Will a blast from the past rekindle Xavier’s dream in the Marvel Now? The five original X-Men will be brought into the here and now in All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. The original teens arrive to see their mentor killed by Cyclops. Their future is a nightmare. Imagine how the young Jean Grey will react when she learns the truth of how her life turned out?
The return of Jean has been teased for years but the idea of the original pre-Phoenix Jean was a surprise. Bendis talked with Marvel.com about how he sees this Jean Grey of the past.
“I think she’s the quintessential X-Man. I think that’s why everyone gravitates to her so much. Her powers are unique; her powers are something she has to work on, something she has to control. Every time her powers build, it sets a new set of problems for her, and at the same time, a new set of goals and challenges that make her a better hero, And we know, as fans, that she has met with tragedy a couple of times, because of the rocky road of the mutants and the X-Men. In this story that I’m telling, we’re going to meet a Jean that is fully aware of everything that has happened to her, more than any of the other X-Men, and now we get to see how that information will inform her choices as a human, and as a mutant, and as a person, and as a girl going forward.
It’s a very interesting challenge as a writer. I literally cannot stop writing her. It is absolutely fascinating. We know that Jean is a sweetheart, and we also know that Jean has an incredible edge to her. How will that edge manifest itself, knowing everything that she knows about the destiny of her life?”
This is perhaps the biggest reveal – this Jean is not just pre-Phoenix but this is Jean before her mutant power manifested.
“I don’t want to spoil too much, but when we meet Jean in this story, she is specifically brought here when she’s not telepathic, so it would make it more palpable for her to understand what’s happening. But the event of bringing her here unlocks her telepathy earlier than it had prior. She gets a shock to the system discovering that Scott Summers killed Professor Charles Xavier, and that she had died. She is witness to everything at once, so it’s not just elements of her life that is shocking her, it’s the accumulation of all of it.
It’s literally like reading a Wikipedia page as fast as you can. It’s not just the facts of her life, but it is experiencing all of the emotions at once. Love from someone like Wolverine that she cannot reciprocate, to discover the rise and fall and rise and fall of Scott Summers, all of this happens to her in a flash. That I think is going to be the most shocking thing. It’s literally just her seeing Scott Summers standing next to Magneto. Remember, when they were 16, Magneto was Hitler. That’s what we’re gunning for.”
I loved this next question and response because I remember the relationship between Jean and Ororo during the Chris Claremont era. How will young Jean react to the modern-day X-women like Storm who was adult Jean’s closest friend.
“And that’s not a best friendship that teenage Jean can reciprocate right now. But what you do get is her gravitating very strongly to Kitty Pryde because they are very much of the same cloth. And that’s what I’m saying: Jean Grey is now Jewish because I’m writing her [Laughs]. No, I’m joking. But it’s not just the other females. It’s a smorgasbord of species and mutations. Remember the original five X-Men, they’re all still pretty human looking, but walk into the Wolverine and the X-Men book, and half those kids are alien looking, if not full on alien. So it certainly is an eye opener.”
Bendis talks about how knowing Jean’s future history is part of the challenge of writing this young Jean in the Marvel Now.
“She is the one that everyone wants back the most, and what’s great about this situation. She is the most interesting of the group. They’re all interesting, but because she will have the knowledge. Even if she tells them, “here’s what happens to us,” they’re not going to feel it like she feels it. She is just so interesting to write, Most of us that have read a Jean Grey story know that her dark side is a real thing, and seeing her pushed to limits like this will be interesting for people to see. Will she hold it together? Does she want to hold it together?”
All-New X-Men arrives November 7th. For more of his interview here’s the Marvel.com link.