Jean Grey has been one of the most popular and successful characters since her first introduction back in the 1960s. Often seen as the mother of the mutants, Grey was one of the original X-Men and Professor Charles Xavier’s right hand lady. Jean Grey is known for her compassion, empathy, strength, and nurturing, and because of this, Grey became the first lady of the Marvel universe.
Over the years, Grey has been the heart of the X-Men and their universe and she is often used as a councillor to the more troubled members of the X-Men team. However, over the years, Jean Grey has also been at the centre of some of the biggest storylines in comic book history, none more so than when she channelled the ancient and powerful Phoenix Force and became Dark Phoenix. During this time, Grey did many unspeakable and down right evil acts that shocked the very core of the mutant universe, as well as the Marvel universe as a whole. Whether it’s in the pages of the comic books or out there on the big screen in the ever so popular X-Men franchise, Jean Grey has not only been popular, but she’s also one of the most powerful comic book characters ever created. With this list we look at the 15 worst and darkest acts ever performed by Jean Grey, both in the comics and in the movies.
15. Killing Apocalypse
For our first entry on this list we turn to the movie world of the X-Men and in particular, the movie X-Men:Apocalypse. Although the 2016 movie wasn’t seen as the best or even most successful of the X-Men franchise, the movie still showed the side of Jean Grey that we all wanted to see and we got a little glimpse at what she is capable of.
After the ancient and powerful mutant Apocalypse had awakened and decided to wreak his havoc on our world, the X-Men were sent in to stop him. With the likes of Quicksilver, Beast, Mystique, Cyclops, Professor X, and Magneto all facing off against the mutant god, it was left up to Jean Grey to finish the job. Channelling the powerful Phoenix Force, Grey killed Apocalypse without thought or hesitation.
14. Killing Cyclops
Sticking with the movie versions of the X-Men universe with our next entry, one of the most difficult things that fans had to deal with in the original X-Men trilogy was the death of Scott Summers. As a whole, the third instalment of the X-Men movies, X-Men: Last Stand, had its problems and a lot of fans reacted to the conclusion of this trilogy badly.
One of those flaws was how easily and quickly Scott Summers was killed by Dark Phoenix. Having thought that Jean Grey was dead at the end of X-2, we were all hopeful that Last Stand would see Summers find his true love and help her. But as soon as she was found at the beginning of the movie, she killed Summers without a moment’s hesitation. Not only that, but his death didn’t hold any significances and it was a “blink and you missed it” scene, which was such a waste for such a big character.
13. Killing Professor X
In our last dip into the X-Men movie pond with this entry, sticking with the movie X-Men: Last Stand, we’ve already mentioned how flawed and disappointing that movie was, but another big moment is when Jean Grey, under the control of the Phoenix Force, killed her friend and mentor Professor Charles Xavier.
After being completely taken over by the Phoenix Force and going by Dark Phoenix, Grey is confronted at her childhood home by Professor X and in a true shocking and unexpected scene, she disintegrates him into nothing. All fans were shocked by not one but two murders at the hands of Grey. These deaths had such an impact on the X-Men movie universe that they have since been retconned and both characters find themselves back in the X-Men franchise.
12. Forcing Iceman To “Come Out”
Next we come to a more recent line of comic books. All New X-Men sees X-Men favorites, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast and Iceman being taken out of their teenage life and thrust into the modern world. The stories and characters in this new line have a different take on the X-Men world, as it’s told from their teenage selves who are still growing and learning to deal with their powers.
Out of all the storylines that All New X-Men has done, a truly bad move by Jean Grey is when she forced Iceman to “out himself.” The inclusion of mainstream gay comic book characters has been very welcome, if still not a long way behind the times, but to do it as she did it was just plain wrong. After Iceman was bragging about how hot his teacher was, Grey read his mind, saw that he was gay, and then forced him out. This was a huge violation by Grey, and although this act isn’t on par with murder, it’s still a pretty damaging and bad thing for her to do.
11. Love Triangles
Over the years and in both comic books and movies, Jean Grey has been at the centre of a lot of romantic encounters. Throughout most of her time, Jean Grey has been linked to Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. Yet this hasn’t stopped her from getting involved with plenty of other characters. There has always been some chemistry between her and Wolverine, and she has acted on those feelings a few times.
But even away from Wolverine, Jean Grey has had her fair share. Not just content with playing Cyclops and Wolverine against each other, in All New X-Men, teenage Jean Grey has gotten her teeth into Beast, and in other comic book storylines she has been with Angel and Miles Morals. Not only that, but she played and toyed with them. We are all for strong women, but this doesn’t fit into the morally high Jean Grey that we’ve come to know and love.
10. Her Treatment Of Scott Summers
As we’ve just mentioned on this list, Jean Grey hasn’t always been the nicest to Scott Summers. For decades now, Cyclops and Jean Grey have been one of the most popular superhero couples out there and a staple of comic book romances.
However, as well as Jean Grey’s often wandering hands, and mouth, she has also tormented and tortured her great love and partner. The two have been through everything together; they’ve been X-Men, they’ve been married and had a child, but it has not been plain sailing. The worst thing she has probably ever done to Summers is when she refused to marry him the first time he asked. In fact she turned him done several times, most of those times before he’d actually asked as she read his mind. Yet with all these no’s, she still turned to him and relied on him when she needed something.
9. Wolverine And Spider-Man Mind Swap
Revenge can be a dangerous thing, especially when you have the power that Jean Grey has. This was seen in all its glory when Jean Grey wanted to get back at Wolverine. Instead of taking her anger out on Wolverine, she decided to involve everyone’s favorite hero, and innocent bystander, Spider-Man, into her grand revenge plan.
The truth is that this storyline is possibly one of the worst and darkest storylines that Marvel has ever published and Jean Grey was at the centre of it. After Wolverine had gotten too aggressive with her, Grey decided to get revenge on him by swapping his mind with Peter Parker’s. In her mind it may have been a seemingly silly and even fun way to get revenge, particularly as Parker was a teenager. But once Wolverine had found out what happened, he embraced his new body, went after the young teenage Mary Jane Watson, and he did something to her that she won’t speak of. The whole story is messed up and Jean Grey set everything in motion.
8. Rejecting Her Daughter
For many many years Jean Grey has been seen as the mother to the X-Men. She is always kind, loving, and helpful and she would never turn anyone away if they needed help. So when she has her own daughter, you’d think that she’d be the perfect mother, but how wrong we all were.
After the Phoenix Saga, which left Jean Grey dead, she would soon be resurrected and put back in the X-Men universe. Once she was back she was faced with her daughter Rachel Summers. Ok, so Rachel was Grey’s daughter from a future timeline, but this is the X-Men Universe and time travel and parallel worlds are par for the course. Rachel had travelled through time and realities because she wanted to be with her mother and spend some time with her. However, Jean Grey point blank refused to even speak to her daughter let alone spend time with her. All of this was because the Phoenix Force also ran strongly within Rachel, but instead of helping or guiding her, Jean refused to see her daughter and left Rachel crushed and alone.
7. Torturing Emma Frost
We’ve mentioned a lot on this list about Jean Grey’s tendencies to wander off with different men and we’ve also mentioned what she can do when she wants revenge. For this entry we turn to her loving partner Scott Summers and the time he cheated on Jean Grey. Well, he sort of cheated on her, as Summers and the White Queen, aka Emma Frost, engaged in a drawn out “psychic affair.”
When Jean found out she was not pleased and went after Emma Frost in a big way. Using her vast mental and psychic powers, as well as a boost from The Phoenix Force, Grey tortured Emma Frost. Jean Grey forced Emma Frost to relive her worst, scariest, and most painful nightmares again and again and again. Not only that, but Grey relished every moment, and enjoyed doing it. Many may say that Jean Grey had every right to get back at Emma Frost, but this was a seriously messed up and dark way for Jean Grey to get her revenge.
6. Capturing The X-Men
Many bad things have happened to Jean Grey and even more have been caused by her, especially under the guise of Dark Phoenix. A lot of what happened to her can be traced back to when the Phoenix Force first started to bond with her and how people around her manipulated her. When she first started to bond with the Phoenix Force, it was The Hellfire Club, and in particular Mastermind, that took control of Jean Grey and forced her to do some bad things against the X-Men.
One of her first acts was to kidnap the X-Men, and many fans will argue that she may not have been controlled by Mastermind as much as it seemed as she appeared to relish at her new found power and control. However, whether Mastermind had full control over her or not, once his plan had been played out, Dark Phoenix, as she called herself now, became enraged with everyone. Fleeing after Mastermind’s control faded, Dark Phoenix left the X-Men and, actually, the galaxy itself, as she sought to be alone.
5. Marvel Noir
It’s very common within the Marvel universe, and in particular, the X-Men universe, to have alternate timelines, storylines, and comic books. One of the more interesting and different comic books that Marvel tried was their Marvel Noir series. The interesting thing about their Noir series is that they took existing Marvel heroes and made them normal people in a noir setting.
In the X-Men Noir series, the X-Men are a group of delinquents and runaways that Charles Xavier uses and exploits for his criminal needs. In this reality Jean Grey is depicted as a complete sociopath and psychopath. She fakes her own death, after killing Rogue and pretending to be her for a while, and throughout this run, Jean Grey was depicted as evil. There was no reason for this, she just was. Although this was an alternate reality and a different comic book series, it’s still hard to see Jean Grey’s character and name to be portrayed in such a dark and compassionless way.
4. The Start Of Dark Phoenix
For many years, Jean Grey was the heart and soul of the X-Men and it looked to stay that way forever. That is until the Uncanny X-Men comic books. However, the change she went through, and the resulting devastation she would cause, all started in a traditional Jean Grey sacrificing moment. When piloting the ship back through a radiation storm, Grey insists that everyone gets into a radiation proof cell so they can be safe while she pilots the ship back to Earth. The issue ends with her seemingly about to die by sacrificing herself for her teammates. This act was both shocking and fitting for the character. But what came next is the start of a transformation that Jean Grey could never come back from.
The next issue started with the ship crashing and Jean Grey apparently dead, and of course, everyone is upset and devastated. But as they start to deal with their grief, Jean Grey emerges from the wreckage in a new costume and declares herself Dark Phoenix as she has fully bonded with the Phoenix Force. Unknown to us fans, this is the point in which Jean Grey, and the X-men universe, would never be the same again.
3. Killing The Hellfire Club
We’ve already mentioned on this list that Marvel like to throw up alternative timelines and comic books every once and awhile. A big alternate title for Marvel was their Ultimate series. In this timeline the Hellfire Club tried to separate The Phoenix Force from Jean Grey, after they believed The Phoenix Force to be a god and that Jean Grey wasn’t worthy of its power.
However, in trying to do this, The Hellfire Club truly annoyed Jean Grey and she took her vengeance out on them. First, she stole all their money, then she started playing with their minds and erasing their memories before she finally killed them. The Ultimate version of Jean Grey was very unpredictable and not well received with fans. Luckily when the Ultimate timeline and the mainstream Marvel timeline merged after the Secret Wars story arc, we got back the original and better Jean Grey, to the delight of everyone.
2. Killing Herself
We’ve already mentioned on this list just how compassionate, loving, and giving the character of Jean Grey can be. Not only is she those things, but she has proved time and again that she would willingly put her life on the line to save others. In possibly one of the most heartbreaking and defining moments of Jean Grey’s life, she did just that.
As the Dark Phoenix Saga came to an end, Jean grey knew that there was nothing she could do to stop this powerful force from destroying everything. After all, she had already done so much damage as Dark Phoenix. So in true Jean Grey form, she knew that the only way to end it was to kill herself and therefore rid the universe of the Phoenix Force. It was truly a staggering and shocking moment in the X-Men universe and although as Dark Phoenix, Grey had done so much destruction, to see her as Jean Grey and to make the ultimate sacrifice was a truly dark moment, but one of the most beautiful in any comic book.
The number one entry on the darkest things that Jean Grey has ever done, has to be one of the worst acts that any comic book character has ever committed. The Dark Phoenix Saga saw Jean Grey, as Dark Phoenix, perform some pretty devastating things. But none come as tragic as the time she wiped out an entire race of beings.
After using her power to do some pretty horrible things, Dark Phoenix needed to replenish her power so she absorbed an entire sun in order to get back her power. This resulted in a supernova that destroyed the planet of the D’Bari race and wiped them all out in one devastating act. This single act would forever change Jean Grey as her transformation from loving hero to horrendous villain was complete and fans still talk about this moment now as being one of the darkest and most tragic moments Marvel have ever featured in their comics.
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