SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for X-Men Red Annual #1 by Tom Taylor, Pascal Alixe, Chris Sotomayor and Cory Petit, on sale now.
Jean Grey isn't simply back from the dead; she's the leader of a brand-new proactive X-Men team focused on changing the world for the better. But she’s been so busy in the pages of X-Men Red that we haven’t had a chance to see the small personal moments of her getting her life back together and reuniting with friends and family.
That’s where this week’s X-Men Red Annual comes in, as it picks up from the exact moment Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey ended. The one-off story allows Jean to reunite with the X-Men and find her place in this new world she’s woken up to. However, there’s one person missing from Jean’s reunions that is conspicuous in their absence and it’s an absence which may give us a clue regarding the fate of a certain X-Men team later this summer.
From The Ashes
Jean’s return at the end of Phoenix Resurrection left readers with a foreboding and tense feeling of “what now?” as the gathered X-Men huddled around the resurrected Jean Grey, unsure of what their future held. X-Men Red Annual #1 starts from this exact moment, but breaks the tension after a few seconds of silence with jubilant celebration as the X-Men welcome home one of their founding members who has been gone for too long.
As they celebrate, Jean is caught up on what she missed and notes that a lot of their conflicts seemed to be heroes again heroes, a description which could be applied to Civil War, World War Hulk, Schism, Avengers vs X-Men, AXIS, Civil War II, Inhumans vs X-Men and Secret Empire. In one off-hand comment, Jean criticizes the past decade of Marvel crossover events for being too focused on infighting among the hero community and as someone with a fresh perspective on the recent history of the Marvel Universe, it all seems so trivial through Jean Grey’s eyes.
After returning to the Xavier Mansion, now located in Central Park (imagine her reaction if it was still called the Jean Grey School), Jean is once again witness to the bigotry and prejudice that mutants still face, even in today’s society. It’s from here that Jean will form the core idea of X-Men Red as a group, wanting to create a team that focuses on international mutant outreach as opposed to superheroics and property damage.
Inside the school, Jean is reunited with perhaps one of the most important people in her life, her daughter from an alternate timeline, Rachel Grey. Now going by Prestige, Rachel was always closer to Scott than to Jean, but in the years since Jean’s death had changed her surname from Summers to Grey. The pair of them then visit the apartment of Laura and Gabby Kinney, because as Jean says, she doesn’t have much family left and the pair of them are connections to people important to her.
The X-Men is all about the family that you create for yourself, and with Scott Summers and Logan gone, Jean wants to make sure that those closest to them are okay. (Let’s just pretend she tried to get in touch with Cable, but he wasn’t in the 21st century at that time).