Though Jean Grey perished many years ago, her legend lives on. As a founding member of the Marvel Comics’ X-Men, Jean had a long, and distinguished history with the popular mutant team. Thus, she’s as remembered for the power she wielded as a host to the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix as well as the compassion she showed her friends and teammates.
Since her death, an adolescent version of Jean time-traveled to the present, where she’s been haunted by the legacy of her adult self. Soon, she and her fellow X-Men will get to see first hand what the adult Jean Grey is capable of, because the X-Men’s original Phoenix is about to put the Earth in danger by rising from the ashes.
Her return takes place later this month in the pages of Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey, a five-issue miniseries by writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Leinil Yu. CBR spoke with Rosenberg about the scope and scale of his tale, his take on Jean Grey’s legacy, and the core cast of the event.
CBR: Matthew, Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey is your first major X-project. What do you find most interesting about Jean and her legacy?
Matthew Rosenberg: It’s the X-Men! That’s all they ever have to say to me, and I’m in. But really, Jean Grey is the heart of the X-Men in my mind. She’s at the center of so many of my favorite X-Men stories, she is such an amazing character, and she is so often the missing element that changes a story from being a “super hero story”: to an “X-Men story”. So the chance to bring back this character I have loved since I first learned to read, this character who means so much to the X-Men, to the Marvel universe, and to comic fans in general? How could I pass on that?
As to what makes her and her legacy appealing, I think it’s a lot of things, literally. Jean is so fascinating because she is so many things to the X-Men. A leader, a teammate, a sister, a mother, a best friend, a partner, a person to admire, a person to fear, a poor kid in over her head, and a god-incarnate. If you’ve been with the X-Men long enough, you’ve watched her grow up from that unsure kid to this amazing leader, and then she died. Her death was tragic and beautiful and everything it should be. Our goal here is not to erase that, but to honor that and tell what comes next.
Before your series begins, a number of developments will have happened with Jean Grey across the X-Men line, especially in Dennis Hopeless’ ongoing series starring her younger self. I know you want Resurrection to be accessible to new readers, but do those other books lay some of the ground work for your story?
Well the X-Men office editors — Mark, Darren, Chris, and Christina — do an amazing job of coordinating all of us and keeping the whole universe in line. So yeah, going in we knew we needed a book that anyone could pick up and understand. We wanted to make sure if it was someone’s first X-Men book that it wouldn’t be their last. But, at the same time, I’ve lived and breathed X-Men my whole life. I love these characters and their history and wanted to play into that. And a big part of that at Marvel is being part of a bigger picture. So I wanted to nod to other people’s books and stories. So stuff like Dennis Hopeless’ great Jean Grey series or the Generations one shot, those will definitely add something to our story and vice versa. You don’t need to read any of our books to understand the others, but if you do you get a bigger picture of the whole world.
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