Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marvel Liveblog News: Nick Lowe Ends the Hope/Jean Controversy

Well it's finally happened. I've been ranting about it, bitching about it, and brooding about it ever since this blog started. The Hope/Jean issue has been a real sticking point if not a drag. That tends to happen when you drop so many hints and drag a plot out for years at a time. Well today the dragging stopped. We finally have an answer for the Hope/Jean controversy. The answer, in a word, is fucked.

It happened during Marvels live blog today that covered the upcoming events of Uncanny X-men and Generation Hope with Kieron Gillen. As everybody knows, I've been following those books closely on this blog. They've been a major source of tension for the Hope/Jean issue. Now they feel like a big waste of time because this was what CBR reported from the blog.

Fans online asking after Jean Grey prompted Lowe to say that despite seeing "the foggy specter of a redhead in the White Room" in recent issues, he has no idea why anyone would expect Jean in the book before saying "Hope is not Jean Grey...take that for what you will."

If you actually read the transcript of the from the Marvel he throws in another tidbit. "Jean Grey is dead." To further reinforce this point to assure fans that it wasn't ordinary bullshit, Marvel tweeted it minutes later. So there's no ambiguity or teasing here. It's a clear, straight answer.

So there you have it. Hope is not Jean Grey and Jean Grey is dead. Despite seeing hints of her in the pages of Uncanny, it all turned out to be bullshit. There's nothing more to it. Hope is just a ripoff of a character who looks like Jean and wields the Phoenix Force like Jean. That essentially renders her as one of the lamest creations Marvel has created since Geldoff in Ultimate Spider-Man. 

Now this really burns me in a lot of ways. Nick Lowe has commented on Jean Grey before. He was very ambiguous on a past X-POSITION. In this he said: As far as Hope goes, there are certainly hints being laid about a certain firey bird-like shaped thing. We definitely have wheels in motion, but I can't give you a target date or anything like that.

That wasn't the only one either. In an even earlier X-POSITION he was asked about when the Hope/Jean/Phoenix issue would be resolved. He said the following:

That seems like something that would be addressed in Generation Hope to me.

He's not the only one who has commented on it. Before that there was a column by Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso on an X-men creative summit. I asked a question about Lowe's remarks about Jean's status. 

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 after all that teasing Nick Lowe finally settles it in one statement. It's all bullshit and it was just a big red herring that was drawn out over the course of three years. Now maybe I'm weird (who among us isn't?), but I don't like being bullshitted. I don't like it when I'm teased and taunted for over three years and then it all turns out to be a big lie. Worst of all, this came out in a fucking interview. It didn't happen in a story. It didn't happen on panel. The guy who happens to be the top editor of the X-books just dropped the ball and admitted it was all a lie.

Well as some of you can imagine, I'm a little pissed. I take a huge offense to shit like this. As much as I love X-men comics, I don't like being lied to about one of my favorite characters and having her replaced with some cheap rip-off in Hope Summers. This has essentially killed any appeal I once had for these books. Given how long I've been following them, that's saying a lot.

The immediate effect of this is my reviews from here on out are going to be a lot more bitter. I have a few I've been working on for this weekend, but only one is related to X-men so expect that one to be a bit nastier than usual. If you enjoy the poop jokes and what not, you'll be perfectly okay with it. But I really don't appreciate bullshit like this. I'm a loyal reader of Marvel comics and when I read a long, drawn out story that turns out to be a total farce I get really offended. I'm weird like that. 

So to all you wonderful followers of this blog, I really appreciate your support. I apologize if I sound bitter, but I'll try not to let it affect my work on X-men Supreme or my reviews. I know I reported earlier I would cease reviews, but given how many people enjoy the reviews I simply can't in good conscious do so. Too many people seem to enjoy it and I'd hate to screw them over. I want to focus on making X-men Supreme better by not being a massive dick-cheese to fans. Hopefully Marvel will take note. Until next time, take care and best wishes my fellow knights of all things awesome. Excelsior!



  1. What bullshit. I don't blame you for being mad. Marvel goes and uses Jean for various other mediums yet they refuse to bring her back into the mainstream titles? Talk about milking a popular character's image without even using the actual character herself. I'm glad I didn't give Marvel much of my money during this whole time of wondering. What a rip-off! How dare they claim a so-called connection between Hope and Jean, only to go "LOL J/K now go fuck yourselves" in the end. I said it once and I'll say it again: it doesn't matter what the fans what, it's what the writers want. They want to keep Jean dead and utilize her looks and characteristics on a poor imitation.

  2. Well to be honest, they never said Hope was Jean to begin with, only that a connection might exist. Which it still might, keep in mind, they only confirmed that these were 2 seperate characters and that as of now, Jean has yet to return to life again. She very well may eventually, and Hope may still well be the catalyst for it. So try not to be too upset. I'm not sure why everyone is to be honest, its not like everyone was waiting for them to say "Yes Hope = Jean" bc we knew that it was probably something more than that.

    Also, I love your Brightest Day reviews, please keep them coming! Only, I just might add, in my own opinoin I find some of your jokes a little off coloring. Reading some of them takes me out the story, and would prefer reading the plot without them, but this is your own blog.

  3. Thanks for your support guys! I agree rekkanoryo, this is bullshit. I don't get the business practice of leading customers on and then fucking them over by revealing all those clues they gave were a complete ruse. I don't like being lied to or taken advantage of. I also don't like having a character like Hope who is purposefully constructed to take the role of another character. That's like spitting on someone's face and calling it rain.

    And "Anonymous" if that is your real name, I appreciate the comment as well. As for the Brightest Day reviews, you can get a review about the story anywhere. I've found the only way to set my blog apart is to throw some dirty jokes into the mix. I'll still try to capture the plot, but expect dirty jokes along the way. It's part of the brand I've established for this blog. I like to entertain comic fans while making them laugh/puke/cry. Thanks again!

  4. Ice_Cold_Emma_FrostMarch 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Marvel's been mind-fucking with fans the whole time. Having Hope born in Alaska, grabbing Scott's locket with Jean's photo. The red hair/green eyes. The damned fucking Phoenix. Even using Madelyne Pryor as a tease to bring Jean back. Even the god damn "She has returned" bullshit. It's a giant fucking tease. She had a really shitty death and Magneto gets to be part of the Xmen and we get "Jean Grey is dead." Those fat fuckers at Marvel need to be the ones that are dead.

  5. Ice_Cold_Emma_Frost, you do your name plenty of justice. lol You're right. Marvel really screwed the pooch here. If they didn't want Hope to be associated with Jean, then why drop all these hints? One or two is fine, but the locket, the Phoenix, the looks, and all the other bullshit that went along with it is just too much to just cast aside as a red herring. It's a total load and one that leaves me feeling really insulted as a fan. I wouldn't wish ill of the people at Marvel though. It's not our fault they have great power with not-so-great responsibility.

  6. I feel like a lot of Phoenix fanatics broke out their Jump To Conclusion Mats right at the get-go and committed 100%, when instead they should have had a nice meal and got a full night of sleep.

  7. Ice_Cold_Emma_FrostMarch 4, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    LOL thank you Jack :) Marvel hasn't been thinking in terms of the QUALITY of their books. Too many pointless crossovers that are in essence very isolated and not well executed. Then these "seeds" that are planted in the books that either turn out to be nothing or built up to be something and turn out "eh, that's it?" Jean Grey is too important to the Xmen mythos to be dead forever. If ANY xman has the justification to come back from the dead it's Jean. It's expected and Marvel should listen to fans and bring the bitch back.

  8. Anonymous (if that is your real name), Nick Lowe was pretty clear. He said Jean is dead and Hope is not Jean. That seems like a pretty clear conclusion to me and one worth getting upset over if you're a Jean Grey fan.

    And ICEF, I wouldn't go so far as to say Marvel isn't thinking in terms of quality. Every publisher thinks in terms of quality. The problem has to do with creator bias. Right now it seems as though Marvel is doing everything they possibly can to capture Jean Grey's selling power without bringing her back. In doing so they've resorted to the kind of deception that is just wrong on so many levels. It's one thing to make a character look like Jean. It's another to give her the Phoenix Force, dress her up like Jean, and then in a mere interview just say there's no connection. It's a real dick move and one that kills any real intrigue Hope ever had. Now she's just a complete Jean knock-off. That officially makes Hope Summers my least favorite character.

  9. Gokitalo (not my real name, honest ;))March 11, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    Hope Summers, Jackpot... Marvel's got a thing for redheaded red herrings, doesn't it? They both have green eyes, too...

    Anyway, I'd be a little cautious about taking Marvel at its word. Remember when Joe Quesada kept saying he was going to kill off Speedball? That only ended up coming true in the figurative sense (Robbie ditched the Speedball identity and became Penance). So I'd take what Lowe's saying here with a grain of salt.

    I mean, he's right. Jean Grey IS dead. Hope ISN'T Jean... physically. That doesn't mean Hope can't be the reincarnation of Jean, however; after all, the reincarnated aren't supposed to remember their past lives. Hope's had a very different life than Jean, too, and without access to Jean's memories, she pretty much IS a different person.

    Although you know... I get why people want Hope to be Jean and all, but wouldn't that be incredibly obvious? Would it really be that big a reveal if the mystery behind Hope was something we already kind of knew in the first place? The element of surprise is an important part of fiction and sometimes, not giving the fans what they THINK they want pays off. It certainly makes for a stronger mystery: if Hope's not Jean, then what IS she?

    Random aside, I thought Geldoff was hilarious. But maybe that's just me ;)

  10. I want to take Marvel's words with a grain of salt, but they never go back on their word when they say Jean Grey is dead. That's the one exception to the rule. First there was Phoenix Endsong. Then there was that Astonishing cover, which turned out to be a ruse for Colossus's return. Then there was the Uncanny #511 cover. Then the Uncanny #522 cover. Now throw the entire Messiah Trilogy and Jean rip-off onto the mix and that's a pretty nasty streak. It seems as though Marvel will bring back any character except the one that has the actual ability to rise from the ashes.

    And Jean Grey is NOT dead. Phoenix Endsong proved that. So did War of the Kings. If so how come Rachel said "Not now, mom."? And Jean rip-off's life wasn't so different from Rachel's. She grew up in an apocalyptic future. She was raised by Cable, who was in turn raised by Jean and Cyclops. There's nothing unique about her. There's nothing about her that's interesting.

    If this girl isn't Jean, then we already know what she is...a rip-off sham of a character that was pulled out of thin air to give Marvel an excuse to NOT bring the real Jean Grey back. It's their fault for dropping so many hints. They dropped so many that it's by NOT making her Jean Grey, her character is completely undermined. She's a rip-off, a sham, and an overall joke. Marvel could have made her look like anything. Instead they made her look like Jean. Where I come from that's not just deceptive. That's being a dick.

  11. "I want to take Marvel's words with a grain of salt, but they never go back on their word when they say Jean Grey is dead. That's the one exception to the rule."

    Bucky used to be an exception too, and now he's Captain America. Joe Quesada even said years ago that Jean would no doubt return at some point. It's just that the longer she's kept dead, the more potent her return's going to be. I mean, Barry Allen was dead for 15 years. When he came back, it was HUGE.

    Hope's history is similar to Rachel's, but, and I suspect this was intentional, she really has a lot more in common with Cable. Their origins pretty much mirror each other: Hope and Nathan were both born in the present and whisked off into the future for their own good (Nathan need a cure for the T.O. virus, Hope needed to be safe from the people hunting her down). They've also both been viewed as Messiah-like figures. Yet somehow, Hope didn't end up becoming "girl-Cable." So there may be, er, hope for her character yet.

    I dunno, I think there's still some intrigue left in Hope. We don't know why she can summon other mutants' powers and the Phoenix Force (or something like it), for one. We also don't know who her dad is; I get the feeling his identity could answer a lot of questions about Hope and her abilities.

    Also, would not making her Jean Grey really undermine Hope's character? Wouldn't it do the opposite by allowing her to be her own person, instead of "Lil' Jean"? Just a thought.

  12. I remember Bucky too. That's not lost on me. The difference is that Bucky never had the Phoenix Force. He doesn't have a history of coming back. Same with Barry Allen. So of course it's going to be big. That's exactly why I suspect Marvel wants to keep Jean dead because everyone expects her to come back due to her Phoenix persona.

    And I don't see how Hope has as much in common with Cable. She's not a man, Cable never had the Phoenix Force, and they ended up in the future for different reasons. Rachel has far more in common with her. That's probably why Rachel was kept in limbo. I mean if they really wanted Hope to be more like Cable why did they give her more similarities with Rachel and Jean? There's no hope for her character. She's a rip-off. She's Rachel with longer hair, having grown up in a dystopian future where she was hunted most of her life and later gained the Phoenix Force.

    Not making her connected to Jean Grey DOES undermine her character. It undermines it in a huge way because she's so similar to Jean that it's hard to tell them apart at times. They look alike, dress alike, and even have the same hair style. Even Rachel looked different enough that you could tell them apart. Marvel could have made her look like anything, but they made her look like Jean Grey. And by not following through on that, they've doomed her to being a rip-off.

    That's just my take. I don't really follow the logic about her being more Cable-like. You show a picture of Hope and Cable and you would never guess they're linked. Show a picture of Hope and Jean and they're easy to confuse. That's the essence of a rip-off.

  13. Thing is, you're mainly talking about physical appearance. I'm talking about the characters' histories. Cable and Hope were both born in the present. They were both taken to the future when they were infants for their safety. They were both viewed by their peers as saviors: Cable was the "chosen one" who would overthrow Apocalypse, Hope was the "chosen one" who would save mutantkind from extinction. And they both returned to the present.

    Hope and Rachel, on the other hand, don't have much in common beyond physical appearance and access to the Phoenix Force. Rachel didn't travel TO the future; she's FROM the future. She didn't really have a Messiah-like role, either, at least not until many years after her debut (when she returned to her timeline and teamed up with a bunch of heroes to free it).

    Anyway, we'll find out the truth about Hope eventually. And if she just happens to be a young woman who LOOKS like Jean*... she can always change her hairstyle and wardrobe. ;)

    *speaking of people who look like Jean, here's a fun fact: initially, Maddie Pyror wasn't meant to be Jean's clone. According to Chris Claremont, she was only supposed to be "that one in a million shot that just happened to look like Jean." So the idea of having a Jean Grey look-a-like with no relation to Jean herself isn't exactly new...

  14. Jean rip-off was never the chosen one. She was the mutant messiah. I think it's a push to lump her in the same category as Cable. Yes, they were taken to the future. That I'll give you. But the whole future angle still falls in line with Rachel more than Cable because Rachel came of age in that future. Cable was raised by Cyclops and Jean Grey.

    Plus, I think you're really underscoring the importance of the Phoenix Force. How many other characters have red hair, green eyes, and the Phoenix Force that AREN'T related to Jean Grey? And Rachel still played a messiah like role. It just came later. Those are all similarities that far exceed Cable.

    We already know the truth about Jean rip-off. She's Marvel's attempt to replace Jean Grey with someone that will make it so they don't have to go through the hassle of bringing her back. Given that Marvel could have made her look like anyone, it's a complete farce that she wouldn't be related to Jean Grey.

    I know the story about Madelyn. That was a complete farce as well. So Cyclops watches Jean die and just HAPPENS to meet someone who looks and acts just like her? Even Chris Claremont had to have seen what a huge problem that was. You can't get more contrived than that. That sort of thing may work in fanfiction, but not in published work like comics where people are paid good money to tell decent stories. Madelyn's story was every bit as weak as Jean rip-off. And you're missing the end to that story. Eventually, Madelyn WAS given a connection to Jean Grey and that ended up making more sense than just making it a pure coincidence. There's no way that could have worked, Cyclops just happening to meet a woman who looked like his dead girlfriend. Even in fantasy, that's pushing it.

    The real ending to that story was that Chris Claremont didn't want to kill Jean Grey. Madelyn was his way to get the ending he wanted. He basically pulled a completely contrived plot out of his ass to get it and it didn't fly. It's the dumbest thing in the world, just coming across a character that HAPPENED to look like someone else. Jean rip-off has the same problem. It was a bad idea with Madelyn that eventually got retconned for good reason. It's a bad idea with her.

  15. "Messiah" and "chosen one" are synonyms: both were used to describe Jesus Christ. See here:
    And here: (see "New Living Translation")

    Also, although it was Shooter's idea, Chris was actually okay with killing Jean:
    "Jean's death actually gave us credibility. We had been backed into the gift that separated X-Men significantly from every other book.Sure, Gwen Stacy died in Spider-Man, but it wasn't like killing Sue Storm or Ben Grimm. We killed off half of the oldest romantic relationship in the Marvel Universe. We killed off a major franchise character and we said it was real. The credibility from that event was just fantastic and then we topped it off with 'Days of Future Past.' John and I were on such a roll in those last six months. The stuff was just so good."

    That's from a book called Comic Creators on X-Men, which you can buy on Amazon. It's really good: it also reveals that Chris was actually more ticked off when Marvel decided to bring Jean Grey back to life. In fact, he's mentioned it in a couple of places, like in this online interview:
    "I remember Ann [Nocenti] and Barry Smith and I were sitting in this restaurant around the corner from Marvel on a Friday night, plotting out X-men #198 I think... Either #196 or #198, and we're sitting down, and Ann says, “oh, by the way, Jim wanted me to tell you this. I figured I'd wait until after the office closed. They're bringing back Jean.” And I said, “you're shitting me.” And she said, “no.” And I said, “you'll have to excuse me for a minute,” and I walked out, tried to call Jim, he'd left the office, came back in and I cursed for about a half hour."

    Chris came up with the idea of having Jean's sister, Sara, join the team, since he'd given Sara the same powers a few years back. Jim Shooter liked the idea, but went with Jean, since she'd make the book sell more. Chris wasn't pleased, especially when they had Cyclops practically abandon his wife and kid:

    "Then, unfortunately, Jean was resurrected, Scott dumps his wife and kid and goes back to the old girlfriend. So it not only destroys Scott's character as a hero and as a decent human being it creates an untenable structural situation: what do we do with Madelyne and the kid?"

    That's from here:

    Sorry this post is so quote and link-heavy, by the way. Just wanted to make it clear that I wasn't pulling this stuff out of thin air!

  16. Yes, I've heard that story about Chris's feelings about Jean's return. And I fully understand them. I would be pissed too. However, he's still at fault for making Madelyn such a contrived joke of a character. He originally wanted Cyclops to marry Jean, leave the X-men, and move on. He could have just had Cyclops leave the X-men after her death. He could have even put him with someone new. Instead, he creates a character that looks and acts exactly like Jean Grey that he actually believes is Jean reincarnated at first. Chris is a smart man. Even he has to realize how ridiculously contrived that is.

    In the end I think Jean being brought back was a good thing because Madelyn was a farce. Scott's character wasn't destroyed. It was twisted because Claremont couldn't let go of the ending he wanted. Plus, Cyclops didn't outright abandon Madelyn. She disappeared on him and ended up being a clone, which remarkably made more sense than Cyclops just happening to come across a woman who looked like his dead girlfriend. In the end I understand Claremont's feelings, but the editors made the final decision. And they were right. Jean does sell more books because she's an iconic character. The editors will always side with sales. That's the unfortunate part of the business.

  17. I dunno, I thought Maddie had a bit more spice to her character than Jean did. Like that scene where, after meeting Lockheed, she just tugs Cyclops toward her by the tie and goes, "Scott. Just precisely who are these people... and what the blazes have you gotten me into?" And there's that time she slapped Cyclops across the face when he asked her if she was Jean.

    But yeah, Jean does sell more books. I'm glad she came back too, as I've always liked the character; she also gradually gained a calm wisdom after her resurrection that I really enjoyed. Still, I get Claremont's feelings about her return. Who knows, perhaps Sara Grey could've become a pretty strong character in her own right, if she'd gotten the chance.

  18. Well I think the mere fact that Cyclops thought she was Jean reincarnated says it all. She is and was a contrived way for Claremont to get his ending. He got it, but it was for all the wrong reasons. Plus, keep in mind that Madelyn didn't remember anything beyond the memories Sinister gave her. Plus, I think if Jean lost her memory she would be pretty tough as well. You don't become an X-man without bing tough.

    I respect Chris Claremont more than any other X-men writer. However, he was too human ironically. He wanted an ending that simply didn't fit anymore. In writing when you really force something that the setting doesn't support, you destroy the story and the characters. By just having Cyclops meet someone who looked like his old girlfriend, he set himself up for this kind of frustration.

    Let me spell it out again. Cyclops watches his girlfriend die in front of his eyes. He's stricken with grief. Then shortly after he just HAPPENS to meet a woman who looks just like her?

    Do you not see a problem there? Even for a comic book, that's pushing it. There's contrived and then there's forced. Claremont did both and that's why he made a big mistake. He wanted his ending. He should have known that it wasn't going to pan out just because he's Chris Claremont.