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The Wasted Death of Jean Grey's Sister, Sara

This is "Death Takes Its Toll," a new feature spotlighting comic book deaths that I thought were particular wastes of a worthwhile character. This is sort of like my feature about notable examples of characters being "fridged," except that this is open to all sorts of characters and not just those that have been fridged.

Interestingly enough, even with that in mind, my first example happens to also be a female character!

Of the original five members of the X-Men, only two of them, Scott Summers and Jean Grey, have siblings and Scott's siblings are both superpowered beings. Therefore, the only member of the original X-Men that actually had a "normal" sibling was Jean Grey, who had a sister named Sara (later, Jean retroactively gained THREE more siblings, but...well, I will get to them in a future column. It's kind of insane what happened there).

We first learned about Sara in X-Men #22 (by Roy Thomas, Werner Roth and Dick Ayers), when the X-Men were given time off and Jean mentioned going to see her sister Sara in Albany...

Sara wasn't seen again until Uncanny X-Men #136 (by John Byrne, Chris Claremont and Terry Austin), when Jean had gone around the deep end and transformed into Dark Phoenix. Earlier, while Jean was just normal Phoenix, she had finally "come out" to her parents as a mutant. Now, her sister also saw the truth for the (seemingly) first time...

Note that it sure doesn't seem like Claremont figured that Sara Grey was married with kids at this point, as she sure seems to be living with her parents here, right? However, a year later, after Jean seemingly died, we learned the truth when Sara is visiting Jean's grave in Bizarre Adventures #27...

As it turned out, Sara actually HAD known about Jean's powers before, but Jean had blocked those memories from Sara's mind and when Jean died, the memories returned (the issue, by the way, opens up with a file on Jean Grey which notes her one sister, Sara).

Sara is having a hard time wondering if her kids will be mutants, as well...

As we see in the flashback story, when Sara is asked the question of whether she thinks Jean is a freak, Sara does not handle it well...

Things get super crazy, though, when Sara and Jean are attacked and captured by the forces of the evil Atlantean general, Attuma. He actually transforms them into blue, water-breathers...

As you can see, Sara does not handle it well.

Jean uses her Phoenix powers to turn herself back to normal and she defeats Attuma. However, when they escape, Sara is still a blue water-breather. Jean uses her powers to genetically alter Sara to make her a normal human again...

Sara reflects one last time on her dead sister...

Some pretty good pathos there, right? Well, as it turned out, Claremont had another plan in mind for Sara, as well. When X-Factor was announced, Claremont suggested that perhaps Sara could become the fifth member of the team instead of Jean. That perhaps Jean's genetic alteration of Sara changed things and made Sara a mutant. Marvel had already committed to bringing Jean back.

X-Factor, sadly, was where things went wrong for Sara...

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