Comics
Published June 13, 2019

From Marvel Girl to Phoenix: Jean Grey’s 10 Most Memorable Costumes

Jean Grey’s best looks while wielding the cosmic powers of the Phoenix.

When Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum reintroduced Jean Grey as the Phoenix in the classic X-MEN #101, they redefined the visual language for one of Marvel’s original heroes. It’s not incorrect to say that Jean had achieved “goddess mode,” even though it would later be revealed that the Phoenix wasn’t really Jean – at least not at the time.

When Jean reclaimed the role of Phoenix in the ‘90s, she incorporated the design elements of the first costume into a few new outfits that deserve recognition.

10. Here Comes Tomorrow

Jean Grey Phoenix
NEW X-MEN (2001) #154

In the far future of Grant Morrison’s NEW X-MEN, the resurrected Jean Grey wore a stylized Dark Phoenix top and black pants. The most memorable part of this look was when Jean’s entire body and hair seemed to be comprised of flames. Phoenix always claimed to be “fire and life incarnate.” This time, she really was.

9. Revolution

Jean Grey Revolution
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #382

For while in the ‘90s, Jean reclaimed the Phoenix name and proudly wore the original costume. But during the “X-Men: Revolution” era, Jean debuted a Phoenix costume that was all her own. Jean decided to use the colors of the Dark Phoenix, while adding knee pads and bare shoulders to her costume.

8. Marvel Girl

Jean in Marvel Girl costume
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #137

You can’t go home again. Although Phoenix-Jean wanted to put her Dark Phoenix days behind her, the Shi’ar had other ideas. To prepare for her trial by combat, Phoenix chose to wear the classic Marvel Girl uniform. It’s a lovely Silver Age costume, but the exposed legs aren’t very combat friendly. This was more of a holdover from Jean’s early days, before she truly found the power inside of herself.

7. Dark Phoenix

Jean as Dark Phoenix
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #135

Don’t get us wrong, the Dark Phoenix costume is a sharp outfit. Replacing the Phoenix green with the Dark Phoenix red really makes it pop on the page. The problem is that it’s impossible to look at it and not think about the time Dark Phoenix committed cosmic genocide, beat the X-Men, and terrorized Jean’s family. But the Grey women did kind of love this costume. Rachel Grey briefly used it as her own Phoenix outfit near the end of her days with Excalibur.

6. Black Queen

Jean as the Black Queen
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #132

Have you ever noticed that when Phoenix became the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen that she suddenly had a mole on the left side of her face? Was that fake mole a part of the costume? We’ve been wondering about that for decades!

As for the outfit itself, it’s definitely a costume that screams “evil temptress.” The cape and the rose combined with the collar and Jean’s revamped hairstyle are really striking.

5. Atlantean costume

Jean in Atlantis
BIZARRE ADVENTURES (1981) #27

Phoenix’s brief sojourn to the underwater realm is largely forgotten. Although there’s a reason why Jean’s story in BIZARRE ADVENTURES #27 is almost always reprinted with the DARK PHOENIX saga: It’s a great tale about Jean’s bond with her sister Sara after the pair were kidnapped by Attuma to be his new consorts.

Jean’s outfit wouldn’t look out of place in Conan’s era, except that she was also turned into an Atlantean with blue skin. But Jean didn’t let her new costume stop her from kicking Attuma’s butt while rescuing herself and her sister.

4. Casual Friday

Jean in jeans
NEW X-MEN (2001) #134

During the NEW X-MEN era, Jean and the Phoenix were once again truly joined as one. But rather than going back to her famous costume, Jean started wearing a Phoenix tee-shirt in place of her standard uniform top. It says a lot about the appeal of that Phoenix design that the casual look still made Jean appear so powerful – but a lot of that power comes from Jean and the way she carried herself.

3. New X-Men

Headmaster Jean
NEW X-MEN (2001) #120

Jean’s standard outfit in the NEW X-MEN era is a fairly simple design compared to her previous costumes. Black leather combined with a stylized “X” shirt and a jacket gave Jean a costume that didn’t feel too far removed from reality. It also gave Jean a more authoritative air, as she took on a larger role within the X-Men. This was when Charles Xavier announced his plans to step down as Headmaster and named Jean his successor.

2. White Phoenix of the Crown

White Phoenix
X-MEN: PHOENIX - ENDSONG (2005) #5

In many ways, the White Phoenix of the Crown is the ultimate expression of Jean’s evolution as the Phoenix. After moving past Dark Phoenix and her regular persona, Jean reached the next stage of her progression with a costume that completely removed the green and the red. Instead, Jean’s White Phoenix outfit lived up its name and proved to be a worthy look for a woman who had moved past the limits of good and evil.

1. Classic Phoenix

Classic Phoenix
X-MEN (1963) #101

From the moment she flew out of Jamaica Bay, Jean’s original Phoenix costume has withstood the test of time. The outfit’s green and yellow colors retained Jean’s preferred palette while taking her look in a bold new direction. Even the sash works! To give you an idea of how classic this costume is, Jean readopted it in the ‘90s when she was neither cosmically empowered nor the Phoenix in more than name. She just liked the outfit and wanted to reclaim Phoenix’s legacy for herself.

Which is your favorite of Jean Grey’s looks over the years, Marvelites? Let us know on any of our social channels with the hashtag #XMen! Find Marvel on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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