Since I don't have another review to offer this week, I figured I would try something different with this blog. I've got some liquor in me and I may or may not have snorted coffee grounds after thinking they were some left over blow, so I'm too wired to pass out. With Avengers vs. X-men inching closer and no more football as a distraction, there's a lot for us fanboys to discuss and wildly ramble about. This is Marvel's biggest event in quite some time. This is an event that has been building since House of M, a story that was told over half a freakin' decade ago. You can't fault Marvel for thinking long term and I'm looking forward to this event almost as much as a bender in Las Vegas. However, there's element that has been causing quite a stir among a certain segment of fans and Avengers vs. X-men threatens to change it in a way that will either piss them off or make them lick the mud off of the Marvel editor's shoes.
That threat has a name, Jean Grey. I've mentioned her many times in my drunken reviews. I've pointed out on various occasions how utterly fucked it is that Marvel has been using her imagery and her persona to essentially replace her. First, Emma Frost took over as the top telepath of the X-men and the de-facto fuck buddy for Cyclops. Never mind that their relationship has absolutely none of the depth that Jean had with Cyclops. It started off intriguing under Whedon, but since then writers like Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction have turned their relationship into a mix between a bad porno and an episode of Two and a Half Men. They don't show any romance. They just fuck as if that gives them more meaning than Cyclops and Jean, who raised a fucking child together and got married. But I digress.
The second and most egregious fucked-upedness that Marvel employed came in the form of Hope Summers. This is a character that was completely new when she was created in Messiah Complex. Marvel could have made her look like anything they wanted. They could have given her green skin and pink hair. They could have given her Betty White's face and Megan Fox's rack. Instead, they gave her red hair and green eyes like Jean Grey. That in and of itself isn't too fucked up because there are a lot of famous redheads in Marvel like Black Widow and Mary Jane Watson that fit that description. But none of them have the fucking Phoenix Force. And Hope has shown traces of the Phoenix Force since she was a baby. It's on panel to the point where it's not hard to ignore unless your blind, drunk, and brain damaged.
Yet Marvel insists that Hope is not Jean and will not acknowledge any connection. When it came up during their big Youtube announcement, Marvel's big wigs were completely silent. They were silent when I asked a Jean related question in a recent CBR X-POSITION. It's led some of the vocal Jean Grey fans that have managed to stay alive in the nearly 10 years since Jean Grey was killed off to express hope that Hope (no pun intended this time) will somehow lead to her return.
Now I would love for this to happen. I've grown really sick of Hope. She's a brat. She's a whiny bitch. She insists on dressing like Jean, acting like Cable, and playing the general role of a replacement character. However, that would make way too much sense. Marvel has done this before. They've teased the return of Jean Grey by connecting it with some big ass story that gets people talking. Whenever asked about it, they're silent as they're contractually obligated to be under threat of torture. Yet every instance when this has happened in recent times has turned out to be complete fucking bullshit. Everybody remember this?
Or what about this?
They both followed the same theme. Marvel hinted it and then laughed their ass off before saying "psyche!" at the end. This doesn't even get into the Phoenix Endsong and Phoenix Warsong series. While the first story was great in that it ended with Jean merging with the Phoenix, it was utterly and completely swept under the rug. Phoenix Warsong began the trend when it told a Phoenix story WITHOUT Jean Grey. And low and behold, it was poorly reviewed and didn't sell anywhere near as well as it's predecessor. You would think that Marvel would learn a lesson that having the Phoenix without Jean Grey is like having peanut butter without jelly, tits without ass, or weed without a jumbo bag of Doritos. But no. They haven't learned. They decided to pretty much cast Jean Grey aside and just use her imagery. That's like trying make shit smell like roses. It's an impossible task and a dick move.
But that's what has been done over the past few years. It all came to a head when Hope Summers returned in the epic X-men event, Second Coming. It was the first time Hope manifested the Phoenix Force in a full, Jean Grey-ish type way. She defeated Bastion and helped kick start the mutant species once more. But that moment was almost secondary to this.
Now it's not even being teased. Hope and the Phoenix Force are linked. Marvel isn't even denying that anymore. But there's still no mention of Jean Grey or how the events of Phoenix Endsong fit in if at all. They've only focused on the Phoenix Force and mention Jean Grey only as the unlucky bitch that died because of it. When Avengers vs. X-men was first hinted it, it came in the form of a Phoenix teaser.
That teaser has no mention of Jean Grey and neither has any subsequent announcement. It's gotten to the point where Marvel is starting to change the Phoenix mythos entirely and link it to other characters who never so much as uttered anything about it in decades. Case and point, Iron Fist.
So what does this all mean and why am I wasting perfectly good liquor talking about it? Well it's led me to conclude that Marvel is going to keep breaking the hearts of every Jean Grey fan in comic fandom. They're going to keep separating the Phoenix Force from her even if that means outright ignoring what happened in Phoenix Endsong. They want Jean's imagery, but they don't want to go through the trouble of bringing her back because for reasons that I can only assume are personal to the point of being a fucking phobia they don't want to bring her back. They claim they love her, but she's the fucking Phoenix and they're keeping her dead. In the same time that Jean has been dead, characters like Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Colossus, Psylocke, Thor, Cable, Hawkeye, and Sabretooth (who had his fucking head chopped off mind you) have come back to life. And they don't have the Phoenix Force. When a character whose very name implies that she comes back is kept dead, something done been horribly fucked up.
All this subtle bullshit leads me to believe that Avengers vs. X-men won't end with Jean Grey coming back in any real form. It'll probably end with the Phoenix Force being retconned or revamped to not need Jean Grey at all. It'll probably make it so Hope is a permanent replacement of sorts, one which Marvel could use as an excuse anytime someone asks about Jean Grey. It's a cop out and not a very good one. I want to believe that Marvel won't stoop to that level, but I've yet to see anything that would indicate otherwise.
Now let me disclose that I'm just a drunk here and there's definitely a chance that Marvel could prove me wrong. They could actually bring Jean Grey back with this event. They could make me have to post an equally long post apologizing for this post and offering to buy them all the beer in Frankfurt. I actually hope this happens. I usually don't want to be wrong, but this is once instance where I hope the talent at Marvel shuts me up and makes me look like a fool (as if I don't do that enough on this blog). However, given the history of Jean Grey teases I find it hard to hope otherwise until it actually happens.
So that leads me to one final prospect. A few days ago I started a thread on the CBR X-men Message Board asking if Jean doesn't return in AvX, then will that be the death knell to her fans that are constantly hoping for her return? Will they give up hope now that it looks like Jean will be dead for more than a decade? I don't base my love of Marvel comics on Jean Grey's return. I'll read, review, and embrace Avengers vs. X-men if it's awesome and the books after it. But Jean Grey remains a huge issue for Marvel fanboys of many stripes. With the Phoenix being center stage in this story, this may be the best time and the best stage to bring her back. If it doesn't happen, I don't see another chance like this coming along for a very long time. But again, I hope I'm wrong. I can't predict the future, but I can get wasted in the present. I suppose that's all we fanboys can do until Avengers vs. X-men finally arrives. Nuff said!