Character profile – Jean Grey

Comic books have some of the greatest female characters and so I have decided to start a new series where I will occasionally talk about some of the most awesome characters and highlight them. To start off, I thought it would be awesome to talk about one of the greatest female characters in Marvel who also happens to be a vital figure in my favourite superhero series, the X-Men and that is of course the great Jean Grey. Jean Grey has been a cornerstone of Marvel comics and of the X-Men for more than 60 years and is one, if not the most iconic character in that franchise. She has died and come back to life more times than I can count and has proven to be, in part thanks to the Phoenix, the most powerful mutant in the Marvel Universe (well depends on the writer).


Jean Grey has evolved throughout the years. As one of the original X-Men her role in those early comics was to basically play the “damsel in distress”, always being captured by the enemies of the group. However slowly as the character developed she became more than just a damsel in distress and Cyclops love interest. She became this kickass heroine, not just capable of standing her ground but actually becoming the most powerful member of the team. Her character growth really kicked off with the addition of the new X-Men (Storm, Wolverine, Colossus etc…) and it hit its highest point with the Dark Phoenix Saga.

The Dark Phoenix Saga is to this date, still considered the landmark of all X-Men stories. Written by Chris Claremont, it explored how Jean Grey, under the influence of the Phoenix slowly became crazy and after destroying a planet ended up sacrificing herself. Despite this story being retconned later on several times, the influence it had on the character of Jean Grey was immense.  This was her first (of many) deaths and it established her ongoing relationship with the cosmic entity the Phoenix. Her return with X-Factor showed her as an even more powerful  and assertive character, growing to lead the X-Men in several occasions and eventually to even become the Headmistress of the school (also married Scott, raised Cable (the son of Scott and a clone of Jean Grey) in the future, battled Apocalypse and had many more adventures).


Jean Grey would eventually die again, this time at the hands of Magneto in 2006 and for the better part of the last 10+ years she has remained so, beyond alternate universe appearances. However her influence has been felt throughout the years, and every time the Phoenix makes an appearance or Hope Summer showed up (who looks weirdly similar to her and that has yet to be explained), we inevitably think of Jean Grey. Recently we have had the young Jean Grey and that has been a (sometimes) fun ride, but in the past few months we have seen the return, after 12 long years, of the original Jean Grey thanks to the Phoenix whilst simultaneously finally getting rid of it (at least until they bring it back). This time she is leading her own team of X-Men and for the almost the first time since the inception of her character is going at it without Cyclops, Wolverine or Xavier.


Jean Grey is and always will be one of the most iconic comic book characters and one of the most important characters in the X-Men universe. In a universe filled with many strong female characters, Jean Grey has always been a standout. Her character has transcended the comic book medium becoming a pop culture icon. Thanks to her appearances in the films she has even gained even more fame and it will not end anytime soon. Jean Grey will probably die and return many more times in the comics but she will forever be the heart and soul of the X-Men stories and will remain “fire incarnate”.



Emma Frost – An Iconic Character

As I recently wrote on a blog post, I was very disappointed in how Marvel has handled Emma Frost in recent times and I especially hated the ending of Inhumans vs X-men where I felt like they destroyed the great work and excellent characterization achieved over the past 20 years for this excellent character. Emma Frost has been over almost the past 20 years a staple of X-Men comics, a leader and one of the most iconic members of the Marvel Universe. As I reminisce over how awesome she has been I have decided that it might be therapeutic to write a post explaining why she is such an iconic character.


Like many comic characters and several X-Men members, Emma Frost was originally a villain. She was the White Queen in the Hellfire Club and played a big role in making Jean Grey become the Dark Phoenix. For years she was a thorn in the side of the X-Men although as a villain she was full of shades of grey, even taking time to open a school to teach new mutant students. Emma moved to Genosha where was one of the few survivors from the genocide that happened which resulted in the death of 16 million mutants including the students in her classroom. After this traumatic event Emma Frost would join the X-Men, becoming one of the leaders of the team, entering a relationship with Cyclops and with the death of Jean Grey she became the strongest telepath on the team. Since 2001, Emma has, until recently, been one of the figureheads of the group, leading them and guiding them through some of the most difficult times the mutant species has lived through, including House of M and the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn.


Her character throughout those years became one of the most, if not the most, entertaining ones in the X-Men cast, not a small feat in a series full of amazing characters. She proved that redemption was possible and that no matter your past deeds there was always hope someone could improve. She was a strong woman who became a partner, both romantically and professionally, to the leader of the X-Men; Scott Summers. Her relationship with Cyclops made him become more confident and improved drastically his character. She was a strong feminist characters whose wit, intelligence and prowess made all of us fall in love with her and be invested in her story. To this day her role during Utopia in which the X-Men were able to defeat Norman Osborn at the height of his powers is a personal favourite as it highlighted the intelligence, power and vulnerability behind this well written character. Another favourite moment was during Civil War, when she was able to stand toe to toe with Tony Stark, calling him out for not helping mutants during the Genosha genocide.


It is those reason and her run since 2001 that made Emma Frost such an iconic character. She followed the tradition in X-Men stories of having strong female characters. She made the stories she was involved better and was a fun, relatable character. Her latest run and her return to being a villain is disappointing to say the least but I remain hopeful that someday the character of Emma Frost will return to what made it one of the best and most iconic characters in all of comics.

X-Men Second Coming

After the disappointment that have been X-Men stories over the past couple of years, I have decided to look back at in my opinion the last great X-Men comic book event, “Second Coming”. “Second Coming”, published in 2010 was a really fun, intense, emotional story full of great action and heart that was basically a love letter to all the things that made the X-Men great. This story was the culmination of a long running story 5 years in the making that started in 2005 and was the last of a trilogy that previously had included Messiah Complex” and “Messiah War” and it proofs that long story telling when done well in comics is emotionally satisfying and unbeatable in regards to story quality.

In “Second Coming” we are told the story of how the only mutant birth since House of M, returns alongside Cable from the future as a grown teenager and the X-Men struggle to get her to safety as all the enemies of the X-Men led by Bastion attempt to kill her thus ensuring the end of the mutant race. Throughout the story we have high stakes, impressive action and incredibly emotional moments, especially for X-Men fans. As we follow the story we are witness to how Hope Summers slowly develops before finally embracing her destiny at the end of the event.


This story had everything that makes the X-Men great and memorable. It had all the ingredients that has made us X-Men fans love this comics for such and long time and has made them for a long time one of the most popular, if not the most popular series of all Marvel. We had high stakes with the X-Men fighting to stave off extinction, Cyclops being a fearless leader in the face of doom, Emma being snarky and wonderful, Wolverine being all kinds of awesome, the teams fighting as one, time travel and a powerful ending. Namor is a great addition to the team in this event, Magneto is well used displaying good characterization and throwbacks to his past, Rogue uses her power at full potential and it is incredible, Legion displays his powers, New Mutants fighting against those who killed their schoolmates etc…All told this event had everything we loved and love about the X-Men and was very memorable.

The deaths of Nightcrawler and Cable do not feel cheap but are memorable and very impactful with both of them dying in order to save the future of mutantkind. Furthermore those two scenes as well as all the event are beautifully drawn and provide great visuals. I truly loved this event and the ending was incredible. Hope Summers’s powers are finally revealed and we are able to witness the awesomeness of her character in a great climax that ends with hope for the X-Men as new mutants are born around the globe.


This emotional death deserved a beautiful drawing and we got it

This event was great and memorable, and I believe that now that the quality of X-Men stories is not as good is well worth a visit, just to remind ourselves that not so long ago we were getting great stories with high stakes and that were true to the spirit of the X-Men. Whilst we wait for the X-Men stories to become good again I recommend you all go back and reread this great, fun story.

Emma Frost – How to kill a character


So cards on the table today I was not expecting to write on the blog. I have been very busy with work lately and today I was exhausted and thought about going to bed earlier. Before going to bed I decided to read the last issue of Inhumans vs X-Men wondering how Marvel was going to end this crossover (the latest in a series of many, many crossovers) and after reading it I have felt compelled to write about it. I am, generally, a very positive reader of comics. I accept almost all changes as long as they make sense and I tend to go along with almost all stories as long as they respect the characters and remain true to them.

Recently in my post about Logan I mentioned how thankful I was to that movie for reminding me how much I love the X-Men. However reading the ending of this story has really made me angry and upset and feeling bleak about the X-Men. Now before I go into details let me warn you that there will be plenty of spoilers on this post so read at your own peril. That said…WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK MARVEL? The ending has completely destroyed one of the greatest X-Men characters of all time and all of the character development that they did with Emma Frost since she joined the X-Men in the 2000s has been thrown down the drain. At the end of this crossover we see an Emma Frost who once she actually accomplishes her goal of ending the terrigen mists decides to kill all the Inhumans using sentinels…and in that way the authors of this series completely destroyed all of the character development that they have done with this character. Emma Frost, the survivor of Genosha, a place where she saw her students be killed by sentinels, decided to use those machines to kill the Inhumans…it makes no sense whatsoever.


I am really sad about this decision. Marvel has lately not been able to capture the magic of the X-Men, struggling to give us good stories as they attempt to give a bigger focus on the Inhumans. However this has reached a new level. They have resorted to making Emma Frost, one of the strongest, iconic and inspiring mutant leaders into a woman who is not able to get over the death of her lover and becomes crazy about it. A feminist strong character reduced to the trope of just another crazy woman.

The great X-Men runs that we had in the 2000s by Wheedon and company in which we got awesome characters and great development both of Cyclops and of Emma Frost are slowly being deleted by Marvel. We first had to suffer through Marvel completely destroying Cyclops as a character and we now seem to be heading towards a similar fate for Emma. I loved both of this characters and their relationship as I felt that it made them stronger individually and helped them grow as a character and I won’t lie that I am saddened by how Marvel has developed things.

If things keep going this way I might have to stop reading X-Men, my favourite series, for some time and hope for the return of good stories that do not spit on the face of the characters and their development throughout the years. Whilst that day comes I will be at my home rereading some of the greatest X-Men stories and enjoying Cyclops and Emma Frost, all the time thinking to myself that Cyclops and Emma Frost were right.


Make Cyclops Great Again

Ever since I can remember reading comics I have always loved, loved the X-Men. I love their stories, the underdog theme, the stakes of their race being in danger, their arcs, their villains, the challenges they face and the reflection of it in our society, their message and most of all I have always loved the characters. From the strong ahead of their time female characters that I loved like Jean Grey and Storm to the leader of the X-Men, Scott Summers. See while I know most people like the anti-hero, the Wolverine, in regards to comics I have always liked the straight up heroes, the good nice guys, just like Cyclops (Spider-Man, Luke Skywalker…)

Those characters have always appealed to me and Cyclops is perhaps my favourite because he is an XMan. Lately however, in my opinion, they have gone from having him at his best some years ago to destroying his character in favor of Wolverine. To start we need to go back to the early 2000s and Joss Weedons magical and incredible run throughout the Astonishing X-Men (point to corner). See although Cyclops had great moments before this for me this is when his character became kick-ass. Through his pairing with prob my fave Xwomen (whom I miss) Emma Frost he became an awesome assertive leader. They presented him to us as the guy who always has a plan and it was AWESOME (show some comic panels). His character was really cool, alongside Emma they were a strong powerful and assertive couple capable of leading mutants. This only continued throughout the next years with House of M and him facing mutant extinction. I mean he was such a cool character, and for me his greatest moment came when he beat with his plan Norman Osborn during X-Men Utopia which was beautifully followed by Second Coming perhaps my favourite modern X-Men story.

But then came AvX and that is what killed Cyclops as a character. They decided to turn him villain and destroy him just so that they could push the Avengers and Wolverine. Wolverine as a man who did not want kids to be trained to fight….right….wolverine….the man who murders….who trained Jubilee and others….yes that makes sense. The worst thing though was that Cyclops actions were correct! He was fighting to save a whole species with just 300 members who was being targeted for destruction! And the Phoenix did come for what he said, restore mutants! SO DESPITE EVERYTHING HE WAS RIGHT OVERALL

Cyclops being portrayed like that is the result of Marvel not being capable of produce good X-Men Stories. Nowadays because they lost the rights to the movies, all they do is give Inhumans amazing storie, have them be important, but lets be honest, they are not the X-Men. Yes, they are cool but they are not the XMen characters that for years and years have entertained us and given us some of the best stories, and this fall of the Xmen is seen in Cyclops.

Nowadays after what seemed to be them stepping in the right direction in the last issue of Uncanny X-Men before Secret Wars, with Cyclops giving a message of hope to the world, a classic X-Men message they decided to throw it all away and have him die a meaningless death. This is wrong. Cyclops should not be used like that, he is one of the most amazing characters in Comics mythos, and the leader of the X-Men, the man who throughout all the crisis lead them, the man who was involved with two of the most powerful telepaths ever, the man who defeated Norman Osborn and the man who saved mutantkind from extinction. Cyclops represents the classic awesome hero, the one that is always ready to sacrifice himself for the weak, not this villain who is not even in the comics anymore. Let’s make the X-Men great again, let’s give them classic X-Men stories where they can thrive, let’s remember what made them the most popular Marvel comic, let’s make Cylops remember great again, and remember Cyclops was right.