It’s been a longtime since Marvel fans have seen the Marvel Girl light the X-world in flames of gold, but those days are a-comin’ again! Indeed, Marvel Comics announced Monday that Jean Grey, the original vessel of the Phoenix Force and an O.G. founding member of the X-Men when she was introduced in X-Men #1 (1963), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is coming back to the Marvel 616 Universe which comprises now all major comic book titles.
Marvel announced that the X-Men will finally see Jean again in the limited run of Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey, which begins in December. Set to be written by Matthew Rosenberg and penciled by artist Leinil Yu, the series is undoing a death that has lasted for the unusually long stretch of 14 years—which is as close to permanent as a funeral can be in comic books. And the publisher is apparently taking that into major consideration.
“I’ve been an X-Men fan my whole life, and Jean is, in my mind, the true soul of the X-Men,” Rosenberg said. “So we aren’t taking this lightly. We’re going for that perfect balance of universe shaking epic and intimate personal drama that only the X-Men ever truly achieve. This is all hands on deck for the X-Men as every available member heads into battle for the soul of their team and maybe even the fate of the Marvel Universe.”
This of course will undo the pretty final fate of Jean Grey inflicted in 2003 by writer Grant Morrison and artist Phil Jimenez in X-Men #150. In that iconic issue, a Phoenix powered Jean Grey died (again) at the hands of a mutant who seemed to be Magneto… but was later revealed to be the mutant imposter Xorn. In the story, Jean had finally come to terms with the Phoenix Force, which was retconned by Morrison to be a piece of her actual psyche, much like how Chris Claremont originally imagined it (and how it has been presented in the X-Men movies). However, the Phoenix Force has lived on in a series of X-Men comics stories in Jean’s daughter with Scott Summers, as well as other characters. It even proved to be the instigating point of tension that caused the X-Men and Avengers to throw down in the AvX miniseries.
This will not be the first time Jean Grey has risen from the dead. She was famously killed off in Uncanny X-Men #137 after, as the Dark Phoenix, she detonated a star. She then chose to die as a human as opposed to live as a god. Apparently in 2017, she’ll get to do both.