Hello, and welcome back to another installment of Ye Olde School Café! We’ve been eyeing some X-Men recently, and we’re almost ready for the grand finale! We now know that Stephen Lang is the tormentor, and that he’s captured a few of the X-Men, and is holding them captive on a space station in Earth’s orbit. Wolverine, Banshee, and Jean tried to escape, but they were recaptured by Sentinels. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the rest of the team is heading out to the space shuttle with Dr. Corbeau. Will they be able to get to their teammates in time, or will Lang get his revenge? Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum will lead us into the magnificence of the all new, all different X-Men!
As the space shuttle is launching, Colossus becomes ill, but just before that he cries out for his brother, Mikhail. He’s upset because his brother was a cosmonaut, and died on a mission (or so we’re led to believe, for now). We get a quick interlude by Black Tom Cassidy, but that’s for another time. As the shuttle nears the station, the Sentinels attack it, and damage it badly. Storm rushes out to engage the Sentinels, and blasts them out into space. The others dock the shuttle and head inside. Almost immediately they’re attacked by more Sentinels, but dispose of them rather quickly. Jean then sends a psychic message to Cyclops. She reveals the location where Banshee and Wolverine are being held, and also where she is as well. Cyclops orders the others to free Banshee and Wolverine, saying that he’ll handle Lang on his own.
Cyclops does find Lang, and begins to pummel him. He nearly knocks him unconscious, but then Jean begs him to stop. The rest of the team arrives, but before they can take a breath, they spin around to see the original five X-Men, and they’re ready for battle!
Lang calls out to them, and they attack without warning. Eventually, Havok and Polaris show up as well, but the X-Men defeat them, plus the now exposed robot versions of the original team. Lang’s robots have been beaten , but then he jumps into some kind of hovercraft and attacks the team. A few panels later, Cyclops blasts the vehicle, and Lang is defeated. He sets off a fail-safe and it begins to destroy the entire base. Realizing that the only chance they have is to use the shuttle, they climb aboard, and head out. There is one problem, though – a solar flare, the likes of which has never been seen, is blasting off, and no one can survive the radiation from it while piloting the shuttle back to Earth. Jean knows that she can do it, so she rips the information from Corbeau’s mind on how to pilot the shuttle, and then, as Cyclops is ordering her to stop, she blasts him, too!
As the shuttle rockets toward Earth, the rest of the team huddles into the back of the ship where there is radiation proof shielding. Wolverine has a quick argument with Jean, but he realizes she’s their only hope. Jean seems to be doing OK, but then the solar flare begins to force its way into the cockpit. Her telekinesis can’t hold out any longer, and she cries out for Scott. In her eyes can be seen a fiery bird, and then everything goes black. The shuttle crashes violently into Jamaica Bay. Scott and the others quickly rise to the surface of the water, but one of them is missing. Jean is nowhere to be found, and the team begins to panic. Suddenly, the water starts to boil, and Jean explodes out of the water! She exclaims…”Hear me X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! I am life incarnate! Now and forever–I Am Phoenix”! The display of power quickly fades, though, and she falls to the water. Scott grabs her, and they make it to shore.
Next, we see Wolverine buying flowers for Jean, but when he arrives at the hospital the whole gang is there with her. He feels embarrassed and a little bit unsure of himself, so he tosses the flowers in the trash. Scott excuses himself, and once alone in another room begins to sob. Jean will be fine, so the doctors say, and Professor Xavier has a mission for them to get on anyway, but after a quick break for the holidays. Banshee is returning home to tend to some family business, and the rest of the team joins him. We see that Black Tom has something more than a vacation planned for them, though, and he means to destroy his brother, and anyone else that gets in his way!
Well, that’s it for the “how” Jean became the Phoenix! We all know that Jean would seem fine from this experience, initially, but after a short time, she’ll begin to lose her grip on reality, courtesy of the Phoenix Force, and also Jason Wyngarde! See you next time for a new adventure!