Sep 12, 2008

[Comics] X-Men: The Phoenix Saga

The Phoenix SagaPreviously I wrote a review about The Dark Phoenix Saga, which documents the story of Jean Grey's fall from grace to become the vile near-omnipotent creature called, well, Dark Phoenix.

After some more web surfing and torrent-hunting, I finally managed to find the titles covered by this particular story arc in order to get a more complete picture of things.

On the whole I felt that the story was a lot more meaningful as it was presented in alternative media like the cartoon series and the like, but it's still a pretty solid tale considering the time of its release. This was the work product of the mind of Chris Claremont, who really did a lot of good things for the X-Men titles.

Jean GreyImage via Wikipedia In the Phoenix Saga, we follow the evolution of the psychic abilities of Jean Grey, in a way, given how she starts with just her basic telekinetic abilities. However in order to save her fellow X-Men from certain death, she takes control of their crashing space shuttle and uses her telekinesis to erect rough shielding against the radiation coming through the damaged hull while the rest of the X-Men were secured in the shuttle's more heavily shielded living quarters.

The force of the solar radiation eventually overwhelms her telekinetic shields and the resulting trauma removes the psychic blocks placed in her head as a child and Jean Grey then becomes the Phoenix - the full realization of her powers.

Admittedly, this was not necessarily the most amazing turn of events on its own and things do get more interesting when Phoenix's new abilities come in handy while facing the Shi'ar Empire pursuing their renegade princess, Lilandra. In the course of their struggle, Jean Gray manages to tap into the Phoenix Force, which is apparently where her whole Phoenix aspect really came from, and manages to save the universe by repairing the M'Kraan Crystal. That part really made for the more interesting part of the storyline.

Now that I can reflect upon things, it is rather difficult to treat this story independently of the succeeding aspect, that being The Dark Phoenix Saga. The "good" and "evil" sides of the Phoenix Force are key to the development of Jean Grey's character and being able to take both stories in one go as opposed to trying to treat them as separate tales does not do justice to what Claremont was trying to accomplish.

In that sense I suppose you could treat these compilations as part of a larger duology, given this part only covers how Jean became the Phoenix and also how her powers grew and developed beyond her control in the form of the Dark Phoenix aspect of her story.

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