Phoenix Force (comics)

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Phoenix Force
The Phoenix entity. From the back cover to Classic X-Men #1. Art by John Bolton
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceUncanny X-Men #101 (October 1976)
Created byChris Claremont
Dave Cockrum
In-story information
Team affiliationsX-Men
Hellfire Club
Galactic Guardians
Phoenix Corps
Notable aliasesPhoenix, Jean Grey, White Phoenix of the Crown, Star-Child, The Black Angel, Chaos-Bringer, Black Queen, Dark Phoenix, Child of the M'Kraan Crystal
AbilitiesVirtual omnipotence
Limitless matter and energy manipulation
Psionic abilities
Life force manipulation
Cosmic awareness
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Phoenix Force
The Phoenix entity. From the back cover to Classic X-Men #1. Art by John Bolton
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceUncanny X-Men #101 (October 1976)
Created byChris Claremont
Dave Cockrum
In-story information
Team affiliationsX-Men
Hellfire Club
Galactic Guardians
Phoenix Corps
Notable aliasesPhoenix, Jean Grey, White Phoenix of the Crown, Star-Child, The Black Angel, Chaos-Bringer, Black Queen, Dark Phoenix, Child of the M'Kraan Crystal
AbilitiesVirtual omnipotence
Limitless matter and energy manipulation
Psionic abilities
Life force manipulation
Cosmic awareness

The Phoenix Force is an entity in the Marvel Comics fictional universe which has bonded with other characters, who often used the alias Phoenix.

The Phoenix Force is famous for its central role in one of the most influential storylines in American superhero comics, The Dark Phoenix Saga, and is frequently linked to Jean Grey. In 2009, Jean Grey as the Dark Phoenix was ranked as IGN's 9th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1] Wizard list of Top 100 villains ranked the Dark Phoenix as 38th.

Publication history[edit]

The Phoenix first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #101 (October 1976) in the guise of Jean Grey, and was created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum.

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Phoenix Force is an immortal and mutable manifestation of the prime universal force of life and passion. Born of the void between states of being, the Phoenix Force is a child of the universe. It is the nexus of all psionic energy which does, has, and ever will exist in all realities of the omniverse, the Guardian of Creation, and of the dangerously powerful M'Kraan Crystal.

The Phoenix is among the most feared beings in all of existence — having the power to cut and re-grow any part of the universe, as well as destroy it entirely, which is part of the Phoenix' purpose: "The Judgment of the Phoenix", to burn away the obsolete. The Phoenix Force is described as being "the embodiment of the very passion of Creation – the spark that gave life to the Universe, the flame that will ultimately consume it."

During its time as a sentient and nameless entity, it traveled the cosmos just like other cosmic beings. At first, the Phoenix Force was a formless mass of energy, but thousands of years ago, it came to Earth, and met a magician named Feron (who worshipped the legendary Phoenix), whose daydream-like visions prompted the Phoenix to adopt the firebird form it has today. He asked the Phoenix to help him by lending its energy to project a stone pillar (which resembled a lighthouse) across the multiverse. The pillar became the lighthouse base for the British super-team Excalibur (a team its future host Rachel Summers herself would join). Afterwards, Feron was attacked by Necrom in an attempt to steal the power of the Phoenix. Feron, strengthened by the Phoenix Force, was able to fight back but Necrom was able to steal a fraction of the Phoenix Force's essence forcing it to flee back to space in agonized confusion. The Phoenix Force returned to Earth when it felt the mind of a human transcend the physical realm, a mind that resonated with the Phoenix Force's energy. A young Jean Grey had telepathically linked her mind to her dying friend, Annie Richards, to keep Annie's soul from moving to the afterlife. In doing so, Jean's mind was being dragged along to the "other side" with Annie. Phoenix lent its energy to break the connection, and kept close watch on young Jean, as it felt a kinship with the young mutant. Years later when Jean was dying on a space shuttle, her mind called out for help and the Phoenix Force answered and saved her, transforming Jean into the Phoenix.[2]

The Phoenix remained with the X-Men for only a short time. She prevented the complete destruction of the universe by repairing the damaged energy matrix at the core of the M'Kraan Crystal.[3] During a skirmish with the X-Men's first and most deadly foe, Magneto, Phoenix and Beast were separated from the other X-Men, with each group believing the other to have perished.[4] Phoenix went on a European vacation to gather herself in this new, lonely world. In Greece, Phoenix met a young and handsome man named Nikos, who is later revealed to be Mastermind, a mutant with the powers of illusion. He began to plant the seeds of dissent within her fragile psyche by comparing her to a god and insisting she can do whatever she wants.[5] She would later encounter him again in Scotland, under the guise of Jason Wyngarde, a handsome 18th Century loyalist, believing him to be both the work of the reality-warping mutant Proteus and the lover of one of her ancestors.[6]

The Rise of Dark Phoenix[edit]

After an encounter with the Hellfire Club and manipulation by Mastermind and the White Queen, the Phoenix was transformed into their Black Queen.[7] She broke free of Mastermind's control, but had been transformed into Dark Phoenix. She battled the X-Men and fled to the stars, devoured the energies of the D'Bari star system to satisfy her "hunger" as Dark Phoenix, annihilating the five billion inhabitants of its fourth planet, and destroyed a nearby Shi'ar observatory vessel which opened fire on her before returning to Earth. There, she was defeated in psionic combat by Professor X, and regained control. The group was then teleported to space by the Shi'ar and given a trial by combat. Just as victory seemed certain for the Imperial Guard, she once again became Dark Phoenix, and ultimately committed apparent suicide on Earth's moon before the eyes of a horrified Cyclops.[8]

As originally written, the Jean Grey incarnation of the Phoenix was Jean herself, having attained her ultimate potential as a psi, becoming a being of pure energy and reforming herself as Phoenix,[9] only to become slowly corrupted by the manipulation of such foes as Mastermind and Emma Frost; unable to adapt to her enormous power, Jean was driven mad.

In order to return Jean to the fold several years later, this storyline was retconned to reveal the existence of the cosmic Phoenix Force entity, which had created a duplicate body of Jean, believed itself to be Jean and acted in her place while the real Jean lay in a healing cocoon at the bottom of Jamaica Bay, where the Avengers and Fantastic Four would later discover her.[10] This allowed Jean to be revived as a member of X-Factor. The extent to which the duplicate and Jean are separate entities depends on who is writing the character(s) at the time, some instances portraying them as inherently separate, while others demonstrate a shared consciousness.

Part of the Phoenix Force encountered a manifestation of Death after committing suicide and then returned itself to Jean in the cocoon. Horrified by what it had done, Jean rejected it and it went on to join with Jean's clone, Madelyne Pryor.[11] This portion of the Phoenix remained with Madelyne until she committed suicide while fighting Jean Grey and then rejoined Jean's consciousness.[volume & issue needed]

Rachel Summers[edit]

Another possessor of the Phoenix Force is Rachel Summers, Scott Summers and Jean Grey's daughter from the Days of Future Past alternate future.[12] The Phoenix Force bonded with Rachel and Rachel became the next avatar of the Phoenix Force.[13] Rachel is one of the longest reigning avatars of the Phoenix. Rachel never became Dark Phoenix.[14] Rachel has been referred to as "The One True Phoenix".[15]

The Phoenix battles and defeats a malnourished Galactus. Art by Alan Davis.

During an encounter with Galactus, Rachel Summers—at the time completely overtaken by the Phoenix Force—battled Galactus in an effort to save a planet he was preparing to devour.[16] The Phoenix Force disrupted Galactus' feeding process and thus was easily able to defeat the depleted world devourer in battle. Galactus accused the Phoenix Force of hypocrisy and revealed to it that its existence in a corporeal state was sustained by robbing energy used to birth future generations. Realizing this to be true, the Phoenix vowed to return to its prior existence of "touching all that is" while allowing an echo of its power to remain with Rachel's now-dominant consciousness.

Into the Future[edit]

When Rachel's body finally healed, it was just as the Phoenix discovered that its actions on the physical plane were causing potential life to be used up, so it woke her and told her that her powers would be somewhat lessened, as the Phoenix was returning to its natural state.[17][18] Returning to Earth with all her memories, Rachel finally managed to get back to the future she had come from. While she could not change her past, she and her teammates were able to change the directives of all the Sentinels of the era to preserve all life, thereby ending the genocide that had prevailed for years.[19] On the way back to our time, however, Captain Britain was lost in the timestream and Rachel was eventually forced to switch places with him, because she really did not belong in our time, anyway.[volume & issue needed] She emerged from the timestream about 1900 years in the future and formed the Clan Askani, which was responsible for bringing her brother Nathan to their time to fight Apocalypse.[volume & issue needed] She later encounters Diamanda Nero which was Apocalypse's High Councilor and viceroy. She even wanted to overpower him, but was left powerless after shortly being bonded to the Phoenix Force.[volume & issue needed]

Phoenix resurrection[edit]

Later, as an interdimensional portal transported four villains from the 616 Marvel Universe into the Ultraverse dimension, the Phoenix Force was pulled into the Ultraverse as well and was critically damaged. Needing a human host to help heal the damage, the Phoenix Force bonded with Prime,[volume & issue needed] and later with Amber Hunt.[volume & issue needed] Amber was unable to control it. She attacked her friends and would have destroyed the planet, if not for the arrival of the X-Men and new Ultra hero Foxfire, who after a long battle were able to separate the Phoenix from Amber and send the cosmic entity back to the 616 universe.[volume & issue needed]

Jean Grey would begin to manifest Phoenix firebirds and tap into its cosmic reserves shortly before her death at the hands of Xorn.[20]

Endsong and Warsong[edit]

The Phoenix Force would return to Earth during the mini-series X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong, where it resurrected Jean Grey from her grave. It is not long before she remembers what she has come for — Scott Summers (a.k.a. Cyclops). She needs to feed from the energy from his optic blasts, and confused by Jean's emotions thinks she's in love with Scott. She realizes Scott is in love with Emma Frost (former White Queen of the Hellfire Club and headmistress of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning). Through a number of incidents, including Jean having Wolverine kill her a number of times, Jean trapping herself in a glacier, the Phoenix Force jumping into Emma Frost, and parts of the X-Men being trapped in a Shi'ar-generated event horizon, Jean Grey managed to assert herself and gain control of the Phoenix Force, with emotional support of all the X-Men. Jean then declares that she and the Phoenix force are truly one entity now, have transcended into the White Phoenix of the Crown. This is signified by a new white and gold costume.[21]

As a result of a Shi'ar attack on the Phoenix Force, the entity is currently in an incomplete state and Jean must now search out the remaining parts of the Phoenix Force. The consequences of this were partially addressed in X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong in which a small part of the Phoenix Force joined with the Stepford Cuckoos. After nearly losing control to the Phoenix power, the Stepford Cuckoos developed a secondary mutation, in which their hearts turned to diamond and they were able to imprison the piece of the Phoenix Force.[22]

End of Greys[edit]

With the failed attack on the Phoenix Force which ended with Jean Grey escaping their suicide bomb attack and returned to the White Hot Room to restore herself, the Shi'ar still wanted to permanently prevent the ascension of the Phoenix Force. In hopes of eliminating the possibility of a new Omega-level psionic mutant becoming a host for the Phoenix Force, the Shi'ar sent to Earth a commando unit with the purpose to wipe out the Grey genome and kill Quentin Quire. These Death Comandos arrived at Rachel's family reunion site and killed all the members of the Grey family besides Rachel and Cable who weren't present. Afterward, at the graves of the Grey family, Rachel vowed a terrible vengeance on the Shi'ar and was quoted as saying: "I'm not my mom. I'm not the Phoenix. I'm my own woman. And by the time I'm done... they'll wish I WERE the Phoenix."[23]


During the last issue of Kingbreaker, the Phoenix mysteriously abandons Rachel and Korvus during battle with Vulcan's new guard, leaving them both without its power. As it leaves Rachel mutters "Please, not now… Mom." implying that Jean is calling back the missing pieces of the Phoenix Force, and perhaps planning another resurrection. Rachel later says that it was almost like the Phoenix was never with her for she "Can't feel it... I can't hear it...It's like it was never there."[24]

The Sisterhood[edit]

Roughly around the same time, back on Earth in San Francisco the Red Queen and her Sisterhood attack the X-Men; first trapping a sleeping Emma in a psychic barricade by Lady Mastermind. Inside what appears to be the White Hot Room, or possibly just Emma's own mind, a woman resembling Jean Grey appears to Emma and helps her break free of Regan's influence with what appears to be a miniature version of the Phoenix energy raptor, thus letting her assist Logan, who has been robbed of a lock of Jean's hair that was in his possession. Madelyne uses the hair sample to locate Jean's gravesite, and then attempts to repeat a resurrection ritual with her corpse, but Cyclops had ordered Domino to substitute the body for someone else's and it somehow causes Madelyne to either discorporate or become absorbed into the fake.[25]


During a conflict with several Predators X (genetically engineered mutant hunters), the Stepford Cuckoos are overwhelmed and knocked unconscious as the fragment of the Phoenix they captured forcefully escape from the girls' diamond hearts, much to the horror of Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men.[26]

Second Coming[edit]

A promotional image for the event of Second Coming was released depicting two versions of Hope Summers, the so-called Mutant Messiah — one angelic, emphasizing her role as a savior, the other as evil and surrounded by the Phoenix Force, depicting her as a destroyer.[27]

During the final confrontation with Bastion, Hope turns into what appears to be the Phoenix and blasts Bastion as Wolverine, Colossus, and Emma watch shocked. Bastion however manages to grasp Hope's neck, and states that despite his original programming, he will take great pleasure in killing her. Cyclops blasts his arm, and Wolverine jumps on him, as he tries killing him "for Kurt". Hope touches the ground again, saying she's ready now, going full Phoenix Force, blasts Bastion and the dome all at once.[28] Later at a celebratory bonfire, Emma notices the flames around Hope take the shape of the Phoenix and Emma recalls the Sisterhood attack where Jean freed her from Lady Mastermind's illusion.[29]

Generation Hope[edit]

While fighting the fifth so-called "Light", who was out of control, Hope attempts to take some of his powers only to exhaust herself and collapses. She is then contacted by the Phoenix Force who refers Hope as her "child" and that the other lights needed her. Hope then regains consciousness and went back to face Kenji Uedo. Due to Phoenix' words, it's implied that the five lights are all connected to the Phoenix Force.[30]

Age of X[edit]

The Age of X reality was created when Legion's mind reacted to Doctor Nemesis' attempt to restore its sanity.[31] A new persona, with new powers, was born creating the new reality in order to protect Legion's many personalities. This new manifestation of Legion's power took the appearance of Moira MacTaggert, in order to confuse Xavier and protect Legion. In this reality Jean Grey's Phoenix Force ability manifested causing a tremendous amount of destruction and death in Albany.[32] Though she was presumed deceased when the Air Force bombed the area, a new phoenix shape emerged from the rubble.[33] Under the name of Revenant, it is not known whether she is Jean Grey (presumably dead after the Albany incident[32]) or a totally new incarnation. She joins Magneto and becomes part of the Force Warriors.[34] She also states she got lost on her way home and she does not look like herself.[35]

When the truth about the Age of X was finally revealed, Legion apologizes to everyone before rewriting the universe and putting everything back the way it was. However, Revenant who should not even exist is brought back to Utopia also.[36] Later, as all mutants begin to regain their true memories, Revenant is revealed to be actually the mind of Rachel Summers given human form.[37]

Fear Itself[edit]

During the Fear Itself storyline, the Phoenix Force appeared once again to Emma Frost (who's in Utopia's infirmary after she was overwhelmed by the cosmic powers of Juggernaut who had become the Worthy known as Kuurth: Breaker of Stone). The Phoenix soon began mocking Emma that Scott Summers would never love her as he loved Jean Grey revealing also that Jean had been reborn and that Emma Frost already knows it. This Phoenix however seems to be a side effect of when Emma invaded Juggernaut's mind and began feeding into Emma's fears. As the Phoenix manages to convince Emma that Hope is Jean reincarnated, it tells Emma that she knows what to do. Emma, in a trance like state, takes her pillow and heads towards Hope, about to smother her to death,[38] and she would have killed Hope if not for Namor's intervention.[39]

Avengers vs. X-Men[edit]

The emergence of the Phoenix Five. Art by John Romita Jr. Avengers vs. X-Men #5 (June 2012).

During the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, the event has the Phoenix Force returning to Earth, presumably to reclaim Hope Summers, the "Mutant Messiah", which led to a confrontation between the Avengers and the X-Men on how to deal with its arrival, with the Avengers anticipating the destruction that the Phoenix could bring while Cyclops hopes to use the Phoenix Force to restart the mutant population.[40] It has also been revealed that the Phoenix Force was once wielded by a young red-headed girl named Fongji,[41] who became an heir to the legacy of the Iron Fist.[42]

As the Phoenix Force nears Earth, the Avengers fight the X-Men on the Blue Area of the Moon, while Iron Man and Giant-Man prepare a disruptor weapon to kill the Phoenix Force. Iron Man pilots the weapon against the Phoenix Force, but when he uses it on the Phoenix Force, instead of killing it the blast forcefully alters the entity and divided it in five fragments which bond with Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik. They defeat the Avengers and head back to Earth with Hope.[43] It has since been theorized that Scarlet Witch's spell of "No more mutants" angered the Phoenix, and in order to calm the entity, a new host was needed along with five acolytes, to succeed and bringing evolution (the acolytes were actually the first five new mutants that have appeared around the globe since the decimation of the mutant population), and that was the reason the Phoenix came to Earth.[44]

When the Avengers manage to defeat Namor with a mass assault on him during an attack on Wakanda, his portion of the Phoenix Force gets divided between the other four members of the "Phoenix Five" making it harder to defeat them.[45] Spider-Man then baits Colossus and Magik into taking each other out by playing off their fears when fighting them in a volcano as they begin to argue about the other's recent actions, forcing their portion of the Phoenix to be divided between Emma and Cyclops.[46] When Cyclops invades the mystical city of K'un Lun, Lei Kung defends the city on the back of the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, revealing that the immortal dragon had defeated the Phoenix in a past incarnation. While Cyclops defeats the dragon, Hope is able to absorb its power and defeat Cyclops who then goes to seek the final portion of the Phoenix Force possessed by Emma Frost.[47] Emma Frost had been using the Phoenix Force to control all of Utopia, read the thoughts of everyone on the planet, take vengeance on anyone who had ever harmed a mutant and dismantle all Sentinels.[48] In a clash against the Avengers with both remaining Phoenix hosts increasingly hostile towards the other, Cyclops defeats Emma and elevates to the level of Dark Phoenix, killing Professor X in the process.[49]

In the final issue, the X-Men and the Avengers battle the Dark Phoenix, but lose ground swiftly as the Dark Phoenix starts to burn the world. As a last resort, Captain America sends in Hope and Scarlet Witch, who together manage to take down the Dark Phoenix, as Jean Grey appears in Cyclops' mind and convinces him to let go of the Phoenix Force. The Phoenix escapes Cyclops' body and enters Hope Summers'. Together, Hope and the Scarlet Witch wish away the Phoenix Force and the damage it caused, in the process activating the X-gene that allowed the creation of new mutants around the world.[50]


Even with the Phoenix gone, its effects remain in various ways, with the former Phoenix Five - as well as Magneto, due to his prolonged time on Utopia - suffering from various problems with their powers; Cyclops and Magneto's control over their abilities has regressed back to the level of control they possessed in their first appearances, Emma Frost retains her diamond form but only has erratic control over her telepathy,[51] and Colossus' body fluctuates between his organic and metal parts rather than completely transforming into one or the other,[52] although Magik's powers appear to have been increased to the point where she can channel the power of Limbo on her own.[53] However, it was later revealed that the infected Cyclops, Emma, Colossus, Magik and Magneto had been attached with nano-sentinels that had corrupted their powers and caused them to be unpredictable by Dark Beast.[54]

Later while spending some time in deep space, Iron Man helps to defend an ancient planet from space pirates. His selfless acts of heroism win him the heart of a beautiful princess, but he is later confronted by robotic policemen looking to arrest Stark for deicide. Before he is later able to escape the planet, Stark realizes that this planet's people, known as the Voldi, worship the Phoenix Force and his hand in its disappearance has angered the population.[55]

List of hosts[edit]

Other characters were only possessed by the Phoenix Force during out-of-continuity tales. This includes Franklin Richards,[volume & issue needed] Nightcrawler,[volume & issue needed] Storm,[volume & issue needed] and Gabriel Summers,[volume & issue needed] in separate What If... stories, as well as Cyclops in the X-Men / Teen Titans inter-company crossover.[volume & issue needed] Quentin Quire was revealed to be a host in the Here Comes Tomorrow storyline in the visions of Deathlok,[76] and in the timeline of Nocturne, the Phoenix Force possessed Colossus' soulless body and reshaped it into female form.[volume & issue needed]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Phoenix Force has the ability to manipulate cosmic energies and to tap into the life-force reserved for future generations, thus denying them existence. It can wield this energy to project beams of immense destructive force. It can transmigrate throughout time and space by folding its energy back into itself, causing it to collapse akin to a black hole and then reform itself upon reaching its destination. It can directly absorb energy such as Cyclops' optic blasts or even the entire energy of a sun. It is also capable of absorbing the energy and life-force from a foe. As it is the nexus of all psionic energy, it has mental abilities of cosmic scope, including telepathy and telekinesis.

The extent of the Phoenix Force's god-like abilities has not been fully clarified. Jean Grey as The White Phoenix of the Crown was able to change the future of a universe by reaching back in time and pushing her husband Cyclops to move on with his life.[volume & issue needed]

Another major display of the power of the Phoenix was during the Secret Wars II, when the omnipotent Beyonder wanted to destroy all life. Rachel Summers, who served as the avatar of the Phoenix Force at that time, sought out to kill the Beyonder. The Beyonder expressed both amazement and disappointment to Rachel, claiming that she denies herself her own glory when she can be so much more. With that, the Beyonder gave Rachel the full access to the power of the Phoenix as well as some of his own, Rachel was on par with Jean Grey when she became Phoenix. With such power, Rachel was able to absorb the consciousness of every sentient mortal being in the universe, and when expelling the sum total of the power back at the Beyonder, the input felt overwhelming even to his senses. However, she was still stated as considerably below his level, that destroying the universe would not kill him, and simply not be lower than amoeba compared to him.[volume & issue needed]

Often the Phoenix seeks out hosts who have strong inherent psionic abilities so they can withstand its power. When the Phoenix Force enters a host, a small fragment of its power is left behind when it leaves. Even a small fragment can be stronger than an inexperienced host using the Phoenix Force's powers; as seen by Rachel Summers, who had full access to the Force, but her opponent Necrom threw moons at her with only a fragment.[volume & issue needed] When bonded with a host, the Phoenix Force amplifies their abilities to incalculable levels. It can manipulate matter on a sub-atomic level and transmute elements (e.g., turning wood to gold, stone to crystal, etc.). It can teleport others across space and can also open inter-dimensional portals to instantaneously access distant locales of the Universe. If an avatar of the Phoenix Force is harmed or killed, it will form an "egg" of cosmic power, incubate in the White Hot Room, and hatch out completely healed. Also, as one of the oldest cosmic beings the Phoenix Force possesses a high level of cosmic awareness and prescience.

Other versions[edit]

31st century[edit]

Giraud, the 9th Phoenix.

In the 31st century in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics series, ordinary human Giraud of New Haven becomes host to the Phoenix Force. As Phoenix, Giraud is a rarity for a Phoenix host; since he is an ordinary human with no active magic or psionic abilities — only those powers granted him directly by the Phoenix Force.[volume & issue needed] However, the Phoenix Force spoke to Giraud directly, telling him that he did, in fact, have latent psi-abilities, and it was that latent psi-potential that drew it to him.[volume & issue needed]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse reality, after Jean Grey's death at the hands of Havok, nuclear bombs set to destroy America were suddenly destroyed by a bird-like display of fiery psionic power. It was Jean, awakened as the Phoenix (known as "Mutant Alpha", the legendary ultimate mutant). Sinister captured Phoenix, and brainwashed her into becoming one of his Sinister Six. He then turned Phoenix against the X-Men, displaying the personality of Dark Phoenix. Phoenix generated so much heat that even Sunfire was nearly burned to death, but Psylocke used her psychic knife to bring her to her senses. Jean used the Phoenix Force to incinerate her former "master", and became leader of the X-Men in Magneto's absence.

Amalgam Comics[edit]

The Phoenix is combined with DC Comics character Kinetix to make Phoenetix in Spider-Boy Team-Up #1.[77]

Earth X[edit]

Though the origins and history of Phoenix of Earth-9997 match that of her Earth-616 counterpart, the following information has been revealed by both 3-D Man (Kyle Richmond) and the Watchman (X-51): The Phoenix Force was originally a citizen of the first universe that existed prior to the Big Bang that created the current universe in which Earth-9997 resides. This original universe collapsed due to the manipulations and reproduction of the Celestial race. There were a number of survivors who were referred to as "The Elders of the Universe", the Phoenix Force being one of these elders. It was later revealed that the Elders plotted to reunify the fragmented universe (and all its parallel universe and alternate history counterparts) through the Realm of the Dead and with the aid of Death.[volume & issue needed]

The Phoenix Force was a part of this plot to reverse the damage the Celestials had already created. It was foreseen that eventually Death would be destroyed and that an Elder of the Universe would have to live in the Realm of the Dead in order to facilitate the collection of souls, which was at least one important step in reunifying the broken universe. As the Elders were all nearly immortal and could not die, the Phoenix Force had to bond itself to a being that would be capable of sacrificing itself for others. This being, was Jean Grey of the X-Men, who during a mission in space was the lone pilot of a space shuttle traveling through a radiation storm while her comrades were in a shielded room. Unable to bond with the severely burned body of Jean Grey, it became a binary being with her, assuming her identity, personality and physical form and sealing her charred body in a cocoon to heal. When the shuttle crashed the cocoon remained at the bottom of Jamaica Bay, and the Phoenix Force took Jean's place.[volume & issue needed]

Eventually the Phoenix sacrificed her life and the real Jean Grey returned. The Phoenix ended up in Death's realm, still in the guise of Jean Grey, and was one of the few beings in this realm that were aware that they were indeed dead (Citizens in the Realm of the Dead believe that they and those are around them are still alive, while others who are not present are deceased). She eventually joined up with Mar-Vel's army to battle Death and her army. During this time, Scott Summers (new Mr. S, leader of the X-Men, who was assisting Mar-Vel in the land of the living) was able to establish a mental rapport with the Phoenix and kept him informed as to the goings on in the Realm of the Dead and (later) Mar-Vel's Paradise. This soon became a great aid to Reed Richards and others who were trying to determine why the mortally wounded would no longer die following Death's death.[volume & issue needed]

After the creation of Mar-Vel's Paradise, Phoenix became one of the Avenging Host, a group of former champions who were transmogrified by technology once belonging to the High Evolutionary. They were to act as guardian angels to those in Paradise and help those in the Realm of the Dead realize that they were indeed dead so that they could travel over to Paradise and live out their perfect afterlife. During her time as one of the Avenging Host, its members began to doubt Mar-Vel's intentions, believing that he was no aware that he had no idea what occurred outside Paradise, that as it grew it threatened to consume the Negative Zone. Their doubts in Mar-Vel's quest were further strengthened when they began to realize that no new dead were appearing in Death's former realm. Phoenix would relay this information to Scott Summers, prompting the heroes of Earth-9997 to seek out Jude, the Entropic Man to become the new death. When Cap, 3-D Man, Comet Man, Benny Becksley and Thanos learned that each "Paradise" created for the realms citizens were simply wish fulfillment, the Avenging Host aided in freeing each citizen from their private "heaven" and resolved to confront Mar-Vel about his intentions.[volume & issue needed]

The host (and Rick Jones) were all summoned and put on trial by Mar-Vel. Confronted by Mar-Vel with Captain America, Phoenix and the rest of the host were killed by their leader when Cap refused to take Mar-Vel's power. Shortly after their death, the Kree army invaded Paradise and a large battle erupted. During the combat, Reed Richards arrived from the Negative Zone and confronted Mar-Vel himself. During their talk, Mar-Vel resurrected the Avenging Host to aid the citizens of Paradise defeat the Kree invaders. After the battles conclusion, Reed Richards being given the cosmic consciousness and Mar-Vel leaving Paradise, Phoenix's current whereabouts are unknown. It is presumable that she remains in Paradise guarding those who have chosen to remain in this realm.[volume & issue needed]

Legacy of Fire[edit]

In a reality similar to the Marvel Mangaverse, the Phoenix Force is not just an entity, but a weapon. The Phoenix Sword as it was called was guarded and wielded by the sorceress Madelyne Pyre, who inherited the sword from her mother. When Madelyne's time as wielder of the sword was nearly up, she trained little sister Jena in the arts of fighting and magic. When their reality's version of Shadow King stole the Phoenix Sword, Jena tried to get it back, and Shadow King stabbed her with the sword. But in doing so, he inadvertently passed the powers of the Phoenix Sword to the dying Jena, who became the Phoenix Force's first host. She used the powers of Phoenix to vanquish Shadow King, and is now the guardian of her dimension.[78]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Phoenix appears in the Marvel Zombies 2 mini-series. The zombie survivors of the first series, who now possess the powers of Galactus, have been joined by other "cosmic level" zombies including an unnamed Dark Phoenix who appears to be Jean Grey. She is responsible, along with the others for eating most of the sentient life in the universe. A long trip back to earth and a delaying action fought by the last human colony leads to Jean and the others regaining their sense of morality and control over their own hunger. In fighting to defend the colony, Jean is destroyed by the hunger crazed Hulk.[79]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Phoenix being attacked by its creations.

In the Ultimate Universe, Jean Grey was placed in a mental institute after she began hearing voices and seeing visions of an omnipotent Phoenix God. After her release, she later thought she had contacted a celestial God-entity which destroyed worlds.[volume & issue needed]

As a result, the Hellfire Club believed that it would be in their best interests to summon the Phoenix and merge it with Jean Grey via a ritual. With Jean acting as the Phoenix Force's human avatar, she would be worshipped in a greater world. While the ritual was successful, the Phoenix had different plans and promptly slew the Hellfire Club. In the Ultimate X-Men: Hellfire and Brimstone arc, the Phoenix Force makes its first appearance as the entity/personality within Jean's body.[volume & issue needed]

Subsequently, Jean managed to gain some control over Phoenix, though not without using dangerous amounts of its power and causing extreme destruction. In the process, she telekinetically lifted a mass of land and atomized it, destroyed a helicopter and ten men within, created a giant Phoenix Raptor, and subdued a woman named Spiral.[volume & issue needed]

Charles Xavier was confronted by Lilandra Neramani, the leader of a religious group known as the Church of Shi'Ar Enlightenment, who worship a God known as the Phoenix. Lilandra claims that the Phoenix God is the force that created life itself, first creating the stars, planets, as well as everything else in the universe. Many millennia later, the Phoenix created life-forms on those planets and watched them grow and prosper. However, as time went by, the civilizations grew more advanced and sophisticated, and soon became jealous of the Phoenix. They wanted its raw, unimaginable, and limitless power for themselves. Soon after, the inhabitants of the planets waged war upon the Phoenix, trying to control it, as well as its power. They amassed a great army, bringing together a hundred civilizations. But the Phoenix fought strongly for thousands of years until the life-forms found a way to imprison it since it could not be killed. But as conventional methods could not imprison it, they created a vortex to suck in the asteroids and planets around it, creating a spherical cage, but at a cost—the Phoenix would be trapped in it forever. As the millennia went by, the Phoenix Force's cage began to evolve; oceans formed, mountains rose, plants grew and life-forms began to sprout upon it. Soon those life-forms evolved into humans and the cage in which the Phoenix resided became known as Earth. The Shi'Ar Church believed that the Phoenix was the very core of the planet.[volume & issue needed]

As a result of their meeting, Lilandra asks for permission to study Jean Grey to determine whether or not she truly is the embodiment of the Phoenix Force. During the examination, the Phoenix entity apparently asserts itself in an evil form but is seemingly suppressed by Professor Xavier's more experienced psychic powers and his emotional outreach to Jean Grey's normal personality.[volume & issue needed]

After the suppression of what seems to be the Phoenix Force, Lilandra and Charles are informed by Gerald, Lilandra's assistant, that Jean's test has proven to be negative. Gerald also reveals that Jean Grey's parents have a connection to the Shi'Ar Church and postulates that Jean's subconscious has manifested a false Phoenix persona after being subjected to Phoenix Force stories in her youth. Feeling that she has lost her mind, Jean slips into a depressed state and begins seeing green creatures latched on to her body. However, it is then revealed to the reader that Jean has actually tested positive as the carrier of the Phoenix Force and Gerald has covered it up under orders from his actual superiors: the Hellfire Club.[volume & issue needed]

Jean soon learned to control the powers of the Phoenix more and more. When Apocalypse prepared to kill Xavier, Jean accepts the Phoenix, creating a humanoid fiery entity whose power was able to bring down the ancient being. She alters reality completely and resets time to undo the damage done by Apocalypse and supposedly by Professor Xavier.[volume & issue needed]

In Ultimate X-Men\Fantastic Four Annual #1, a teenage Franklin Richards is shown to be host to the Phoenix, and a member of that timeline's X-Men.[volume & issue needed]


In Marvel 1602, Jean, who disguised herself as a man in this series, dies of sickness on Carlos Javier's ship. As a funeral, this version of Angel carries Jean's corpse into the sky, where 1602 Cyclops tearfully burns her to ashes with his eye beams. The fire briefly formed a shape similar to the Phoenix before vanishing.[volume & issue needed]

X-Men: No More Humans[edit]

When Raze - the future son of Wolverine and Mystique, now trapped in the present - attempted to force the X-Men to accept his new 'status quo' by teleporting all humans off Earth and summoning other mutants from worlds where they were being oppressed, one of the mutants he summoned to be a member of his new Brotherhood was a Jean Grey who was still in her 'Dark Phoenix' state, barely under the control of her world's Mastermind. However, when she confronted the temporally-displaced Jean Grey, the younger Jean was able to appeal to her Dark Phoenix self to help them undo Raze's actions and save the displaced humans while also creating a new Earth in a pocket dimension for the refugee mutants.[80]

What If?[edit]

The Phoenix has been the subject of What If on a number of occasions.


Phoenix has appeared in the following intercompany crossovers:

In other media[edit]


The Phoenix displaying its power via Jean Grey in the X-Men animated series.


Famke Janssen in X-Men: The Last Stand when Dark Phoenix takes over Jean

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Dark Phoenix is number 9 , IGN
  2. ^ X-Men Vol. 1 #101
  3. ^ X-Men Vol. 1 #108
  4. ^ X-Men Vol. 1 #113
  5. ^ Classic X-Men Vol. 1 #24
  6. ^ Uncanny X-Men #122
  7. ^ Uncanny X-Men #132
  8. ^ Uncanny X-Men #134-137
  9. ^ Uncanny X-Men #125
  10. ^ Avengers #263; Fantastic Four #286; Classic X-Men #8
  11. ^ Classic X-Men #43; X-Factor Vol. 1 #38
  12. ^ Uncanny X-Men #141
  13. ^ Uncanny X-Men #199
  14. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men #10
  15. ^ Excalibur #64
  16. ^ Excalibur #25
  17. ^ Excalibur Vol 1 # 61 (Late Jan 1993)
  18. ^ Excalibur Vol 1 # 63 (Mar 1993)
  19. ^ Excalibur Vol 1 # 67 (Jul 1993)
  20. ^ New X-Men Vol. 1 #120-150
  21. ^ X-Men: Phoenix Endsong #1-5
  22. ^ X-Men: Phoenix Warsong #1-5
  23. ^ Uncanny X-Men #466-471
  24. ^ Kingbreaker #4
  25. ^ Uncanny X-Men #511
  26. ^ a b Uncanny X-Men #517
  27. ^ Previews for X-Men: Hope One-shot
  28. ^ X-Force #28
  29. ^ X-Men: Second Coming #2
  30. ^ Generation Hope #3
  31. ^ X-Men: Legacy #244
  32. ^ a b Age of X: Historical Log #2
  33. ^ Age of X: Alpha
  34. ^ X-Men: Legacy #245
  35. ^ New Mutants #23
  36. ^ New Mutants #24
  37. ^ X-Men: Legacy #248
  38. ^ Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #542
  39. ^ Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #543
  40. ^ Avengers vs. X-Men #1
  41. ^ New Avengers vol. 2 #25
  42. ^ New Avengers vol. 2 #26
  43. ^ a b c d e f Avengers vs. X-Men #5. Marvel Comics. 2012. p. 22. 
  44. ^ Uncanny X-Men vol. 2 #13
  45. ^ a b Avengers vs. X-Men #8
  46. ^ a b c Avengers vs. X-Men #9
  47. ^ Avengers vs. X-Men #10
  48. ^ Avengers Academy #32
  49. ^ a b c Avengers vs. X-Men #11
  50. ^ a b c d Avengers vs. X-Men #12
  51. ^ All-New X-Men #3
  52. ^ Cable & X-Force #2
  53. ^ Uncanny X-Men vol. 3 #1
  54. ^ Uncanny X-Men vol. 3 #22
  55. ^ Iron Man Vol. 8 #6
  56. ^ New X-Men #151-154
  57. ^ Classic X-Men #43
  58. ^ Uncanny X-Men #479
  59. ^ Excalibur #46
  60. ^ New Avengers vol. 2 #26
  61. ^ New Avengers vol. 2 #25
  62. ^ Uncanny X-Men #241
  63. ^ Uncanny X-Men v2 #17
  64. ^ Excalibur #64 (April 1993)
  65. ^ Wolverine & The X-Men #12 (June 2012)
  66. ^ a b X-Men: Kingbreaker #4
  67. ^ X-Men Spotlight on ... Starjammers #2
  68. ^ X-Men: Phoenix #1-3
  69. ^ Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis
  70. ^ Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations
  71. ^ Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations
  72. ^ Phoenix - Endsong #4; March 30, 2005
  73. ^ Uncanny X-Men #478
  74. ^ Secret Avengers #26
  75. ^ Secret Avengers #28
  76. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men #4
  77. ^ Spider-Boy Team-Up #1
  78. ^ X-Men: Phoenix - Legacy of Fire #1-3
  79. ^ Marvel Zombies 2 #1-5
  80. ^ X-Men: No More Humans
  81. ^ What If? vol. 2 #32 and #33
  82. ^ What If? vol. 2 #79
  83. ^ What If? X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'Ar Empire
  84. ^ The Phoenix Resurrection #1-4
  85. ^ X-Men: Evolution - "Ascension (Part 2)"
  86. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men - "Foresight (Part 1)"
  87. ^ "How many times has Jean Grey died?". Alternate Cover. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 

External links[edit]