The X-Men #59 (Aug. 1969): "Do or Die, Baby!" (Thomas/Adams)
The Uncanny X-Men #135 (July 1980): "Dark Phoenix" (Byrne/Claremont)
The Uncanny X-Men #136 (Aug. 1980): "Child of Light and Darkness" (Byrne/Claremont)
The Uncanny X-Men #137 (Sept. 1980): "The Fate of the Phoenix" (Byrne/Claremont)
New X-Men #114 (July 2001): "E is for Extinction" (Morrison/Quitely)
This weeks reading was right up my alley since the X-Men are probably my favorite superhero team but there was just one little thing that was a problem, which is that I think Jean Grey is one of the most annoying characters in the history of comics. I think she is just absolutely one of the worst. Her earliest iteration is okay, but once she gains the Phoenix powers she becomes such an over-powered Mary Sue character (and yes, I know this predates the term but that does not invalidate how well it applies!) and then once she goes Dark she becomes pretty much unbearable. She DESTROYS A PLANET and kills BILLIONS OF PEOPLE and somehow all the other X-men are just okay with that and bend over backwards to protect her. Not only are they okay (eventually, after about two panels each of introspection) with her accidentally causing genocide, they actually feel sorry for her. In the panel below from Uncanny X-Men #137, Cyclops argues that “she has suffered enough!” and should be left alone now. Jean feels really really sad about destroying an entire solar system, so she does not deserve any kind of punishment? To succemb momentarily to Godwin’s Law, this would be like saying the Holocaust was okay as long as Hitler’s friend stepped up and said he was actually really nice and felt really, really bad about what he did. I just absolutely cannot buy into a character being forgiven for murdering an inhabited planet, and especially cannot accept that I am supposed to be sympathetic towards her because she feels kind of bad about it afterwards. A lot of my annoyance (okay, rage and loathing) comes from the fact that the X-Men spend literally decades boo-hooing over poor Jean, so it feels like we can never move past this awful character. I just finished reading X-men: Battle of the Atom where the young Uncanny X-Men are brought into the present and the future X-Men return to tell them they have to go. The entire story arch mostly deals with the part where Jean does not want to go home and half the X-Men think she should not have to, even though her presence might DESTROY THE UNIVERSE. Because again, Jean’s feelings are more important than literally everyone’s life.
Finally, I wanted to comment on this panel.