Jean Grey (2nd series) #1

Issue Date: 
August 2023
Story Title: 
Mind Maze

Louise Simonson (writer), Bernard Chang (artist), Marcelo Maiolo (colorist), VC’s Ariana Maher (letterer and production), Jay Bowen (design, Amy Reeder (cover artist), Juan Caball & Mathew Wilson, Derrick Chew, George Perez & Nolan Woodard (alternate covers), Lindsay Coohick (assistant editor), Sarah Brunstead (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Jean Grey created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

After being killed by Moira X at the Hellfire Gala, Jean Grey tries to figure out what happened. She is certain that something bad happened and she is to blame. She sifts through her memories, trying to figure out where she went wrong. She decides it was when she erased the memories of the original X-Men after their adventures in the future and watches what would happen if they had kept their memories. A more assertive Jean persuades the group to keep their memories and keep that information from Xavier. Soon, Magneto attacks the city. The X-Men go to confront him and, when Magneto is unrepentant, Jean erases his memories and breaks his back. The X-Men then try to be open to the press. Xavier essentially throws Jean out and the other X-Men leave, with her making their new HQ an apartment in Manhattan. While Xavier is debating with Bolivar Trask on TV, the X-Men try to save a new mutant but come too late as his power detonates a whole building. As damage control, Jean telepathically convinces everyone this was caused by a gas leak. However, soon forensics paint a different picture and Trask blames mutants. He introduces his Sentinels and has programmed them to capture the X-Men and other mutants. The X-Men flee and decide to save any young mutant or proto-mutant they know about, starting with Kitty Pryde, Dani Moonstar and Sam Guthrie, whose power has already manifested. They take the kids to Xavier and find that Xavier has been restoring Magneto’s mind. Iceman and Angel decide to stay. Beast contacts journalist Trish Tilby to discuss her anti-mutant articles. After he gives her some intel, Jean erases her memories. When Hank protests, she lashes out at him and damages his mind. Disgusted, Cyclops calls her a monster and leaves with Beast and Trish. Jean is hurt by his accusations, then decides to embrace being more ruthless to protect her people and calls the Phoenix Force to herself. As Phoenix, she begins actively killing and brainwashing anti-mutant-activists. When she is about to attack Trask in Washington the X-Men, Magneto and Xavier confront her. While the X-Men battle Phoenix, Xavier shows her the error of her ways… how her actions have made mutants more hated and feared than ever before. Horrified, she erases everything around her. In the present, Jean realizes keeping the memories would have been the wrong way. She searches for another point where she might have gone wrong and hones in on a fateful flight from a space station back to Jamaica Bay…

Full Summary: 

Jean Grey doesn’t know where she is. She just knows she is dying. Bu that’s nothing new for her. She’s been there so many times before…

But there is an urgent feeling that there are others – though she doesn’t know who they are – and time is running out!

She tries to move on to what she does know. Jean feels that this is all her fault somehow, so what did she do wrong? She tries to think… to remember. Maybe if she understands, she can fix everything. Her memories are scattered puzzle pieces. But could she have chosen differently?

She starts at the beginning. She was born in death. At least as a mutant. When she was a child, her best friend was hit by a car. The trauma awakened Jean’s telepathic power. She held a rapport with Annie and nearly died with her. Should she have held back? She decides against it. She couldn’t have left Annie alone.

When Professor Xavier offered to block her overwhelming telepathy, should Jean have said “no?” She decides she was a danger to others, and the choice was right.

A few years later, when Xavier offered her a place at his school and the X-Men, should she have refused? No, that was the best!

And when older Beast arrived from the future and asked the young X-Men to join him there to save the world, how could she have refused? They left for the future, where their presence made things worse. Until young Cable convinced them to return to their own time, to forget the future and everything they did there. Jean agreed and used the telepathic power she’d regained in the future to make them all forget their future knowledge and added skills. She wonders if that was where things went wrong…

She watches as her teenage self suggests to the others, they don’t wipe the memories. What if they need that knowledge? Beast agrees, the future will be abysmal, unless they act. As they walk through the mansion, they discuss this further. Jean stresses that they have control of their powers now and they have seen several futures they now know to avoid. Like the Phoenix, Angel suggests.

That moment, Professor X telepathically orders them to come to the Danger Room. Angel worries he will read their minds and they wonder why he hasn’t already. Jean explains that she is blocking him. Scott points out she can’t control everything! So she will control what she can! she insists stubbornly, and they head for the Danger Room after changing into their old outfits.

They find the exercises ridiculously easy. Xavier stops the exercise almost immediately, and Jean tells the others that Magneto is attacking in Manhattan. She already knows that? Xavier asks suspiciously. Jean explains the block he put on her telepathy is gone and she can control her powers now. She stresses she wants what he wants: to protect mutantkind and safeguard the future. Xavier begins that she doesn’t know… Jean cuts him off that she knows more than he thinks. She assures him that with her at full power, they are better positioned to fight against evil.

Soon, the X-Men face Magneto hovering over a bridge. Jean snaps that, if he thinks this will convince them to join him, he has lost his mind!

He wonders why he would be interested in that. This is retaliation for human attacks on mutants! He begins to destroy the bridge, announcing they have much yet to learn. The X-Men attack. Jean finds his helmet blocks her telepathy. Cyclops reminds her of her telekinesis, as the cables controlled by Magneto trap them. He’s fine with killing them? Jean asks. If that’s what it takes, Magneto replies. If that’s the way they play it, Jean decides and telekinetically removes his helmet. She announces, they have seen where his hate takes them. With her telepathy, she reaches into his mind and shuts it off. He drops to the ground.

Iceman, Angel and Beast act to stabilize the bridge. Cyclops angrily berates Jean for what she has done. She retorts that he has seen where Magneto’s hate will lead. It is better this way for everyone. And the witnesses? Cyclops demands. Jean suggests she could change their memories, which the boys immediately veto. She decides they’ll spin the situation then. They are the good guys, so let’s bring that in the open. Maybe secrecy is where they went wrong.

So they talk to the press. Soon, Iceman gives an interview to reporter Trish Tilby, while Angel is surrounded by fans who demand his autograph.

Weeks later, their headquarters is a new Manhattan apartment, bought by Angel after Xavier hit the roof about what Jean did to Magneto.

Cyclops watches Xavier on TV debating Bolivar Trask about his anti-mutant messaging. He’d rather fight the Juggernaut, Scott sighs. Jean agrees. One tiny mind tweak… and instant good guy! She can’t keep doing that! Cyclops protests.

Hank enters announcing he is finished, then notes they are quarrelling again. About Jean’s little “mind-tweaks,” Cyclops explains bitterly. Hank shows them the Cerebro helmet and explains he’s made improvements. Jean interrupts, this is working. They stop evil mutants from being evil. Mutants aren’t feared and humans don’t hate them. She gestures to the TV: even Trask is coming around!

On TV, Bolivar Trask seems to understand Xavier’s position but warns that more mutants appear weekly, and some powers are dangerous.

When the whole team is gathered, Hank explains Trask has a point, but his enhanced Cerebro will make finding emerging mutants easier, which should mitigate the dangers. The unit is more sensitive and can notice the first quivers of an emerging power.

Jean puts the Cerebro helmet on and finds something: a kid panicking - some kind of psi power. Too far for her to reach him telepathically. They may not get to him in time!

They don’t. They just reach the boy’s home to watch it detonate. Jean senses injured people and the young mutant is dying. The other X-Men begin evacuating people while Jean stays in telepathic contact with the young boy until he is gone. She falls down exhausted.

When Cyclops worries, she assures him she is strong enough now to accompany him to death. He tells her there has to be a better way.

Afterwards, they answer questions from the press, but Jean claims that a gas leak was the reason for the detonation and the chief of the firefighters agrees after some mental nudging.

As they return, Angel and Beast are displeased at the lies. Jean reminds them that Trask hates them already. All he needs is an excuse to move against mutants, and they have seen his killer robots in the future.

Hank warns there will be an investigation. Forensics won’t back up that story. Iceman adds if he is asked, he won’t lie about this. Jean threatens she can make him think it isn’t a lie. Angel and Iceman coldly suggest, maybe she doesn’t need them at all.

Soon, Bolivar Trask reveals on TV that he has proof that mutants were behind the detonation and reveals his Sentinels who will attack the X-Men first.

Indeed, the killer robots are already hovering outside the penthouse. The X-Men decide that fighting the Sentinels in midtown is too dangerous. They grab their Cerebro unit and leave before the Sentinels destroy the apartment.

They realize Trask’s Sentinels will hunt any mutant as soon as they manifest powers. Jean suggests they already know who some of those mutants will be. And Cerebro will help them find others. They decide to first save Kitty Pryde.

Jean brainwashes Carmen and Teri Pryde into believing they are sending their daughter to boarding school. Aboard their chopper, they decide to next get Sam Guthrie and Dani Moonstar.

Their next stop is Caldecott County, Kentucky, where a coalmining shaft has collapsed with young Sam buried. The X-Men watch how his power kicks in and he blasts out, saving a fellow miner alongside himself.

Jean states Trask will have registered him and the Sentinels will come. Jean takes over Sam’s mind and brings him to their place. What about his family? Iceman asks. Sam was supporting them after his father’s death. Not any longer, Jean replies. Now they don’t even remember his existence. Inside the plane, he still rages at her that she acts like mutants are more important than normal people. Maybe they are, she replies, tired, Trask seems to think so.

Hank announces they need a place to hide those kids while they collect more. So they head to Xavier’s. They find Xavier in the library playing chess with Magneto, who is also in a wheelchair. He brough him back, Jean states coldly. Some of the way, Xavier replies. She did quite a number on him. But how? Why? Jean stammers. Xavier coolly reminds her he has quite a lot more experience than her. Why? He believes in free will and trusts in time Magneto will become a force for good. He is surprised this development displeases her, he needles. These days Magneto’s and Jean’s philosophies seem to align.

Mutants are under attack. She is doing the best she can, Jean bristles. He could have shown her a better way, Magneto interjects. She isn’t a terrorist! Jean retorts. She won’t use her power to kill! Magneto tells her to give it time. Xavier sharply tells him that’s enough.

Jean explains Sam’s powers have kicked in. The others’ will soon. She asks him to keep them safe and tells the team to come with her.

Xavier addresses Scott. Are they with her? Scott admits her methods may be questionable, but she needs them. However, Iceman and Angel decide to stay with Xavier Jean’s methods aren’t right. Hank and Scott follow Jean, and Hank proposes they will bring Xavier the other mutants they rescue.

Magneto asks Xavier if he thinks he is like her. Passionate but misguided? Is that why he saved him? Passion has its uses, Xavier retorts. He thinks Erik will make an excellent teacher. The school is going to get crowded and the children will need their protection.

Journalist Trish Tilby walks the streets at night, when suddenly she is grabbed from above. King Kong-like Beast climbs up a building with her until he gets to the roof. She’s got it wrong, he informs her. He pleads with her to listen and asks her to consider her sources, before she scripts fear-mongering articles. Those “stolen” children she wrote about are mutants, kids who haven’t yet manifested powers. The X-Men saved them from…

Trish cuts him off. Saved by kidnapping? she scoffs. By erasing their families’ memories? But others did remember and asked questions! There are records! Supplied by Trask, Beast ventures. Covering his own tracks. Trish asks what he means and Beast reveals that Trask took a number of those missing kids. They tried to save as many as they could but… Why? Trish interjects. He is trying to create a mutant army, Beast explains, whereas they are… Are keeping everyone safe and try to stop a genocidal war, a new voice announces, as Jean puts Trish in a trance.

What did he think was going to happen when she wrote about Trask’s mutant army? Jean asks Hank.

Angrily, he shouts that he was getting through to her! She reminds him she is a telepath and she disagrees. Bobby’s right! he snaps. She has become a monster!

Angrily, Jean lashes out at him with her telepathy. She realizes what she has done a moment later. That wonderful mind destroyed, Cyclops states, and for what? Why does she think she gets to control everything? That her vote is the only one that counts? If he walks away, will she fry his mind too? He grabs Trish and Hank and walks away. He tells her to do what she wants. He is not on board anymore.

Weakly, Jean protests she is not a monster, then silently admits to herself that she is. She tried so hard, but she did it wrong. She has to stop the anti-mutant leaders and make the rest afraid. But how? She is just one person. Alone, unless…

She had felt the Phoenix from the beginning but ignored it, but now, when she calls, it comes, and so she decides that in order to save mutantkind she will have to be a bigger monster.

And soon, anti-mutant leaders, preachers or politicians are telepathically stopped or killed by Phoenix.

Trask with his plans for a mutant army is the next target.

In Westchester, Professor X has managed to restore Hank, even though he is still too weak to join the team. The X-Men inform Professor X and Magneto about the nature of the Phoenix. Angel points out that the president has fallen to the growing anti-mutant hysteria. He may be next!

They track Jean to Washington, and so an X-Men team of Cyclops, Angel, Iceman and Magneto - all wearing anti-telepathy / telekinesis helmets – get ready to confront Phoenix, to distract her while Professor X does the telepathic part.

Phoenix attacks them and tells Magneto he at least should know when he is beaten. Xavier contacts her and pleads these attacks are disastrous. For them at least, she shoots back.

Angel tackles her from behind and begs her to talk about this. She retorts it is too late. Maybe it always was. Shutting down their leader has to be the answer. How else can she keep all of them safe? She fends off Cyclops’s optic blast.

Xaver tells her she is creating martyrs, and new leaders will arise… worse because she has given them a greater focus. That can’t be true! she rages.

Iceman blasts her next, while Xavier points out that Jean herself said they hate what they fear, and right now humanity is very afraid.

Jean orders them to quit fighting and Xavier to quit shouting at her. They know what she can do, she threatens.

Xavier continues, so do the humans. It’s on their media across the globe. Jean has given them terrible things to fear. And greater hate than she had thought possible.

No! Jean shouts. Overwhelmed, she screams at them to stop talking… to stop fighting! She lashes out wanting everyone and everything to go away.

She is surrounded by nothingness. This isn’t what she wants. Nothing else left but the Phoenix. She realizes what she has done in her pride and willfulness. She discards that option.

Present Jean realizes they were right to let the skein of time unravel without entanglement until…

She looks at a space shuttle hurtling toward Jamaica Bay.


She knows exactly where it all went wrong!

Characters Involved: 

Jean Grey

In the new timeline:
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvell Girl / Phoenix (all original X-Men)
Professor X

Sam Guthrie, Dani Moonstar, Kitty Pryde
Trish Tilby

Bolivar Trask

Story Notes: 

Jean was murdered by Moira X at the Hellfire Gala in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023. Jean being Jean, death is only where the story starts.

Annie’s death caused the awakening oft ten-year-old Jean in Bizarre Adventures #17.

The same story revealed that Xavier blocked Jean’s telepathy until she was able to handle it.

The X-Men were taken to the future by present Beast in All-New X-Men (1st series) #1-2 and returned in Extermination#5, where they made the choice to forget the future.

Continuity mistake: The X-Men were taken from and return to a story in the pages of X-Men (1st series) #8. At the time, Xavier was on a leave of absence.

Jean believes Magneto wants to recruit them because this is what happened to them in the future in X-Men: Blue.

The characters’ ages are all over the place. If we assume that Trish Tilby wasn’t much older than Hank in X-Factor, she would be a full-fledged journalist here, while Hank is still a teenager.

Same goes for the ages of the New Mutants. Kitty is shown to be appropriately younger, but Sam’s mining accident and the awakening of his power occurred when he was 16. [Marvel Graphic Novel #5] It is hard to imagine that he was working in a coalmine several years earlier, which is when the original X-Men’s adventures occurred.

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