Real Name: Rachel Summers Nick Names: Ray, Red Aliases: Phoenix II, Mother Askani, Hound, Starchilde, Starsoul Firehair, Alyzr'n Summerset Place of Birth: Somewhere in New York, likely Annadale-on-Hudson Marital Status: Single Age: *i'll get back to you* Group Affiliations: New Mutants, Hounds, X-Men, Excalibur, Clan Askani Allies: Cyclops, Jean, Professor X, Cable, Shadowcat Enemies: Ahab, Selene, Shadow King, Mojo, Necrom, Diamanda Nero, Wolverine (one time) Abilities: telepathy, telekenesis, illusion-casting, force fields,precognition, temporal (time-travel), host for the Phoenix Force Strength: Athlete Speed: Athlete Height: 5'7" Weight: 125 lbs Eye Color: Green Hair: Red Other distinguishing features: pattern of tattoos to mark her as a hound, manifests her power in the form of a large fiery, hawk-like bird
Two different beings calling themselves Phoenix and possessing extraordinary psionic powers are known to have appeared in this universe. The first was a cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force which duplicated for itself and assumed the form and consciousness of Jean Grey, who is also known as Marvel Girl, one of the original members of the X-Men, a team of superhuman mutants. The second Phoenix is a human being, Rachel Summers, who is said to be the daughter of the Jean Grey of an alternate Earth. |
The Phoenix Force is a manifestation of a primal force of the universe which derives from the psyches of all living beings in the universe, and which therefore has limitless power. The Phoenix Force embodies emotion rather than intellect, specifically, the passion to create or destroy.
Jean Grey and other members of the X-Men were kidnapped by the Sentinel robots commanded by Steven Lang, a scientist who was out to destroy superhuman mutants. After defeating Lang, the X-Men had to escape back to Earth aboard a space shuttle through the path of an unusually intense solar flare. The shuttle's pilot had to sit in an area where he or she would be exposed to the lethal radiation. Grey volunteered to be pilot, using her telepathic abilities to absorb the knowledge of how to fly the shuttle from the mind of her ally Dr. Peter Corbeau, and using her telekinetic powers to shield herself from the radiation. But while she guided the craft back to Earth, the solar radiation finally proved to be too great for Grey to hold back any longer with her powers. The radiation began killing her painfully.
The sentient Phoenix Force sensed Grey's desperate desire to save the lives of the X-Men, especially Scott Summers, alias Cyclops, the man she loved, and to save her own life. The Phoenix Force appeared to Grey in a form resembling her own; it also took on a human-like consciousness by reading Grey's mind and replicating her consciousness. The Phoenix Force offered to save the lives of the dying Grey and her friends in exchange for an unstated price. Afraid of death, but determined to save Summers and the other X-Men, Grey accepted the entity's offer, and grasped the entity's arm. The Phoenix Force then took on full human form, an exact duplicate of Grey's. The Phoenix Force transferred a portion of Grey's "soul" or consciousness to itself. Hence, from that point onward, Grey existed as both the human Marvel Girl and as Phoenix. Grey's original human form fell into a coma-like state.
The shuttle crashed in Jamaica Bay near New York City, but the energy being insured that all of the X-Men and Corbeau survived. The entity itself emerged from the shuttle calling itself Phoenix, and the X-Men believed it to be the real Jean Grey, who they believed had died and returned to life with vast new powers. Meanwhile, Grey's original human self remained in a coma-like state within a strange pod-like object while the phoenix-force's power gradually healed her injuries. She remained safe within the pod for years until she was finally found by the Avengers and revived from her coma-like state.
Shortly after the shuttle crash, Phoenix and the X-Men traveled to a planet in the Shi'ar Galaxy where the crazed Emperor D'ken was about to use the M'krann Crystal to obliterate the cosmos. The Crystal is a tesseract (hyperdimensional construct) within which this universe's scientific laws do not apply. Within the Crystal, imprisoned by a magnetic stasis field and reduced to the size of a pinprick, lies a so-called Neutron Galaxy, which is composed of neutron stars, whose super-compressed matter generates so much gravitational force that not even light can escape its surface. If the Crystal were cracked open, the entire universe would collapse upon itself due to the Neutron Galaxy's tremendous gravitational forces, and the universe would be sucked into a black hole. D'ken had triggered this destructive process, but Phoenix entered the Crystal and, drawing upon her full powers through love of the X-Men and Grey's innate courage, repaired the disintegrating stasis field, thus saving the cosmos.
Phoenix served as a member of the X-Men. But since Grey had never been trained to cope with such immense power as the Phoenix Force possessed, Phoenix, in human form, proved to have difficulty in dealing with her power. At first Grey's strong moral sense kept the Phoenix Force under control. After the episode with the Crystal, she subconsciously prevented herself from using her powers beyond a certain limit, lest she become overwhelmed by the intense passions that the use of the Phoenix's vast powers aroused in Phoenix's now-human consciousness.
Then Phoenix fell victim to the psionic manipulation of Mastermind, who was attempting to prove his worthiness to become a member of the secret Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club by mesmerizing Phoenix, whom he believed to be the real Grey, into becoming its new Black Queen. Using a device created by the White Queen, Mastermind projected dream-like fantasies into Phoenix's mind from afar which slowly brought closer to the surface of her now-human mind the dark desires which Grey, like most people, suppress deeply in their subconscious. Finally, upon confronting Phoenix in the Hellfire Club mansion itself, Mastermind forced those desires fully to the surface, submerging Grey's true personality within Phoenix's mind, and Phoenix took on the costume and personality of the decadent Black Queen.
Phoenix Force is linked to passion, she could not fully free herself of the sinister side of her personality which Mastermind had exposed. She helped free the X-Men, whom the Inner Circle had taken captive, and psionically induced temporary insanity in Mastermind. But as she and the X-Men escaped, she realized that the dark side of her personality, the phoenix-force's innate urge to destroy, was taking hold of her, and her human consciousness did not have the proper training to repress it. Suddenly the phoenix-force's primal urges overwhelmed Phoenix, submerging Grey's true personality even more fully than before, and Phoenix became the malevolent Dark Phoenix.
Hungering for more energy (due to the limitations of still being in physical form) shortly after her initial activity as Dark Phoenix, she transported herself to the star D'bari in the Shi'ar Galaxy and absorbed energy from it. As a result, the star became a super-nova, annihilating the sentient nonhumanoid populate of one of its planets. Dark Phoenix next destroyed a Shi'ar starship which had attacked her in retaliation for the non-humanoids' deaths. She returned to Earth and battled the X-Men. Cyclops tried to reason with her, appealing to the love Grey had for him, and thereby induced Grey's true personality to begin to rise again from beneath Dark Phoenix's insanity. Unfortunately, the X-Men's mentor, Professor Charles Xavier, caused her to revert fully to Dark Phoenix again by attacking her. But Cyclops had laid the groundwork for Phoenix's cure, and so, when Xavier used his full psionic power on Dark Phoenix to exorcise her insanity, the nearly buried duplicate of Grey's true personality was able to assert itself just enough to allow him to succeed. With Xavier's help, the uncorrupted side of Grey regained control of Phoenix.
Phoenix and the X-Men were immediately teleported aboard a Shi'ar starship commanded by the Shi'ar empress Lilandra, who judged it necessary to obliterate Phoenix's powers entirely lest she become Dark Phoenix again. Lilandra, like the X-Men, still believed that Phoenix was the real Jean Grey. Believing that they could find a way to prevent Phoenix's reversion to Dark Phoenix, and that she should not be punished for her actions as the insane Dark Phoenix, the X-Men decided to fight against Lilandra's judgement in a trial by combat against members of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. During the fury of the battle, in which she participated, Phoenix again reverted to Dark Phoenix. Grey's true personality reasserted itself in Phoenix's mind, but realized that if it lost control even for a few seconds, Phoenix would turn insane again. Without the proper training, she realized, she had no hope of maintaining that control. Moreover, once she turned insane, she might ultimately destroy the cosmos, probably by breaking open the M'krann Crystal. Therefore, before the eyes of the horrified Cyclops, Phoenix acted as the real Grey would do in such a situation: she telekinetically triggered an energy cannon she had found in the Blue Area of Earth's moon, where the trial by combat had taken place, causing it to fire and totally disintegrate her. Thus, although the real Jean Grey still lay in her coma-like state hidden from the real world, she won her greatest victory. Acting as she would have done, Phoenix commited suicide, thereby saving the universe.
But this suicide did not mean that the Phoenix Force itself ceased to exist. It simply meant that the phoenix-entity's existence in human form was over. The Phoenix Force is indestructible.
In an alternate reality the battle with Dark Phoenix had a very different ending. In that reality Phoenix did not revert to Dark Phoenix during the trial by combat, which the X-Men lost. Lilandra then subjected Phoenix to a kind of psychic lobotomy, which completely removed Phoenix's superhuman powers, thereby ending the menace Phoenix potentially posed to the universe. Hence, Phoenix did not commit suicide in this reality. Scott Summers and Phoenix were married, and had a daughter, Rachel, who inherited her mother's potential for the telepathic and telekinetic powers that Jean Grey possessed as Marvel Girl.
In the "mainstream" universe's reality the X-Men prevented Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly, an investigator of the alleged menace that superhuman mutants posed to society. However, in this alternate reality, the Brotherhood succeeded in killing Kelly. The assassination caused intense widespread public paranoia against mutants. In the next presidential election, a rabid anti-mutant candidate won. His administration unleashed Sentinel robots, giving them an open-ended program with overly broad parameters to eliminate the mutant menace permanently. The Sentinels decided that the best way to do so was to take over the United States. Over the following years the Sentinels killed or imprisoned within concentration camps virtually all known mutants and other superhuman beings within the United States and Canada. Finally the Sentinels controlled the entire North American continent.
One summer morning, when Rachel was still a child, the X-Men's base of operations, Professor Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Salem Center, Westchester County, New York State, was attacked and demolished by federal troops. The only survivor at the school was Rachel, whom the soldiers found by the side of Xavier's corpse. They used drugs to neutralize Rachel's developing psionic powers. Later, she was tortured and brainwashed in prison. Following extensive behavior modification, she became a mutant "hound," using her psionic powers to hunt down other mutants for the authorities, who would kill or imprison them. In the process, Rachel occasionally killed mutants herself, and it is known that some of those, who are as yet unidentified, were people she loved. Rachel's superiors branded her face with a grotesque pattern of tattoos to mark her as a "hound," and forced her to wear a leash. Rachel's grief and shame at what she was forced to do as a "hound," and her anguish over the deaths of her parents and other friends during the anti-mutant reign of terror has deeply scarred her soul, leaving her bitter and intolerant toward human beings who persecute mutants.
Eventually Rachel was placed in the South Bronx Mutant Containment Facility, a concentration camp. Rachel used her psionic powers to create the illusion in other people's minds that she does not bear the tattoos marking her as a "hound," thereby concealing her shame. In the camp she rejoined the surviving members of the X-Men. She was instrumental in their plan to end the Sentinels' reign by changing history. Summers used her psionic powers to exchange the consciousness and spirit of the adult Kate Pryde, a member of the X-Men, with that of Pryde's teenage self as she existed at a time just before the attempt on Kelly's life. (in "mainstream" reality, Pryde is the X-Man known as Shadowcat). It was hoped that the adult Kate, in her younger self's body at that earlier time, could warn the X-Men about the assassination attempt, and that the X-Men would foil it, thereby preventing the chain of events from occurring that led to the Sentinels' rule. However, history cannot be changed in this manner. Rachel, as it turned out, actually caused Kate to exchange psyches not with her younger self ("Kitty") in the past of her own reality, but with the Kitty of our own "mainstream" reality. Kate, in "mainstream" Kitty's body, succeeded in preventing Kelly's assassination in our own reality. She then returned to her own body in her own time and reality, causing Kitty's psyche to return to its proper time and reality as well. On her return, Kate found that other X-Men, except for Rachel, had all died in an attack on the Sentinels' Manhattan headquarters.
Kate Pryde still did not give up her vain hope of altering her reality's history. She hypnotized Summers into using her psionic powers to tap into the Phoenix Force and send herself back in time when Pryde said the words "Dark Phoenix." Thus Pryde hoped that Summers herself could change history. Together Pryde and Summers illegally entered the laboratory of Project Nimrod, which was the attempt to construct the most highly advanced Sentinel possible with the technology of that time. Pryde and Summers hoped to sabotage the project. Pursued by guards, Pryde and Summers locked themselves within the laboratory, whose walls were proofed against Pryde's power to phase through solid matter. Summers believed herself and Pryde to be trapped, but Pryde said the words that caused Summers to project herself back through time. Project Nimrod's creation, the Sentinel called Nimrod, then killed Pryde. Nimrod later went back in time to find Summers.
Summers found herself physically transported, body and mind, to a time shortly before the present. But like Kate's spirit, she had traveled not to the past of this "mainstream" reality. She went to Xavier's mansion, but could not bring herself to stay on realizing that she had come back to the wrong reality, and fled without identifying herself. She went to Manhattan, where she was pursued by the psychic vampire Selene. Summers was rescued by the X-Men, and joined their team. She eventually told the X-Men her story.
Rachel was shocked to learn of the supposed "death" of Jean Grey in this reality. (At this point the original Jean Grey had not yet been found and revived.) Visiting the home of Grey's parents while they were absent, Rachel found a Shi'ar holempathic matrix crystal that Lilandra had given them. The crystal was imbued with an imprint of the essence of Grey's personality. Refusing to believe that Jean Grey could be evil, as people claimed Phoenix was, Rachel decided to claim the name and power of Phoenix as her own birthright, and through her own actions to redeem the name Phoenix in this reality. (Rachel believed that the previous Phoenix in this reality was Jean Grey.) Rachel also believed that as the new Phoenix she could use her power to help her fellow mutants, and thereby atone for what she had done as a "hound" in her own reality. It was at this moment that she took the name of Phoenix while holding the crystal that Rachel first manifested about her the bird-shaped aura of energy associated with the previous Phoenix. It may be speculated that from that time on Rachel Summers was able to draw to a limited extent upon the power of the phoenix-force.
The alien Beyonder has hinted that Rachel could potentially become the equal in power of the previous Phoenix. Indeed, the Beyonder once granted Rachel the full power that the previous Phoenix had possessed, but he reclaimed it shortly thereafter.
Rachel has not yet told the Cyclops of this reality that his counterpart in her native reality was her father, but it has been speculated that Cyclops has deduced this himself.
Rachel's fellow X-Man, Wolverine, severely injured her to prevent her from vengefully murdering Selene in the heat of passion. Rachel was subsequently captured and rendered amnesiac by the extradimensional being.