Plot Chris Claremont & George Caragonne
Script George Caragonne
Pencils Rod Ramos
Inks Jan Anton Harps
Letters Janice Chiang
Colors Renee Witterstaetter
Cover Dated December 1991
What If Phoenix Had Not Died? Taken off from Uncanny X-Men 137
Most What Ifs only take a full page to set up what came before and how this new alternate path begins. Other times, the title alone is enough to get the ball rolling. For this story, it takes three pages of pure narration from Uatu, the Watcher to get us going.
Instead of Jean sacrificing herself on the moon, the Shi’ar got to her first and took away all of her powers. Leaving her to be just a regular lady.
We are told that Jean and Scott got married, inviting no one to the wedding. Warren, as a wedding present, gifted them with a nice house. Scott is a pilot.
One evening, Scott comes downstairs and finds Jean smoking and watching the news. Senator Kelly died, so the X-Men failed to stop that during Uncanny X-Men 141 & 142. She reveals to him that she can’t sleep due to the Shi’ar taking her powers but not her memories. She remembers absorbing that sun that killed the broccoli people. She knows how many died on that planet, into the millions, the possibilities she stopped and the families that will never be. It haunts her, as it should.
I should state that at this time, she is wearing only a small pink shirt and black underwear. This will be important latter.
Magneto shows up, Scott tries to blast him, but Magneto has held his own against the entire team, so one blast isn’t going to do much. He restrains Scott and takes Jean to Asteroid M.
Once they are settled there, Jean approaches Magneto. He asks her why she hasn’t changed into her provided outfit. State shes it is due to not wanting to appease him, as she isn’t his guest, but his prisoner. I find it odd though. Even if the outfit he provided, we never see it, is like a fancy dress, it is still better than walking around in a shirt that is too small and panties. She is a married woman, and Magneto is her oldest enemy. Put some clothes on! It makes no story sense either, except for Ramos gets to draw Jean in a supposedly sexy outfit.
Magneto reveals to Jean that he can restore her powers. He also reveals that he has cameras recording everything the X-Men do. There are eight television sets, so each X-Man gets their own camera. This is the first we see Kitty, who is going by Sprite at this time.
Scott is heading to Asteroid M with the X-Men, minus Kitty. They didn’t want to risk bringing her. Colossus hasn’t revealed that he loves her, but if they survive this mission, once he gets home, he will confess his love to her. Their blackbird is able to make the trip with rockets loaned by Tony Stark. Which is weird as Iron Man should just give the X-Men rockets, he can afford them. Plus, if he knew the X-Men, he should know that there is a high chance that that plane is going to be destroyed. We never get a scene where they discuss giving back the rockets.
The X-Men start attacking Magneto. Wolverine gets a good slash in. Jean touches the machine that will give her her power back. She starts being able to expand her mind again. She is one with the universe. Then she starts to remember what happen last time. She started as Jean, then Phoenix, and then Dark Phoenix. This sequence of events will repeat again.
The X-Men continue to attack Magneto when Jean comes out of nowhere with a bat and clobbers Magneto. She has chosen to not renew her powers, as it didn’t work out for her last time.
The X-Men, Scott and Jean, all leave Asteroid M. As Jean was the one to chose to not renew her powers, this gives her closure and she can start living her life again. Scott is now a part time X-Man. Jean goes back to college and gets her education degree. Which I am sure she needed as she becomes the New Mutants’ teacher, as Xavier probably really needed her to get that degree before hiring her. In this timeline, for some reason, the New Mutants’ costume instead of pure yellow and black, they have a blue shirt and black & yellow pants. It is not a good look.
Scott and her have a baby girl, Rachel.
During the time the X-Men were gone due to Secret Wars, and the New Mutants are gone as well, one would think they wouldn’t have gone to Emma Frost’s school if Jean was still around. Jean is tending to baby Rachel. Mastermind shows up and starts casting dangerous and painful illusions.
Jean is knocked to the ground, dropping Rachel. This has me concern, as I walk around with my son and sometimes I worry about taking a corner too sharply and falling down. I have this whole plan to ensure falling onto my back and cradling my son in a hold that doesn’t hurt him but secures his safety. We are denied Jean’s mother instincts. We see the torment, and then the next panel is her on the ground with Rachel near by, also on the ground. She doesn’t look like she is crying but a fall from five feet can be lethal for a baby. I am now aware of these things in a way I would have just overlooked it in the past.
Eventually Mastermind threatens to kill Jean, the X-Men and her daughter. This snaps Jean out of the illusion and she starts throwing harsh elbows and knocks him out. Turns out, Shadow King has been in possession of Mastermind’s body. Shadow King takes Jean to the Astral Plane. He reveals how he needs a new body and Rachel’s is the perfect capsule. Which is odd, as she is newly born, and thus, not a great capsule. He is going to want to wait, I don’t know, maybe 18 to 20 years. I know he wants the powers that Rachel has and probably wants to take the body over as soon as possible, but at least wait until she is potty train and walking. I know he wants the body before she can get any permanent scars too but I can only imagine puberty for girls is not all that fun, so he might want to wait pass that as well. That’s just my thinking.
Back on the non-Astral Plane, Jean is essentially an empty shell and defenseless. Mastermind kills her, with a gun shot of all things. He takes Rachel and is off.
Jean’s body is dead. The Phoenix Force comes to her, and awakens her. Turns out, this wasn’t Jean but the Phoenix Force as Jean, this entire time, so the events of Uncanny X-Men 100 happen as the way it did in the Proper Marvel Universe.
We get this confirmed as Phoenix goes to Jamaica Bay and sees Jean in that cocoon. Phoenix now knows that Scott, once discovering this, will want his real Jean and not the Phoenix manifestation. Which is odd, as Scott has a baby with Phoenix, so you think he would want to at least think about it. Though, now that I am writing this, we do know with Maddie and baby Nathan, that if real Jean is an option, he will ditch his old family for his high school sweetheart. So it is a good call from the Phoenix. In a horrible twist, Phoenix wishes that Jean would be dead and this isn’t even an option to have it have its heartbreak. Unfortunately, being a force in the universe, this means that Jean is instantly vanished from this world.
This also means, this in this alternate world, that Rachel is the daughter of the Phoenix. Which I am sure this isn’t suppose to be the Days of Future Past timeline origin story. I doubt it, as with Senator Kelly’s death and if Shadow King is successful in taking over Rachel’s body, then she is never around to send Kate Pryde back in time. So this isn’t suppose to dovetail into that timeline.
This is part one of a two part story. Kitty is barely in it, is mentioned once and seen twice but she is there.
. . .
On a personal note, today marks my darling gentleman’s being one month old! You are doing it! So proud of you, Walker Dennis!