You don’t need to tell me that I am being a huge fanboy here.
Source: None Needed - I Used My Mind!
Avengers vs. X-Men has been over for a couple of months now, and usually after a big event that is enough time for me to get over my fanboy outrage over continuity missteps, mischaracterizations, people randomly jumping off a helicarrier for no reason, or any of the other 100s of things that drive us crazy. I am usually able to sacrifice these issues for a good story (or not in the case of Fear Itself) and move on with my comic reading life.
Not this time.
Every time I even think about AvX I become frustrated. Every time! Why? Three words: From The Ashes.
The underlining reasoning behind the actions of The Avengers in AvX is that Jean Grey as The Dark Phoenix did horrible and evil things, murdered billions of sentient beings, and tried to destroy the universe. In the end, she came to her senses and disintegrated herself and denied Wolverine an opportunity to do what he does best: stab a ginger. All well and good, except for one thing – that’s not what happened.
In From The Ashes, a universally panned story, it was revealed that:
Jean Grey was still on the bottom of Jamaica Bay in suspended animation following the original shuttle crash and that The Phoenix entity had used her body and mind as a lens, creating an immensely powerful duplicate of Jean, but one which grew more corrupted and distorted the longer it remained separate from the true Jean
In laymen’s terms – Jean was never The Phoenix rather a dark copy of Jean was created by The Phoenix and that is the entity that did all the bad things. In a moment of clarity, Jean v.2 thought she was Jean and disintegrated herself.
Everyone with any sense is alright with this horrible retcon seemingly being retconned out in Avengers Being Douche Bags (aka: AvX), but there is one thing that is not yet explained – how did Jean come back? Before AvX she was at the bottom of Jamaica Bay and was never dead, so there was no actual resurrection, but if From The Ashes never happened, if The Avengers are right and hosting The Phoenix Force does actually turn someone evil, then Jean Grey died on the moon and then…what, is just back by the time X-Factor is launched?
Where did Jean Grey come from? How did she come back to life? What the bloody Hell is going on?
Without From The Ashes, Jean Grey is a mass murderer along the lines of Hal Jordan before Rebirth. Post Dark Phoenix she is a “bad guy” who does nothing to repent or make up for her bloody hands. Jean Grey was never redeemed, she was never given an excuse for her actions, and – going by AvX logic – should be in jail or should have been executed for her behavior while under the influence of a cosmic entity she had no control over.
There is an unexplained black hole of nothing between Dark Phoenix and X-Factor #1 (1986) that really, REALLY, annoys me. Yes, I know that there is nothing logical about comic books, that events rarely, if ever, make any scientific or empirical sense, but, most of the time, there is a time line (no matter how erratic it is) that people can follow to show when and how someone came back, but there is none of that for Jean’s first death.
Imagine for a minute you have not been reading comics for over 20 years, or that you do not have over 20 years worth of comic book knowledge in your head and all you knew was that Jean Grey died on the moon while she was possessed by The Phoenix AND that she was alive at some point after that – or even imagine that you have to explain her resurrection after Dark Phoenix to a new(ish) reader without From The Ashes while making sure that AvX makes sense from the Avengers point of view. Now, answer this: when and how did Jean Grey come back to life the first time?
“But, RU, no one cares. From The Ashes is over 15 years old and doesn’t matter.” To that I say Dark Phoenix Saga is older, was the basis for AvX, and has no explanation Jean’s actual return to life. Without From The Ashes there is no place for any post X-Factor (1986) story involving her and no need to turn Madelyne Pryor evil to justify Scott Summers’ horribleness as a husband and father. I’m not saying things don’t make sense in that “its comics, nothing makes sense” kind of way, I’m saying that this makes no sense in the “what the hell actually happened” kind of way.
According to From The Ashes, The Avengers are trying to kill / kidnap a teenage girl for no reason other then what might happen even thought they have no reason to even think of this possibility as an option. With From The Ashes, Captain America is acting completely counter to the way he did in Civil War. Jean Grey was never The Dark Phoenix, no human has ever lost control while hosting The Phoenix entity, and there is no reason to try and prevent Hope from embracing her destiny (you remember the plan the Avengers eventually went with). Without From The Ashes, the Avengers’ biggest crime is having Wolverine be as their moral center.
WIFE: RU, what is this all about? I have a headache.
RU: basically, think end of Buffy season one without Xander giving her CPR and seasons 2-7 still happen.
WIFE: well that's just crazy talk.
Keep From The Ashes or don’t, I really don’t care, but there has to be some explanation of where Jean Grey was during The Dark Phoenix Saga or how she came back to life after. As it stands now her return cannot stand up to any kind of scrutiny, even by comic book standars.