AVENGERS #263 & FANTASTIC FOUR #286: Jean Grey Returns…For realsies

Jean Grey returns and X-Factor is launched.

The story starts underwater….


…where Captain Marvel finds a cocoon.  Captain America–who as Steve Rogers is a comic book artist–decides to draw what Monica Rambeau describes…

Or he’s just thinking about dicks.

We actually see at the very end of the issue that it is a pod that contains a redhead who is thinking, “Scott?”  So, technically, Roger Stern gets to break the big news.

Jean is back! And of course she’s in a big tube.

But the real payoff is written by John Byrne, who tells us that it really wasn’t Phoenix who died on the moon….


John Byrne helped kill her, so it makes sense he gets the chance to bring her back…

…but doing it in the pages of the Fantastic Four does seem strange.  However, when you realize that the main reason they revived her was so she could run off and play in the original X-Factor book with Cyclops, Iceman, and Beast, it makes sense: They didn’t need to sell X-Factor to X-Men readers, they needed to drive new readers to it.

The great Terry Austin returned as inker for this issue. These are also the stories where folks return after the Secret Wars…

You gotta love the Hercules/She-Hulk flirtations in the background.

In all, a very important issue and a pretty good one–albeit very wordy.

From here, Jean goes to X-Factor #1. I’ve given that book its own post, though.

Note: In the credits, Marvel gave props to Keith Busiek–then just a fan, not yet a comic book writer–who wrote a letter to Marvel with this idea on how to revive Jean Grey.

Finally, in Avengers #263, Scourge claims another victim. Masquerading as a henchman, he infiltrates Melter’s base and kills him.

10 thoughts on “AVENGERS #263 & FANTASTIC FOUR #286: Jean Grey Returns…For realsies”

  1. I actually was a comic book writer at the time, and never sent in the idea as a letter. I came up with the idea when I was a fan, back around the time Jean died. And then at one of the first cons I attended as a pro, I was having lunch with Roger Stern and we got to talking. I told him the idea — just as part of our conversation, not a pitch. He liked it, and later told it to John Byrne. John told it to Bob Layton when X-FACTOR was starting up, and Bob liked it. Which is why it got done as a story that Roger, John and Bob told together.

    Me, I was working as Assistant Editor on MARVEL AGE at the time, and had no idea they were doing it until after it was approved. It was an odd set of circumstances, to be sure.

  2. Actually, another correction for you, Mr. Ekko- above, you state that “……..( John Byrne ) tells us that it really wasn’t the Phoenix that died on the Moon…….” A) John Byrne did NOT tell us that, B) The Phoenix DID die up on the Moon, during the climax of ‘Uncanny X-Men’#137, ( 1980 ). It destroyed itself, because the combined powers of the X-Men and the Imperial Guard were not up to the task. However, as we all know, the Phoenix-entity has returned several times since this occasion, because it is a Phoenix, and that is what Phoenix’ do. But at no time did John Byrne inform anybody that it was not the Phoenix that died up on the Moon! It most certainly died, and at it’s own hand! So there!

  3. Additional thoughts: I didn’t like these issues. Not at all. It’s not that Roger Stern and Jumbo John Buscema can’t write and draw excellent comics- they can- as a matter of fact, they are at the top of their craft- but I believe that when a funnybook or TV character buys it, they should stay dead. ( I’m talking to YOU, Bobby Ewing!! ) The syndrome of characters returning from the dead is the one single biggest factor that has been driving me away from comics across the past thirty years. When a character like Superman or Wonder Woman or Hal Jordan or Mr. Fantastic buys it, obviously we know the character is going to return from the dead, if for no other reason than commerciality. But when a grade-“B” or “C” tier character like Marvel Girl/Phoenix buys it, then it should mean something, and be permanent. Marvel is not going to be putting out an ongoing monthly/bi-monthly “Marvel Girl” or “Phoenix” comic-book series, now or ever. Simply no danger of that, whatsoever. When the Phoenix bought it in 1980, it was a big deal, because Marvel Girl/Phoenix was a charter member of the X-Men, and up until that point in time, ( 1980 ) major comic-book superheroes simply never died. For five years, ( 1980-1985 ) ‘Uncanny X-Men’#137 was one of the most important Marvel Comics ever published. And then, along comes this story-arc, and, all of a sudden- it wasn’t. Marvel’s extremely unfortunate decision to X-hume Marvel Girl absolutely annihilated the impact and importance of this groundbreaking storyline. As far as I am concerned, ‘Uncanny X-Men’#137 is now just a random back-issue of ‘X-Men’, with no collectable or historic value whatsoever. If Marvel Girl could have been allowed to rest in peace, ‘Uncanny X-Men’#137 would today be a collector’s item worth a small mint! As it is- not so much, and the “Hey, Let’s Bring the Dead Guy/Girl Back From the Dead!!!! Syndrome” is the reason why. Marvel and DC are both always bellowing how they want their product to be taken seriously by the general public, and yet, they can’t let anybody stay in the grave! It’s stupid! What occupation could be more dangerous than being a superhero-??? That’s right- nothing!!! So why is there absolutely NO mortality rate in comics-????!!! As noted, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern- characters like these aren’t going anywhere. Mondo job security. But the “B” and “C” and “D” listers should have reason to be concerned- and they don’t!!! NOBODY dies in funnybooks!! Death is a JOKE in comics. It wasn’t even necessary to dig Marvel Girl up for the purpose of reuniting the original X-Men. Cyclops, the Angel, the Beast, Iceman, and Havok and Polaris would have provided more than an adequate quorum for a relaunched original X-Men team. Had this been the case as opposed to what we were actually given, the ghost of Marvel Girl would have provided this hypothetical series with an X-cellent plot device for many years, and I would have infinitely preferred to see that as opposed to what we had with Cyclops going full-on scoundrel-mode with abandoning his new wife and child to race back to his formerly-deceased sweetheart Marvel Babe! Just a bad,bad way to handle the whole ‘X-Factor’ scenario. And why in the hell WAS Havok and Polaris totally absent from the first iteration of ‘X-Factor’-??? That made no sense! Completely illogical!! With absolutely no explanation given!!! Was this an alternate Marvel-Earth without a Havok or Polaris-??? ANY explanation would have been preferable to NO explanation!!! So, no, regardless of how well these issues were written and drawn, ( which they certainly were ) I did not care for them. When somebody DIES, they STAY dead, and THAT’S IT!!!!!!!- Dammit!!!!!!!! Nuff said!!!!!!!!!


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