s able to manipulate matter and energy at will. She’s also able to survive in open space, to fly, to create destructive cosmic flames, to manipulate time and the very strings of existence, and, of course, to resurrect from her own ashes. Immortal and unstoppable, the Dark Phoenix is a malevolent yet pure being, like an almighty child barely aware of the consequences of her catastrophic actions.

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4 Comments

  1. […] in the comics). She fights against the X-Men in the final battle, and she’s vaporized by the Dark Phoenix‘s powers before even doing anything, being just a disappointing cameo. Hopefully, the new […]

  2. […] mind-controlling experiments on them that later brought Jean Grey to lose control and become the Dark Phoenix. The X-Men managed to escape, and the Hellfire Club lost much of his strength: Pearce turned out to […]

  3. […] his orders. During the battle of Alcatraz he’s defeated by Iceman, and flees when the Dark Phoenix unleashes her power. His trademark zippo on a memorial in X-Men: Days of Future Past informs us […]

  4. […] failed with the other, in a succession of events that led to Jean’s transformation into the Dark Phoenix. Some time later, she helped Shaw in winning a wager with Elias Bogan, a man who never lost: […]


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