The relationship between Wolverine and Jean Grey has been a fascinating one, since they really have not even spent that much time on the same team together in the years that they were both alive. When the All-New, All-Different X-Men first showed up in “Giant Size X-Men” #1, Jean Grey left the team. When she rejoined as Phoenix in “X-Men” #104, she was only with the team until “X-Men” #113. They finally reunited just in time for Jean Grey to die in “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” When she came back to life, she joined X-Factor. During X-Men “Blue” and “Gold,” Logan and Jean Grey were on different teams. Finally, they were both on Morrison’s “New X-Men,” which ended with Jean dying.
With so little time together, you wouldn’t think that they would have had much of a connection, but that wasn’t the case at all. Chris Claremont introduced a spark between the two that managed to keep going for decades. Here, then, are their greatest interactions in the comic books over the years (we’re not counting the time-displaced teenage Jean Grey and other-dimensional old man Logan. Yes, “X-Men” comic books are weird, we get it).
15. X-MEN #100
The Sentinel storyline that ended in “X-Men” #100 (by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum) was an important one in the history of the Jean Grey/Wolverine relationship. In it, the villainous Stephen Lang has seemingly had the original X-Men show up to fight the All-New, All-Different X-Men aboard Lang’s Sentinel space station. However, during their battle, Wolverine realizes that the Jean Grey that he is fighting is not the real Jean Grey, partly because he has come to know her too well. He is right — the original X-Men are all robots!
Once they’ve defeated Lang’s plot, his space station was about to explode. The X-Men got on to the space shuttle they took to fly up to the station, but it was badly damaged and only the scientist who came with them knew how to fly home. Jean stepped up and used her powers to absorb his knowledge of how to pilot the ship. She then ordered the others to go into their protective chambers while she would land the shuttle herself. There’s a great moment between Wolverine and Jean where he goads her over her sacrifice, which is clearly him hiding his own emotions over the situation.
14. X-FACTOR #37 / UNCANNY X-MEN #242
The very first direct crossover in the X-title universe (the first few were indirect crossovers, wherein the teams don’t directly interact with each other) was 1988-89’s “Inferno,” which led to two very notable revelations. Firstly, the X-Men learned that Jean Grey was alive again; and secondly, X-Factor learned that the X-Men were alive! See, the X-Men were seemingly killed in a battle in Dallas, but in reality, they were resurrected by the goddess Roma, who let them continue their heroics in anonymity in Australia. Roma also made it so that there were no longer any proof that the X-Men existed, period.
When they first see each other during a crossover that involved demons invading Earth, the two sides assumed that they were just seeing demon versions of their friends. Wolverine settled matters by giving Jean Grey a big, long kiss in front of everyone, most of which we see in “Uncanny X-Men” #242 by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green. While she was irritated at the kiss, she couldn’t deny the effect Wolverine had on her.
13. WHAT IF…? #60
In 1994, Jean Grey and Cyclops got married. Wolverine couldn’t bring himself to attend the wedding, so he instead wrote them a letter to explain that he was taking a leave of absence from the X-Men. We would have included that letter, but it didn’t really seem like a “Wolverine/Jean Grey” moment, so much as just a “Wolverine” moment. In any event, as part of their celebration of the wedding, Marvel did a special issue of “What If…?” by Kurt Busiek, Ron Randall and Art Nichols.
The issue had three different stories in it. One of them was what would have happened had Jean and Scott gotten married when they were still young (result: lots of mutants died), the second was what would have happened had Jean and Angel ended up together instead of Cyclops (result: Cyclops quits the X-Men and joins the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) and the final one was what would have happened had Jean left Cylops for Wolverine after she became the Phoenix (result: Wolverine can’t calm her down while they’re fighting on the moon and Dark Phoenix destroys the universe).
12. UNCANNY X-MEN #394
When Grant Morrison revamped the X-Men in the pages of “New X-Men,” Joe Casey, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund were given the companion title, “Uncanny X-Men,” beginning with “Uncanny X-Men” #394. In that issue, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Archangel and Cyclops run afoul of a young mutant with seemingly unlimited powers who is causing a scene at the same base that Magneto attacked all the way back in “X-Men” #1. He seems to be able to alter reality at his whim.
He sends Wolverine and Jean Grey into a different reality, basically a representation of the mutant’s own brain, and as he is being attacked by Cyclops and Archangel, the area that they are in is getting smaller and smaller until it seems like they are going to be reduced to nothingness. As they are near seeming imminent death, they share a kiss. Instead, once Archangel and Cyclops defeated the guy, his power defaulted Wolverine and Jean Grey back to this reality. He then kills himself. Wolverine and Jean Grey don’t talk about what happened in that other reality.
11. X-MEN #110
Following her transformation into Phoenix, Jean Grey quickly lapsed into a coma. In “X-Men” #101, Wolverine decides to go visit her, noting that for whatever reason, she has touched his seemingly cold heart. He is shocked, then, to see that all of his teammates are already there in the waiting room. He was not used to the idea of people actually caring for each other.
This was pursued again in “X-Men” #110 (by Chris Claremont and guest-artist Tony DeZuniga), when Jean makes a lighthearted comment that Wolverine has to get used to being part of a team. However, she doesn’t realize that she’s the very reason that he’s even considering being part of a group again, and he’s not yet ready to accept that sort of situation. This was emblematic of a lot of the early Jean/Wolverine interactions — Jean being nice to him because she was just a nice person in general, and Wolverine being kind of obsessive about whatever attention she gave him. As we’ll see later in the list, though, Claremont later retconned Jean into having a lot more interest in Wolverine than was initially shown.
10. UNCANNY X-MEN #272 / X-FACTOR #61
In 1990, the X-Titles launched into a line-wide direct crossover, “X-Tinction Agenda, which was built upon an old storyline in the pages of “Uncanny X-Men” where we learned about the island nation of Genosha, which had a large mutant population controlled by humans who ruled the country (a thinly-veiled metaphor for Apartheid-era South Africa).
When the remaining heroes try to free a kidnapped Storm and New Mutants, they are captured and forced to fight each other powerless. In “Uncanny X-Men” #272 (by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee and Scott Williams), powerless Wolverine was nearly murdered by a powerless Archangel (who could not control his metal wings). Jean threw herself into the middle of the battle to save Wolverine. In “X-Factor” #61 (by Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove, John Caponigro and Al Milgrom), Jean is thrown into the same holding cell as Wolverine following his defeat. Jean was tortured by the sight of Wolverine slowly dying in front of her. He puts on a brave face and even kisses her, which she returns, even as she secretly weeps for her friend. She then tells him that he’s still the best he is at what he does.
9. WOLVERINE #75
During the crossover “Fatal Attractions,” which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the X-Men, Professor Xavier led a small group of X-Men into Magneto’s satellite base in an attempt to take care of Magneto once and for all. Jean Grey went along on the mission to help power a psionic suit that allowed Xavier to walk for the mission. Wolverine was also on the mission and during their initial assault, Magneto decided to tear all of the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body. Xavier responded by erasing Magneto’s mind entirely. The X-Men then had to get the heck out of the satellite. Their return home was affected by some dangerous storms.
During their ride home in “Wolverine” #75 (by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert and a bunch of inkers), the X-Men are trying to keep their ship working on descent while also keeping Wolverine alive, as he has lost massive amounts of blood. His healing factor is seemingly being overtaxed, with wounds re-opening as soon as they close. Wolverine hallucinates through it all and he sees Illyana Rasputin (who had recently died) coming to him as an angel, leading him into the light. However, a jolt from the ship sends Jean Grey flying out of their ship. Wolverine instinctively wakes up and rescues her. She thanks him but he notes that it was really she who saved him just now by bringing him out of it.
8. NEW X-MEN #117
At the beginning of his run on “New X-Men,” Grant Morrison had an interesting take on Cyclops and Jean Grey. The way he saw them, they became a couple when they were teenagers and then soon became surrogate parents for a whole group of mutants. In other words, he feels as though they skipped over all of the normal stages of a relationship and were acting like an old married couple, despite being still young. He wondered whether they weren’t really just best friends more than anything else. When you add in Cyclops’ then-recent possession by Apocalypse, things were really strained between Jean and Scott.
This distance between them led to Cyclops having a psychic affair with Emma Frost. In “New X-Men” #117 (by Grant Morrison, Ethan Van Sciver and Prentiss Rollins), Jean confides her worries about her relationship to Wolverine and the two even kiss. Wolverine tells her, though, that the two of them would never work.
7. X-MEN – PHOENIX: ENDSONG #3
Following Jean Grey’s death at the end of Grant Morrison’s “New X-Men” run, the Shi’ar try to resurrect the Phoenix Force so that they could destroy it when it was without a host. They failed and instead, the Phoenix Force headed to Earth where it resurrected Jean Grey, trying to take control of her to form the Dark Phoenix and attack the Shi’ar. Jean begs Wolverine to help her control the Phoenix. The only way she can figure out to do so is have Wolverine kill her, as resurrecting her takes some power from the Phoenix Force. Thus, the more energy it expends on resurrecting her, the less energy it would have to control Jean.
In “X-Men- Pheonix: Endsong” #3 (by Greg Pak, Greg Land and Matt Ryan), Wolverine kills Jean Grey over and over in a stunning sequence of panels, showing what Wolverine will do for his friend. The gambit succeeded, albeit temporarily… but that was better than nothing.
6. NEW X-MEN #154
The last storyline of Grant Morrison’s run on “New X-Men” was called “Here Comes Tomorrow,” and it deals with Wolverine and a ragtag team of X-Men dealing with a dystopic future where the villainous Sublime had taken control of Beast and used him to pretty much ruin civilization. We soon discover that the heart of this terrible future was a decision that Cyclops made a hundred and fifty years earlier, where he decided to quit being a superhero following the death of his wife, Jean Grey. He turned down a pair of offers from Emma Frost — a professional one to re-open the Xavier Institute and a personal one to start a real relationship with her.
In the end, in “New X-Men” #154 (by Grant Morrison, Marc Silvestri and Joe Weems), Wolverine and his team manage to hatch the Phoenix Egg, and Jean Grey is resurrected. Wolverine fills her in on what has happened since her death and she ultimately decides to use her powers to reach back to the far-away past to give Cyclops a nudge to accept Emma’s offers, thus avoiding the awful future entirely.
5. WEAPON X #2
The crossover event “Age of Apocalypse” was caused by Professor Xavier’s son, Legion, going back in time with the intention of killing Magneto as a young man. Magneto was friends with a young Charles Xavier at the time, however, and Xavier ended up sacrificing himself to save his friend. This big battle of powerful mutants awoke Apocalypse early and without Charles Xavier to form the X-Men, Magneto created the team in honor of his friend. However, Apocalypse still managed to conquer the world, with Magneto and his X-Men the only rebels left to fight him.
In this altered reality, Jean Grey and Wolverine (dubbed Weapon X here) were a couple. They were well-matched, as this Jean Grey had a dark background; she was captured by Mister Sinister and experimented on for months before Weapon X freed her (in the process, he lost a hand to Sinister’s servant, Scott Summers). Jean and Weapon X fought Apocalypse in Europe. They then discovered that the resistance was going to try to take out Apocalypse by nuking his home base in New York City. Jean decided she had to go back to the States to warn her friends what was going to happen. Weapon X didn’t want her to go and they had a brilliantly tense stand-off in “Weapon X” #2 (by Larry Hama, Adam Kubert and a bunch of inkers) where Jean basically tells Logan that he will have to kill her to stop her. They instead kiss and he lets her go.
4. X-MEN #98
“X-Men” #98 (by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Sam Grainger) was the beginning of the “Sentinel” storyline that concluded in “X-Men” #100. While the X-Men are celebrating Christmas in New York City, Wolverine, Banshee and Jean Grey are captured by Sentinels and taken to a secret base (they find out at the end of the issue, to their great shock and dismay, that the secret base is in outer space!). Claremont had not done much with Jean Grey up until this point, as she did not re-join the X-Men at first. He brought her back in a big way in this arc, and the Wolverine/Jean Grey flirtation followed suit.
It started when Wolverine broke free from his holding cell (revealing, for the first time, that his claws were part of his body) when Jean was being tortured. Once freed, Jean noted that she couldn’t fight in the dress she was wearing, and Wolverine gladly sliced the dress for her, calling her “Red” for the first time.
3. NEW X-MEN #148
In the climactic storyline in his run on “New X-Men,” Grant Morrison revealed that Xorn, the pacifistic new member of the team, was secretly Magneto in disguise, who had been using his time at the Xavier Institute as Xorn to slowly turn the students against the rest of the X-Men. Magneto also found ways to take care of the various members of the X-Men, including trapping Wolverine and Jean Grey on Asteroid M as it was in a collision course for the sun.
In “New X-Men” #148 (by Grant Morrison, Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning), Jean and Logan have the type of talk you have with someone only when you’re pretty sure that you’re both going to die. In the end, Wolverine decides that he won’t allow Jean to suffer the torturous death that awaits, so he decides to stab her to death instead, as an act of mercy for his friend. As it turned out, though, at the moment of their death, the sun instead kick-started the Phoenix Force in Jean and she saved both of them.
2. CLASSIC X-MEN #27
As noted before, the early relationship between Wolverine and Jean Grey was decidedly one-sided. It was very much Wolverine pining after Jean and Jean treating him like just one of her teammates. This began to change in the late 1980s, beginning with Chris Claremont’s retroactive addition to the history of the X-Men in “Classic X-Men,” which was a series that reprinted the adventures of the All-New, All-Different X-Men that began in 1986 (this was before trade paperbacks were so prevalent and well before the days of Marvel Unlimited). The series originally also had back-ups by Claremont and artist John Bolton showing untold stories set during the time (to give readers who read the original stories already a reason to pick up this new series).
Ann Nocenti took over the back-up stories from Claremont and in “Classic X-Men” #27, she shows Jean Grey and Wolverine on a mission that involves them surrounded by a chemically-created monster as a chemical plant. Jean can’t just blow them up with her telekinesis, because it might destroy the chemical plant and there are other people there. While things get tighter and tighter, Wolverine sort of taunts Jean with the attraction between them. When the plant is cleared of all its personnel, Jean explodes the monster. Wolverine, though, had the most fun he’d had in weeks.
1. CLASSIC X-MEN #1
As shown in the previous moment, “Classic X-Men” really drove the Wolverine/Jean Grey relationship with retroactive stories about Jean’s attraction to Wolverine. In the very first issue of “Classic X-Men” #1, Claremont decided to do a back-up story (with art by John Bolton) that would explain why the various members of the original X-Men decided not to re-join the team. Oddly enough, despite “Giant-Size X-Men” #1 ending with the X-Men wondering what they’re going to do with all of these new members, the originals are almost all gone without explanation in “X-Men” #94.
In the case of Jean Grey, at least part of the reason for her wanting to leave the team is that she admits to Professor X that she finds herself deeply attracted to Wolverine and she doesn’t know if she can trust herself around him. Wolverine uses his enhanced senses to tell that Jean is attracted to him, which causes a fight between Wolverine and Angel, which leads to Angel quitting the team. While “X-Men” #98 was really the official start of the Wolverine/Jean flirtmance, “Classic X-Men” #1 was what gave it the full support that made it last for decades as a concept.
Would you prefer Jean with Cyclops or Jean and Wolverine? Let us know in the comments section!
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