Roughly 500 years ago, the intergalactic Shi'ar outlaw Rook'shir was bounded to the cosmic power of the Phalkon (a.k.a. the Phoenix Force), allegedly the first male and first Shi'ar to host it. Using his gigantic sword as a focus, Rook'shir destroyed worlds, killing billions before the newly formed Shi'ar Imperial Guard slew him. Discovering that a remnant of the Phalkon's power remained bonded to the sword, and that only Rook'shir's blood relatives could wield the so-called Blade of the Phoenix, the Shi'ar Ministry sought to exterminate Rook'shir's relatives. Though the Ministry kept Rook'shir's true story quiet, rumors spawned the monstrous legend of the Phoenix that all the Shi'ar came to fear.
In recent years, Imperial Vice Chancellor K'tor killed Rook'shir's last known decedents, sparing the half-Shi'ar child Korvus in case K'tor needed someone to wield the Blade of the Phoenix someday. Until then he turned Korvus over to the Shi'ar soldiers to be abused, enslaved and trained as a starship mechanic. As an adult, Korvus was jailed for several years for unrevealed crimes in the empires highest security prison . When a rouge mission to kill all the relatives of former Phoenix host Marvel Girl (Rachel Grey) failed, K'tor made a deal with Korvus to kill Grey in return for K'tor's commuting his sentence. K'tor had an explosive implanted in Korvus' head set to detonate if Korvus attacked any Shi'ar during his mission, then gave Korvus the Blade. In Korvus' hands the Blade came to life, opening his mind to its previous wielders' lives and teaching him how to use it. Using the Blade to link to the Phoenix Force to locate Grey, Korvus confronted Grey and her fellow X-Men, but Grey grasp the Blade and its' powers merged their minds, sharing each others lives. Grey dismantled Korvus implant, freeing him from K'tor's authority.
Meanwhile, the X-Men's founder Professor Charles Xavier was kidnapped by a pair of Shi'ar warriors that stole Korvus' ship to deliver him to K'tor. While helping the X-Men prepare their ship for hyperspace pursuit, Korvus and Grey found their mindmerge had left them strongly attracted to each other physically, and they acted on it, despite their reservations. Korvus, the X-Men and the intergalactic Starjammers teamed up to rescue the deposed Shi'ar Majestrix Lilandra from her executioners, and they recruited the exiled Shi'ar war hero Major-General Ka'ardum. the veteran warrior helped to counter the rising political power of Lilandra's brother D'Ken. Korvus then helped the two teams rescue Xavier from execution by Vulcan's hands, but the victory was bitter sweet due to the lost of the Starjammers leader Corsair. Havok assumed leadership of the Starjammers. Korvus joined Havoc and his fellow X-Men Polaris and Grey to oppose Vulcan's rule, after his murder of D'Ken. Together they foiled the schemes of the mysterious alien Scy'ar tal.