Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,710
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,470
Subj: Re: What was Jean's role anyway?
Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 at 12:53:55 pm EDT (Viewed 299 times)
Reply Subj: Re: What was Jean's role anyway?
Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 at 01:47:59 pm EDT (Viewed 296 times)


      I am frankly a bit mystified what important role Jean is supposed to have filled in the past that could not be filled by other people. As far as I can see here roles were

    You're missing the point. The pro-Jean side is not arguing that other characters have not been written to replace her. It's that they are poor replacements and you might as well use the original instead of trying to replace her.

Insert "adequately" before "by other people", it makes no real difference. It is not me missing the point, it's merely quibbling about the wording.


      1. Being the only female in an otherwise all-male team
      Very much a Golden and Silver Age thing, went out of fashion during the 1960s, hopelessly anachronistic when the O5 format was revived in X-Factor #1. With teen Jean it also only "worked" in a fashion because the teen O5 were literally torn from the past.

    No, this would not be her current role.

Never said it would be, but it was something that defined Jean a significant time, both from X-Men vol. 1 #1 to the recruiting of Polaris and during early X-Factor.


      2. Being the senior female X-Man
      That ended with the launch of the All-New, All-Different team: Storm took the role of leading female X-Man, and in the meantime several X-Women have more active and especially leadership experience than Jean.

    Jean was active for a dozen years before any of these other characters showed up. Her being (partly) inactive for over a dozen years does not negate her seniority. You can only have one first, and Jean was the first female X-Man. After Sue Storm and Janet Van Dyne, Jean is Marvel's third female superhero. None of these other characters remotely have that type of legacy. Among X-Men, only Storm comes close.

All in all, Jean has been totally absent for over two decades (from the Phoenix's debut to 1986, from her Planet X death to this day) and partly absent for a number of years more (from the end of the original run to GSXM #1, also she really was more of an occasional guest-star in the 90s of X-Men vol. 1/UXM). Also, most of her significant interactions really were only with Professor X and the male contingent of the O5 (even Havok and Polaris are more like distant acquaintances to her), unless you want to invoke the thing with Logan (which a lot of Jean's fans hate) and her occasionally mentioned, but rarely shown friendship with Storm. For most X-Men Jean is still a relative stranger.

Assuming that Jean's status as first female X-Man has not been undermined by the retcons involving Amelia Voght and Sage, I would still say that the principle that seniority, and particular inactive seniority, should trump actual merit went onto the dustheap of history around the time of the French Revolution. Also, I don't recall fans clamouring in large numbers for the return of Marvel's actual first superheroines, to wit the original Black Widow (Claire Voyant), Namora, the Golden Girl, Venus, the Blonde Phantom etc.

And not just Sue, Janet and Ororo, but even Rogue and Kitty have more leadership experience than Jean Grey.


      3. Being Cyclops' love interest
      Obviously a role that has been filled by others for various lengths of time, including Colleen Wing, Lee Forrester, Madelyne Pryor and Emma Frost. Anyway, if the experience of other characters is anything to go by, Marvel dislikes couples to be together for "too" long in general.

    Again, all replacements who were inadequate. Sure, most comic book romances don't last, which is why the exceptions are that much more important. After Reed and Sue, Scott and Jean is Marvel's most enduring romance, and in all of Marvel Comics, there should be more than one.

Colleen Wing did not break up with Scott because she was inadequate but because the creative team of Power Man/Iron Fist wanted her back.
Scott did not dump Lee Forrester because she was inadequate but because Chris Claremont for whatever reason (if he ever explained, I can't recall what reason he gave and whether it made sense) decided to replace her with a new character.
Scott did not abandon Madelyne Pryor because she was inadequate but because a bunch of nostalgia-addled, middle-aged former fans wanted to recreate the comics they liked in their teens in X-Factor. To achieve this they had to write Madelyne as a completely different person and in the process they also damaged Scott's character in ways that have not been repaired to everyone's satisfaction to this day.
Scott did not break up with Jean because she was inadequate but because Grant Morrison apparently felt compelled to work out his own mid-life crisis in X-Men.

You think of Jean and Scott as an enduring romance, I think of it as a mostly boring romance that had to be propped up e.g. by destroying a viable character like Madelyne Pryor and damaging Scott's. I cut my X-teeth on the Lee/Kirby run, and there it really seemed to me that Jean was stuck with Scott because there was really no remotely viable alternative in the book's cast (in the FF Sue/Ben would at least have been a conceivable alternative to Sue/Reed, and then there was that bad-boy attraction to Namor that Jean would only emulate after Wolverine was added to the team).

There are a number of other romances I see as more deserving of a revival than Jean/Scott, starting of course with the Peter and Mary Jane of the main timeline. (And to my mind Mary Jane, when set against Betty Brant and Gwen Stacy, again shows that being a good character and having a good chemistry with a character's love interest is more important than being an old character or having started a relationship first).


      4. Being the team psi
      A role that Jean had to share (with Professor X at first) from the beginning. In the meantime plenty of characters with variations of telekinesis and/or telepathy have arisen, most of whom have not bee called replacement Jeans.

    But again, Jean was the first and most iconic of female mutant telepaths. She has been established as the premiere omega mutant psi, which is partly why the Phoenix Force sought her out.

Beware of suspiciously narrow superlatives. Within the X-Men, telepathic Jean was an inadequate replacement for Professor X, the first and most iconic mutant telepath, also the most iconic telepath in the Marvel Universe, even if he wasn't the first (but then who remembers Dr. Druid these days?), to use your terminology.

The stuff about omega mutants I always considered stupid mumbo-jumbo tacked on later, with no real significance for me. Also, extremely powerful superheroes don't always work well in teams, look e.g. at the Silver Surfer and also the way supremely powerful telepath Charles Xavier was killed off, seriously injured or sent off into space to stop him from vanquish most threats by himself.


      5. Being the host of the Phoenix
      It's not just Jean and Rachel anymore...

    Again, poor replacements. Only Jean is the White Phoenix of the Crown, the ultimate avatar of the Phoenix Force. Everyone else is just a pale imitation.

White Phoenix of the Crown = idiocy invented by crapmeister Morrison that need not concern me.

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