Saturday, February 27, 2010

X-men Second Coming: Prepare

The countdown has begun and Second Coming is merely a month away! To bill the event as the can't-miss X-men tale of the decade Marvel released a short teaser comic called Prepare this past Wednesday. It starts off by showing the teasers that have been released over the past few weeks that include

One will rise
One will fall
One will lead
One will sacrifice
All will unite

Then it breaks right into the event, showing a scene that occurs two days after Hope and Cable return to Utopia. Someone has died and various reactions are shown from the likes of Bobby, Cannonball, Cyclops, Magneto, Cable, and Wolverine. At one point the body is shown, albeit covered by a white sheet. It's impossible to see who it is, but it seems to be a major character. It has been listed in the solicits that someone will perish and Matt Fraction said himself in a recent interview it's someone he cherishes. So who could it be?

I'm tempted to be reasonable in determining who this may be, but as history has shown being reasonable doesn't always pan when you're trying to decide what Marvel is going to do. The prevailing sentiment is that Nightcrawler will die. He's not someone Fraction has written about that much so it may be a bit of a long shot. However, Wolverine did state that the victim was his "Friend" and he and Nightcrawler have always been good friends. I'm not sure about this. I give it about a 30 percent chance of happening.

Some go so far as to say that Emma will be the one that dies. This is just plain stupid. Marvel and Matt Fraction LOVE Emma Frost. Fraction would have quit months ago if he learned they were going to kill off his favorite X-woman and the other half of his favorite X-men couple with Scott and Emma. Plus, Quesada has said before he loves Scott and Emma as a couple too much. There's no way in hell he'll do anything to break them up. There were some hints. The outline of the body did show some female characteristics and Cannonball did say at one point he worried about how this was hurting Scott, but it's still doubtful. This is Emma Frost and Marvel seems determined to make her and Scott the new Jean and Scott, turning Emma into what is essentially a Jean Grey replacement. I've never liked this and always thought Joss Whedon did a better job of showing Emma as she should be shown. But the Marvel writers seem determined to undo history and turn Emma Frost into the golden girl Jean Grey once was. It's sad and maybe killing her would help put a stop to that, but for that very reason I give this a ZERO percent chance of happening.

I'm led to conclude that the one who dies will be Pixie. Here is a character that Fraction clearly loves and who has become more prominent as of late. Her dying would cause quite an impact and it wouldn't destroy too much of the core team. It would show just enough impact to really bring about the necessary shock value, but so much that it takes away from the story (unlike bullshit shock comics like Ultimatum). Of all the possible deaths, Pixie is the one that seems most likely and for that I give her a solid 50-50 shot.

Now aside from the death, there was also a part at the end that went over the history of the Phoenix Force. It asked What is the Phoenix Force? as if many X-fans don't already know. It gave a brief history of the Phoenix and spent time highlighting recent events where traces of the Phoenix force left both Rachel Grey and the Stepford Cuckoos. Then the focus turned to Hope Summers, offering yet another clue that she's going to be a new bearer of the Phoenix. They left it vague, stating only the Phoenix knows. But it also offers yet more proof that Marvel is trying to separate the Phoenix from Jean Grey. This is something that cannot and will not end well.

As I blogged earlier, Marvel has been trying since Phoenix Warsong to take Jean Grey out of the equation so they can have the star power of the Phoenix without bringing her back. Because bringing her back may mean that they can't have this bulldog version of Cyclops and cannot continue the Scott/Emma relationship, it's just unthinkable that they would use her again. Yet because she has so many passionate fans they can't just ignore her. So just using the Phoenix gives them a way to have their cake and eat it too. Even after they overtly said in Phoenix Endsong (which by the way sold WAY more than the Jean-less Warsong) that Jean is always Phoenix, they're treating the Phoenix like a separate entity. With no explanation, that's just poor storytelling. Jean and Phoenix are forever linked and to use one without the other is to completely disrespect the characters.

Now this could all be made right if Hope turns out to be Jean in human form, but again that would make too much sense. Marvel seems intent on keeping Jean out of the picture so they can keep Scott and Emma. This is something that only hurts stories, having to force something so that a bias version of a character must remain. This is what led to One More Day and the Clone Saga. It seems it can only be remedied if someone other than Matt Fraction or Joe Quesada aren't present anymore. Since that doesn't appear to be happening, the chances of a clean resolution are slim at best.

As always, however, I hold out because I have been wrong before. Marvel has surprised me with uncanny awesomeness like Messiah Complex, Messiah War, X-Force, and Nation X. So I go into second coming with an equal amount of excitement and trepidation. I'm not expecting everything to be cleanly handled. I'm expecting awesomeness that will blow my face clean off my skull. This is the third and final chapter to the Messiah Trilogy. The first two set the stage in a big way and I'm just aching to see how it all comes together. Despite my cynicism for how Marvel handles characters like Scott, Emma, and Jean Grey there is far more awesome than non-awesome. March cannot come quickly enough and my appetite for Second Coming has officially been stoked!

Friday, February 26, 2010

X-men Supreme Issue 5: Schoolyard Drama is Live!

Time for another update! X-men Supreme is still rolling along, on schedule and making progress towards it's ever contsant goal of awesome. A new issue has been completed and is now live and ready for your fanfiction viewing pleasure.

This issue begins some major dramatic shifts within the series. The X-men have always been heavy on the soap opera elements. Sometimes it's an even bigger draw than the action. Many fans are passionate about their characters and the characters they are close to. Some are outright die-hards, accepting that characters must only be linked with someone in particular and anything else is blasphemy.

Sadly, I do not take such extreme positions as some writers often do both in fanfiction and comics (looks cynically at Matt Fraction and Chris Claremont). Any character relationship can be done so long as it's well-developed and in line with who the character is. You can't just thrust two people together and expect it to work. That only damages both characters and others around them. I won't name names, but some so-called shippers love to champion their pairing by bashing another. In my writing philosophy that is a cardinal sin. You don't character bash no matter what your biases may be.

With that in mind, look for X-men Supreme to use some classic pairings with a new twist. Some may be more novel than others and they will all be handled in a unique way. Whatever shape these pairings take, I promise my readers that I will treat these characters with the utmost respect. I won't say it'll be perfect. I'll just say I won't bash them for the sake of supporting others.

I hope this clears the air! With this latest chapter, expect some new developments with some very familiar characters. I won't drop too many hints, but take a look at the picture below. It should give you a pretty idea of what we're in for!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pretty Kitty Variant for Uncanny 522

I usually don't care much for variant covers, but ever so often one comes along that just puts a smile on my face. It's not every day you find awesome in your favorite comics. Most of the time your underwhelmed. Sometimes you're even disappointed. But there will always be those special moments when you see something that just makes you glad to be a fanboy. This is one of them! Uncanny 522 is set to bring Kitty Pryde back into the fold and she's already looking good for her return. Riding a bullet in a skin-tight outfit is awesome on so many levels. Thank you Marvel! I don't always give you enough credit, but you know how to give the fans something to be excited about!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Pics Dedicated to Jean Grey Added to X-men Supreme

Just posted a new section on my website that many Jean Grey fans are sure to appreciate! She may be dead in the comics (for now), but that doesn't mean we still can't enjoy her hotness.

Check out her new section on X-men Supreme

Jean Grey has always been one of the sexiest ladies in the Marvel Universe. She's always easy on the eyes and she always gives the X-men that extra special touch of awesome. It adds all the more imperitive to bring her back into the comics! In the meantime she has the cartoons and the Ultimate universe (albeit utterly destroyed) for now. Enjoy the pictures! And stay tuned for more picture sections dedicated to the hot women of the X-men.

Friday, February 19, 2010

X-men Supreme Issue 5: Schoolyard Drama Preview

Another week another preview. X-men Supreme keeps rolling along! There is much to look forward to with this fanfiction series. I've been having a blast writing it and I have plenty of ideas to keep it going as long as some comics have been going. I'm still hoping to get more feedback with future stories, but so long as there are people reading I'll keep writing. Below is a brief preview of the next chapter entitled "Schoolyard Drama." If you're a fan of X-men relationships, you should enjoy this one! Stay tuned for the full update on February 26th.

“Shouldn’t you guys be working on those team-building exercises I gave you?” she said in a disgruntled tone.

“We should, but after wrestling,” said Lance.

“Figures,” said Wanda, rolling her eyes, “Honestly, how do you expect to fight for mutant liberation sitting on your asses like this?”

“What? Doesn’t watching wrestling teach us how to fight?” quipped Mortimer.

“I give up,” she groaned, “When you decide to stop being lazy, look over these reports.”

“Reports, huh?” said John as he picked one up, “What is it? Plans to blow up the White House?”

“Not quite. But if I were you, I’d read up on them. My father has a reputation for planning missions that tend to get messy.”

That helped get the attention of the four mutant men. They signed up for this deal knowing full well they were going to engage in battles for all mutant-kind. They just didn’t know it was going to come so soon.

While they all gathered around to read over the plan, Wanda left the lounge area for the central chamber. She still couldn’t believe these guys were going to be part of Magneto’s grand scheme for mutant liberation. Lance, Freddy, Mortimer, and John were more outlaws than visionaries. They all came from shady backgrounds. Two had done serious time behind bars. They were also young. She understood that was important because youth was key in fostering loyalty, but she was still skeptical and would be until they proved otherwise.

Sighing to herself, she met up with Magneto, Pietro, and Mystique. They were each going over maps and assorted news clips. The focus was on growing public concern over mutant issues. Already, there were major divisions. Some wanted containment while others favored human rights. It was a debate Erik Lensherr knew all too well. He had seen it develop as a boy in Poland during the rise of the Nazis and it ended in war, death, and genocide. And he would be damned if homo superior was going to face such a fate.

“I hope you’re right about these guys, Father,” said Wanda, “Because honestly, I don’t see in them the future freedom fighters for our people.”

“Don’t be so quick to judge, Wanda,” said Magneto, his eyes never leaving the computer screen, “I chose them for a reason.”

“Let me guess. Is it because thugs make better soldiers?”

“Hardly,” scoffed the master of magnetism, “I am a firm believer that those we consider thugs are merely those society has given up on. With more and more mutants facing such despair, our cause is ripe for spreading.”

“Does that mean more recruitment missions?” asked Pietro from another console, “Because at the rate we’re going, we won’t be much of a force within this decade.”

“Big movements require big bangs,” said Magneto ominously, “Rest assured, my plan will leave quite a mark on the world.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Final Second Coming Teaser (For Now)

Well, Marvel has finally come full circle. The last of the Second Coming teasers was released earlier today.

All Will Unite

No, it's not referring to the second X-men movie. It's referring to Second Coming, but you would be forgiven for making that mistake. It does seem to have a similar theme. But hey, the second X-men movie was actually good (the last dose of awesomeness before Ratner destroyed it). If they're going to lift anything from another source, it might as well be awesome.

So the final message says as follows:

One will sacrifice...
One will lead...
One will die...
One will rise...
All will unite.

You could practically put it in a Hallmark Greeting Card and send one to every X-men fan and they should be able to get the gist of it. So the Messiah Trilogy is finally set to come to an end and these teasers have made some ominous hints. They've implied that there will be a power struggle between Magneto, Cyclops, and Emma. They implied that a major character will die (whether they'll stay dead, however, is another matter). They imply someone will rise and in the X-universe the only being famous for that is the Phoenix. So it would be quite an oversight if that wasn't at least mentioned (and Jean Grey as well, but that's a long shot considering how much the X-staff seems to hate her). In the end it's supposed to unite mutants even as they stand on the path to extinction. That doesn't exactly seem to fit with the very gloomy references mentioned in the recent X-Solicitations for May 2010. There appears to be a lot of doom and gloom through much of this event. Unless Marvel is now partnered with Prozac as well as Disney, there better be some uplifiting news in the June Solicitations.

But what form could it take? The premise is all centered on Hope. The X-men have been holding out for her and are hoping she can finally fulfill her destiny. But what that destiny is hasn't been revealed and some seem to want to guide it down a certain path. Magneto certainly seems to have his own agenda as he always does. Then there's Bastion, who appears to be the main bad guy here. Although I have to admit I think they could do better. Bastion never struck me as a villain on the same level as Sinister or Apocalypse. I suppose since they already used up all the big villains they're tapping the bottom of the bin. Can he measure up? Only time will tell.

Whatever the case it does not appear that there are any long term plans for Hope. Either she's going to die at the end of this or she'll become marginalized in some way. I still want to believe she'll lead to the return of Jean Grey, but as Marvel has shown previously they really don't care for her and will do everything they can to resist bringing her back. Plus, the idea of another redhead just seems to sicken them so I have little hope for Hope. If and when she does have to make that sacrifice, it better be drenched in awesomeness to make it worth while.

Second Coming is shaping up to be a big event, looking to draw together everything since M-Day. It's a tall order. A lot of loose ends have yet to be resolved. Will all of them be addressed? We can only Hope. And yes that pun was intended.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day True Believers!

It's that time of year again! It's the time when those who are with someone celebrate their love and those who are alone roll their eyes and sigh. Many have a love/hate relationship with love, especially Valentine's Day. Originally, I was planning to post some pictures of famous X-couples on my website. But seeing as how I'm alone at the moment and I despise Valentine's Day, I instead decided to just post a bunch of pics of sexy X-women!

See the hot ladies of X-men here at X-men Supreme!

I will eventually do a post about X-couples, but since X-men Supreme is still unfolding it wouldn't be right at this point. There is still a lot to develop in terms of characters and relationships. The next two chapters will bring more concrete romantic interests into perspective. So all of you fanfiction readers who love "shipping" as they call it, please stay tuned! Love is in the air at the X-mansion and it will manifest in a variety of ways in X-men Supreme.

I could give some input on what I think about the current romances in the X-comics at the moment, but it wouldn't be productive since I won't be able to draw any parallels to my series. It will make more sense as to how I interpret them and how I handle them when the time comes. There is still much left to develop in X-men Supreme and I hope all you fanfiction, romance and action lovers alike, will enjoy it! Until then, take care!


Friday, February 12, 2010

X-men Supreme Issue 4 is LIVE!

Well, it's February 12th and I said I would update X-men Supreme by then so here I am! This fanfiction series has been going well and I have many plans for future issues. It doesn't look like I'll have a problem keeping with this bi-weekly schedule. So set your calendars for every other Friday fanfiction fans! It's going to be the date of X-men Supreme! Check out the latest issue below:

Issue 4: Growing Ranks

Things are about to heat up in X-men Supreme. Lines will be drawn. Enemies will take sides and plans will be hatched. The next few issues are critical so you'll want to keep up! X-men fans and fanfiction fans alike should enjoy the ride to come. Please be sure to review and happy reading!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Second Coming Teasers and Red Herrings

More teasing has emerged from Marvel regarding Second Coming. This time the tag is "One Will Sacrifice..." As if that has ever been a good sign in X-men comics. It hasn't since the Phoenix Saga and it seems that ever since then the writers have been trying to chase the power of that moment the way crack heads chase their first high. Somebody may want to get these guys into rehab because it sounds like they're pushing it.

It's no secret they're looking to kill someone here. One has to wonder if they're just doing it for the sake of doing it. As if the death of a character automatically makes a story more powerful. It can, but only if done right. I haven't had any confidence in Marvel doing deaths right since they killed Psylocke. So I have little doubt this little gag will give readers plenty to complain about. But perhaps I'm speaking with too much bitterness. Perhaps I should be a bit more hopeful.

I'm seriously trying, but I'm not sure who they could kill here. I suspected early on that Cable would be the one to bite it and that would make a lot of sense. He's gone out of his way to raise and protect Hope. Him making the ultimate sacrifice for her would be fitting and powerful. Unfortunately, that just makes too much sense. Now it seems they're going to try another angle. It's doubtful they'll do anything with Wolverine and X-23, but Domino could be on the chopping block. She was a love interest for Cable for a while. If he doesn't make it, she would be a fitting replacement. There's also Josh Foley, who hasn't had too many big roles and could be considered expendable. Then there's Warpath, who could end up following the same fate as his brother.

There's also always a chance Marvel will do something completely unexpected so they can make the readers gasp for a moment. Shock tactics are a favorite of writers sometimes for better or for worse. More often then not they're like a quick snort of cocaine. It hits you hard, but it quickly wears off. Really long term impact comes with depth and that's not easy to do no matter how good a writer you are. That being said, Marvel has their work cut out for them. As a lifelong fanboy, I'll always give them the benefit of the doubt. I've been jaded by teases like this before, but I still have hope! Here's to you, Marvel! Make us all proud to be comic geeks!


Friday, February 5, 2010

X-men Supreme Preview: Issue 4 - Growing Ranks

Only one week left until the next issue of X-men Supreme! With the Superbowl almost upon us, there will need to be something to fill the void when it is over. I hope X-men Supreme is up to the challenge. When Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are done, come check out Charles Xavier, Magneto, the X-men, and the emerging Brotherhood of Mutants! Here is a preview of the action!

As the X-jet leveled off, the situation below came into view. And just as they expected, it was pretty chaotic. Half a city block was in ruin as thick columns of smoke rose up into the air. They could also make out quite a bit of cop cars trying to get civilians out of the way. But from the looks of it, they were clearly outgunned.

“Looks like we arrived a bit late,” said Storm as she took in the site.

“Better late then never. Hold on, I’m taking it into silent hover,” said Cyclops as he punched in the controls, “Angel, you and Storm take care of the civilians. Iceman, you and Beast help the police. Wolverine, help me and Marvel Girl with Lance. Let’s move, X-men!”

“Just another night on the town,” sighed Angel.

The X-jet stopped to hover over the area and the main door opened. Angel and Storm took flight and headed towards the smoke where they began helping civilians get to safety. Jean used her telekinesis to help lower herself and the others to the scene. They arrived in front of the police barricade on top of a pile of debris. Near as they could tell this place was some sort of club or stage. It was hard to tell due to the sheer level of destruction. And the source of it all centered on a very angry looking young man standing on what used to be a stage.


Rolling his eyes back, the young man summoned another tremor. The ground shook and the deafening sound of shattering concrete echoed through the area. It was heading right for the police barricade where officers scrambled to get out of the way.

“Whoa! I’m beginning to see why this is making the news,” said Iceman as he made an ice sheet over the crack.

“Let’s just hope the headline doesn’t have the words blood bath in it,” said Beast as he leapt over towards the scene and helped some officers get away.

“It won’t!” said Marvel Girl strongly, “That’s why we’re here!”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ultimate X = Ultimate Trash

I've read my share of comics and I've always tried to be reasonable and objective in my assessment of a story. Even when I read a comic that has a premise I don't necessarily agree with, I still give it a chance and I try to be as thoughtful and insightful as I can. But every once in a while a comic will come along where my efforts just aren't enough. Every once in a while a comic will just show up that pisses me off in ways the Hulk would find disturbing. Well to my misfortune, that comic has come and it's called Ultimate X.

I've been very jaded about the Ultimate universe ever since the onset of Ultimatum. This gory, snuff film caliber trash heap was a pile of horse shit submerged in donkey piss coated in elephant jizz. It's not enough that a writer has to flat out destroy everything in a series. They have to practically butcher the characters, having no heart and no depth and no compassion for any of these characters that so many people deeply love. Ultimate X doesn't only rub salt in the wound, it jabs a red hot ice pick into it tipped with cobra venom and twists it.

Writer Jeph Loeb recently did an interview about Ultimate X for Newsarama.

Jeph Loeb Picks up the Pieces in Ultimate X

In it he flat out admits that Ultimatum was a Michael Bay film. I weep for Michael Bay. He does not deserve that kind of association. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had a mountain range more substance than Ultimatum or Ultimate X for that matter. It's one thing to basically admit there was nothing of substance behind a story. It's quite another to have the gall to say you're taking a new path and putting it back together.

Are you serious? Putting it back together? The characters were fucking butchered! How do you put that shit back together? You would need all the magic of Jesus, Buddha, Zeus, Thor, Odin, Yawah, Eywa (Avatar god), and the Allah to even make it resemble a pile of shit again! Ultimate X tries to make itself seem relevant, but it ultimately fails and I do mean ultimately.

The premise of the book is about as original as a Xerox machine. A new character is introduced named Jimmy Howlett. He's the son of Wolverine (only not as interesting as Daken or even X-23). Kitty shows up and reveals that Wolverine is his father, he has claws, and that he's supposed to take up the Wolverine mantle. That's about it. There's nothing else very novel about it. Granted, the story is well-crafted, well-drawn, and well-told. But it's about as exciting as a kick in the balls. If you read Ultimatum you can't help but think "they had to kill damn near everybody for this shit?!" If you haven't you can't help but think "wait a second is this another cheap knockoff of Superman?"

It's sad, but true. You can't expect anything less from a former Superman writer. Is this really all they could come up with? Jimmy was an adopted child, found out he had powers one day, and learned from a hologram that his real father was an important figure and he has to take up his mantle. That's basically the same origins as Superman. If I wanted to read that story I would fucking read Superman! In fact, there's a series going on right now called Superman Origins by Geoff Johns that actually tells this EXACT same story in a much better, much more coherent way. It's the Hope Diamond compared to a hunk of fossilized dinosaur shit.

The worst part of all is that this story could just have easily been told WITHOUT Ultimatum with very few adjustments. If that's all the writers can do after horribly destroying everything in the Ultimate universe then something's wrong with them. Now I want to condemn Jeph Loeb for this travesty, but I can't blame him completely as so many others do. He was not alone in the travesty that was Ultimatum. The editors allowed it and Bendis and Miller supported it. They're basically cohorts and accessories to the mind raping of every Ultimate comics fan that ever lived. Yet they have the balls to think this will inject new life into the line? New life that comes from killing all the characters that made it great and replacing them with half-rate look-a-likes that have the depth of a mud puddle on Everest? If I didn't know any better I would say they're flushed this out during their lunch break. I see stoners on LSD more motivated than the effort in Ultimate comics. There aren't enough drugs in Michael Jackson's medicine cabinet to make this story entertaining on any level. If the writers had any decency they wouldn't waste great art talent like Art Adams and restart the whole series.

Ultimatum was the worst comic I ever read. Ultimate X is like that serial rapist who comes back while you're still recovering and has their way with you again just for good measure. I would send this book on a fishing trip with Scott Peterson before I recommend it to anybody. I wouldn't use it to wipe the ass of a rhino with diarrhea out of respect for both the ass and the diarrhea. Ultimate deserves a special spot on the wall of shame right next to the Clone Saga and One More Day.

And yet, I try to leave room for hope. I can only imagine that at some point the loss of so many characters is going to catch up with Ultimate and the replacements just won't be able to hack it. Sooner or later, Wolverine fans will be too tough to ignore and someone is going to have to be brought back. Ultimate X can redeem itself. All comics can redeem themselves. I will give it that chance and if it does, I will eat every word the same way I eat a cheese pizza. But Ultimate dug a HUGE hole for itself with Ultimatum. It has a LONG way to go to get back. I can only hope 616 maintains it's quality or else DC will be getting more of my money. I do not look forward to that day. I still remember fondly looking forward to every Ultimate release. I want to be able to do that again. It would be a shame if all those glorious Ultimate X-men and Ultimate Spider-Man graphic novels I bought were for nothing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

ANOTHER Second Coming Promo! Complete with Phoenix Teasing!

Second coming is only a month or so away and Marvel is stepping up the hype like always. Today they released yet another teaser, this time focusing on Hope. The message is "One Will Rise" and in the world of X-men there are only so many characters that can do so. Even fewer have red hair, green eyes, and a history with Phoenix powers.

As I have posted before, Marvel has been hinting at the return of Jean Grey for quite a while now. There was the rumors that she would return after Phoenix Endsong that were fruitless. There were the rumors that she was Mutant Zero, but that turned out to be nothing as it ended up being Typhoid Mary. Most recently there was the rumor that she would be the mysterious character to return in Uncanny 522. Again, it was not her. It ended up being Kitty Pryde. It should come as no surprise that another hint is being dropped so soon afterwards, this time involving Hope Summers.

The theory that Hope is Jean is not new. It has been speculated over ever since Hope was born in Messiah Complex. Her interacting with Cyclops and the locket he had of him and Jean was the first. Her having red hair, green eyes, and displaying the Phoenix emblem added to the hints. In recent issues of Cable her appearance is even more similar to Jean Grey. Add to that there was another moment where the Phoenix emblem showed in her eyes. All this comes on the cusp of an increase in Phoenix activity. The Phoenix Force left Rachel and it recently left the Cuckoos too in Uncanny 518. It is almost a given that Phoenix will be involved at some point. What isn't so clear is whether or not Jean Grey will follow.

It seems to be following a growing trend. Jean Grey has fallen to the wayside recently in favor of the Phoenix being an actual character. In the last major Phoenix story, Phoenix Warsong, Jean Grey wasn't even mentioned. It was only the Phoenix that took center stage. That appears to have continued as Rachel and the Cuckoos continue to interact with the Phoenix. The writers seem favor using Phoenix more than Jean Grey because Jean Grey brings with her a certain amount of baggage and doing so will muff some of the developments between certain characters, namely Scott and Emma.

The problem with this is that Phoenix and Jean cannot be separated. Their history is so intrinsically woven together that it's foolish to try. The poor sales of Phoenix Warsong compared to Phoenix Endsong show this. If you take Phoenix out of Jean Grey then you're not left with a very compelling character. It may be for that reason they're focusing on Phoenix for Second Coming because it allows for Hope to stay Hope and not be Jean Grey. This can be good for those who are fans of Hope, but it will certainly irk Jean fans because it will bring in yet another Jean Grey look-a-like when there are already characters like Rachel who fill the same role.

It's like Marvel wants to have their cake and eat it too. They don't want to bring Jean back to mess up Scott and Emma, but they want to bring her star power back into the books. She's constantly voted as being one of the top X-men and there's no denying her appeal. It's just a matter of the writers being willing to let her back. If history is any indication, it probably won't happen. Writers like Fraction and Quesada are so heavily vested in keeping Jean dead and not threatening the Scott/Emma relationship that they'll bend all the comic book rules they can to keep her dead while trying to tap her potential. My Spider-Sense tells me this will NOT end well.

It's inevitable that Jean will come back. She can't die by her own nature. But if ever there was a good opportunity for her to come back, Second Coming is it. If the writers don't use this chance to bring her back into the fold, it may be a LONG time before she shows up in the X-men again as a main player. We may get a new Jean-substitute in Hope, but she's still NOT Jean. You can't replace Jean with Hope anymore than you can replace Wolverine with Dakan or Iron Man with War Machine or Spider-Man with the Scarlet Spider (Clone Saga). If Marvel tries they'll be doing themselves a disservice. It wouldn't be the first time.

In the end I do hope Marvel surprises me and brings Jean back in Second Coming. She could only help the X-men as a whole. She died in a powerful moment at the end of Morrison's run with the seeds already planted for her return. It's time those seeds finally grow. But knowing Marvel, I'm not holding my breath. It appears we'll be getting a new Jean-replacement soon. I wish I could say it's better than nothing, but honestly? It's a joke.