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Gathered together by Professor Charles Xavier to protect a world that fears and hates them, the X-Men had fought many battles, been on adventures that spanned galaxies, grappled enemies of limitless might, but none of this could prepare them for the most shocking struggle they would ever face. One of their own members, Jean Grey, has gained power beyond all comprehension, Gathered together by Professor Charles Xavier to protect a world that fears and hates them, the X-Men had fought many battles, been on adventures that spanned galaxies, grappled enemies of limitless might, but none of this could prepare them for the most shocking struggle they would ever face. One of their own members, Jean Grey, has gained power beyond all comprehension, and that power has corrupted her absolutely Now they must decide if the life of the woman they cherish is worth the existence of the entire universe. Collects X-Men #129-137.


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Gathered together by Professor Charles Xavier to protect a world that fears and hates them, the X-Men had fought many battles, been on adventures that spanned galaxies, grappled enemies of limitless might, but none of this could prepare them for the most shocking struggle they would ever face. One of their own members, Jean Grey, has gained power beyond all comprehension, Gathered together by Professor Charles Xavier to protect a world that fears and hates them, the X-Men had fought many battles, been on adventures that spanned galaxies, grappled enemies of limitless might, but none of this could prepare them for the most shocking struggle they would ever face. One of their own members, Jean Grey, has gained power beyond all comprehension, and that power has corrupted her absolutely Now they must decide if the life of the woman they cherish is worth the existence of the entire universe. Collects X-Men #129-137.

30 review for X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Epic moment in The X-Men’s history! This TPB edition collects the issues #129-137 of “Uncanny X-Men”. Creative Team: Writer & Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont Illustrator & Co-Plotter: John Byrne NEW FRIENDS & OLD ALLIES During this saga, Dark Phoenix, the X-Men meet new friends along with the return of old allies. It’s during this saga that we watch the introduction of Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat) which became one of the most popular characters in the X-Men along with proud member of Excalibur and e Epic moment in The X-Men’s history! This TPB edition collects the issues #129-137 of “Uncanny X-Men”. Creative Team: Writer & Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont Illustrator & Co-Plotter: John Byrne NEW FRIENDS & OLD ALLIES During this saga, Dark Phoenix, the X-Men meet new friends along with the return of old allies. It’s during this saga that we watch the introduction of Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat) which became one of the most popular characters in the X-Men along with proud member of Excalibur and even nowadays is running the cosmos along the Guardians of the Galaxy. Kitty has been playing a pivotal role in the X-Men in several of their most epic sagas like Days of Future Past, making her one of the biggest contributions of Claremont/Byrne team to the title. Also, Alison Blaire (aka Dazzler) showing her very “disco” first appearance, that later she would become full member of the X-Men and even a SHIELD agent. And old allies due different situations return to help the team: Angel & Beast, founding members of the X-Men. Too bad that they didn’t figured it out a way to include Iceman to have all the five first members in the story. FROM HELL TO SPACE In the Dark Phoenix saga, the story will take the X-Men to face the fearsome Hellfire Club suffering several defeats during the conflict only to be taken to deep space and dealing with the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. It’s during this saga that Wolverine would say his famous line… Okay suckers – You’ve taken yer best shot! Now it’s my turn! Oooooh, yeeeaaah! And you have to take in account that this was way back at the beginning of the 80s, and Wolverine wasn’t the mega popular character that it’s today, not having yet none of his solo mini-series and series, even Claremont and Dave Cockrum (previous illustrator in the title) considered to drop the character from the X-Men since they liked better Nightcrawler, but it was thanks to Byrne (a “fellow Canadian”) who worked hard to increase the interest about Wolverine with the audience. The Hellfire Club, while having a public front of being a social club for rich people, it has an “Inner Circle” where powerful beings (not only in money but in superpowers too) and it’s here where you find the introduction of Emma Frost (aka The White Queen) as one of the member of the Hellfire Club and since then a popular character who has been in both sides of the angels from time to time. The Hellfire Club have plans to control the world and the X-Men are in their way. However, without intention, the Hellfire Club’s plans will unleashed a danger not only to the world but the entire universe! TIMING, LEAGUES & EXPECTATIONS So, if Dark Phoenix saga introduced so many iconic characters and it had so epic scope… …why I didn’t rate it better? Well, I think that it’s all about timing, leagues and expectations. Let me explain without making spoilers (don’t worry!). Timing: The storyline takes too much time to set the factors leading to the unleashed of the Dark Phoenix power, while the time invested on the crisis naming the saga I felt that it was too brief considering the title of the saga. Leagues: During the whole saga, the X-Men, the supposed lead characters and heroes of the the story, they are way out of their league, the whole time. The Hellfire Club beating them over and over again, only to engage later against the Shi’ar Imperial Guard where they hardly are holding back but even the main menace, which gives the name to the saga, it’s clear that it’s something so powerful that they aren’t in the position to stop the threat. Expectations: Well, the name of the saga, you think that you’ll read a crisis where the Dark Phoenix power will be developed almost since the beginning, but you are well past the half of the storyline and you still haven’t the Dark Phoenix unleashed. I can understand that they need to set elements to justify the situation but I think it took too much time of the story to do that. It’s a good reading, interesting situations, but sadly not the main plot that I was expecting to read due the chosen title for the saga.

  2. 4 out of 5

    karen

    i have decided that "the x-men" is actually short for "the exposition men". i mean, i know this is a collection of several comic books strung together to make one big fat story,and in order to refresh readers' minds as to what happened a month ago or whatever, it is sometimes necessary to throw in little callbacks to previous escapades, but boy does it end up reading awkwardly: "this is my name. this is your name. remember when we did that?? now we are doing this. why?? in order to facilitate th i have decided that "the x-men" is actually short for "the exposition men". i mean, i know this is a collection of several comic books strung together to make one big fat story,and in order to refresh readers' minds as to what happened a month ago or whatever, it is sometimes necessary to throw in little callbacks to previous escapades, but boy does it end up reading awkwardly: "this is my name. this is your name. remember when we did that?? now we are doing this. why?? in order to facilitate this thing that we need to do..." and on and on and on... i expected a little more from the man who co-authored (with george lucas) the continuing adventures of willow ufgood. i don't read a lot of superhero comics. i have read a bunch of batman because he is pretty awesome, but this is my first x-men. having fallen asleep in each of the x-men movies, this is what i know: wolverine is cranky and has awesome claws, i ♥ alan cumming, and the green chick is painted and you can see her boobs. that is neither here nor there, i am just showing off my extensive knowledge of the x-men. so this is my question: are all superhero books really about how shitty it is to be a superhero?? because batman never gets to have any fun, and everyone in here is miserable: "i'm phoenix, i am alive, now i am dead, now i am alive again, now i am in the cosmos, now i am back in time, now i am confused, now i am evil, now maybe i will die again, who knows..." that's just awful. if these books are supposed to be about idealized "men" and "women" (superheroes in general, not specifically the x-men, who are special cases because they are largely ostracized), and serve an escapist role, why are they so unhappy?? and what the fuck is with the dazzler?? i love that she had a spin-off comic that got canceled because everyone hated it (i am pretending that this is something i know, but i only know it because greg told me) because really, how could this get old?? "it was a different time, karen" i am so glad i was not (really) alive in a time when that character was thought to be a good idea. disco-ball superpowers?? unacceptable. ummm, and i guess that is my book review. bow, pause for ovation... come to my blog!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Yay! Now I can officially say that I've read X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga! Wheee! Quintessential is a word I've seen a lot in relation to this story. Yeah. I can see that. This was a pretty major story arc for the X-Men. You know, Jean Grey...Krrrrk *slashes finger across throat*. Gripping is another word I've seen describing it. *crickets chirping* Hmmm. Yeah, not so much. Yes, I realize that this story is around thirty years old. And yet, somehow that does nothing to make the cheesetastic dia Yay! Now I can officially say that I've read X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga! Wheee! Quintessential is a word I've seen a lot in relation to this story. Yeah. I can see that. This was a pretty major story arc for the X-Men. You know, Jean Grey...Krrrrk *slashes finger across throat*. Gripping is another word I've seen describing it. *crickets chirping* Hmmm. Yeah, not so much. Yes, I realize that this story is around thirty years old. And yet, somehow that does nothing to make the cheesetastic dialogue and horrible art any easier to slog through. Well, maybe a little easier. In fact, once I resigned myself to things like the bad guys being referred to as goons, and Cyclops and Jean spewing out lines that would make even die-hard fans of romance novels cringe, it was a pretty good read! *Snort* No, I'm kidding. It was pretty painful the whole way through. Kitty Pryde makes her debut in this story (cool!). However, so does Dazzler. Ah, Dazzler, Dazzler, Dazzler. You remember her, right? She has the awesome disco-ball powers! Yeaaaah. But (And this is a big but.). This particular story is such a huge part of the X-Men lore, that I would recommend any comic book fan read it at least once. Of course, in my case, once is quite enough.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is, by far, one of the greatest storylines of Marvel. The Phoenix saga has always held a special place in my heart -all my favorite characters take part of it and the tension! Gosh, simply amazing. Not only the story has aged beautifully but it also managed to have the same effect as it did back in the 80’s.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    The purpose of the X-men was completely subverted in this. It was so cool. Their actions are genuine and heroic, but their foes have also manipulated the world into thinking that they are the good guys too. They’ve hidden themselves rather cleverly in their crime, so when the X-men attempt to bring down such a syndicate, it makes them look like the bad guys for a change. It only took the most minor of manipulations to turn fear and respect into hatred and animosity. And when that’s paired with T The purpose of the X-men was completely subverted in this. It was so cool. Their actions are genuine and heroic, but their foes have also manipulated the world into thinking that they are the good guys too. They’ve hidden themselves rather cleverly in their crime, so when the X-men attempt to bring down such a syndicate, it makes them look like the bad guys for a change. It only took the most minor of manipulations to turn fear and respect into hatred and animosity. And when that’s paired with The Phoenix, who has just been released from the shackles of Jean grey, it makes for a rather intense, and fiery, plot. Jean Grey has become her power. The person, the individual, has practically been destroyed in the process. All that’s left is fire and destruction. She’s not the kind of woman you want to mess with. So, who could stop such a powerful force? Well the rest of the X-men of course. But, the Phoenix is almost a Goddess, so this isn’t going to be a simple fight. She has no mercy, no pity and no love, which the X-men harbour in abundance for her. Indeed, this conflict is going to be rather conflicting. Power corrupts, absolute power absolutely corrupts. It’s a great quote isn’t it? The ending of this was the only one that could ever have bene possible; it was dramatic and effective. It was a great ending to a great comic. The artwork is a little dated by today’s standards, but that’s the problem with older comics. It was still quite enjoyable though. It took me a while to get used to it, but eventually it did begin to flow like the story itself. What I found quite interesting was how Wolverine didn’t take centre stage. The Wolverine in here is much different to the movie version, which was good because it meant that the X-men actually felt like a team rather than a one man army. Because of this each character has a moment in the story. They’re all individuals, but they’re personalities fit well together. They’ve grown used to each other’s eccentricities. I got a real sense of history and comradeship in this because, again, they felt like team. The movies really failed with this element of the story. They sacrificed so much of this in favour of Hugh Jackman strutting around killing everything. This was so much better.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Addison

    UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME: Fuck all y'all haters, I actually like Dazzler. I somehow forgot this was her debut. People are always like, "Haha Dazzler has the power of disco! How lame! Pfffft!" Oh yeah, what's your mutation, bro? Fucking nothing? That's what I thought. First off, THAT SHIT WOULD BE AWESOME. Damn, do you know how much joy you could bring people with that power? You are literally a walking ball of happiness and fun. "Oh shit, you had a bad day? LET ME PUT ON A FANTASTIC LIGHT SHOW JUST UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME: Fuck all y'all haters, I actually like Dazzler. I somehow forgot this was her debut. People are always like, "Haha Dazzler has the power of disco! How lame! Pfffft!" Oh yeah, what's your mutation, bro? Fucking nothing? That's what I thought. First off, THAT SHIT WOULD BE AWESOME. Damn, do you know how much joy you could bring people with that power? You are literally a walking ball of happiness and fun. "Oh shit, you had a bad day? LET ME PUT ON A FANTASTIC LIGHT SHOW JUST FOR YOU, BRO." Power outage? "FUCK THAT. LET'S PARTY. I'M THE GODDAMN DAZZLER." Do you hate your neighbors? "THAT'S COOL, I'LL AIM MY AMAZING POWERS AT THEIR BEDROOM WINDOW WHILE THEY TRY TO SLEEP." I feel like being able to summon my own fireworks would be a great treatment for my depression. You could even put on sunglasses and slowly walk away without looking backwards if you ever wanted to look cooler. Secondly, her power is actually using sound and vibrations and turning them into various attacks (she even has a beam attack like Cyclops, except she can actually control her powers. Why do you never see people giving Cyclops shit?), WHICH MEANS IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL SHE BLINDS YOUR ASS OR TURNS YOUR BRAIN IN JELLY VIA SONIC BLASTS. Thirdly, does anyone else remember that kid in the Xmen movies (was it the third one? It was probably the third one because no one ever mentions that kid because we all tried to forget The Last Stand ever happened) who had the grand power of WRITING WITHOUT A PEN OR PENCIL? That motherfucker definitely has the most useless mutation ever but everybody has to rag on Dazzler cause she likes disco. Depending on your age, your Mom probably liked disco too, pal. In short: COME AT ME.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donovan

    Mixed feelings for this one. Good reading for diehard Marvel and X-Men fans, but lukewarm for everyone else. While I like Bronze Age DC, I don't think I care for Bronze Age X-Men or Claremont's writing. The closest thing I can compare this to is Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which is vital and important to the Batman universe, weird and 80s and hated by some. Unlike TDKR, however, which I own and love, this was a chore to read. Also the polar opposite of grim dark. Let me start with th Mixed feelings for this one. Good reading for diehard Marvel and X-Men fans, but lukewarm for everyone else. While I like Bronze Age DC, I don't think I care for Bronze Age X-Men or Claremont's writing. The closest thing I can compare this to is Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which is vital and important to the Batman universe, weird and 80s and hated by some. Unlike TDKR, however, which I own and love, this was a chore to read. Also the polar opposite of grim dark. Let me start with the good. The art is awesome even at thirty five years old. But I really don't mind it. The plot is solid minus the ending. And there's a lot going on. We learn about Jean Grey's...what do you call it...evil version?...Dark Phoenix. Kitty Pryde has some self-discovery. The X-Men grow as a team. There are some pretty good fight scenes. And the setting is quite dynamic, even heading out to space. So there's that. But I have a lot of problems with this. To contextualize, it's 1980. The X-Men have been around almost 20 years. Marvel is in its heyday. This is way before the era of "gritty realism" and even six years before The Dark Knight Returns. Super heroes are still a bit "gee golly gosh" and "saving the universe." I get that. And I actually like how that works in DC sometimes, like with Crisis on Infinite Earths, New Teen Titans. I got into comics late, and reading backwards can be hit or miss. In this case, for me, it's a miss. Claremont's writing is heavy with camp and cheese. The long winded prose, the gushy dialog, the inner monologue drivel. I don't need to hear everyone's thoughts in every single panel. And how many times do we need to hear the phrases "ruby quartz visor" and "psionic rapport"? I'm spoiled with modern comics. We all are. Because writers must not be paid by the word anymore. But here, between the prose, dialog, and monologues, there was so much reading it was insane. It was like Watchmen level of prose but the prose was not great. Add to being prosaic and cheesy, the dialog and monologues were really inconsistent. Some characters' language was formal and lacking contractions, or using weird ones like "shan't." Really, shan't? And why does no one use the word "and"? Are they saving that much time by not using the letter "D"? Then the characters themselves. Other than their atrocious dialog I mostly enjoyed the X-Men. They can be pretty badass when they're not whining. I guess I wish they were a bit tougher. But the villains I really had trouble with. The basic early plot involves Jason Wyngard/Mastermind, who begins to telepathically seduce and control Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix with a weird 18th century mind fantasy. I'm not sure I'm buying it. The universe's greatest telepath/telekinetic is fooled by a guy with mutton chops? Then his cohorts are just dummies. Shaw absorbs kinetic energy. Leland controls mass. Pierce is a simple cyborg. So two physicists and a robot...scary. And these guys, these glorified 18th century ponytail-wearing scientists, beat the X-Men. How does this happen? Then there's Dazzler. Her super power? Light powers. And when she attacks she dazzles. Her foes have literally been dazzled, like an epileptic seizure. And it's 1980. Why is the Dazzler just now starting her disco career in New York? There's also some weird creepy sexuality going on here, because every woman is half-naked. The White Queen likes saying "examination" and "probe" with Storm in her underwear. Angel/Warren Worthington III's girlfriend's name is Candy Southern. Really? And Phoenix is constantly described as being on a "lustful" quest for power and completion and "dying," dying of course being a rather obvious metaphor. So there's that. Then there's the ending. Which is rather long and tedious and hilly. (view spoiler)[I don't know what a star gate is. Like a wormhole? Thanks vague convenient plot devices. Dark Phoenix goes to a "galaxy far far away," where she runs into a spaceship from the Empire. Watching Star Wars are we, Claremont? After the X-Men battle Dark Phoenix the first time (yes, they do it again), Cyclops literally proposes to Jean Grey. Awww. Fast forward past galactic exploration to a very long winded and pointless battle between the X-Men and parallel dimensional versions of themselves, the X-Men fight Dark Phoenix again, Professor Xavier fights Dark Phoenix with some weird anti-energy static field thing (more vague convenient plot device), which doesn't even work, then a weakened Jean just sort of blows up. But don't fret boys and girls, she dies a human rather than a god, demon, starkiller thing, whatever. So she's "redeemed." Isn't that nice? Then Cyclops yells to the stars (paraphrase) "Jean! Nooooo!" Fanfare. Roll credits. The end. (hide spoiler)] Honestly, apart from the crappy villains and heavy-handed exposition, this is decent. It's basically Jean Grey versus the X-Men in some intergalactic in-fighting. But those two elements really bring down what could have been a great 80s classic. Read at your own risk.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Frank Eldritch

    Midway through reading this classic Claremont tale, I understood its significance to the X-Men mythology instantly, and I also wondered if it had some kind of impact on the role of the female superheroine in comics back then and today. That's because I consider Jean Grey in this story to be a very empowered representation of what a comic book heroine can become and be undone for at the same time. I would like to try and touch upon that subject matter in this review. This is quite possibly the mos Midway through reading this classic Claremont tale, I understood its significance to the X-Men mythology instantly, and I also wondered if it had some kind of impact on the role of the female superheroine in comics back then and today. That's because I consider Jean Grey in this story to be a very empowered representation of what a comic book heroine can become and be undone for at the same time. I would like to try and touch upon that subject matter in this review. This is quite possibly the most popular and enduring comics story arc in recent memory that any self-respecting fan of the medium will immediately associate the X-Men with, and The Dark Phoenix Saga is deemed with such high esteem and praise for many good reasons. One thing that I think we all should remember about reading classic storylines from comics that defined and shaped the continuity or characterization of a particular title is to curb our expectations and adjust our preconceived notions about it to something more realistic. In my experience, some of these classics can exceed expectations while some are just relics that were overhyped. A few of which actually do require further contemplation after finishing them in order to garner a more nuanced appreciation. I can honestly say that The Dark Phoenix is one of them. It was a memorable story in itself because the ambiguity in which it was resolved was definitely worth the discussion. Though it may have been groundbreaking during its time, I think it better serves as a commentary of what female superheroines represent in comics before, as well as the limited roles they used to play or may continue to play. I don't want this to be some kind of feminist review because I don't have enough credibility to start a dialogue like that here. In general, I usually stay away from gender discussions particularly in fiction but it's hard to ignore the implications and symbols present in this story concerning Jean Grey both as herself and the manifestation of the Phoenix. I just thought such a discussion is noteworthy. [SPOILERS AHEAD!] *** OVERVIEW The saga itself is composed of ten issues from The Uncanny X-Men starting from #129-138 which follows the corruption and fall of Jean Grey after she succumbed to the dark and twisted force of her Phoenix power. But before that, a short background: Some time during the run of said series, a mission in space exposes Jean to a deadly radiation of solar flare which seemed to amplify her mutant powers which therefore made her attain the highest potential of her telepathy/telekinesis. She returns to Earth with a new identity and costume. She becomes known as the "Phoenix" since. As she becomes noticeably stronger, Jean as the Phoenix was also more lenient in using her powers and various teammates of hers, especially Cyclops and Wolverine, notice that she's freely using her skills without the usual measured caution that the old Jean Grey had. They would only later find out that this observation is just a symptom of Jean's inevitable downward spiral. The Dark Phoenix arc also served as the introduction of the infamous and exclusive inner circle of the Hellfire Club led by Sebastian Shaw, and two iconic characters: Kitty Pryde, future Shawdowcat and one of the most memorable X-Men members; and Emma Frost, a formidable villain of telepathy who is also dubbed as the White Queen. The X-Men's primary mission only begins when the Hellfire Club (through Emma Frost) wants to acquire Kitty Pryde who is just starting to become fully aware of her mutant potentials. Pryde was also a candidate for the X-Men so when Professor X, Storm, Wolverine and Colossus visit her at her home, Emma Frost took advantage of the situation and decided to abduct these X-Men on a public location much later on. Kitty manages to escape and warn the other X-Men of their comrades. But before all of this, Cyclops, Phoenix and Nightcrawler are on a mission to find another mutant whom they encounter in a disco club. I'm referring to Dazzler who is just so ridiculous that I can't take her seriously while I was reading. Anyway, the meat and bones of the action start by the time the remaining X-Men rescue their captured friends with the help of the newly recruited Kitty. That was the main plot of the first five issues or so of the saga but the developing subplot in the sidelines is that of Jean Grey who has been experiencing "timeslips" where she is being manipulated telepathically by Mastermind to prove his worth in the Hellfire Club he wishes to become a part of. He tries to get Jean to turn against the X-Men and for a short time during the story, he did manage to turn her into his Red Queen during a climactic confrontation between our heroes and the Club. Thankfully, Jean has embedded Scott with a psychic link so while Jean was presently ensnared by Mastermind, Scott tries to win her over through a duel in the astral plane, but he fails. Still, it was enough to shake Jean back into reality and upon discovering the damage that Mastermind has done, she becomes visibly angry--almost vengeful--in a way we have not seen her before. This is one of my favorite chilling exchanges in the comic book: [You can view the bigger images HERE] THE AWAKENING I thought that this was an important moment because of the build-up established from the previous four issues. Throughout the earlier installments, we saw Mastermind charm his way inside Jean's mind and heart, providing her with a beautiful romantic illusion where she was a noble woman from the past, enaromored with a gentleman named James Wyngarde. He opened her up and then pushed her further into embracing the depths of her desires, captivating her with needs she never realized she's always had: to have all the love and power in the world as well as glory as she rules next to a man she considers her equal. Jean Grey allowed this fantasy to claim her but once it was shattered she was left with so much self-loathing and dread which she subsequently inflicts to the fiend who fed these desires. I don't think Claremont and co. knew back then how impactful this speech could resonate now for readers like me who live in an era where the influence of female empowerment continues to grow. I would like to believe that a lot of us women in this generation have more control over our agencies, choices and self-expressions than the women in the earlier generations who have limited options back then. Jean Grey's speech addressed to an oppressive, overbearing man who fancies himself as the one who holds power over her is just damn cathartic to read. "You came to me when I was vulnerable. You filled the emotional void within me. You made me trust you. Perhaps even love you. And all the while you were using me!" is a statement I know a great number of women in the past and present can relate strongly to; any woman who has been marginalized, abused and enslaved at one point in their lives can definitely attest to the freeing strength of this kind of righteous rage which Jean exhibited at this point. What comes next is terrifying though because Jean is determined to show Mastermind the price to pay for taking advantage of a woman and using her as your personal puppet. As impressive as Jean was for taking control of that situation, it was ultimately the last catalyst that unleashes the disruptive and wild force known as the Dark Phoenix in issue #135. This extreme manifestation of her powers is ironically the very creature that robs her off her free will and agency. She becomes entitled, arrogant, selfish, hedonistic and uncaring as the Dark Phoenix, even going so far as attacking her own friends, believing that they are the ones holding her back in the first place. She left them completely devastated as she roamed the outer space, looking for something to devour because of this insatiable hunger inside her. She picked a random planet where five billion lived. She did not even bat an eye with this atrocity that seemed to only come naturally for her. This casual genocide attracts the attention of the Shi'ar empire ruled by Lilandra, Professor X's long-time alien girlfriend. After DP had that satisfying meal, she went back to Earth to visit her old home where her parents and sister lived. They were happy to see her, of course, but the dormant Jean also felt their fear which was a primal instinct that DP picked up on and she lashed out on them, feeling as if they were threatening her newfound independence and freedom. The X-Men luckily came back for another brutal second encounter and it was Professor X who eventually managed to lock the Phoenix away from Jean's subconscious. The victory was not meant to be savored though because Lilandra and the Shi'ar are determined to bring Jean Grey to trial for the genocide she just committed previously. This was the falling action of the grand arc that is The Dark Phoenix Saga. EMPOWERMENT AND ABSOLUTE POWER There is a true brilliance to Claremont's narrative and progression of this story from the moment Jean Grey was transformed into the Dark Phoenix. I have only vague recollections of the cartoon adaptation of this arc in X-Men: The Animated Series and I haven't gotten far from my re-watch of said cartoons just yet, so everything about reading this was fresh for me. Two things I liked about this saga are the tonality and approach of its writing when it comes to the roles of the female characters. As Kitty Pryde's first appearance, I found that she was a surprisingly adaptable and brave young girl in the cusp of realizing her potentials as a mutant and aspiring superhero. She wasn't portrayed easily as a damsel in distress. In fact, it was her resoluteness to help the captured X-Men that enabled the other members to rescue them in the first place. At thirteen, her world was turned upside down but she coped with it rather impressively. Instead of running away, she found the courage to stand up for strangers she did not even know that well but believed that they are good and therefore worthy to be saved. At the end of it all, she did break down into tears but that was only a natural reaction to the dangerous life she has yet to know will be her daily existence from that day forward. Still, for a first introduction, Kitty Pryde already holds promise as a capable heroine who tried to make good choices out of the worst scenarios she faced. In contrast, Emma Frost is a self-made, strong and cunning villainess who may ultimately answer to a domineering male group (Hellfire Club) but she certainly possesses loftier ambitions of her own and seemed to commit heinous acts not because she was forced to do them, but rather because she is motivated by her own greed. Her allegiance to the Hellfire Club's men is attached to the fact that they are also enabling her to pursue whatever personal goals she may have on the side. It wasn't explicitly shown but I get the sense that she could very much decide to leave the men by themselves if she wasn't getting what she wants from them in return and the men may be aware of that arrangement as well. She was defeated by another woman (Jean Grey), and it was another bonus for me to see that when her role in the story abruptly finished, it wasn't because a man did not find her useful anymore. Now I'm very interested to read about Emma Frost from this point on. To have another competent and powerful female telepath offers possibilities and I definitely want her to come back. But empowering female characters in this story was sadly not very consistent though. The appearance of Dazzler was baffling to me especially her role in helping the X-Men. I do not understand her motivation in doing so anyway, let alone her relevance which was why I was uncaring that she was there. The same can be said for Ororo Munroe (Storm) who spent almost all her time in the story being a lesser superheroine next to Jean Grey as the Dark Phoenix. It was understandable for Jean to overpower Storm during their confrontations especially in her DP form but it also places Storm in a very unflattering way where her capabilities are diminished. There was even that passing scene in Mastermind's illusion where Jean was a noble woman and Ororo was a servant in her household who tried to escape and so Jean had to whip her. It just made me shake my head because I really didn't think that should have been put there. It's jarring and slightly insensitive to see a supeheroine of color be portrayed like that. It just wasn't necessary to the story anyway, and it only adds to the diluted effect of Storm's rather passive role in the narrative. Well, at least they did get to manage Storm to kick ass again at the later pages as the story comes to an end so I'll just take comfort in that. Speaking of said later pages--- THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE The second climax of this saga arrives when the X-Men (Wolverine, Nightwalker, Storm, Angel and Colossus with recent Avenger-ed Beast) face Shi'ar warriors in a "trial by combat" arrangement to save Jean from punishment. There are at least twelve pages of great action sequences that these combats provided. It was visually engrossing which made me imagine seeing them on screen (and that only made me dislike X-Men: The Last Stand further. We really should have gotten The Dark Phoenix instead.). But before all that, I would just like to share this favorite set of panels where Jean Grey puts on her old Marvel Girl costume. It was nostalgic and appropriate. It shows that there is still light and humanity present in Jeannie, and she embraces the heroine she was at the beginning at this moment to demonstrate that her friends, especially her boyfriend Scott, have not lost her. And she is not ready to be lost herself. In the end, it was only Scott and Jean who were left standing and together they fought their way for Jean's pardon and freedom. Scott was injured during the battle and seeing her beloved in danger has once again awakened the Phoenix in Jean. Tragically, the possibility of her going dark and twisted because of the Phoenix is just something her relationship with Scott and the rest of the X-Men cannot withstand. And Jean knew this from the moment Professor X was able to put some temporary restraints on her powers which are ultimately infinite and uncontainable. So in a quiet last scene between the lovers, Jean informs Scott of her decision to extinguish herself in order to save all of them. That conversation was done rather beautifully for me. In the heat and determination of everyone especially Scott to save Jean from her doom, they did not anticipate that perhaps she herself is giving up control and choosing to lose the battle instead by righteously as well as selflessly letting go of her powers. That's how I interpreted that final scene because it makes sense for Jean's character to choose death in order for others to live. It's who she is as a person. It's why she's one of my all-time favorite superheroes. She recognized the devastation and havoc she had caused when she committed mindless genocide as the Dark Phoenix and she would rather die a mortal than live as a goddess with unbridled passions and a lack of awareness and concern for life. It's a choice we all should commend her for. THE VERDICT "The X-Men may never realize it but this is the day they have won perhaps the greatest victory of their young lives. Jean Grey could have lived to become a god. But it was more important to her that she die a human." I understand why this story is considered an important classic because it does define a lot of future arcs concerning Jean Grey, and the effect of the Phoenix as an unstoppable sentient force in the Marvel Universe. But I have my personal reasons why I think this is simply a comic book story you should find time to read. Since I began writing this review with the intention on discussing the role of female characters as the heart of the conflict, climax and resolution for this story, I want to end it now by recommending this to other young women who will read this review. Often, I've made this subconscious decision to ignore the underlying sexist themes and small moments I may encounter every now and then in superhero comic books if they only get in way of enjoyment of a great story (in spite of such flaws). I understand that superhero comic books have been majorly written by men in the past (and present, with a few exceptions) so old classics like this one can be very dated in the most negative sense possible. This is why The Dark Phoenix for me was uplifting to read because I found the way they portrayed Jean Grey (and, to a lesser extent, Kitty Pryde) to be most admirable. Most sites will tell you to pick this up because of its posterity and value as a classical tale. But personally, I want you to read this because it's a meaningful story about one woman's emotional and psychological journey through the joys and burdens of power, and the ultimate sacrifice she chooses to make, all for love and humanity. RECOMMENDED: 9/10

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    This is one of the greatest comic book story arcs ever told. It has early, rough around the back-hair Wolverine. It has Cyclops at his leadership best. It has Colossus and Nightcrawler and Storm -- the Russian, the German and the African woman -- at their eighties expectation-blowing pomp. It has the Hellfire Club, the Avengers (embodied by Beast) and the Shi'ar. It has Angel and Professor X. And it has Jean Grey - Phoenix - Dark Phoenix. Did I mention it has Jean Grey - Phoenix - Dark Phoenix? I This is one of the greatest comic book story arcs ever told. It has early, rough around the back-hair Wolverine. It has Cyclops at his leadership best. It has Colossus and Nightcrawler and Storm -- the Russian, the German and the African woman -- at their eighties expectation-blowing pomp. It has the Hellfire Club, the Avengers (embodied by Beast) and the Shi'ar. It has Angel and Professor X. And it has Jean Grey - Phoenix - Dark Phoenix. Did I mention it has Jean Grey - Phoenix - Dark Phoenix? It does. It is perfect but for the end. I mean perfect. Chris Claremont is one of the all time great Marvel writers. His dialogue works, his plotting works, his mind scores multiple hits when it comes to what needs to be said and done. He was the Hitchcock of the Marvel Universe. And his partner was John Byrne. I don't know what tastes are today. I don't care. What I do know is that John Byrne's art spoke to me like no other's. Byrne was a Calgarian (my home town) and he gave birth both to Canada's greatest hero -- Wolvie -- and our greatest superteam -- Alpha Flight -- but he also pencilled some of the greatest sequences in comic history -- and the Dark Phoenix saga was the best of them all. I hated the ending (and all its humanist drivel), but the rest of the story was unparalleled. I am so glad I reread this after rereading Secret Wars. I would have hated the reread of the latter if I'd reread the former first. Now, though, I must take a break. If I were to read another comic now, it would suffer by comparison, and there is no way I could be fair. The Dark Phoenix Saga is one of the best stories ever told. What a shame they fucked it up in the X-Men movies. I'd have given anything to see it done right.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cheese

    Hands down one of the best Marvel comic stories I've ever read. The way Claremont brings out each character and piece them together as a team is commendable. Hands down one of the best Marvel comic stories I've ever read. The way Claremont brings out each character and piece them together as a team is commendable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    Okay, so the story goes like this…… It all starts in 1976 with the initial Marvel Comics storyline commonly known as “The Phoenix Saga.” (Uncanny X-Men #101-108, 1976–1977) This gave the writers at Marvel a shiny new version of the original Marvel Girl to play with. Renamed as “Phoenix” and endowed with near cosmic levels of power, the new/old character of Jean Grey was forever transformed into a persona that would shape and reshape the X-Men, and the entire Marvel Comics Universe as a whole, for Okay, so the story goes like this…… It all starts in 1976 with the initial Marvel Comics storyline commonly known as “The Phoenix Saga.” (Uncanny X-Men #101-108, 1976–1977) This gave the writers at Marvel a shiny new version of the original Marvel Girl to play with. Renamed as “Phoenix” and endowed with near cosmic levels of power, the new/old character of Jean Grey was forever transformed into a persona that would shape and reshape the X-Men, and the entire Marvel Comics Universe as a whole, for decades to come. Adventures ensued, but the whole thing started to become a little stale after a while. Who knew? Cut to….. 1980, and a whole new angle on the Phoenix story begins. (Uncanny X-Men #129-138, 1980) Old-school villain Mastermind disguises himself as a dude named Jason Wyngarde and ensconces himself within New York City’s notorious Hellfire Club. The Hellfire Club is a cabal of millionaires and billionaires that hides a deadly secret. To outward appearances the club is like any other social gathering of the economic elite, but the Inner Circle of the Club is run by Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost, two mutants of considerable power. Wyngarde employs a telepathy device given to him by Frost, whereupon he can cast his mutant power of illusion directly into Jean Grey’s mind. He tricks her into thinking that she has been “time-slipping” some 200 years into the past. She eventually succumbs to these visions and takes her place within the Hellfire Club as The Black Queen. The X-Men attempt to rescue Jean, and in doing so break Wyngarde’s hold over her. In doing so, they manage to unleash all of the darker and more passion-driven thoughts in Jean’s head, and this in turn causes her to become THE DARK PHOENIX!!!!! SO!! Then Jean roughs up the Hellfire Club and then flies off into interstellar space where she eats a star and kills five billion people and starts a big space opera war of the worlds type thing and the Dark Phoenix has to be stopped, etc, etc, etc. I’m horrible with exposition. Just read the damn thing. If I were to rate The Dark Phoenix Saga merely on its merits as a stand-alone set piece within the greater Marvel Comics Universe I’d probably be stretched to give it a full three stars. The story lags in places, the dialogue is often stilted or just plain out right silly, and John Byrne’s art leaves much to be desired. And I hate the coloring, I just hate it. And to top things off you get introduced to one of Marvel’s most puzzling and useless “superheroes” in the form of Dazzler. She has the mighty power of…wait for it…a DISCO LIGHT SHOW!! Yowza!! Call this girl when you need someone to open up a can of mirror ball whoop ass on some villain somewhere. It was 1980, what else can I tell you? On the plus side you also get the first appearance of Kitty Pryde, who would go on to much greater things within the larger Marvel milieu. The thing about The Phoenix Saga is the thing that makes it a five-star must have, and that, my friends, is the AFTERMATH. What happened in the wake of The Phoenix Saga continues to reverberate throughout the Marvel Comics Universe to this day. Obviously the biggest repercussions were within the X-Men themselves, but this event was quite literally felt in every corner of the Marvel Mythos. This story was, and still is, HUGE. I can’t think of any other comics event that has had this type of overwhelming influence on the shared vision of a comic book company. The Phoenix Saga shaped everything, and I do mean everything, that came after it for Marvel. The company managed to ride the success of the arc all the way to a practical reinvention of itself, both aesthetically and financially, allowing them to eventually assume the mantle of the biggest comic book producer in the United States. This was the beginning of the more edgy and adult styled stories and plotlines that would eventually come to dominate the Marvel brand and finally set it on its own path of differentiation from the more standard fare that competitor DC Comics was still pushing out. A few other tidbits for your mental file: It’s interesting to go back in time and see what the X-Men looked like back in 1980 vs. what they have become today. Wolverine was still just a fairly minor character with some serious back hair issues. Nightcrawler was being pushed as a more major player in the group despite the fact that his basic power set consisted of short range teleportation and the ability to balance really, REALLY well. Cyclops was still Cyclops, unfortunately. That poor guy never seems to change much over the decades. Storm here is in her infancy as a leader and doesn’t yet have a great grasp on her power set. The New X-Men that were introduced in the mid-’70s had really become kind of stale at this point, and it certainly did behoove the writers to shake things up and produce a real superstar in the form of Phoenix. Nowadays, of course, the X-Universe looks wildly different. There are multiple teams led by different characters. The Hellfire Club has made an uneasy on-again, off-again alliance with the X-Men, and the Phoenix has been killed and reborn and revamped so many times that it’s almost impossible to count. Oddly enough, Marvel decided to sort of replay the entire Dark Phoenix saga with the Onslaught Epic, this time with Charles Xavier himself in the lead role as the good guy turned bad through the co-opting of his own dark side. But in the end it’s still the sheer foundational importance of the Dark Phoenix Saga that makes it required reading. You can’t even begin to understand all of the gyrations and plotlines and character developments that depended on this singular event to set them in motion without first having the essential understanding of what goes on in these issues. The Dark Phoenix Saga was a watershed moment in the Marvel Comics Universe, and 39 years later this is still a must-have if you want to call yourself a comics fan. A quick note on the movies. Most of the filmed X-Men output has done the franchise a disservice. Quite frankly I don’t like any of the movies that came out, and I haven’t even bothered to see the new Dark Phoenix adaptation. I guess that I’ll catch it when it hits Netflix or something, but I don’t harbor high hopes for it. Rereading The Dark Phoenix Saga was a great trip down Nostalgia Street for me. I’m going to pick up one of the big follow-up graphic novels next, “From the Ashes.” I own a 1991 copy of the Dark Phoenix Saga that doesn’t have anything in the way of frills or extras, which is just fine with me. You can take your pick of any of several different iterations of the Saga that have come out in the intervening years, but the bottom line is that you still need to get your hands on this and wrap your brain around it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ronyell

    Flashback: To be honest, I actually first heard of the famous “The Dark Phoenix Saga” through an episode of the 90s “X-Men” cartoon series and that was probably my favorite episode of the entire series! Now, I had the opportunity to read this story in its original comic form and I was totally blown away! Chris Claremont had a huge reputation of being the best “X-Men” writer in history and after reading this saga, I am starting to believe that and John Byrne's illustrations clearly define the Flashback: To be honest, I actually first heard of the famous “The Dark Phoenix Saga” through an episode of the 90s “X-Men” cartoon series and that was probably my favorite episode of the entire series! Now, I had the opportunity to read this story in its original comic form and I was totally blown away! Chris Claremont had a huge reputation of being the best “X-Men” writer in history and after reading this saga, I am starting to believe that and John Byrne's illustrations clearly define the true art of this exciting saga that defined “X-Men” history! What is the story? After the X-Men defeated Proteus, they head back to New York to their secret headquarters and they are surprised to see Professor Xavier back at the headquarters. However, the X-Men will soon realize that a secret and powerful organization known as the Hellfire Club is watching their every move and they have plans for Jean Grey and her phoenix powers! Can the X-Men defeat this powerful organization of mutants? Read this comic to find out! What I liked about this book: Chris Claremont's writing: Oh my goodness! After I heard that Chris Claremont was known as the author who started the popularity of the X-Men, I just had to check out the “Dark Phoenix Saga” for myself and I was astonished at what I read! I loved the way that Chris Claremont provided a detailed plot about how Jean Grey has to cope with a terrible power inside of her and how the X-Men have to come to terms of possibly destroying her to save the universe. I also loved how much emotion Chris Claremont put into this volume as the other X-Men obviously did not want to kill her and it was great seeing the close relationship that Cyclops and Jean Grey share with each other. I also loved how Chris Claremont gives the audience enough information regarding the last few issues to help us understand the story much better and I will admit that the first time I have read this comic; I was a bit frustrated with all the words on one page. But then I realized that the deep and detailed plot of the story on each page actually became more interesting as the comic goes on and it really helped me understand the characters even better. I also loved the new roster of the X-Men which included Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Beast and it was even more exciting seeing the introduction of a young Kitty Pryde and Dazzler! John Byrne's illustrations: I just loved John Byrne’s illustrations in this comic book! John Byrne gives us an old school styled look to the original X-Men (Wolverine’s signature yellow and blue outfit, Nightcrawler’s black and white outfit and Colossus’ red and yellow outfit) and it just reverts me back to the good old days when most comic books were illustrated in that old school way! There were so many memorable images in this comic such as Jean Grey reverting to the Dark Phoenix and you can see that she is truly beauty, but always has a frightening expression on her face as she destroys everything in her path. The image that truly stood out the most for me was the image of Wolverine being stuck in the sewers and he states: “Okay, suckers---you’ve taken yer best shot! NOW IT’S MY TURN!!” This image was so memorable and brilliantly done to me because it truly showed Wolverine looking so menacing when the Hellfire Club tried to kill him and this image was a inspiration for Joss Whedon’s run of “Astonishing X-Men” when the same thing was done to Kitty Pryde. John Byrne does an excellent job at making the characters extremely detailed from making the rivers have ripples to presenting shocked looks on the characters’ faces especially the X-Men’s shock at discovering the Dark Phoenix. What made me feel uncomfortable about this comic: Probably the only problem with this comic is that since it was written around the late 70s to early 80s, there tends to be too much dialogue and explanations of the previous issues filling up the page and many readers who are new to the X-Men franchise might be frustrated with reading all this extra information about the situation, just like I was the first time. Sometimes it slows the story down than necessary, but at the same time, it gives the audience enough information about the situation at hand. Final Thoughts: Overall, “The Dark Phoenix Saga” is the saga that truly defined the true storytelling of the “X-Men” franchise and is currently on my top favorite “X-Men” storylines list along with Joss Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” run and hopefully, the current “X-Men” would have the same drama and wonderful storytelling that “The Dark Phoenix Saga” had. Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    For one of the most popular X-Men story lines, I really didn’t know a whole lot of what would happen in the story. Because I knew so little and I was so excited to dive right in, I think I enjoyed the story more than most. I loved the build up, the subtle (and not so subtle) hints at Jean’s growing power (which actually started before the beginning of this collection). I liked the introduction of the Hellfire Club and the conclusion of this long running scheme from one of it's members. However, For one of the most popular X-Men story lines, I really didn’t know a whole lot of what would happen in the story. Because I knew so little and I was so excited to dive right in, I think I enjoyed the story more than most. I loved the build up, the subtle (and not so subtle) hints at Jean’s growing power (which actually started before the beginning of this collection). I liked the introduction of the Hellfire Club and the conclusion of this long running scheme from one of it's members. However, I felt like their plan against the X-Men worked a little too well. There were a LOT of really 70s moments (duh) but if you got past all the disco and cheesy one-liners, there was real heart and emotion underlying the journey not only Jean makes but also the rest of the X-Men. I'm so glad I read this collection! It honestly felt like looking back at a period of time and watching it come to life with superheroes!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sr3yas

    3.5 Stars I'm just going to pretend the last chapter of this nine issue arc didn't happen. The Dark Phoenix Saga is the first major event of X-men in 80's. This is where Jean Grey go complete haywire and does a whole black swan routine. SOMEONE BUY HER SOME PIZZA! This arc is also known for: ※ Dazzler's dazzling debut that dazzled all the dashing devotes. *I'm really sorry for that* She is really cool though! ※ Kitty Pryde debuts here too! ※ X-men's long term adversaries, the Hellfire club makes the 3.5 Stars I'm just going to pretend the last chapter of this nine issue arc didn't happen. The Dark Phoenix Saga is the first major event of X-men in 80's. This is where Jean Grey go complete haywire and does a whole black swan routine. SOMEONE BUY HER SOME PIZZA! This arc is also known for: ※ Dazzler's dazzling debut that dazzled all the dashing devotes. *I'm really sorry for that* She is really cool though! ※ Kitty Pryde debuts here too! ※ X-men's long term adversaries, the Hellfire club makes their first appearance. ※ Emma Frost ? She was a villain ?! The story arc is really fun! The characterization of each X-men members are unique as well as interesting. The events that leading to emergence of dark phoenix is solidly written. But when she emerges.....uh, i can't pretend, can I? First thing she does after going to space as dark phoenix is to travel all the way to another galaxy, devour a star and come back to Earth. Its like me driving to China, eat sushi and then coming straight back home. So why did she do it? The sole purpose of that nonsensical action is to set up the final horrid chapter in which the whole X-men fight some cosmic gladiators. I hope they got paid for fighting as well as for delivering entertaining commentary. Overall, except for the final issue, this is a solid X-men story! ---------------------------------------------------- *Cue Star Wars music*

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiag⊗

    Dark Phoenix is one of the most popular X-Men storylines, and rightly so, unfortunely, the dialogue and the pacing is super dated, I've never been much of a fan of the comics from the 60s and the 70s because of that very same reason, I find myself skipping a lot of the dialogue, the exposition gets extremely boring, the art on the other hand remains stellar. Dark Phoenix is one of the most popular X-Men storylines, and rightly so, unfortunely, the dialogue and the pacing is super dated, I've never been much of a fan of the comics from the 60s and the 70s because of that very same reason, I find myself skipping a lot of the dialogue, the exposition gets extremely boring, the art on the other hand remains stellar.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diz

    I liked this because it makes Cyclops a sympathetic character rather than the jerk that he is often portrayed as these days. Also, we have the debut of Kitty Pride and Dazzler, two of my favorite X-men. Finally, the showdown with the Hellfire Club was a lot of fun to read. The only thing that I didn't like so much was the illusions of Wyngarde. It doesn't seem that projecting an illusion into someone's mind would instantly make them lose a grip on reality. There should have been more of a mental I liked this because it makes Cyclops a sympathetic character rather than the jerk that he is often portrayed as these days. Also, we have the debut of Kitty Pride and Dazzler, two of my favorite X-men. Finally, the showdown with the Hellfire Club was a lot of fun to read. The only thing that I didn't like so much was the illusions of Wyngarde. It doesn't seem that projecting an illusion into someone's mind would instantly make them lose a grip on reality. There should have been more of a mental struggle--especially when going up against someone like Jean Grey.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    "This is what makes humanity virtually unique in the cosmos, my friend; this extraordinary capacity for self-sacrifice, this ability to triumph over seemingly insurmountable obstacles if the cause be just, knowing all the while that to do so means certain death." This is probably, storywise, the best volume I've read in the Marvel universe. Jean Grey has always been my favourite Marvel character, from the moment I first saw her, and this is the one stage that defines her character the most an "This is what makes humanity virtually unique in the cosmos, my friend; this extraordinary capacity for self-sacrifice, this ability to triumph over seemingly insurmountable obstacles if the cause be just, knowing all the while that to do so means certain death." This is probably, storywise, the best volume I've read in the Marvel universe. Jean Grey has always been my favourite Marvel character, from the moment I first saw her, and this is the one stage that defines her character the most and has an important impact in all else that comes later. This volume is old, from way back in the '80s, so the artwork is quite old as well and might not appeal to everyone. I mean I didn't like it as well. I wouldn't have minded a re-drawing of this saga. The writing also was a bit over the top with many inner monologues and not that much action, as it comes from today's comic books. But you know what? You won't read this volume for the incredible action or the excellent writing, but for the overall story, which, in simple words, was amazing. There was a necessary build up and the last two issues in the volume were the peak of the story. Amazing, amazing, amazing. I've been meaning to read the Dark Phoenix Saga, for a few years to be honest, and I am satisfied with my choice to at least read it now. Better late than never, as they say. A minor rant about the movies coming up: (view spoiler)[I always hated the fact that they used Jean's abilities to the topmost. Yes, Jean is an omega-level mutant and a very powerful at that, but at the beginning and for quite some time her powers were limited. In the movies they fused Jean with Phoenix from the very start without any preamble and I hated it that because Phoenix is a separate entity and that way you basically omit an important character from the comic books. I know it is very difficult to include an entity in the franchise, but hell, don't do it at all. Spoiler for Apocalypse coming right up: (view spoiler)[Why not let Jean be Marvel Girl, but turn her into Phoenix? Why? Because you can't fight Apocalypse? Don't use that villain, there are a thousand more. (hide spoiler)] I don't know. I just don't feel that good about movie!Jean. (hide spoiler)] Update: Someone take back my English degree. How do I even make sense anymore?

  18. 4 out of 5

    L. McCoy

    So I just read and reviewed another Jean Grey comic so decided now would be a good time to review this since I haven’t. What’s it about? So the main thing in this book is Jean Grey is super powerful and going a bit crazy. By “super powerful” I mean everyone could die because of her so this Phoenix part of her being psychotic... yeah, this won’t end well. Pros: The story is interesting. The characters are interesting and many of these X-Men are pretty bad-ass. The art is cool. I know many don’t like o So I just read and reviewed another Jean Grey comic so decided now would be a good time to review this since I haven’t. What’s it about? So the main thing in this book is Jean Grey is super powerful and going a bit crazy. By “super powerful” I mean everyone could die because of her so this Phoenix part of her being psychotic... yeah, this won’t end well. Pros: The story is interesting. The characters are interesting and many of these X-Men are pretty bad-ass. The art is cool. I know many don’t like old comic book art but I don’t get it. Looks pretty bad-ass to me. The action scenes are pretty good. It’s fun and exciting. This comic is a bit less predictable than many Marvel comics so that’s pretty cool. Cons: Thanks to the comics code we get quite a few moments are sadly censored when they could have been pretty awesome. Let me give you an example. There are times where it seemed like set-up for Wolverine doing something bad-ass but probably gory, so many readers are like “oh boy, about to get some bloody Wolverine action” and then it cuts off to something else going on (sigh). The story with the aliens towards the end is cheesy and (view spoiler)[ an excuse to have Jean die in the dramatic ending. (hide spoiler)] I did not like that. The ending is disappointing. No, not because it’s sad, it’s just poorly done IMO. Overall: This is a good comic. Am I going to sit here and say it’s a masterpiece? No. Can I understand why it’s a classic? Well, it did introduce a lot of stuff that is important to Marvel history so yeah, I suppose. Did I enjoy it? Yes. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the X-Men and/or people wanting to read the book before watching the movie (which keeps getting delayed so you might have a lot of time). 4/5

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris (The Genre Fiend)

    I know, ok? I know this is one of the highest-regarded tales not only in X-canon, but throughout the whole of Marvel's 75-year output. I know it's a formative text that set the bar for writers like Grant Morrison and Joss Whedon to one day leap over (and others like Brian Bendis to limbo under with the skill of Barbados Slim). I know Chris Claremont is a visionary writer, and that the writer-artist tag team he had with John Byrne produced some of the most talked-about-to-this-day graphic literat I know, ok? I know this is one of the highest-regarded tales not only in X-canon, but throughout the whole of Marvel's 75-year output. I know it's a formative text that set the bar for writers like Grant Morrison and Joss Whedon to one day leap over (and others like Brian Bendis to limbo under with the skill of Barbados Slim). I know Chris Claremont is a visionary writer, and that the writer-artist tag team he had with John Byrne produced some of the most talked-about-to-this-day graphic literature ever consumed by mortals. With all that in mind, I was not a fan of Dark Phoenix. I can read old stuff, with detachment from the expectations modern comics bring for things like dialogue and complex storytelling. An amount of leeway needs to be given for the context of older graphic novels, especially for ones that set in motion the tropes and story ideas we take for granted today (i.e. Jean Grey's whole Phoenix thing, something the book introduces prominently). This is a leeway Dark Phoenix oversteps in two ways: first, the story preceding the actual, y'know, Phoenix bits is only partly-connected at best. The Hellfire Club are interesting as villains, and the inclusion of Emma Frost before Avengers vs. X-Men sucked out her characterisation is welcome. But, good as they are, they feel oddly extraneous (except Jason Wyngarde, for obvious reasons) to the overall Phoenix storyline, and only put in there for the sake of giving the other X-Men a threat to face whilst Jean grapples with her psyche. Second, Chris Claremont's writing is very, very hard to take seriously. I understand he had a pathological fear of artists misinterpreting his writerly directions for scenes. Thus, he used his dialogue to explain every goddamn detail on the page in the hopes that even if the artist didn't his vision right, at least the reader would know what he was on about. Unfortunately, since I can only assume John Byrne is an intelligent human being who understands dramatic intent and how a scene is meant to be conveyed, this means the marriage of Claremont's writing and Byrne's artwork tends to explain a scene's movements twice over. Once through "Oh my god, Jean's blowing up a sun!" dialogue, and once through actual visuals of Jean blowing up a sun. Character thought-bubbles are aplenty, which also subtracts tension from the pacing. Every fight scene has a novel's-worth of character introspection while the actual fisticuffs are taking place, in dire contrast to the short, snappy and largely wordless exchanges Claremont wrote for the fight scenes in his Wolverine miniseries. It's disappointing, especially since the story's thematic content, character developments and conclusion (the latter of which, though obviously spoiled by X-Men: The Last Stand, was nonetheless executed well) are all reasons why I should like this book. The vast, overhanging spectre of Claremont's writing and the disconnected feel the first six issues of the story have weigh too heavily for me to mark higher the parts I did like, so in the end I settle on an average score. It definitely behooves an X-fan to check it out, if only so you can add it to your list of "classics every comic fan should read" that you've read. Certainly not a gateway entry for newbie readers, though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Before I started reading The Dark Phoenix Saga, I expected that I would probably like it for all the usual reasons-- it came highly recommended, it's a classic, it should be required reading for all comics fans, blah blah etc. I was fully expecting to knock it out in a couple hours, give it a solid 3 star rating on here, and then promptly forget about it. Instead, I fell in love with the story, and with Jean Grey, and with the X-Men, and with pretty much everything else about it. Go figure. I'm Before I started reading The Dark Phoenix Saga, I expected that I would probably like it for all the usual reasons-- it came highly recommended, it's a classic, it should be required reading for all comics fans, blah blah etc. I was fully expecting to knock it out in a couple hours, give it a solid 3 star rating on here, and then promptly forget about it. Instead, I fell in love with the story, and with Jean Grey, and with the X-Men, and with pretty much everything else about it. Go figure. I'm one of the rarest of unicorns who never read comics as a kid but picked up the habit as an adult woman in my mid 20s, so there was no nostalgia in this for me. I experienced the story for the first time without any preconceived notions or fond childhood memories to cloud my judgment, and it was AWESOME. The art definitely felt a little dated, but I think the overall story held up flawlessly. The major difference I noticed between the writing in this book and the writing in books today was the amount of exposition. This story was definitely *not* written for the trade (as so many of today's books seem to be), and you can tell because each single issue begins with a rundown of what happened last time. Also, there are so many words. Thought bubbles AND dialogue bubbles. I can see how this would be annoying for some people, but I loved it. I enjoy borderline ridiculous amounts of exposition, though, so this was perfect for me. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how well the character of Jean Grey was written. I had no experience with her (or any of the other characters, really) before reading this book. I read a lot of comics and graphic novels, but I'm primarily a DC fan, and I freely admit that my knowledge of the X-Men is limited to the most recent movie. I'd heard the name Jean Grey before, but it meant absolutely nothing to me. Now I understand why she's kind of a big deal! The biggest and most pleasant surprise of this book was how progressive it was in its depiction of female characters. Jean Grey was a hero, and also one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Storm was a fantastic character who was also a woman of color. Kitty Pryde, Emma Frost, Lilandra... all strong female characters in their own right who weren't just sitting around waiting to be rescued. This book also passed the Bechdel Test several years before the Bechdel Test was even a thing. I'm sure there are gender issues that would crop up upon a reread, but for a story that's more than 30 years old, I'm impressed. Overall, this was a great story with great characters, and I'll definitely be checking out more X-Men trades!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sunil

    I remember reading this in my Ann Arbor comic book store over a decade ago and being so impressed with how well it held up (and I think I was reading it without color!). While it does bear some of the ostensibly negative trademarks of classic comics like frequent recaps of events in the last issue and characters saying/thinking exactly what they're doing/feeling, this actually makes it far more accessible; you can pick this book up with zero knowledge of the X-Men and appreciate its storytelling I remember reading this in my Ann Arbor comic book store over a decade ago and being so impressed with how well it held up (and I think I was reading it without color!). While it does bear some of the ostensibly negative trademarks of classic comics like frequent recaps of events in the last issue and characters saying/thinking exactly what they're doing/feeling, this actually makes it far more accessible; you can pick this book up with zero knowledge of the X-Men and appreciate its storytelling. Jean Grey's struggle with the Phoenix entity is a classic conflict of good vs. evil, and decades later—even reading it a second time as a man far more familiar with comics—it's still an engrossing, powerful tale.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    The penultimate X-Men story. The artwork was definitely a sign of the times in which it was written. It also makes me extremely happy that comic book writers have gotten away from using thought-balloons and text boxes explaining the story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈

    The version I read of this had Kitty Pryde's and Dazzler's introductions and those were awesome! Unfortunately, it kind of went downhill from there. Kitty was super adorable when she first meets Storm. Ororo becomes her hero and she's incredibly brave for a 13 1/2 old girl risking her life to save them. Dazzler is pretty badass in deciding to help them even if she decides being an X-man just isn't for her. Emma Frost made a formidable foe here and it was a solid arc. I'm not entirely sure why th The version I read of this had Kitty Pryde's and Dazzler's introductions and those were awesome! Unfortunately, it kind of went downhill from there. Kitty was super adorable when she first meets Storm. Ororo becomes her hero and she's incredibly brave for a 13 1/2 old girl risking her life to save them. Dazzler is pretty badass in deciding to help them even if she decides being an X-man just isn't for her. Emma Frost made a formidable foe here and it was a solid arc. I'm not entirely sure why they inserted those issues here but I guess because it explains the start of Jean slipping back in time to the 1800's. The Black Queen. That fuckery. I get that it was the slow intro of Jean becoming the Dark Phoenix but I did not need Jean imagining Ororo as a slave and hitting her in the face. Ororo doesn't deserve that and holy shit was it unnecessary. There wasn't that same level of treatment for the others so why the only black character? That was so uncomfortable for me to watch. The fact that Ororo is willing to get over that in like 2 seconds was pretty screwed up, too. Anyway, Charles is barely present until the very end when he tells the X-men to off Jeannie. The most moving arc here is Scott's struggle to accept that they maybe can't save Jean. She may fight the Dark Phoenix but it keeps coming back. After it killed 5 billion people, it's understandable that she'd live in fear of it taking over again. He had to learn to let her go and she told him that like 15 times. Anyway, sad. I guess? I was more concerned with everyone else having to attack her. Especially Storm because they briefly explain how Jean was like a sister to her and she didn't want to be there. Everyone struggling to decide if they wanted to fight to save her life was interesting. In a way, her death was kind of anticlimactic. I didn't realize it'd happened until I turned the page. Jean is an iconic character so I expected a little more from it. Unfortunately, the volume ends without seeing the effects of her death on the others. So, this is an epic arc. I can understand why but it just didn't move me as much as I expected. Definitely deserved a better adaptation than X-men: the Last Stand, though. Yikes.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    Okay! So Chris Claremont has written all of the X-Men biggies, in terms of stories; Days of Future Past, Apocalypse(I think) and this one! So I will tell you off the bat, I do not like Jean or Cyclops; Jean manipulates Wolverines feelings, and Cyclops, well he's kind of a dick!!! However I did not hate them in this one, I did not love them, or really care but I did not hate them; which is good because this story mostly focuses on Scott and Jean; so props for not making me wanna punch Cyclops! So Okay! So Chris Claremont has written all of the X-Men biggies, in terms of stories; Days of Future Past, Apocalypse(I think) and this one! So I will tell you off the bat, I do not like Jean or Cyclops; Jean manipulates Wolverines feelings, and Cyclops, well he's kind of a dick!!! However I did not hate them in this one, I did not love them, or really care but I did not hate them; which is good because this story mostly focuses on Scott and Jean; so props for not making me wanna punch Cyclops! So the story, well I don't wanna spoil, but the long run is Jean goes bat shit crazy and the X-men have to stop her! The story overall is okay, but It did enthral me for the most part! I feel I have to touch on the artwork, because I see its not very popular amongst my Goodreads friends; my opinion it was good, not anything special but John Byrne gets the job done! My only real complaint (Don't worry no spoilers). is the ending was a bit half assed; not the actual ending itself; I just think the Claremont could have done something more with it, make it more dramatic, draw it out a bit, because when I read it I was like "Aww, that sucks", but I wasn't crying my eyes out, like I know some X-Men fans probably did!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    The most gripping event in X-men history and some say Marvel's finest moment, when comic book storytelling finally grew up. This is science fiction at its realest and in its purest form, a cautionary tale of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. When love and honor get in the way of lust and greed, the effects are nothing short of earth shattering. Want to know how to make sense of violence? To reconcile life and death? Take a look at The Dark Phoenix Saga and prepare to be transported. This i The most gripping event in X-men history and some say Marvel's finest moment, when comic book storytelling finally grew up. This is science fiction at its realest and in its purest form, a cautionary tale of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. When love and honor get in the way of lust and greed, the effects are nothing short of earth shattering. Want to know how to make sense of violence? To reconcile life and death? Take a look at The Dark Phoenix Saga and prepare to be transported. This is Claremont and Byrne at their superhuman best.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andtruth Danielson

    This is THE quintessential Jean Grey story; it operates on a level of new emotional sophistication for Marvel Comics; it is said to be the first depiction of suicide in mainstream superhero comics; it features the introduction of the great Kitty Pryde; and it is fully imbued with that feeling you get when you read something from a bunch of artists who have pulled off something deeper and more exciting than their usual work. But on the other hand, you have to deal with writer Chris Claremont. His This is THE quintessential Jean Grey story; it operates on a level of new emotional sophistication for Marvel Comics; it is said to be the first depiction of suicide in mainstream superhero comics; it features the introduction of the great Kitty Pryde; and it is fully imbued with that feeling you get when you read something from a bunch of artists who have pulled off something deeper and more exciting than their usual work. But on the other hand, you have to deal with writer Chris Claremont. His pulpy overwrought prose is kind of fun for about 50 pages, and then it starts to feel like you're sick and you've eaten too much microwave macaroni and cheese. That the story is engaging enough to keep me reading is actually pretty impressive, as otherwise I would be blinking and picking apart the specifics of his overwrought style: --He keeps referring to Wolverine as "the short Canadian" or "the hairy Canadian;" wouldn't Wolverine fillet anyone who called him that? --When the X-Men make mistakes in battle, why do they pause the fight so Cyclops can chew them out? Why doesn't Juggernaut or whoever just attack Colossus while he's listening to Cyclops's disciplinary speech? --Claremont clearly has a good vocabulary, yet his characters' sentences seem to be limited to basic declaratives. It's like somebody with a giant pulsating right brain and a tiny popped-balloon excuse of a left brain. You want to bring out a bicycle pump filled with brain matter and attach it to the man's lobe. --One of the bad guys has the super power of increasing his opponents' mass until they crash through the floor and die, unless the opponent happens to be the hairy Canadian. Leaving aside the ridiculous nature of this power, what they clearly mean is weight. Granted, increasing mass would increase weight as well; but it makes less sense. If you're increasing somebody's mass, you are actively adding atoms to their body. Well, where are the atoms? Are they attaching themselves to the heroes, like some kind of invisible shawl? If so, that properly can't be called "adding" mass. No, these atoms must weave themselves somehow into the victim's body, intertwining with the natural atoms, and that just raises questions. Plus once the loser falls through the floor he gets his mass back; where did all these intertwined atoms go? If Claremont had just said weight instead of mass things would be a whole lot simpler. Hee, that was fun. Truthfully, the part that ruins the story for me is the very end. Jean has just sacrificed herself to save all humanity. Tragic, heart-rending, gut-wrenchingly sad. Listen to all the exposition Claremont forces Cyclops to unload in between his sobs because he didn't set it up beforehand like he was supposed to: "JEAN! You...PLANNED this, didn't you? From the moment we landed on the moon. You shielded your intentions from our rapport, but just the same I should have guessed. I should have realized...that you could not become Dark Phoenix and remain true to your self, the Jean Grey I knew, and fell in love with. So you took steps to ensure that, if Lilandra couldn't stop you, you'd do the job yourself. You must have picked the minds of the Kree and Skrull observers, learned what ancient weapons were hidden here. Then, you used your fight with the X-Men to drain you of enough energy to make you vulnerable. And, finally, when you were ready, you...you...oh, Jean...Jean..." As a playwright, I assert that the preceding speech should have read: "JEAN! You...PLANNED this?!? [sobs:]" And finally, we waste the last page of the book on an alien character called "The Recorder," who hasn't spoken and who we don't care about. He asks plaintive questions about the nature of being human, and some dude in a cape answers "Jean Grey could have become a god, but it was more important to her that she die...a HUMAN." No. I want Storm's reaction. I want Xavier's reaction. I want Lisandra's reaction. And so on. The X-Men III tried a version of the Dark Phoenix story, but they had script problems which ruined it too. This story is so powerful; will it ever be well-told? I have to wonder. I guess I'll just ask "the Recorder."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    A classic not of only X-Men, but of Marvel, and possibly comics in general. That being said, not everything classic shines like the chrome of classic cars. Some of Claremont's dialogue is brutal here. Just like his continual need to discuss the Ruby Quartz that Cyclops needs in his visor, or that Jean can read minds and link people, or things like that. Byrne's art works, though there are a few times it's nothing great, but that is what happens sometimes. What's really cool to me, is that this bo A classic not of only X-Men, but of Marvel, and possibly comics in general. That being said, not everything classic shines like the chrome of classic cars. Some of Claremont's dialogue is brutal here. Just like his continual need to discuss the Ruby Quartz that Cyclops needs in his visor, or that Jean can read minds and link people, or things like that. Byrne's art works, though there are a few times it's nothing great, but that is what happens sometimes. What's really cool to me, is that this book features the very first appearance of Kitty Pryde, as well as, less cool, the first appearance of....Dazzler. Yay. I am a human disco show...no surprise to discover that this was a creation of the Marvel management team as part of a cross-promo with Casablanca Records. I think they would have been better off including KISS as X-Men instead; at least that wouldn't be as embarrassing. First appearances weren't just for heroes, we also have the first appearance of Emma Frost: The White Queen here. It also seemed at the time like they killed her off in a telepathic duel with Jean/Phoenix. Pretty wild to know that Emma and Kitty will be huge members of various X-teams for the next 30 years, and that Jean's spirit/Phoenix will be haunting and reappearing for this whole time as well. It's also cool to see 80% of the original X-Men here: Cyclops and Jean (Marvel Girl), were already there, and then Angel shows up, giving the team use of his Arizona home, and later, Beast, as an Avenger, investigating after the Hellfire Club events. Makes you wonder what Bobby Drake did at this time? Oh well. This is a classic story, and what's cool to me is, one of these issues (Jul 1980 - #135)is from the month I was born. I don't think I quite realized that Dark Phoenix Saga was that long ago! What I also like, is the team. Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine. Though we also see Banshee (retired), Havok and Polaris (semi-retired), Multiple-Man (who knows?) so we cover 12 different members of the X-Men in this saga, which is very fun. You never see much of some of these characters, and if anything, it made me eager to check out the 70s X-Men, and later the 80s. This book read a lot like the X-Men animated series version of the Dark Phoenix, so not much was totally new, but it was still very cool to read for the first time. I'd give it 5-stars but some of the hamfisted dialogue is just too lame. It's a classic so it deserves a solid 4 stars. If you've not read it, you do owe it to yourself, even just once.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mikey

    The "date read" above is actually my sixth reading of this book. The Dark Phoenix Saga is certainly the most gripping story arc within a major comic continuity. This is pure pulp comic book superhero stuff, but it's never been done better. Particularly astounding are two of the major action set-pieces in the story: Wolverine's rescue of his teammates, and the final confrontation with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard on the Blue Area of the moon. There's little character development, and a simple, deriv The "date read" above is actually my sixth reading of this book. The Dark Phoenix Saga is certainly the most gripping story arc within a major comic continuity. This is pure pulp comic book superhero stuff, but it's never been done better. Particularly astounding are two of the major action set-pieces in the story: Wolverine's rescue of his teammates, and the final confrontation with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard on the Blue Area of the moon. There's little character development, and a simple, derivative plot, but the story moves along so breathlessly and efficiently that you won't even notice. The term "page-turner" was created for stuff like this. The Dark Phoenix Saga is mindless, entertaining, absorbing storytelling at its absolute finest.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jesus Saldivia

    I reaaaally wanted to like this more, i love Jean Grey and the X-Men are probably my favorite heroes. It had really great moments but overall it felt kind of underwhelming and rushed, plus, all that exposition, please stop. I'm giving it a strong 3.5 I reaaaally wanted to like this more, i love Jean Grey and the X-Men are probably my favorite heroes. It had really great moments but overall it felt kind of underwhelming and rushed, plus, all that exposition, please stop. I'm giving it a strong 3.5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jesse A

    Fine story but it has to be extra special for me to get past the old school art. Not so much.

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