Phoenix Resurrection, a five-issue series written by Matthew Rosenberg with art from Leinil Yu, will revive Jean Grey, the eponymous Phoenix, 13 years after her death in New X-Men No. 150. If that seems a surprisingly brief amount of time to be dead — as opposed to, you know, forever — it should be noted that her second death lasted longer than her first, which ran from 1980’s Uncanny X-Men No. 137 through 1985’s Fantastic Four No. 286. (In her defense, the name “Phoenix” does tend to imply a resurrection gimmick.)
In a statement accompanying Marvel’s announcement of the new series, X-Men senior editor Mark Paniccia said that Rosenberg had approached Marvel with “a really interesting and unique approach to bringing Jean back. … It’s not what we expected, and plays to Matt’s biggest strengths as a storytelling. This is [a] very cool mystery building to a mind-warping climax.”
The revival of the character might have been something fans have expected for some time. In addition to Marvel having already teased the return of beloved characters as part of the back-to-basics approach of the Marvel Legacy relaunch — Jean’s X-Men mentor Professor Xavier is also rumored to be returning to the land of the fictional living soon — there’s also the fact that the next X-Men movie, due out next year, will be titled X-Men: Dark Phoenix … making it all the more synergistic to ensure that the Phoenix character is once again available to fans and creators alike in the contemporary Marvel comic book universe.
Strangely, Jean’s resurrection might complicate things for another Marvel comic book — Jean Grey, which is centered around a teenage version of the character brought forward in time to “today,” has been running a story about the impending return of the cosmic “Phoenix Force” that powered the adult Jean before her death. What, exactly, the return of the original Jean means for this time-tossed version is a question purposefully left open, and raised by Paniccia in his Marvel statement.
“Something this big will leave quite a footprint on the Marvel Universe,” he said. “Jean will have a startling new role after this, and you’re left wondering, how will the rest of the X-Men respond? What will happen to young Jean Grey?”
Phoenix Resurrection launches Dec. 27.