WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #2 by Matthew Rosenberg, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Rachelle Rosenberg and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
The first issue of Phoenix Resurrection set up a number of interesting mysteries revolving around the return of the adult Jean Grey, including mysterious little girls in spooky towns and the seeming return of Cyclops and Banshee. This week’s instalment doubles down on the weirdness by debunking some of our theories and bringing back even more dead X-Men in the small town of Annandale-on-Hudson.
Back From The Dead
Last week, we posited that The Phoenix was responsible for the return of the Grey family who were all killed off due to their connection to the cosmic force of nature. However, the series' latest issue goes even further by bringing back more dead X-Men and members of Jean Grey’s family, suggesting the Phoenix’s plans go far beyond the Greys.
The first one we see is Jamie Madrox AKA the Multiple Man, who was last seen in the Death of X miniseries where he died on Muir Island after exposure to the Terrigen cloud caused him to be the first recorded casualty of M-Pox. Jamie Madrox’s appearance also gives us confirmation that the returned people of Annandale seem to have their powers, whether they know it or not; as Jean drives to work, we see multiple Jamies exit the house.
Elsewhere in the Twin Peaks-esque version of Jean Grey’s hometown are two colleagues at her diner, Annie and John. Annie is likely an adult incarnation of Annie Richardson who was Jean Grey’s best friend when they were both children. She was hit by a car while the pair of them were playing in the street, with the traumatic experience of witnessing her friend’s final moments unlocking the young Jean Grey’s powerful psychic powers.
John, on the other hand, appears to be John Proudstar, the short lived member of the X-Men known as Thunderbird. Thunderbird was among the new mutants recruited to be a part of the All-New, All-New Different X-Men along with Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Banshee and Sunfire. He died as part of his second mission with the X-Men when he ignored orders to evacuate a plan and instead destroyed it in an attempt to stop the villainous Count Nefaria. He brother James would later join the X-Men under the name Thunderbird before going by Warpath. John Proudstar was brought back to life as an agent of death-themed villain in both Necrosha and Chaos War, but unlike most other superheroes, he has never had a significant and sustained resurrection.
While the return of the likes of Cyclops, Multiple Man and Thunderbird represent a tantalizing mystery at the heart of Phoenix Resurrection, it also makes sense. They were dead, and the Phoenix has something to do with their return. The bigger mystery at the heart of the book right now is, what the heck is going on with Magneto?
At the diner, Jean serves a man named Erik who is wearing a Star of David around his neck, so we’re to infer that this is Magneto. Later on, Iceman’s X-Men Yellow is confronted by a much more traditional looking Magneto than we’ve seen in recent years; his most recent costumes were black and white and then purple with red accentsBut here, the man we see confront Yellow team is full-on, Jack Kirby era, leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, red costume with purple briefs Magneto.
However, we know Magneto has been working in secret with the time-displaced X-Men team out of Madripoor, so it’s likely not the real deal. Also, it seems that whoever is impersonating Magneto can’t be in two places at once; when he’s fighting the X-Men, he’s not in the diner and vice-versa. The issue ends with the small town of Annandale-on-Hudson seemingly going up in flames as the Phoenix makes Earthfall and curiously, Jean doesn’t seem too bothered by this.
Whatever the Phoenix is doing, its use of Magneto’s image means that it isn’t bringing people back from the dead — or at least that isn’t all it’s doing. It’s more likely that the Phoenix is accessing Jean’s memories to create this reality in her mind. While Magneto has been an ally to the X-Men for the past decade, as far as Jean Grey is concerned, he’s the man who killed her. How that plays into The Phoenix’s plan and how Jean will react around him is up in the air, because every time we think we have all the answers, Phoenix Resurrection changes the questions.