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April 11, 2010

Marvel Snapshot: Character Spotlight: Rachel Summers/Grey

Wow, it’s hard to believe that this will be the sixth installment of Marvel Snapshot with the new format. I honestly thought it would go well, but I still had a small piece of doubt lingering in the back of my brain about this switch. This week, I’d like to focus on Rachel Summers/Grey. I know that somewhere in L.A., Andy Liegl is saying, “I’m tellin’ ya, Rachel is in for a big surprise soon!” We’ll get to that later, but for now let’s dive into the crazy history of this time traveling, hot momma, that is known as the new Marvel Girl!

She's a Brick….House!!!

A little background about Rachel, and then on to the more recent drama that involves her. First off, she is from Earth 818 (Marvel has alternate time-lines/futures that are all designated with a number; current continuity is referred to as 616) and in that time-line or possible future, she is the daughter of Scott and Jean Summers. In her world, things are much like the future that Bishop describes; A very bleak and hopeless place where the government detains and kills mutants. This was brought on by the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly. In this future, Rachel was eventually taken by the government and brainwashed by the sadistic Ahab, and was then used as a tracker to find other mutants.

Rachel's first appearance.

Next, in the alternate reality story of “Days of Future Past,” Rachel sends the consciousness of the future Kitty Pryde back into the past to warn the X-Men of this terrible future she lives in. Long story short, Kitty and the X-Men stop the assassination, but it still doesn’t change Rachel’s future time-line. Soon after, Rachel made her way to this time-line (616) and became friends with the X-Men. She made some trips back and forth, especially in the X-Men and Excalibur teams. During this time, she fought against Selene, Mojo, and a host of others. She was running around the Savage Land at one point looking like a dinosaur (yeah, it was forgettable), and she also went on  a mission to Hong Kong with Emma Frost, where the two settled their differences about Cyclops.

The next big point in Rachel’s life came when she was visiting her family (The Greys). Out of nowhere, the family was attacked by some Shi’Ar elite death squad that came to eradicate the Grey bloodline, so that if the Phoenix ever came back, it would have no host. Rachel tried to stop them, but couldn’t. She watched in horror as the entire family was executed. One of the commandos was able to graft a “death mark” on her so that wherever she went, they could always locate her. This left her very demoralized and with only Cable as her sole living relative. Although Rachel’s inherent powers of Telepathy and Telekinesis are quite strong, they have never been stronger than the times when the Phoenix Force was within her. Earlier on in her life, it came and went a couple of times, but it always served a purpose and seemed to be there when needed most.

The last part of Rachel’s life, to me, is the best part by a long shot. If you haven’t read “Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire,” then you’re really missing out. This storyline focused mainly on Rachel’s insane Uncle Vulcan. We saw in the X-Men storyline “Deadly Genesis” that Vulcan was once a member of the X-Men but was left for dead. This inspires him to take revenge on everyone in the X-family, especially Rachel and Cyclops. He kidnaps and tortures the two of them, but they eventually escape. The X-Men then go on a mission into space to stop Vulcan from taking over the empire and laying waste to the universe. It’s on this mission that Rachel fights a man of the Shi’Ar named Korvus. Korvus has a blade that is imbued with a portion of the Phoenix force, but during a battle Rachel touched the sword and the Phoenix Force then transferred into her. She now has all the power at her disposal to take revenge on the Shi’Ar that wiped out her family. At this point, she finds the one responsible for her family’s deaths and she kills him. Rachel starts to show very little or no remorse for her actions, and she starts a romantic relationship with Korvus too.

Shortly after this, Rachel, Havok, and Polaris join the Starjammers to help fight Vulcan and put Lilandra back on the throne. Rachel shows just how powerful she is; she shrugs off a blast by Vulcan, and then she fights the immensely powerful Gladiator to a standstill. Soon after all of this though, for some as yet unknown reason, the Phoenix Force leaves Rachel. During War of Kings, Rachel and the other Starjammers fight alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy to try and stop Vulcan once and for all. This seems short lived however, because Lilandra gets assassinated by Darkhawk. After all the dust settles from War of Kings, Rachel, Korvus, Havok, and Polaris head for Earth and a well deserved vacation.

This is the last time we’ve seen them. There hasn’t been even a reference to them that I can recall. This is one of the reasons for Andy’s speculation on Rachel being a big part of the current X-Men storyline involving Hope Summers. It is a theory by some that this girl, Hope, who is the one and only mutant born since M-Day, is this Earth’s (616) Rachel Summers. There are a lot of questions about this theory. Who are Hope’s parents? Why was she born a mutant when no one else has been? Is she Jean reincarnated again? This story is certainly quite an enigma, but hopefully everything will pan out in a great new direction for Rachel. She is one of my favorite female characters, and  she does make for some great stories, as does anyone with a history like hers.

Suggested Reading
Days of Future Past
Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn
Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix
The Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire
X-Men: Kingbreaker
War of Kings

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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7 Comments


  1. Jeff Jackson

    I really need to go back and read the Rise & Fall storyline. I loved that ragtag team of X-Men going into space.



  2. In the Days of Future Past storyline I remember we find out that Rachel and Franklin Richards have been together and I think it’s touched on again in the Days of Future Present storyline as well. With her being 17 now it would make sense though she’s a little older than Franklin now…Andy may be on to something lol

    Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar was a great arc as well it’s just too bad recently we haven’t seen Rachel, Korvus, or the rest of the Starjammers aside from Raza and Cho’od

    Brick House indeed! lol


  3. Kristin

    I loved the Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar arc, but I got annoyed that I had to switch to a different comic to keep up with the characters and story. I think I read the main War of Kings book (just the central title story, and none of the spin-offs or tie-ins), and then stopped. Was wondering what happened after; I don’t actually remember some of that stuff.


  4. Aron White

    YEAHMAN! Where in the blue blazes are the rest of the Starjammers!?


  5. Billy

    @Jeff- I picked up the hardcover for $20, and it is one of my favorite buys…ever!
    @Speech- I’m hoping this current X-Story will reveal what’s been going on with those characters. The Commodores would have been all over that!
    @Kris- I’m really enamored with the cosmic stuff so I bought all the tie-ins for that arc. The Darkhawk series was pretty good.
    @Aron- Maybe Barack let them borrow Camp David? lol



  6. Aron, you took the words right out of my mouth!

    I think Rachel is a great character and I too am really interested in finding out why the Pheonix Force left her and Korvus’ sword…

    …maybe it’s because Hope is the 616 version of Rachel Summers!?

    AHHH!!!



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