Jean Grey is one of the Marvel Universe’s most legendary mutants because of the power she wielded as the Phoenix and the empathy and compassion she had for the people and the world around her. When she returned to the world of the living at the end of the recent Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey miniseries it was without the massive power of the titular cosmic entity, but her big heart was very much intact, and that meant she couldn’t return to the usual business of super heroics. The world had changed while she was gone and not for the better, so she took it upon herself to be the change she wished to see in it.
In the debut issue of X-Men Red, writer Tom Taylor and artist Mahmud Asrar chronicled Jean’s initial attempts to change the world. They included gathering a team of like minded and politically powerful mutants around her, and announcing her intentions to improve the lives of both humans and mutants on a global basis via a speech at the United Nations. That last action though put her in the crosshairs of one of the X-Men’s most sinister and powerful foes, Cassandra Nova.
CBR spoke with Taylor about the events of the issue, Jean’s leadership style, her mission to build a better world, and the teammates that will assist her in that goal.
CBR: In X-Men Red, you’re writing about a team lead by Jean Grey. What’s your sense of Jean and her leadership style?
Tom Taylor: To me, Jean is an incredibly powerful and incredibly compassionate person. Her leadership style comes from wanting the best for the world and the people around her. She’s an incredibly protective person, but it’s not that she’s protective of people because they’re hers. She doesn’t take ownership of them. It’s that she loves and respects the people she’s alongside. So as a leader she’s leading for the best of everybody.
So a sort of Captain America style of leading from the front and not asking anyone else to do things you aren’t willing to do yourself?
Absolutely. You’ll see a moment in issue #2 where it’s exactly that. It’s her going into a fray and telling the people around her that they don’t have to. Of course they’re like, “No! We will join you.” [Laughs]
What can you tell us about the sort of mission statement of Jean’s team in X-Men Red? What type of adventures will they embark upon?
Essentially this book is Jean Grey coming back to life, but not coming back to the life she left behind. She doesn’t want to come back to that life either. She’s seen that the world has moved on. It’s changed and she doesn’t like everything she’s seen. She’s very empathetic and she feels so much of what’s going on around her that she wants to make an actual change to the world. Not just for mutantkind or humanity, but for everybody.
That’s what we’re going to see here. The mission statement is change the world for the better. That’s a very big mission statement. [Laughs] So it’s not all going to be fighting the villain of the week. It’s bigger ideals, and it’s the embodiment of that in Jean Grey.
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