Founding X-Man Jean Grey is getting her own ongoing series as part of 2017’s “ResurrXion” line, and according to series writer Dennis Hopeless “this has been a long time coming.” Hopeless and artist Victor Ibanez are setting the time-displaced young telepath on path to understand her connection to the Phoenix Force to fight the future that’s prescribed for her before it returns.
“It’s a sort of trials of Hercules story. Jean gets a premonition of sorts. She’s told the Phoenix is back in play and that the Earth is doomed unless Jean Grey can step up,” Hopeless tells Newsarama. “Unfortunately, the Jean Grey we have is a wildly unprepared teenager. Our Jean needs to level up in a hurry. She needs to step into those huge shoes and become the full grown badass we all know she will eventually. So… she straps in and heads out to get some life experience.”
Hopeless comes to Jean Grey having written the current All-New X-Men series, but knows the red-haired mutant well from doing the graphic novel X-Men: Season One. To prepare for this new series, the writer is reacquainting himself with her both classic stories and more recent developments.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed her. Jean was the protagonist of my first paid work in X-Men: Season One and she’s the character I fell in love with on that project,” the writer admitted. “When people tell me they love that book, I know it’s because of Jean (and Jamie McKelvie). So for Jean Grey, I re-read a bunch of my favorite Jean Grey stories and all of the more recent stuff to make sure I still had her voice… But once I started scripting, she came back pretty quick. I like Jean’s brain. It’s fun to be back in there.”
“The first thing I reread was Brian Michael Bendis’s All-New X-Men run… I’m obviously pretty familiar with it, but Teen Jean was born there and I want to make sure I have her,” Hopeless continued. “I love the Scott/Jean/Emma triangle from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New X-Men. I pulled that back out. Then a ton of Classic Claremont issues. I don’t clean my office very often so I was actually able to pull out my X-Men: Season One Jean notes (from five years ago) which helped a lot. I’ll keep reading stuff as we go to make sure we’re not leaving any cool on table.”
Although Grey will be front-and-center in her solo title, her teammates from the upcoming X-Men: Blue will appear, as well as some more obscure choices inside and outside the X-sphere.
“Well, Jean is on X-Men: Blue, so her displaced teammates will be supporting cast members for sure,” Hopeless confirmed. “We also chose a premise that allows us to take advantage of the whole Marvel Universe. Jean will be bouncing all over the place, learning from and battling our favorite heroes and villains. Fans can expect lots of guest stars and crazy locales. And anyone who doesn’t think Boom Boom and Domino will make appearances hasn’t been paying attention.”
And given Grey is preparing for the return of the Phoenix Force to Earth, other previous and storyline-future hosts of that cosmic entity could also factor into this ongoing title.
“I have a post-it note on my laptop with this growing Phoenix list: Quentin Quire? Hope Summers? Rachel? Phoenix Five?” Hopeless said. “I’m not 100% sure who we’ll use or how exactly, but that’s definitely part of the plan.”
There’s a responsibility to do something unique in Jean Grey’s first-ever ongoing series according to Hopeless, and it’s something he said he’s taking “very seriously.” But he’s being careful not to let the pressure sap out the life of the story.
“Two words: Sales juggernaut,” Hopeless said. “No, I just want us to tell a fun, human story that taps into Jean’s brain and reminds the world how amazing she is. The beauty of solo books is that you really get to dig into a single character. There’s so much more space for character work. Team books are about juggling and plate spinning. Solos are about focus. If we do our job, fans will know and love Jean. That’s what I want.”