- " I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever -- I am PHOENIX!"
The Phoenix Force is one of the oldest known cosmic entities, representing life that has not yet been born. The Phoenix Force is an immortal, indestructible, and mutable manifestation of the prime universal force of life. Born of the void between states of being, the Phoenix Force is a child of the universe. It is the nexus of all psionic energy which does, has, and ever will exist in all realities of the omniverse, the Guardian of Creation, and a de-facto guardian of the M'Kraan Crystal. Phoenix is among the most feared beings in the entire universe - having the power to cut and regrow any part of the universe, as well as destroy it entirely, which is part of the Phoenix's purpose: "The Judgement of the Phoenix": to burn away what doesn't work. Recent interventions of the Phoenix suggest that "what doesn't work" is what has become stagnant instead of naturally evolving.
During its time as a sentient entity, it traveled the cosmos just like other cosmic beings though at first, the Phoenix Force was a formless mass of energy, but thousands of years ago, it came to Earth, and met a magician named Feron (who worshipped the legendary Phoenix), whose daydream-like visions prompted the Phoenix to adopt the firebird form it has today. He asked the Phoenix to help him by lending its energy to project a stone pillar (which resembled a lighthouse) across the multiverse. The pillar became the lighthouse base for the British superteam Excalibur (a team its future host Rachel Summers herself would join).
Phoenix Force left Earth, but was called back when it felt the mind of a human transcend the physical realm, a mind that resonated with the Phoenix's energy. A young Jean Grey had telepathically linked her mind to her dying friend, Annie Richardson, to keep Annie's soul from moving to the afterlife. In doing so, Jean's mind was being dragged along to the "other side" with Annie. Phoenix lent its energy to break the connection, and kept close watch on young Jean, as it felt a kinship with the young mutant. Jean Grey as Phoenix. Years later when Jean was dying on a space shuttle, her mind called out for help and the Phoenix Force answered and saved her. The cosmic Phoenix Force entity, which had created a duplicate body of Jean, believed itself to be Jean, and acted in her place while the real Jean lay in a coma in the ocean.
After saving the universe from destruction during an adventure in outer space, The Phoenix entity became too strong to control for the merely human aspects it had acquired from Jean, but the other X-Men had no way to know what was happening and little chance of preventing a tragedy. However, the portion of Jean's personality the Phoenix had taken on subconsciously created a series of psionic circuit breakers to reduce the level of power she could command at one time so as not to be overwhelmed by it.
Jean was thus an easy target for the illusionist Mastermind, who needed a trophy to join the Inner Circle of the prestigious Hellfire Club. With the help of a psionic device created by the club's White Queen, Emma Frost, Mastermind made Jean believe that she was his 18th-century lover Lady Grey. Jean joined the club as their Black Queen, which would allow her to relish the extremes of human emotion and sensuality. When the X-Men came to her rescue, Jean's true love, Cyclops, faced Mastermind in a psychic duel and was defeated. His defeat broke Mastermind's hold over Jean's psyche--as well as any control Jean had had over the Phoenix. It brushed aside the X-Men and departed for the heavens.
As the Phoenix is the light and life of the universe, the Dark Phoenix represents power and destruction. The Phoenix will become Dark Phoenix if it allows human emotions to cloud its judgment. In this state, Phoenix is the strongest, but also is an evil entity. It thirsts for power and destruction. Totally uncontrollable, it is a force to be reckoned with as it is not bound by a human conscience. When Dark Phoenix flew back into space, her true firebird form was seen across the entire universe and even attracted the attention of Eternity. First Appearance of the Phoenix ForceTo sate its hunger, the Dark Phoenix flew to a distant galaxy and devoured the star of the D'Bari system. The resulting nova killed billions of innocent people. A Shi'ar vessel attacked it and managed to alert the Shi'ar Empress Lilandra before they were destroyed. The empress called a council of her intergalactic counterparts, including the Kree and Skrull empires. They concluded that, for the rest of the universe to live, Dark Phoenix must die. Dark PhoenixMeanwhile, the Beast had found a way to neutralize Phoenix's power temporarily. When it returned to Earth, the X-Men held it at bay while Professor X rebuilt the circuit breakers in Jean's mind that Mastermind has broken down. At that moment the Shi'ar arrived and teleported everyone aboard their flagship. Lilandra announced that Phoenix, and thus Jean Grey-Summers, would have to die. Professor X, unwilling to give up on one of his pupils, but romantically involved with Lilandra, challenged her to Arin'n Haelar, a Shi'ar duel of honor that cannot be refused. Professor X named the X-Men as his champions in the duel, Lilandra her Imperial Guard.
The duel took place the next day in the Blue Area of the Moon. The Imperial Guard made short work of the X-Men, leaving Cyclops and Phoenix to make a final stand. A stray bolt hit Cyclops. Jean's control broke, and she became the Dark Phoenix again. Lilandra ordered Plan Omega, which would destroy the whole solar system in hopes of eliminating Dark Phoenix as well. Professor X ordered the X-Men to subdue Jean so that Plan Omega would not be necessary, and they managed to subdue the Phoenix for a brief time. In this moment of lucidity, Jean fled into a back alley with Cyclops in pursuit. She subdued him with her telekinesis and told him that she was losing control of herself and that there was only one way to prevent the Phoenix from taking dominance over her again. Unbeknownst to Cyclops, as Jean was talking to him, she was using her powers to activate an ancient Kree energy weapon behind her. Jean then bade him an emotional farewell and triggered the weapon, which atomized her on the spot.
It was at the moment of the Dark Phoenix's death that a spark of the Phoenix Force was accidentally bestowed on Jean's clone, Madelyne Pryor. After Dark Phoenix died on the moon, the Phoenix had sought to return the borrowed portion of Jean Grey's soul back to her body which was in suspended animation. Jean instinctively rejected the Phoenix and it wandered the globe, lost. Eventually it became attracted to Madelyne Pryor since she was an exact genetic clone of Jean. The Phoenix Force mistakenly gave a spark of itself to Madelyne, granting her a life force and some of Jean's memories. Part of the Phoenix Force remained with Madelyne until she also committed suicide. As Madelyne died, a reawkened Jean recovered the part of her soul the Phoenix Force had mistakenly given to Madelyne. Over the years whenever Jean Grey's powers flared, many of her teammates feared Dark Phoenix's return, although Dark Phoenix had never actually been Jean Grey. After once again merging with the Phoenix Force, Jean had all of Dark Phoenix's memories and she felt the weight of five billion lives upon her soul.
Rachel Summers as PhoenixAnother person who possessed a portion of the Phoenix Force was Rachel Summers, Jean's daughter from an alternate future. She was able to access the Phoenix Force and allow it to possess her to use limited amounts of its immense powers. Years in the future, when the Phoenix Force took Rachel Summers into the cosmos to heal her, it ran into Galactus, the world eater, who was consuming a planet. The two battled and the Phoenix Force was able to stop him. Unfortunately, the world it tried to save was destroyed by their combined powers. The Phoenix told Galactus to stop because he does not have the strength to continue. It said that it wanted to save the life of the planet Galactus was devouring and its actions were just. Galactus, however, accused it of being a hypocrite. He claimed that while he devoured life on planets, the Phoenix in turn took life energy from the future - killing countless beings that have yet to be born. Later, when Rachel was sent into the future, Jean assumed the code name of Phoenix once again. She even began to manifest the Phoenix raptor without the Force.
White Phoenix of the Crown
Jean and the Phoenix Force later merged into one being. The Phoenix Force told Xavier, that "Jean is only the house where I live." Jean Grey was the closest thing the Phoenix Force had to a true earthly Avatar or physical embodiment and further that the Phoenix Force empowered Jean with life in a kind of mutualistic relationship or psychic bond. Tricked by the Magneto impostor, Phoenix and Wolverine ended up trapped on Asteroid M drifting closer to the Sun. Dying, Wolverine killed Jean and awoke the Phoenix Force within her. Using her incredible powers, Phoenix returned with Logan to New York City to face "Magneto". Defeated, his last act was to give Phoenix a stroke on the planetary level. Dying in Scott's arms, she urged him to live on.
150 years in the future, a Phoenix egg hatched and Phoenix was reborn once more. It was revealed that instead of rejoining the X-Men after Phoenix's death, a mourning Cyclops quit the team leaving a desperate Beast to pick up the pieces. Using the drug Kick, actually an aerosol form of Sublime, Beast was corrupted and set a chain of events that left the world in ruin. Phoenix removed the Sublime entity from Beast and absorbed the future reality into the White Hot Room. In the White Hot Room, Jean appeared in her White and Gold Phoenix costume and was referred to by the Phoenix Consciousness as a White Phoenix of the Crown. Jean had felt like she was "supposed to fix something that was dying" but the Phoenix Consciousness said that she had "lost concentration in there". Met by other Phoenix avatars, Jean was urged to let her universe die but she decided to heal it. With some guidance from the Phoenix Consciousness, Jean took her universe in the palm of her hands and decided to create a new future by nudging Scott to continue Xavier's school and his relationship with Emma Frost.
Endsong and Warsong
Resurrected Jean Grey as PhoenixStepford Cuckoos as PhoenicesThe Phoenix Force was reconstituted before its time and arrived back on Earth. Discovery Jean Grey was dead (again), and proceeded to forcibly resurrect her. However, it went terribly wrong, as neither Jean nor the Phoenix were fully prepared for the rebirth, and as a result, the Phoenix Force went insane, once again becoming the Dark Phoenix.
This event was further complicated with the arrival of Quentin Quire, awakened by the Phoenix's arrival. Quire wanted to use the Phoenix Force to resurrect Sophie, one of the Stepford Cuckoos, who had died trying to stop him from from taking over the Xavier Institute. Further inflaming the situation were the crew of the Shi'ar warship who were converging around Earth to attack the Phoenix.
Eventually the X-Men pursued Jean and the Phoenix Force to the North Pole where Wolverine attempted to kill her several times to no avail. Wolverine asked her if she was Jean or the Phoenix and she replied "I am always Jean Grey and always the Phoenix". After Jean managed to regain control and sealed herself in ice, The Phoenix Force took Emma Frost as an avatar and Cyclops quickly trapped her and Cyclops both in a Phoenix Egg containment unit too feed her power.
But then Quentin Quire arrived on the scene, intending to breach the unit and take the Phoenix for himself. As Quentin breached the Egg, he claimed the Phoenix and used its power to return Sophie to life, only to have her reject him and revert back to a lifeless corpse. This proved to be the final straw for the Force, who intended to destroy the planet, but then Jean emerged from the ice and battled her. The Phoenix was shocked that Jean was capable of such a feat without her power, to which Jean replied "I am you. Don’t you remember? Now get out of that stupid body!"
Jean forcibly separated the Phoenix Force and Emma Frost from each other, and remerged it to herself. together, but the Phoenix's mental stability continued to deteriorate. Cyclops instructed the White Queen and the Stepford Cuckoos to telepathically link all the X-Men across the Earth together and connect them all to Jean and the Phoenix. The emotional support and love they felt from Jean's friends and family was more than enough to restore the Phoenix's sanity.
However, as this happened, the Shi'ar warship created an Event Horizon above the North Pole, which annihilated everyone there. As a gift of mercy, Phoenix had saved all all the X-Men present, but not before they had saved her. Now alive once again as the White Phoenix, Phoenix returned to the White Hot Room to begin the task of finding the missing billions of fragments of the Phoenix Force that still remained scattered through space.
Soon after, three of the Phoenix Force fragments found the Stepford Cuckoos. Manipulated by both the Phoenix and Sublime, the Cuckoos awoke their dead sisters and traveled to The World, a laboratory created by Weapon Plus with technology capable of manipulating time. During the sisters' visit to "The World," they discovered that they were all genetically engineered daughters of Emma Frost and that the Phoenix fragment had manifested in order to destroy the Cuckoos and all of their clones to prevent them from being activated as a weapon and kill all mutants. Sublime's machinery attacked the Cuckoos and successfully absorbed the cosmic fragment and distributed it among each of the cloned telepaths. Now referring to themselves as the Thousand-in-One and under Sublime's control; the cosmically-empowered psychics proceeded to enact their programmed destiny of mutant destruction. Celeste however, who was still in partial control of both herself and her sisters' super-mind, alerted the X-Men that they could short-circuit the girls' linkage by destroying Sublime's machinery. Phoebe, distraught at having lost access to the cosmic power, sent a bolt of her last remaining energy through the facility's floor, prompting an explosion that would destroy everything within a half-mile radius. Celeste, at Emma's behest, accepted her role as a Phoenix host, and stopped the explosion by temporarily freezing localized time. She then went on to destroy the thousand-strong Cuckoo clones, by shattering their newly-manifested Diamond forms. Celeste, Phoebe and Mindee reabsorbed and trapped force in their own diamond hearts which unlike their mother's diamond composition, didn't have a single flaw. Due to their diamond hearts' flawless state it could not be destroyed even by splintered Phoenix itself. The price the sisters paid for this was that they could never again feel emotion; thus leaving them even more cold-hearted and detached from their fellow man than they were before.
Prelude to Second Coming
The Young X-Man Ink briefly had access to the Phoenix Force (or a powerful facsimile of the Phoenix Force) granted by a tattoo of the Phoenix symbol over his left eye by the mutant tattoo artist Leon Nunez. Nunez clasped into a catatonic state by empowering the Phoenix tattoo. Ink used the Phoenix powers to resurrect his fallen teammate Dust leaving him in comatose state with the Phoenix tattoo disappearing.
On Utopia, while under assault from four Predator Xs, the Phoenix Force fragments inside the diamond hearts of the Stepford Cuckoos abruptly left. The Cuckoos have since missed the added power granted by the Phoenix and lamented their return to "normal" telepath status.
Around the same time deep in Shi'ar space, the Starjammers battled the Emperor Vulcan's forces. Then without warning, Korvus' Blade of the Phoenix lost its power and Rachel lost her connection to the Phoenix Echo. Upon the cosmic powers departure, Rachel exclaimed "Please, not now…Mom".
It appears that all across the universe, fragments of the Phoenix Force are being gathered; possibly in anticipation of the Phoenix's next avatar.
Powers and Abilities
- Future Life-Force Tap: The Phoenix Force can tap into the energy provided by life-force reserved for future generations, thus denying them existence. The Phoenix Force possesses absolute and limitless cosmic energy.
- Concussive Force Blasts: It can wield this energy to project beams of immeasurable concussive force.
- Quantum Singularity: It can transmigrate throughout time and space by folding its energy back into itself, causing it to collapse akin to a black hole. It then reforms itself upon reaching its destination.
- Energy Absorption: It can directly absorb energy such as Cyclops' optic blasts or the entire energy of a sun, planet, galaxy or even universe/multiverse.
- Force of Life: The Phoenix Force can control life and death itself.
- Psionic Nexus: As it is the nexus of all psionic energy, it has limitless mental abilities, including telepathy and telekinesis, and often seeks out hosts who have psionic abilities. When bonded with a host, the Phoenix Force amplifies their abilities to incalculable and divine levels.
- Matter Transmutation: It can manipulate matter on a sub-atomic level (e.g., turning wood to gold, stone to crystal, etc).
- Teleportation: It can teleport others across vast distances.
- Resurrection Force: It possesses power to resurect anything including herself, as being embodiment of life and death itself.
- Existence Mastery: It possesses total control over the entire existence. It can bring anything into existence, freely manipulate all existing things, and return them to nothingness when their purpose is extinguished.
Its powers appear to be at their strongest when bonded to Jean Grey (possessing the powers of telekinetic/telepathic godhood, complete control over the realms of matter, energy, and thought), as the two have a strange, profound connection to each other (Jean is the closest thing the Force has to physical form).
- Like Jean Grey-Summers, the Phoenix used telepathy and telekinesis, but at a much higher level. She was able to rearrange the molecular structure of matter and fly at supersonic speeds. Using the Phoenix Force, she could travel through hyperspace and destroy Shi'ar battlecruisers with little effort.
Because Phoenix was linked to Jean's psyche, she maintained a psychic link with Cyclops.
As Jean Grey-Summers, the Phoenix possessed the normal human strength of a woman of her age, height, and build who engaged in moderate regular exercise. Using her cosmic powers and telekinesis, Phoenix could lift an unknown amount, probably in the range of thousands of tons.
Flight under her own power, intergalactic flight through hyperspace, X-Men Stratojet, Shi'ar stargates
- The Dark Phoenix Saga raised the standards for graphic storytelling. Claremont's use of foreshadowing, motivation, and pathos took comics to a new level and made the X-Men franchise one of the most popular titles ever.
- There are several Dark Phoenix statues. The latest is depicting Dark Phoenix as she appeares in X-Men Last Stand.
- As originally written, the Jean Grey incarnation of the Phoenix was not a separate cosmic entity, but Jean herself, having attained her ultimate potential as a psychic, only to become slowly corrupted by the manipulation of such foes as Mastermind and Emma Frost; unable to adapt to her enormous power, Jean was driven mad. In order to return Jean to the fold several years later, this storyline was retconned to reveal the existence of the cosmic Phoenix Force entity, which had created a duplicate body of Jean, believed itself to be Jean, and acted in her place while the real Jean lay in a coma in the ocean. This let Jean be revived as a member of X-Factor. The extent to which the duplicate and Jean are separate entities depends on who is writing the character(s) at the time.