It's been a while since I sent something to CBR for an X-Position or one of their other standard ask-the-writers columns. I haven't found much worth asking. Been to busy writing X-men Supreme and keeping up with the events of Second Coming. But I did feel compelled to ask a question this time for Tom Breevort and Axel Alonso, who were covering the recent developments from Marvel's annual X-men summit.
For me, the most pressing issue was Hope Summers. Second Coming dropped some ominous hints about what she's capable of while giving her Phoenix powers on top of it all. They also didn't resolve the whole Hope/Jean connection that many have speculated over. I know I've bitched about it a lot on this blog, but it's an important issue. You don't give a red-haired, green-eyed girl the Phoenix without at least some reference to Jean Grey. However, this connection hit a snag at Comic Con when editor, Nick Lowe, said "She's dead" when asked about Jean Grey coming back. This seriously confused and worried me. So when I asked my question, I decided to be as thorough as possible. That seemed to pay off because even though there were many Jean/Hope questions, mine was the most well-researched.
CBR: Marvel T&A: An X-Summit Salvo
Finally, we got more questions after the X-Summit about the connection between Jean Grey and Hope than I can even count, ranging from whether characters would note the similarities in the two to much more specific questisons. But for my money, the most thorough one came from someone called MarvelMaster616 who has some evidence to cite you guys:
"At SDCC, when Nick Lowe was asked about Jean Grey's return he said 'She's Dead.' Is this confirmation that there is no Hope/Jean Grey connection even if there is a Hope/Phoenix connection? It seems to be a change from previous responses like Matt Fraction's a year ago at Wondercon where he said 'There's a little girl with red hair and green eyes in the future that you should keep your eyes on' when asked about Jean Grey. Joe Quesada has said something similar. You yourself have dropped hints such as:
'and don't forget that girl with green eyes and red hair!'
'there's more than a faint flicker of danger. Red hair, green eyes. Say no more.'
'And don't forget: She's got red hair and green eyes!'
Even if Hope just has a connection to the Phoenix, Phoenix Endsong established that Jean and Phoenix were one in the same. I also thought that Jean was still at work as recently as the Kingbreaker story where Rachel says "Not now, Mom" when the Phoenix unexpectedly left her. The same happened to the Cuckoos in Uncanny. Plus, there was that brief appearance she had (or so it seemed) in Uncanny X-men 510 (which was an awesome issue by the way). How can she be "dead" if she still has an active hand in these events?
So what gives? What's the story about Jean Grey and why did Nick Lowe say that after so many hints were dropped connecting Hope and Jean?"
I know I probably came off as a world-class dork by doing all that research and citing all those sources, but it helped make my point and I did get an answer even if it was a generic one.
Brevoort: The problem with wanting a definitive answer on a question such as this, Master616, is that the real answer is next month's comics, and the month after that, and the month after that. We'll be perfectly up front about the fact that, in cases like this, we're teasing you with something. But asking to know the identity of the killer before you read the murder mystery isn't productive, and knowing it won't enhance your reading experience, it will only lessen it. So relax - maybe there's a connection between Hope and Jean Grey, and maybe there isn't. The fun is in finding out!
Alonso: What Tom said. Also, two things:
(1) Everyone knows that Nick Lowe is a certified knucklehead.
(2) Remember, here at Marvel: Once dead, always dead. Right?
So their answer is essentially another tease. They can't confirm or deny the connection and the only way we'll find out is to keep reading. They also seriously damaged Nick Lowe's credibility and reminded that when it comes to death in the Marvel universe, it is essentially an ongoing joke.
It offers some hope that the whole Hope/Jean plot won't turn out to be the farce I've dreaded. It still concerns me how Hope is given so many Jean Grey hints and they're never fleshed out. That doesn't mean they won't end up making Hope a Rachel Grey-like Jean replacement. But at least there's more reason to have confidence in this story and hope that whoever writes the end of this tale, they don't completely fuck it up.