Hailing from dystopian future reality Earth-811 where Sentinels reign and mutants are hunted, Rachel Summers, a brainwashed mutant telepath, is the hunter. Breaking free of her programming, she teams up with surviving X-Men and rebels against the Sentinels by changing history. Doing so lands her in reality Earth-616, a divergent timeline, where the Phoenix Force, once bound to this reality’s Jean Grey, bonds to her. With access to the cosmic entity, Rachel then joins the X-Men and takes the codename Marvel Girl.
Days of Future Past
In the alternate future of Earth-811, Senator Robert Kelly’s assassination by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants inflames anti-mutant paranoia, bringing an anti-mutant president to office, who sponsors giant mutant-hunting robot Sentinels as a means to counter the mutant threat. The daughter of mutant heroes Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, and Jean Grey, AKA Phoenix, Rachel Summers grew up at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, befriending fellow mutant Franklin Richards, the son of the Fantastic Four’s Reed and Susan Richards.
When Rachel’s psychic powers manifest at puberty, she joins the New Mutants training team. Eventually, the Sentinels’ open-ended programming concludes that the best way to deal with the mutant menace is to take over America, and kill or imprison virtually all known North American mutants, and then the non-mutant superhumans. During this period, Rachel’s mother dies in a nuclear explosion caused by Jason Wyngarde, AKA Mastermind. In response, the government outlaws mutants, and the military attacks Xavier’s school, leaving Rachel as one of the few survivors. Captured and drugged to neutralize her powers, Rachel suffers through torture and brainwashing for months by the sadistic cyborg Rory Campbell, AKA Ahab, the leader of the government’s anti-mutant forces. By her late teens, Rachel is forced to use her telepathy to hunt down other mutants, her face tattooed to mark her as a “Hound.”
Rachel is deeply disturbed by the deaths of her parents and all she knows as well as horrified by her own actions as a Hound. Her mental state becomes additionally strained through being mentally connected to her mutant prey as they are killed by Ahab’s forces. During one sadistic torture session imposed on her by Ahab, the pain helps Rachel break her brainwashing, letting her rebel and attack Ahab, permanently scarring his face.
No longer of use as a Hound, Rachel is ultimately placed in the South Bronx Mutant Containment Facility, where she and the surviving X-Men plot to end the Sentinels’ reign by changing history. There, she is reunited with Franklin Richards, and the two fall in love. Using her powers, Rachel exchanges the psyche of adult X-Man Katherine “Kate” Pryde with that of Pryde’s teenage self, Kitty Pryde, at a time just before the attempt on Kelly’s life. However, unknown to all, Rachel and Kate access a divergent timeline (Reality-616), so although Kate saves Kelly in the past, her own reality remains unchanged. During Kate’s journey into the past, the other X-Men die fighting the Sentinels, including Franklin, who was linked to Rachel’s mind when he dies.
Investigating why Rachel and Kate’s efforts did not succeed in changing their reality, Rachel sends her astral self into that past as well, also arriving in Reality-616. While floating above New York City, Rachel’s meditative astral form is found by the Phoenix Force, a powerful cosmic force that had been linked to Jean Grey of Earth-616. Fascinated by Rachel, the alternate reality child of Grey, the Force reads her mind and, impressed by Rachel’s resilience, sends a portion of itself into the future of Reality-811 with Rachel. The Force meets Kate Pryde after Rachel passes out from the strain of time travel. Kate bargains with the Force to save Rachel from the Sentinel’s rule; it agrees to boost Rachel’s powers so she could physically travel back in time. The next day, unaware of this deal, Rachel accompanies Kate in breaking into the Project Nimrod laboratory to sabotage an advanced Sentinel’s construction. After planting a nuclear device, Kate prompts the Phoenix Force to send Rachel back in time. The Nimrod Sentinel blasts Kate, and, leaving her for dead as the bomb detonates, travels back in time to find Rachel.
Meanwhile, Rachel arrives in Reality-616’s modern age, and encounters a young man, Nicholas Damiano, who offers her shelter. When the psychic vampire Selene Gallio, AKA Selene, of the Hellfire Club discovers Rachel, she desires to enslave her. In tracking her down, she comes upon Nicholas and kills him. When Rachel finds out, she swears vengeance.
While Rachel’s memories of her own time’s horrific events are suppressed by the Phoenix Force lying dormant within her, Rachel soon overcomes this suppression and is invited to attend Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X’s school.
Telepathic and Telekinetic Powers
Rachel has vast telepathic and telekinetic powers. She can read minds, project her thoughts into other minds, cast telepathic mental bolts to stun others, cast psionic illusions (such as masking her facial tattoos), track others via sensing their thoughts, rearrange others’ thoughts and project her astral form out of her body. She can mentally levitate matter (including herself, thus allowing her to “fly”) and generate telekinetic shields. She can also project psyches (including her own) into the timestream.
When linked with the Phoenix Force, her abilities are enhanced to their ultimate levels, limited only by her force of will and breadth of imagination. As Phoenix, she has manipulated matter on an atomic and universal scale, generated and controlled any form of energy in virtually any conceivable amount, absorbed energy from sources as great as a supernova, manipulated time and space, created space warps for instantaneous travel, and enhanced her strength to immeasurable levels.
Rachel has some experience in sword fighting, lock picking, vehicular repair and the use of advanced weaponry and technology.
In Rachel’s home reality, Earth-811, the cyborg Ahab is the leader of the government's anti-mutant forces. He tortures and brainwashes her into hunting down other mutants, and has her face tattooed to mark her as one of his “hounds”. Though she eventually breaks free from her programming and scars him.
The sorceress Rita Wayword, AKA Spiral, tricks Rachel and takes her to the Mojoworld dimension. While there, she is enslaved by the ruler of that realm, Mojo. Through the Omniversal Guardian Roma helps connect Rachel to her former teammates, Kurt Wagner, AKA Nightcrawler and Earth-616’s Kate “Kitty” Pryde, and she escapes.
The psychic vampire Selene Gallio of the Hellfire Club desires to enslave Rachel. Selene kills one of Rachel’s early allies on Earth-616, and Rachel swears vengeance. She tries to execute her but is stopped and later defeats Selene when saving fellow X-Man, Tessa, AKA Sage.
Close Ties and Super-Team Allies
In Rachel’s home reality, she shares a romantic relationship with Franklin Richards, but when she tries to change history and succeeds, her future goes unchanged and Franklin dies. Rachel encounters him again when his astral self tries to drain life from her and Earth-616’s young Franklin Richards. Though he stops, eventually accepting his death.
In reality Earth-616 while Rachel investigates why her timeline went unchanged, the Phoenix Force discovers her. The Phoenix Force is a powerful cosmic force that becomes fascinated by Rachel, and in bonding with her, Rachel can access the force, enhancing her abilities.
She also meets her parents on Earth-616, Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, and Jean Grey, the former Phoenix, but they aren’t truly her kin as hers were from an alternate future reality. They become the closest thing she has to parents despite the time it takes for Jean to accept her. Rachel sees Cyclops’ son Nathan Summers, AKA Cable, as her brother and they often help one another.
In Rachel’s home reality of Earth-811, she is a part of the New Mutants to train and hone her abilities. Later, against her will, she is forced to join Ahab’s Hounds, mutants that hunt other mutants. Though she escapes Ahab’s torturous brainwashing and when she is transported to Earth-616, she joins the X-Men, and later the X-Treme Sanctions Executive (XSE). She later joins super teams Excalibur and Starjammers. While teaming up with Excalibur, she and Kitty Pryde become roommates and close friends.