Evil Geeks Women’s History Month Warriors: Jean Grey
Hey there, gang! Continuing our Women’s History Month feature, today we turn the spotlight over to the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters! Our honoree today is the first (and perhaps most notable) female student to attend the aforementioned institute; None other than Jean Grey, herself.
Jean Grey was sort of unique among Marvel’s early female characters in her portrayal as a competent, strong character. While one could very justifiably criticize Stan Lee’s writing of Susan Storm in the early Fantastic Four issues as a stereotypical “dizzy dame”, Jean Grey was immediately established as the most powerful and perhaps most capable of the original X-Men. In fact, the first issue opens with her arrival at the school. In many ways, the X-Men as a series is Jean Grey’s story! Her first day at the school is the first scene of the series and as a member of the original class, we follow her through graduation and subsequent adventures. She had several classmates competing for her attention in the early issues (and in one largely forgotten moment, even the Professor himself). Later, after the All-New All-Different team stole the spotlight of the series, the most notable storyline in that era (and indeed perhaps in the entire history of the X-Men) spanned from Jean’s sudden death through her seeming resurrection and apotheosis, all culminating in the team being forced to fight against her. But that’s a tale for another day.
Let us speak instead of the Jean Grey of the early 90s, the age at which the X-Men were most popular. In these days, Jean was herself once more and had rejoined the X-Men. While Storm was certainly a strong female presence on the team, and was a leader to rival Cyclops himself, Jean Grey always struck me as a sort of mother figure to the team. Naturally, she would have been somewhat older than the newer recruits, but it wasn’t just that. She was a very even-headed and wise character, she had been through more than just about anyone in the Marvel universe, and that is seriously saying something. This was also the era where Jean and Wolverine’s romantic tension e was more or less nipped in the bud by way of her marriage to Scott. I mean, to a generation of readers Jean and Scott were married, and that’s all there was to it.
But that, too, came to an end eventually. In the early 2000s, Jean Grey once more had a lot on her plate. The Xavier Academy had shifted its focus back to educating young mutants, and she served as headmistress of the school. She’d also tapped into the Phoenix force again and her marriage to Scott began to deteriorate.
While Scott sought solace in the form of a spooky affair with Emma Frost, Jean seemed to toy with the idea of pursuing an actual relationship with Wolverine, and although they didn’t act on it, they shared a number of touching moments. When Jean and Logan were being sent hurtling toward the sun by Magneto, Wolverine kills Jean more mercifully than their doomed voyage would. As it would happen, though, Jean is saved by the Phoenix force again and gets them both back to earth. Her new lease on life is not of the long-term variety, sadly, and Magneto causes her a fatal stroke not long after her return to the planet. And while it does seem frivolous for a character to die so many times, her final scene this time around is a tearjerker, so it’s definitely not a waste.
I mean, that says something, doesn’t it? That a character can keep on dying and having it be an emotional moment? Remember when Colossus died? It sucked that he was dead, but the actual death meant nothing. Likewise for Nightcrawler and countless other characters. And the real kicker is that Jean Grey, who is more or less the embodiment of resurrection, is currently one of the longest standing deaths of a main character in comics. Crikey, most of these people are back within 12 issues, and she’s been for over ten years now! I mean, it’s almost inevitable that some day we’ll see Jean again, right? Well, ruminate on that over the evening and join us again tomorrow for an article all about Jean’s other persona: The Phoenix!
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Posted on March 13, 2014, in COMICS!, Geekology, Uncategorized, Women's History Month Warriors and tagged Dark Phoenix, Grant Morrison, jean grey, Marvel, Phoenix, stan lee, Uncanny X-Men, women warriors, women's history month, X-Men. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.