Dark Phoenix

"All things are possible, child. And you may yet dance with the devil without...and the far more terrible one within..." --the Phoenix Force

For those of you who don't know Dark Phoenix, I'll do my best to fill you in. It's a character from the X-Men. Remember Jean Grey? Well, once upon a time, she was piloting a shuttlecraft back from an orbital space station after the X-Men had beaten up the Sentinels (trust me, this is going somewhere). Unfortunately, the shuttle was due to fly through a solar flare and everyone would be turned into X-briquets. Jean, however, decided to pilot the shuttle, using her Telekinesis to screen out the harmful radiation. It was a long shot, but it was the only shot they had. The rest of the X-Men were sealed safely in the radiation-proof chamber as she carried out what she thought would be her last mission...

The shuttle crashed into the Atlantic ocean, and as the rest of the X-Men struggled to the surface, a woman rose out of the water. "Hear me, X-Men. No longer am I the woman you knew. I am fire and life incarnate. I am--PHOENIX!" And Jean then collapsed into the ocean.

Well, the power of the Phoenix turned out to be pretty cool and almost limitless. And, as people are so fond of saying, absolute power corrupts absolutely. (Well, that and a mutant known as Mastermind who was messing with her head thanks to Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club...) Jean then became Dark Phoenix: the Black Angel, the Chaos Bringer. She had the power to destroy the entire Universe. However, in the end, good triumphed and she destroyed herself to prevent such an occurrence. [Note: this is the original version of the story. Since then, it has been 'retconned' and now we "know" that Phoenix wasn't really Jean, but a clone the Phoenix made from her. The "real" Jean was in a healing cocoon in the bottom of the Atlantic ocean (yeah, right!) Needless to say, I think that's a bunch of crap.]

And, in true Marvel style, the writers have either forgotten about this little clone thing or they're retconning the retcon. In a recent issue, Onslaught said to Jean, "Remember what it was like to have the power of the Phoenix?" or something equally insipid. And I was screaming at the book. "Helllooooo? She WASN'T PHOENIX, remember?" But I guess they didn't. (Don't you just love when they make up stuff as they go along and totally ignore what has come before?)

Here is a detailed conversation between the Phoenix Force and Jean (while she was piloting the shuttle), which appeared as the solo character story in Classic X-Men #13. This is an excellent example of Chris Claremont's brilliant writing, and why the book was so phenomenally popular.

The Power of the Phoenix

Dark Phoenix (and of course, Phoenix) had extreme telepathic, telekinetic, and pyrokinetic powers. In addition, she also exhibited the following abilites at various times: altering the molecular structure of items, not needing to breathe, and in general whatever else she wanted.

Other People Who Have Claimed the Name Phoenix

Rachel Summers, the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey from an alternate timeline. (Though I guess it could be this timeline now that those two have finally gotten married.) For a while, she was part of the X-Men, then she returned and helped form EXcalibur. She even adopted the old Dark Phoenix costume. Since she was Jean Grey's daughter, she was able to wield the Phoenix Force and she did so--in a limited way.

Jean Grey. After going years and years without a codename, she finally decides to pick one; she chooses Phoenix (mostly at the request of Rachel). However, she might as well have called herself Firefly or Hummingbird for all the good it does her. She doesn't have the Phoenix Force backing her up, so she's not really the Phoenix, is she?

In 1995, Marvel and Malibu did a crossover called the "Phoenix Resurrection," in which (supposedly) the new Dark Phoenix was supposed to be created. As far as I can tell (I read the darn thing), it never happened. All that happened was a bunch of heroes from both Universes managed to royally piss off the Phoenix Force and it nearly nuked them all.

But what does this have to do with me?

Well, I was given this nickname when I was still in High School by some friends. I didn't choose it. We were all sitting around talking late one night and we just decided to come up with nicknames that we thought fit people. It was done by consensus, and most of the names were taken from the X-Men. But they had a hard time coming up with a nickname for me that was suitable. Finally they settled on Dark Phoenix. Phoenix because, like the legend (and the character), I had come through some hard times, and Dark because I was a little on the gloomy side for a while. And it just kinda stuck (despite the fact that the original Dark Phoenix was female and I am not). And when I went online in college, this was the nickname I used on the net and various BBS's, so it's part of my identity now. The nickname stuck, and I still have friends who call me 'DP' rather than by my given name sometimes.

Comic books

I've always loved comic books. I can remember reading Spider-Man since I was four years old. And I really do get tired of people (especially anime fans) ragging on them because "they're not *japanese*. And these are the same people who can't READ Japanese to begin with so their opinion must be valid, right?)

Some of the X-Titles are perennial favorites of mine, despite being dogged with soap opera-like plots and plagued with bad artists, "art by committee", and stories from time to time (not to mention that my favorite characters always seem to get backgrounded...)

Just so that you don't think I take this X-stuff too seriously, here's a look at the lighter side of X: The X-Men Drinking Game! brought to you by the maintainer of the Uncanny X-Page, undoubtedly the most comprehensive X-resource on the net!

If you're looking for a good read (and want to stay away from mainstream stuff), I'd suggest William Tucci's Shi. It's about a Japanese Ninja Assasin who happens to be a very beautiful woman. Great story and great art.

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