Absolute Power ~ Tales of a Dark Phoenix



As the only member of the X-Men able to pilot a damaged space shuttle while simultaneously being bombarded by lethal amounts of radiation, Jean Grey volunteered to do just that, in spite of the almost inevitable deadly reuslts. She was willing to sacrifice herself to save her teammates. As her life slowly ebbed, she called out in fear and desperation, and was answered by the Phoenix Force, a primal force partially responsible for the creation of the universe. Phoenix saved Jean, wrapping her radiation ravaged body in a cocoon and placing it on the bottom of Jamaica Bay in New York City so she could heal. Meanwhile, Phoenix took on Jean's form, and borrowed a part of Jean's consciousness, so she could stand-in for Jean until she was well.

The X-Men were unaware of these events, thinking that Jean had survived the mission by some miracle. Even the new Phoenix-as-Jean was not consciously aware of what had transpired, believing that it actually was Jean Grey. But this Jean soon realized that her powers were increasing on a daily basis, a fact she found both frightening and exhilarating. Professor X created a series of "circuit breakers" in her mind to prevent her from being exposed to, and using, these power in their entirety.

But this fail-safe brought little comfort to Jean or her teammates, whose fear Jean could sense as clearly as if they were running away from her screaming. Even her longtime love, Scott Summers, was uncomfortable with the changes in her. She could travel further distances at faster speeds, psychokinetically change the molecules of her outfit to create a new one, even hold back his optic blasts so she could see his eyes. He worried her new powers would prove too much to bear, even for her.

He had no idea.

 




While Jean tried to stay one step ahead of her escalating powers, her mind was being invaded by a sly master of illusions. Jason Wyngarde, otherwise known as Mastermind, a member of the Hellfire club's nefarious Inner Circle, had been charged with the task of convincing Phoenix to join them. The Inner Circle was aware of her growing powers, and felt she would be a powerful ally. To accomplish this, he slowly but surly bombarded her with images of what she thought were repressed memories of a past life as an English aristocrat married to one of his forefathers (with the help of renowned telepath, and White Queen, Emma Frost). Eventually, his illusions had her convinced that she was living 200 years in past as the Black Queen of the Hellfire club. She turned against the X-Men, helping the Inner Circle capture several of them.




Jason made a fatal mistake when he slayed Scott in front of Jean as part of his illusion. Rather than permanently binding her to him, it was a slap in the face. His betrayal, coupled with exposure to something the Phoenix Force had never experienced before - feelings - had disastrous results. Jean escaped his grasp, and helped free her friends, but she was no longer in control of her powers. Jason's illusions had awakened secret fantasies, primal urges...she dipped into the innermost recesses of her mind and found her dark side. And she liked it.

Dark Phoenix was born.

 


Dark Phoenix's limitless power fully unleashed, she became a goddess, insane and unfeeling of the plights of others. She nearly destroyed the X-Men before rocketing out of our solar system and into another, where she consumed a star, causing it to supernova and kill billions.

When she returned to Earth, hungry for the enraptures of destruction, Professor X challenged her to a battle of the minds, and seemingly won, once again placing a series of fail safes in her mind to prevent the full extent of Phoenix's powers from breaking free.




But the aliens who witnessed the death of a star system demanded justice for all the innocents Phoenix had killed. They were not convinced of Dark Phoenix's exorcism, so a battle was arranged between the X-Men and the aliens for Phoenix's life...a battle that was almost lost until Dark Phoenix reemerged. Desperately clutching to her humanity, the part of Phoenix that was Jean took over, said good-bye to Scott, and placed herself in the way of a weapon that disintegrated her, rather than running the risk of Dark Phoenix's all-consuming lust for power taking control and causing more havoc in the universe.

 

Thus, Dark Phoenix was no more. The primal force returned to the cosmos from whence it came. As for the real Jean Grey, who was still recuperating in a cocoon in the bottom of a river, she would not return to the land of the living for several years, though the part of her consciousness that Phoenix had borrowed was returned. And when Jean was awakened from her sleep by the Avengers, there were new problems to face...but that is a different story.