SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Rachelle Rosenberg and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
Jean Grey is dead. Long live Jean Grey!
While the younger incarnation of the X-Men’s founding female member was recently killed by the Phoenix, the adult one is back among the living. However, we already knew that the adult Jean Grey was returning; it’s been solicited for months.
What we didn’t know, of course, is the surprise return on the very last page. This particular moment changes everything we thought we knew, not only about this miniseries, but what it actually means for the future of the X-Men.
There are strange things afoot in the Marvel Universe, as the X-Men respond to an alert from Cerebro that something mutant-related has occurred in the quiet suburban town of Annandale-on-Hudson. Arriving on the scene, the team finds two children in apparent psychic distress, floating a few feet off the ground and bleeding from their faces. What the X-Men don’t know is that the pair had recently come across a little girl with empty, black eyes A child who seemingly came back to life and uttered a mysterious and seemingly nonsensical sentence before a different little girl arrived and attacked them with dead birds.
Keen readers of the X-Men will know that Annandale-on-Hudson is the home of the Grey family, leading Rachel Grey to comment that she used to have family around there. The reason why she mentions that in the past tense might be the key to the mystery at the heart of Annandale. A decade ago, the entire Grey family was slaughtered by Shi’Ar death commandos as part of the “End of Greys” storyline. The attack was an attempt to stop the Phoenix Force from ever manifesting again, and it left Rachel as the remaining member of her cross-timeline family. The storyline concluded with the deceased Jean Grey welcoming her murdered family into The White Hot Room, a sort-of heaven dimension which she had ascended to.
This is important, because the mysterious phrase the little girl said was DAED RETTEB FFO EREW DAED, which reversed gives you the ominous “We were better off dead”. It seems the return of Jean Grey might have brought back the entire Grey family from the White Hot Room, and they’re not too happy about it. Rachel even feels the disturbance upon entering Annandale, muttering the backwards warning to herself as she departs the plane. However, we said there was a big return in this issue that isn’t Jean Grey, and this isn’t it; the debut issue has a last page which will knock your socks off.