WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Jean Grey #11, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Alberto Alburquerque, Jay David Ramos and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
Jean Grey has been one busy superhero over the last several months, especially since September brought news that Marvel Comics' original, adult Jean Grey would return to the land of the living in the five-part Phoenix Resurrection miniseries. Since that news, the younger Jean and her time-displaced teammates in X-Men Blue began a quest to uncover the mystery behind their time paradox in November's "Cross Time Capers" story arc. And then, to cap it all off, young Jean was killed by the Phoenix Force ahead of the cosmic entity's miniseries' launch.
Time-traveling Jean dying ahead of her older counterpart's resurrection would have to be considered the universe's idea of a cruel joke, but there's a lot more to the story. Namely, how is young Jean alive again? But before delivering that answer, Jean Grey #11 takes readers on a tour to meet previous Phoenix hosts.
Is This My Own Personal Hell?
After dying at the talon of the Phoenix last month, Jean is sent to various periods of time when the cosmic bird possessed a different host. Jean's first stop is Hell, as Illyana Rasputin's Darkchild persona attacks her. During the battle, Darkchild makes references to evil deeds committed by Jean when she was the Phoenix, but there's only one problem. The time-displaced Jean has never merged with the Phoenix. In fact, she's actively tried to prevent this from happening.
Darkchild isn't the only former host to make this assumption. As Jean is sent from one locale to another, she makes stops in the prehistoric era where she encounters the Phoenix from the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, Rachel Grey from the far future, Rook'shir of the Shi'ar civil war, and finally her original time period of the past. The most interesting meet-and-greet has to be with the Phoenix of 1,000,000 BC, simply because don't know much about her, aside from her appearance in Marvel Legacy #1.
Tired of the endless games, Jean stands up to these fake visions, resulting in a one-on-one conversation with the Phoenix itself -- conversation the rivals some major, major truths.
You Are No Phoenix
What we learn from their conversation is that Jean essentially hurt the Phoenix's feelings after constantly rejecting it. The Phoenix croons on about not choosing Jean, and how she's unfit to be a host, when the truth is it couldn't get enough of her. The bird's only fault was believing young Jean was the original Jean of this timeline that it shared a bond with. Realizing its mistake, the Phoenix killed young Jean in order to clear the cosmic decks and allow it to resurrect the adult Jean as a host. It's too bad adult Jean also refused to bond with it.
We also learn those earlier events all took place in the Phoenix's mindscape, where young Jean has been stuck. The cosmic entity had been trying to use fragments of other hosts to push Jean out, but it didn't work. Thus, Jean discovered she's the one in control, and used this knowledge to her advantage by forcing the Phoenix to revive her.
One thing we've learned is, it doesn't matter if you're a younger, time-displaced Jean Grey, or an adult Jean Grey, the Phoenix will eventually bring you back to life. The character has been tied to the powerful force for such a long time, it's nice to see both versions attempt to step out of its large shadow. Hopefully, Jean won't die again before she eventually returns to her rightful time period along with her teammates.