Powers: Cosmic Force of Nature
What!?: Reality manipulating, time travel, psychic, resurrection, etc. Basically all powerful.
Origin: The Phoenix Force is the child of the universe, an immortal primal force that represents creation itself. At first it was formless, but after encountering the dreams of the wizard Feron, it chose to take the fire bird form of the legendary Phoenix. The Phoenix was forced to leave Earth after the evil sorcerer Necrom stole a portion of its power. Thousands of years later, it returned to Earth when it sensed a human mind transcending the physical realm. The mind in question was a young Jean Grey, who was using her psychic powers to keep her friend from dying. The Phoenix stopped Jean before she died herself, keeping a close watch on the young mutant’s future progress.
Years later, Jean Grey was dying in an attempt to guide a shuttle back to Earth and called out for help. The Phoenix Force appeared, saving Jean and taking on her physical and mental form. For a time, the Phoenix would walk the Earth as Jean, while the original healed herself in the middle of the ocean. As part of the X-Men, the Phoenix prevented the destruction of the M’Kraan Crystal, which would have destroyed the entire universe. She was then seduced by Mastermind of the Hellfire Club, as her unfamiliarity with human emotions made her easily susceptible. She became the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen until the X-Men and Cyclops where able to free her. Unfortunately, breaking free of Mastermind’s control also erased Jean Grey’s mental imprint, corrupting the Phoenix.
Now confused by her encounter with human emotions, the Phoenix proclaimed herself the “Dark Phoenix,” a force of power and destruction. All-Powerful and uncontrollable, the Dark Phoenix consumed an entire star to quench it’s thirst, resulting in the death of billions. The X-Men where able to restore the psychic barriers that had kept the Phoenix under control, but she had already drawn the attention of the Shi’ar Empire. Judging the Phoenix to be a threat to the Universe, and sentenced her to death. On the moon, the X-Men battled the Shi’ar for the life of the Phoenix. Knowing that she would lose control once again, the Phoenix chose to destroy her Jean Grey form.
When the Phoenix lost it’s physical form, it tried to return Jean Grey’s essence back to her, but was rejected. Lost, it accidentally delivered the essence to Jean Grey’s clone, Madelyn Pryor and bringing her to life. The Phoenix also chose a new host, Rachel Grey, whose bravery in the face of her dystopian future impressed her. Rachel was able to tap into a limited portion of the Phoenix’s power, until she was lost in time. By that time, however, Jean Grey awoke from her coma and regained the portion of her soul lost to Madelyn Pryor. Jean would again manifest the Phoenix’s power, as the Phoenix saw her as her one true host. Even after being killed by Xorn, Jean Grey and the Phoenix merged together, transcending into a plane of higher existence called the White Hot Room 150 years later. Together, they healed the universe, and created a better future by psychically nudging Cyclops to remain with the X-Men and stay with Emma Frost.
The Phoenix and Jean Grey briefly resurrected before their time by the Shi’ar, leading the Phoenix to almost go on a rampage again. It briefly took over Emma Frost, and it took the combined efforts of the X-Men and Jean Grey to being the Phoenix back under control. There were, however, millions of scattered Phoenix fragments all over the universe, three to which where imprisoned by the Stepford Cuckoos at the cost of their emotions. After the birth of Hope Summers, the Phoenix began to reform itself, leaving other hosts like Rachel Grey and the Cuckoos. It was returning to earth to undo the damage of M-Day, which had depowered nearly every mutant. It’s return to Earth led to a battle between the X-Men and Avengers over whether Hope Summers should be allowed to host something so dangerous.
The Phoenix found its way to Hope despite the Avenger’s attempt to stop it, but unfortunately, the absence of the Five Mutant Lights meant that Hope had to face the full brunt of the Phoenix by herself. The Avengers managed to hurt he Phoenix, splitting into five. The fragments went to the five closest mutants: Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, and Namor. At first, the Phoenix Five used their powers to heal the Earth, restoring deserts and cleaning the ocean. However, their immense power and the Avenger’s constant attacked strained their minds. This became more apparent after the defeat of Namor by the Scarlet Witch. One by one, the Phoenix Five were corrupted and fell, until only Cyclops was left. Becoming the Dark Phoenix, Cyclops killed Professor X, but was defeated by the Hope Summer and the Scarlet Witch. The Phoenix then went to Hope, who controlled it long enough for the Scarlet Witch to destroy it, dispersing its energy all over the world and restoring mutant kind.
It’s Deal: The Phoenix Force is one of the most powerful entities within the Marvel Universe. It is a force of nature, the embodiment of evolution. It destroys any species that had reached it’s evolutionary limit, a process called the “Judgement of the Phoenix.” As part of the universe, it can never truly be destroyed. It is one of the most important figures in the X-Men, its often the Macguffin responsible for many major events and storylines. It created the lighthouse that served as Excalibur’s home base. It allowed Rachel Grey to travel through time in Day of Future Past. It is also the center of one of the most famous and influential comic stories The Dark Phoenix Saga. It reversed the effects of M-Day. It is usually depicted with powerful psychics like Emma Frost, Nathan Grey, and Quintine Quire. It can be disrupted by the Scarlet Witch. It is the notable enemy of the Shi’ar Empire and Emma Frost. Its longest host in comics had been Rachel Grey. It’s most famous host is Jean Grey.
Personality: Being a cosmic entity, the Phoenix Force has little qualms about killing entire planets if it means unholding the structure of the universe. It is no more evil than a tornado or earthquake.It is in fact more interested in continuing life than causing death. For example, in the Avengers vs. X-Men event, the Phoenix was always going to restore mutant kind, but it was misinterpreted by the Avengers as a lethal threat. It is sentient and seems to have been influenced by its encounters with human emotions. It was attracted to Jean Grey because it saw her as a kindred spirit. In fact, Jean Grey is the only person, possibly in existence, that seems to have any real control over her. It seems to prefer psychics. It is also capable of curiosity. It joined with Rachel Grey because of her connection to Jean Grey and life in an alternate timeline. It also may or may not have feeling for Cyclops. The Phoenix, however, is also capable of being corrupted as it is not familiar with mortal emotions. When it loses control, it becomes the “Dark Phoenix,” who only cares about its own power.
Fun Fact: The ideal of the Phoenix Force was actually created to bring Jean Grey back to life. The original story had Jean Grey become a god-like mutant that was corrupted by her own power, much like the third X-Man movie.
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #101 (1976)