X-Men Theory Finally Explains Jean Gray's Relationship With The Phoenix
The connection between X-Men's Jean Gray and the Phoenix Force has long been a mystery - but "Mutant Alpha" may be the real explanation.
An X-Men theory finally explains the connection between Jean Gray and the Phoenix Force. The X-Men's Phoenix Force is one of the most important cosmic entities in Marvel lore. According to Marvel's Phoenix Force Handbook, it was "born in the void between states of being" and serves as the link of all psychic energy across the multiverse. It is capable of pruning entire timelines from existence and incinerating worlds that have stagnated. The Phoenix Force's commitment to change and evolution naturally makes it a valuable ally to the mutant race; in fact, the power of the Phoenix Force reignited the X-gene in 2012's The Avengers. The X-Men event, saving mutants from extinction.
The Phoenix Force usually chooses cosmic hosts, most notably Jean Gray. The exact connection between Jean Gray and Phoenix remains so mysterious that it's often difficult to figure out where one begins and the other ends. Glimpse at previous Phoenix hosts, including ones as far back as 1,000,000 BC, and the link becomes strange; a surprising number of these hosts look almost identical to Jean Gray.
Surprisingly, however, the key to understanding Jean Gray's relationship with her The Phoenix Force may not be in Marvel's main timeline. In 2005, another cosmic story uncovered the secrets of Jean Gray's true nature and the true reason for the evil Mister Sinister's fascination with her in many different timelines. It may also provide an important clue as to why Phoenix is attracted to Jean Gray and someone so similar to her.
Jean Grey Is The "Alpha Mutant"
In 2005, Marvel revisited the reality of the "Age of Apocalypse" - a timeline in which Professor X died long before founding the X-Men, where the Apocalypse Madman ruled until he was overthrown by Magneto and his X-Men . There, Mr. Sinister's research on the mutant gene goes in a different direction - one that unleashes Jean's true power and potential. The sinister goal is to find "Mutant Alpha", the first mutant - the mutant whose genetic code gave rise to an entire mutant race. "It stands to reason that our mutant ancestors would not have simply ceased to exist," Sinister explained. "I believe that this all-powerful mutant, or at least its powers, will be passed on from generation to generation to ensure the survival of our superior species." His experiments yielded a Shocking conclusion; Jean Gray is actually an alpha mutant. Recent events back this up, as Twitter user @Jean_RED_Grey pointed out.
I just noticed that Cerebro has Jean registered as “Mutant: 0000000000001,” which brought to mind two things. #DarkWeb #XSpoilers pic.twitter.com/wIWBsabFsd— Jean Grey (@Jean_RED_Grey) December 29, 2022
Sinister's theory explains why there have been so many mutants who looked like Jean Gray throughout history - there was even a mutant who lived 1,000,000 years ago, a powerful psychic known only as "Firehair" By. Even one of Jane's own ancestors, Lady Gray, was her spitting image - a prominent member of the Hellfire Club during the American Revolutionary War. These women may be incarnations of the mutant alphas of their day, and Jean Gray is their modern-day equivalent.
Jean Grey's True Nature Explains A Subtle Detail In The Dark Phoenix Saga
The concept of Mutant Alpha explains a subtle detail in the classic "Dark Phoenix Saga". There, Jean Gray's descent into madness is instigated by a telepathic master who projects hallucinations of Mrs. Gray's memory into Jean Gray's mind - including a distorted version of his own existence. Later comics revealed that the basic elements of these visions were rooted in reality, which explains why they were so immersive for poor Jean—and why even a telepath with the raw power of the Phoenix Force couldn't resist Mastermind manipulation. These visions would have been more Still, if Lady Gray is really an 18th-century mutant alpha, she's going to be powerful - meaning Joan is unknowingly drawing on the memories and experiences of her past incarnations.
The Phoenix Force Is Actually Drawn To Mutant Alpha
The phoenix is a champion of change and evolution, so it makes sense that it is associated with mutant alpha - its genetic code created an entire race of mutants. The race may have actually been born as a result of the interaction between the mutant alphas and the Phoenix Force. If this theory is correct, then Phoenix has returned time and time again over the millennia to the latest incarnation of mutant alpha, which would explain why so many of Marvel's past Phoenix hosts look like Jean Gray.
Of course, this does not mean that every generation of Mutant Alpha is destined to become a Phoenix host. The Phoenix may be closely related to mutant races, but fundamentally it is a cosmic force responsible for change and evolution throughout the universe. Phoenix will be occupied for a long time, meaning that many incarnations of Mutant Alpha will never come into contact with Phoenix. But every now and then, Phoenix returns Earth, and in many cases it's once again linked to mutant Alpha - whether in the form of Fire Hair, Iron Fist Goh, or Jean Gray himself.
Hope Summers Was Literally The Next Jean Grey
Mutant Alpha may explain another long-running X-Men mystery; Hope Summers, the mutant messiah. Hope was born during the darkest period in mutant history, shortly after Jean Gray's death, when the mutant race was brought to the brink of extinction by the power of the Scarlet Witch. She was taken to the future by Cable and returned months later as an adult; the X-Men were shocked to learn that she was Jean Gray's double, and even more surprised to discover that she had a mysterious connection to the Phoenix Force. Ultimately, it is hoped that with the help of the Phoenix Force - combined with Scarlet Witch's magic - to bring the mutant race back to life.
Hope's true identity has long been a mystery. But the timing of her birth is no coincidence; she's likely the next generation of mutant alpha, born to fulfill her role as mutant guardian. In fact, it's entirely possible that Hope's use of the phoenix unknowingly reflects the birth of a mutant race thousands of years ago; Mutant Alpha used the Phoenix Force in exactly the same way as Hope, creating the first generation of mutants. Marvel may have originally intended to make this idea a bit more obvious; Marvel first introduced Hope in 2007 during the phenomenal Messiah ComplexX event, two years after introducing the mutant alpha concept in Age of Apocalypse #6. But the original Hope plan was incorporated into the run-up to 2012's The Avengers. The X-Men events, don't quite tie everything together.
The real Jean Gray returned in 2018's Phoenix: Resurrection miniseries, and it's actually now possible to have two different mutant alpha incarnations living at the same time. If that's the case, it shouldn't be a surprise that mutants are flourishing - both of which play key roles in the current comics. It really was the golden age of the X-Men, and Jean Gray more specifically.
Next post: A Marvel villain is officially the X-Men's Joker