Quote1.png I don't make a habit of disagreeing with you, darling, but I'm calling you on this one. Quote2.png
-- Sue Richards

Appearing in "Like a Phoenix!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:




Synopsis for "Like a Phoenix!"

Story continued from last issue and Avengers #263

The Fantastic Four are returning from their mission in space, and the team spends some time relaxing on the trip home. When they request permission to land at JFK airport, they are denied due to a clean-up operation involving the Avengers and are requested to land at La Guardia instead. When they finally arrive home at their temporary headquarters, Avengers Mansion,[1] they find Captain America and Hercules waiting for them.

Cap explains to Mr. Fantastic about the strange object they recovered from the bottom of Jamaica Bay earlier that day[2] and how it has a living creature inside. When Reed decides to check it out for himself, he places a hand on it but some force attacks him and throws him back. Reed's fall is cushioned by a forcefield projected by the Invisible Woman. On Reed's direction, Sue uses her powers to make the capsule turn invisible, revealing the unconscious body of Jean Grey inside. However, due to the brevity of their glimpse of the woman inside the capsule, nobody present can identify her. After discussing who the woman could be, the Human Torch and She-Hulk decide to go and reunite with their loved ones leaving Reed and Captain America to try and solve the mystery.

Things being to get strange when suddenly objects begin levitating all over the Mansion, waking Sue from her sleep and startling a fatigued Reed Richards and Captain America after they have spent eight hours working on trying to open the capsule. To their surprise, the woman inside the capsule finally breaks free. Jean, still thinking that she is a prisoner of Stephen Lang and his X-Sentinels[3] believes that Reed, Sue, Cap and Hercules are more Sentinel constructs of heroes and attempts to attack them. When Sue restrains Jean with a forcefield, both Cap and Reed realize that who she is, and that as Marvel Girl she was a member of the X-Men who has been missing for many months. Telling Sue to lower her forcefield, Reed asks the confused Marvel Girl to explain what happened to her.

Jean recalls how she and her fellow X-Men were captured by Sentinels built by Stephen Lang and his anti-mutant operation Project: Armageddon[4] and forced to fight X-Sentinels, robotic version of the original X-Men.[5] While she remembers that they beat Lang and his creations, she doesn't recall what happened afterward. When she suggests they contact the X-Men and find out, they tell her the grim news that the X-Men are considered outlaws and have associated themselves with Magneto.[6] This horrifies Jean and she asks to be taken to her parents instead. When Reed doesn't think that is a good idea, Jean begins to have a mental breakdown. Sue, being able to relate to Marvel Girl's grief[7] convinces Reed and the others to allow Jean at least that. While Reed, Sue, and Hercules take Jean there, Cap elects to stay behind and do some research in the Avengers' databanks to see if he can find out what happened to Jean.

Arriving at the Grey home, Jean finds that her parents aren't there and, after Hercules unthinkingly smashes through the front door, they investigate and find a holomatrix globe of Jean.[8] As Jean reaches out for the globe, back at Avengers Mansion, Captain America watches a report filed by his old teammate (and Jean's fellow original X-Man) the Beast to learn what happened to Jean Grey. He explains that after the mission in space, Jean was reincarnated as the Phoenix[9] was corrupted into becoming the Dark Phoenix[10] and died on the moon.[11] This leaves Captain America and the Avengers' butler Jarvis to wonder who exactly is the woman the Avengers pulled out of Jamaica Bay.

Back at the Grey home, Jean grabs the globe and suddenly her mind is flooded with memories of the rescue mission from Lang's space station. The others witness the memories unfold around them, but are unable to interact with the images. Jean recalls how she sent her fellow X-Men into the radiation shielding area of the shuttle after having cribbed all the space flight knowledge she could from Peter Corbeau so she could land the shuttle. As she flew the space shuttle through a radiation storm, the radiation slowly killing her, Jean was confronted by the Phoenix Force and how, in order to save her life and those of her friends she agreed to allow the Phoenix Force to take her shape and form and pose in her identity. As Jean begins to struggle with the influx of memories, Reed deduces that while the Phoenix took Jean's place it must have placed her in stasis until her body healed from its exposure to cosmic radiation. Captain America arrives on the scene and corroborates this theory by confirming everything Jean experienced with the Beast's story. They all come to the conclusion that it was ultimately Jean's humanity that helped put a stop to the Dark Phoenix. With the mystery of her miraculous resurrection explained, Jean wonders what she will do with her life next.

The next day, after Jean relates the story to a astonished Jarvis, Reed and Sue begin to wonder how they can help Jean get her life back together. While they still think the current team of X-Men are out of bounds, Reed realizes that there is someone else he could call on Jean's behalf.... This story is continued in X-Factor #1....


Continuity Notes

  • The Fantastic Four are returning to Earth following the events of Fantastic Four Annual #19 where they failed to stop a Hyper-Wave Bomb from going off and robbing the Skrulls of their ability to shapeshift. The reason why the Avengers (Who were last seen in space with the Fantastic Four in that same Annual) are back on Earth before them is that the FF stayed in space to explore for a bit, those events are unrecorded.
    • Although John Byrne apparently intended Fantastic Four Annual #19 to lead into this story, there's a chronology conflict. The events in Secret Wars II #5-6 must take place before this issue which would mean that Mister Fantastic would have to be on Earth for those issues despite the fact that he and the rest of the FF were supposedly away in space until they returned to Earth at the beginning of this issue.
  • The Fantastic Four are unable to land at JFK Airport following the events of Avengers #263 when the Avengers discovered Jean's body in Jamaica Bay.
  • Captain America and Hercules appear here following the events of Avengers #263 when they helped recover Jean Grey.
  • Captain America and Hercules recap of the events at Jamaica Bay are, of course, from Avengers #263.
  • Some facts at the revelation that the Avengers recovered Jean Grey here:
    • Jean is a founding member of the X-Men as Marvel Girl, joining the team in X-Men #1.
    • The Fantastic Four first met Jean back in Fantastic Four #28 and the Avengers in X-Men #9. The reason why they don't recognize Jean here is because this is the first time they have all seen her out of costume. The last time the Fantastic Four interacted with Jean was when the Fantastic Four and the X-Men worked together against the Z'nox in X-Men: The Hidden Years #89, Captain America last encountered her in Captain America #172174 when Cap and the X-Men battled the Secret Empire.
  • Jean doesn't believe that she is meeting the Fantastic Four based on two facts:
    • She thinks the Fantastic Four wear blue and black costumes. This was the case until Fantastic Four #256 when a trip back to Earth from the Negative Zone inverted their costumes. The group has been wearing these alternate costumes ever since.
    • She believes that Sue Richards is the Invisible Girl instead of the Invisible Woman. Sue had just recently changed her codename in Fantastic Four #284 following a rather traumatic battle with the Psycho-Man.
  • Some facts about Jean's recollections of her immediate past:
    • Jean had taken a less active role with the X-Men following the events of Giant-Size X-Men #1 when a new team was formed to rescue the original team from Krakoa. She "quit" the team in X-Men #94 but still maintained an association with them.
    • Jean is able to recall the events of X-Men #98100 when the X-Men and Jean were kidnapped by Steven Lang and his Project Armageddon organization that were trying to eliminate mutants. It was there that she battled the X-Sentinels, robotic duplicates of the X-Men.
  • What is not clearly established here is that Jean no longer has her telepathic abilities. That in and of itself is a complicated matter:
    • As first detailed in Bizarre Adventures #27, Jean was originally born telepathic and telekinetic, but had no control over her telepathy. Professor X shut down her telepathy until she was mature enough to control it properly, Jean only retained her telekinesis powers.
    • Later in X-Men #65 it was revealed that Xavier unlocked Jean's telepathic abilities when he went into hiding to thwart the Z'Nox invasion between X-Men #4065.
    • As later revealed in Uncanny X-Men #240241, when Mister Sinister created Madelyne Pryor -- a clone of Jean Grey -- when the Phoenix died in X-Men #137 it awoken the clone. Somehow Jean's telepathy was transferred over to Madelyne but were dormant for years. Jean regains her telepathic powers following her fight to the death against Madelyne in X-Factor #38.
  • The Avengers and Fantastic Four shock Jean with the revelation that the X-Men are now associated with Magneto. Some facts about that:
    • The heroes specifically mention Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #112 when the Beyonder brought groups of heroes and villains together to fight for their utmost desires on Battleworld. The X-Men and Magneto were paired with the heroes. This caused some tension between the mutant and non-mutant heroes due to Magneto's past history as a mutant terrorist, and the X-Men's checkered existence as well.
    • Following the Secret Wars Professor X and the X-Men came to the defense of Magneto during his war crimes trial. That ended with Xavier having to leave Earth for medical treatment or risk death, he left Magneto in charge of his X-Men and New Mutants prior to his departure as seen in Uncanny X-Men #200.
    • At this point in time, Captain America had seen the X-Men and Magneto working together back in Secret Wars II #1.
  • The crystal ball with the essence of Jean Grey that is found in Jean's parents home was given to the Grey family by Lilandra Neramani during the funeral for the Phoenix in X-Men #138.
  • Captain America calls the Beast, for some assistance on clearing up the Marvel Girl mystery. Beast appears here between the events of Defenders #152 when the Defenders disbanded and X-Factor #1 when he forms X-Factor with the original X-Men. Some facts about him here:
    • Beast was a founding member of the X-Men back in X-Men #1 along with Jean Grey.
    • He later joined the Avengers between Avengers #137211 and later joined the Defenders and was a member between Defenders #104125.
    • He mentions how "Jean" became the Phoenix during the events in X-Men #101 and her apparent transformation in Dark Phoenix and subsequent suicide chronicled in X-Men #129137.
  • Jean's recollection of the space flight with the X-Men that led to the birth of Phoenix is recounting events from X-Men #100 following their battle with the X-Sentinels. The encounter with Jean and the Phoenix Force is expanded upon in greater detail in the back-up story published in Classic X-Men #8. Basically, this story and the back-up in Classic X-Men explain that the Phoenix Force replaced Jean and Jean has spent the convening years in suspended animation healing at the bottom of Jamaica Bay. Based on the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, Jean has spent about four years in suspended animation between X-Men #101 and this story.

Following the events of this story the following characters are seen in other publications:

    • Mister Fantastic and the Torch are seen in Defenders #152 trying to get ahold of the Beast to tell him that Jean Grey is alive. The Beast is also next seen in this story battling the Dragon of the Moon possessed Moondragon, in what proves to be the final battle of his team of Defenders.
    • They don't succeed until X-Factor #1 which is Jean's next appearance
    • Jarvis, Hercules, the Invisible Woman and Captain America make their next appearance in Captain America #314 when Cap encounters renegades from Earth-712 seeking help against the Squadron Supreme's Utopia Program. He gets the advice of Sue and Reed in that story among other members of the Avengers.

Chronology Notes

Flashbacks in this story affect the chronology of the following characters:

Jean Grey:


Publication Notes

  • Cover art by Byrne and Austin, per signatures on original art.[12]
  • In Byrne’s original version of the story, Phoenix was intended to be a clearly selfish, evil being that trapped Jean to use her humanity as a pattern to gain a body. Jean fought back with the only weapon left to her, by telepathically dumping her entire personality onto Phoenix, making the creature believe it was truly Jean Grey and act accordingly.
  • Kurt Busiek (whose name was misspelled in the credits as "Busek") was still a fan during the Dark Phoenix Saga. However, he came up with the idea of how to bring Jean Grey back from the dead, circumventing Shooter’s edict that Phoenix, being a mass murderer, had to stay dead.
  • The flashback portion of this book was severely altered and, as a result, John Byrne (who had written and drawn most of the story) refused to have his name appear on it. According to Byrne, the changes were written and drawn by Chris Claremont and Jackson Guice. Hence, the story reads somewhat disjointed in part, regarding the nature of the Phoenix Force.

See Also

Recommended Reading


  1. The Baxter Building was destroyed in Fantastic Four #279
  2. See Avengers #262
  3. See X-Men #100
  4. See X-Men #98 and X-Men #99
  5. X-Men #100 again
  6. See Secret Wars and Magneto joined the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #200
  7. following her clash with Psycho-Man in Fantastic Four #280 through Fantastic Four #282
  8. given to the Grey's by Lilandra of the Shi'ar in X-Men #138
  9. in X-Men #101
  10. X-Men #135
  11. X-Men #137
  12. http://marvel1980s.tumblr.com/

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