Published November 3, 2017

Jean Grey and Emma Frost Are Ready for a Mental Showdown

With the Phoenix on its way, Jean has a lot to deal with.

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Jean Grey is trapped in the mind of her greatest rival: the White Queen herself, Emma Frost! What started as a training exercise to prepare herself for the arrival of the Phoenix Force — ever on the horizon for a terrified young Jean — dissolves into a fight of two psionic powerhouses for dominance and mere survival.

Emma said she’d help Jean to train, but at the back of her head is always that tension. Unfortunately for Jean, the back of Emma’s head is right smack where she ends up. Only Dennis Hopeless and Victor Ibanez know how she will she escape from “Psych War Part 2” in JEAN GREY #9!

And all the while… the Phoenix is coming. Hopeless spoke to about what’s next for Jean. Word on the street is that the Phoenix is on the way… how does Jean feel about that?

Dennis Hopeless: It’s funny, with PHOENIX RESURRECTION on the horizon, everyone is talking about the return of the Phoenix… but our Jean has been telling people since issue #1. She’s been bouncing around the Marvel Universe trying to prepare herself for the firebird’s return, learning from various heroes and villains, filling out her arsenal and strengthening her resolve. Now after a run-in with Doctor Strange, she’s being haunted by what appears to be the ghost of her older long-dead self. As I think anyone who reads Previews can guess, everything is coming to a head very soon. So much of Jean’s story in this series is her debating destiny versus free will. Which school of thought do you subscribe to?

Dennis Hopeless: I definitely subscribe the concepts of luck and privilege and whatnot; we’re all products of our origins to some degree. I don’t personally chalk much up to destiny, though.  I think we make choices that send us in certain directions, but to some degree we’re all bouncing around in the chaos. That’s obviously not the case with Jean, but she has writers trying to make her life interesting and meaningful. What aspects of Jean and Emma’s fraught relationship do you find most compelling as a writer?

Dennis Hopeless: Perspective is the most interesting thing about those two. Emma has been Jean’s villain over the years obviously and they’re occasionally allies. But when it comes down to it, the good and evil of their situation all depends on who is holding the camera. Superheroes can be very black and white. It’s one of the backbones of the genre… but I love writing in that grey area.

We actually address Jean and Emma’s strange dichotomy directly in a conversation between them in issue #9. Despite all the different minds she’s poked around in over the years, Jean can really only see the world through her own eyes. Emma’s version is a little different. The relationship between Jean and Emma Frost has always been tenuous at best, but how are they alike?

Dennis Hopeless: I think they actually have a lot in common. They’re both brilliant, powerful telepaths. They’re passionate teachers and fiercely loyal friends. They both take teaching very seriously. You wouldn’t to face off with either one of them in a street fight… and then of course there’s Scott. The Phoenix Force has been portrayed and represented so many different ways by different writers over the years. How do YOU interpret the Phoenix Force?

Dennis Hopeless: We’ve tried to focus on the through line between all of those representations. What is this god creature firebird? What does it want? Why does it keep coming back for Jean after all these years?

We’ll dig deeper into all of this as the series moves forward, but I think my biggest takeaway is that The Phoenix is neither good nor evil. It simply IS… life and death and rebirth all at once. Power incarnate. How does Victor Ibanez’s art capture the spirit of the story you set out to tell?

Dennis Hopeless: Victor creates such fully formed characters and worlds in his pages. Everything is so 3-dimensional and 360 degrees. You feel like you’re actually underwater or fighting cyborgs in the dusty desert wind WITH Jean! He also nails every expression. His acting is just incredible and every character is so distinct. Victor’s depiction of Jean and Hope meeting for the first time is one of my favorite pages ever. What would happen if you became a host of the Phoenix Force? World domination? Unlimited Twizzlers? Exploded brain? All? Some? None?

Dennis Hopeless: Oh God… Either a very sad and fiery nervous breakdown or Armageddon. No real person should be trusted with that much power, least of all ME!

Follow along on the adventure with JEAN GREY #9 by Dennis Hopeless and Victor Ibanez — available November 29!