Jean's powers first manifested at the age of ten when her telepathy was prematurely triggered when her best friend Annie Richardson was hit by a car. As Annie lay dying, Jean instinctively linked to her mind and the trauma of experiencing her friend's death nearly killed Jean as well. The incident left Jean in a coma.
For three years, her parents sought the expertise of specialists to rouse Jean out of her catatonic state but only one, Professor Charles Xavier, was able to help. He realized that Jean's young mind could not cope with her telepathy yet so he decided to mentally block her access to this ability, allowing it to evolve at the natural pace it would have save for Annie's tragic death. Even though Jean continued living with her parents until she was a teenager, she had many training sessions with Xavier.
When she became a teenager, she left her parents and began attending Xavier's "School for Gifted Youngsters" and joined the X-Men under the name of Marvel Girl. She was the only female founding member of the team. At first, Jean could only use her telekinesis to lift an equivalent weight to what she could lift physically. Exceeding this limit would result in strain that would culminate in her loss of consciousness.
Jean and Cyclops both had a crush on each other, but neither were aware of the other's feelings. Cyclops was afraid to get close to anyone, lest his powers hurt that person. He also felt that he was no match for Angel, who Jean was dating at the time. Once, Jean had a date with Angel, but insisted on taking Cyclops along, which confused and frustrated both men.
Jean eventually left the school to enlist in Metro College where Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, also attended. She would continue to assist the X-Men on a regular basis, but did not continue living at the X-Mansion. The theme of her seeking tertiary education would provide a number of later X-Men subplots. Jean would later design new uniforms for the team.
Angel decided that Jean was not actually interested in him and started a relationship with his old friend Candace "Candy" Southern. Jean and Cyclops later admitted they were in love with each other and started dating openly.
Requiring seclusion while he prepared to deal with a forthcoming invasion of Earth by the alien Z'nox, Xavier had the mutant Changeling impersonate him in order to supervise the X-Men in Xavier's absence, telling only Jean of his plan and swearing her to secrecy. However, the Changeling, as Xavier, died heroically in action, and Xavier felt obliged to continue the pretense of his death.
Fred Duncan, the X-Men's FBI liaison, considered the united team to present an easy target for "the ever-growing population of evil mutants" and felt the X-Men would be more effective acting as individuals and spread across the United States. At the same time, Professor X's will confirmed that his estate would serve as a charitable trust with each of the five active X-Men a trustee, to ensure that they would need to stay in contact with each other. Jean and Cyclops remained in New York while Beast and Iceman relocated to California. Angel remained mobile across the United States. The X-Men would later reunite.
Jean later completed her college education and found employment as a model. Her first assignments were swimsuit presentations. At this time, Jean was introduced to Polaris and they soon became friends. Jean was also introduced to Alexander "Alex" Summers, Cyclops' younger brother, who was just graduating from college. He would soon serve with the X-Men as Havok.
Xavier was later revealed to the others to be alive, as he had them help them defeat the Z'Nox.
Many months later, after Xavier had recruited a new team of X-Men to help save the others from, most senior members left and so did Jean, who involuntarily found herself attracted to new member Wolverine. She still remained in contact with the X-Men, and became good friends with the new teammate Storm.
Later while meeting with Cyclops, Jean was abducted by Sentinels along with Wolverine and Banshee and taken to a space station in orbit around Earth. The other X-Men later came and rescued the three from the Sentinels.
Returning from space, Grey attempted to pilot a shuttle back to Earth during one of the worst solar storms in history. The shuttle was unshielded and Grey would have died were it not for the intervention of the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix force. The shuttle crashed into Jamaica Bay. Jean seemingly emerged from its remnants, imbued with vast cosmic powers. It was later retconned that Jean was actually placed into a coma in a cocoon in the depths of Jamaica Bay and the Phoenix adopted her identity as a heroine who claimed to be Jean and was so convincing an imposter that not even Professor X could detect the difference.
Phoenix believed herself to be Grey and she and Cyclops continued their relationship, until Phoenix lost control of her powers after being manipulated by Mastermind, and eventually committed suicide. The Dark Phoenix Saga, the lengthy story of the decline and fall of Phoenix, by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, is regarded as one of the best comics stories of the 1970s.
Grey's survival was revealed when the original X-Men formed X-Factor, which she joined when she emerged from her coma. Cyclops, in the meantime, had married her double (later revealed as her clone), Madelyne Pryor. When Scott left Pryor for Jean she felt distraught and betrayed. Goblins used her despair to make her the Goblin Queen. She died in battle with Jean after she (becoming suicidal upon the discovery of her being a clone) linked their minds together and killed herself, hoping the link would kill Jean as well (it did not).
As a result, Cyclops and Grey were able to resume their relationship, and eventually married. Shortly thereafter, she resumed using the name Phoenix as an attempt to redeem both the entity and herself in her mind, and also to honor her "daughter" from a future parallel world, Rachel Summers, who at the time was believed to be dead.
The list of the Twelve had both Jean and Cyclops on it. Jean and Cyclops decided to help the X-Men in this turning-point battle and in the end, Cyclops apparently perished as he merged with the villain Apocalypse. Jean then began a search for her lost husband with her adopted son Cable. They found him and Jean separated Cyclops from Apocalypse's spirit.
A combination of Jean's new duties as headmistress, her re-emerging Phoenix powers, and Scott's temporary merger with the evil mutant Apocalypse drove a wedge between the couple. Cyclops and Jean started to have marital problems; Cyclops tried to show Jean that he needed to talk about his feelings of boredom with his own personality after being possessed by Apocalypse, though he didn't know how to talk to her. Their relationship became further strained when Jean began showing signs of the Phoenix Force, which Cyclops thought would lead to another disaster.
Cyclops then turned to Emma Frost to talk. Emma seduced Cyclops and began to have a psychic affair with him. When Jean walked in on the two in bed, a psychic battle erupted between the two telepaths, with Jean using the full extent of her powers on Emma. This led to Cyclops briefly walking out on both Jean and the X-Men. Upon his return, in the storyline Planet X, Xorn in the guise of Magneto attacked the X-Men, and battled Jean. In spite of her incredible power as the Phoenix, Xorn was able to mortally injure Jean by manipulating the iron in her blood and inducing a planetary-scale stroke within her. As she died in Scott's arms, she told him she forgave him.
Jean was then resurrected in the last arc of New X-Men: "Here Comes Tomorrow", bearing the Phoenix entity once again. This future timeline went wrong when Scott Summers decided to decline the offer of Emma Frost to once again open up Xavier's Institute. Hank McCoy then takes up the dubious burden of re-opening the school and under the pressure, begins taking the drug “Kick”. The villain John Sublime possesses Hank McCoy through “Kick” and he is driven insane by it. Jean comes in time to stop Hank from destroying the world with the Phoenix. She then transcends into the “White Room” with all the other Phoenix hosts, but not before sending her husband Scott Summers a mental push to accept Emma Frost’s offer and affections.
Somehow knowing her fate before she died, she made a holoempathic imprint of her full essence, and everything that she was, for her daughter, Rachel "Grey" Summers. She did this so that no matter what happened to her body, her soul would always be with Rachel.
Recently, the Shi'ar resurrected the Phoenix entity in hopes of destroying it while it was relatively weak. The entity managed to escape and fled to Earth, where it needed a host to sustain itself. After possessing a firefly and running into Wolverine, the entity resurrected Jean and bonded with her once more.
Jean realized that the Phoenix was resurrected too early and as a result was mentally unbalanced. She had a confrontation with the X-Men before teleporting Wolverine to the North Pole, where she had him stab her several times, leaving the Phoenix entity weakened and allowing her to once again gain control. Jean then plunged herself through the ice, freezing instantly. When the X-Men arrived, Wolverine told them that Jean was "dead. Or as close as she can get." When the Phoenix entity returned from the ice, she possessed Emma Frost as the new love to Scott Summers' life. As Emma struggled against the force, a hopeless Scott prayed for Jean's return. With no other choice, he freed Jean from the ice.
After Jean once again bonded with the Phoenix entity, the X-Men discovered the true reason for her return. Emma called out telepathically to her Stepford Cuckoos and focused the empathic impressions of all Jean's dearest friends. She felt their love for her. This allowed both Jean and the Phoenix to achieve balance before returning to the cosmos. Parting from Scott, she asked one last request before leaving, to see his eyes.
The Phoenix Endsong limited series cleared up for anyone who didn't know the difference between Jean and the entity; there is none. Jean's mutation makes her more than a mere host; she is the closest thing that the force has to a human form which makes her closer to it than any other host body. She is the most powerful and this is what has finally caused her to become The White Phoenix of the Crown. Jean is currently in search of the missing fragments of the Phoenix Force that were scattered through space by the Shi'Ar in order to bring them all back to the "White-Hot Room", which is the core of creation itself, in order to make herself and the Phoenix whole again.
Powers & Abilities
Jean Grey has been stated to be an Omega Level Mutant.. By birth, Jean is a powerful telepathic and telekinetic mutant. She is also the favored avatar of the Phoenix Force, and while acting as its avatar she is one of the most powerful Cosmic entities in the Earth-616 universe.
Initially, Jean's powers were simply restricted to telekinesis, and even lifting her own weight quickly tired her. With training her telekinesis improved, but it wasn't until after she was released from the stasis chamber she was placed in by the Phoenix Force that her telekinesis really started to become powerful.
Jean's telepathy was suppressed at a young age by Charles Xavier after she connected with her dying friend, Annie Richardson. Later, Xavier released these mental blocks for a more mature Jean. She again lost telepathy following her release from the Phoenix egg, only to regain it after battling Psynapse with X-Factor. By herself, she is a strong telepath but notably weaker than the likes of Charles Xavier or the Shadow King.
While accessing the Phoenix Force, however, Jean's telepathy and telekinesis are heightened to an incredible degree. In addition, the Phoenix Force allows her to travel unaided in the vacuum of space and cross interstellar distances faster than the speed of light. The Phoenix Force also allows her to manifest flames while using her powers, often in the shape of a fiery raptor.
She can manipulate the minds of others and even higher order animals. The range at which she can perform these feats is greatly increased while she is accessing the Phoenix Force. She has demonstrated the following specialized uses:
She can manifest her telepathy in a number of defensive ways.
She can mask her presence and the use of her abilities from being detected by other psions and psychic entities. She can extend these defenses to others around her as well. Cloaking via telepathy is not perfect and powerful psis may notice and 'see' through this ability.
Ability to rearrange the “mental engrams” of mutants so their distinctive mutant thought patterns cannot be detected by Cerebro-type devises or by other telepaths.
Ability to erect a psychic shield for protection of herself and of others minds.
She can create realistic telepathic illusions and cause people to experience events which are not actually occurring.
She can alter the apparent physical appearance of herself and other people by altering the perceptions of those around her. This can go so far as to make other people believe that the camouflaged people are not there (invisible). A limit, if one exists, is only imposed by the number of people she is trying to fool, not the number of people she is camouflaging.
She can manipulate other people's minds easily, achieving a variety of effects.
She can control the thoughts and actions of others.
She can possess the mind of another, and use that being's body as her own.
She can alter the minds of others by force of will, permanently changing their personality partially or entirely.
She can induce temporary mental or physical paralysis.
She can erase any awareness of particular memories or cause total amnesia.
She can transfer both her mind and powers into other host bodies if her own physical body could be somehow killed.
The ability to erase a person’s memories and to heal mental trauma through “psychic surgery,” the power to stimulate or deaden the pain and pleasure centers in a persons brain.
Can telepathically "sedate" her victims so that, if already rendered unconscious, they remain so for as long as she continues to "sedate" them.
She can increase the speed of neural signals in the brain, she could increase another mutants powers to incredible levels, but the effect was only temporary.
Ability to place “psychic inhibitors” in the minds of mutant adversaries to prevent them from using their powers.
Ability to develop a mental link with any person which remains as a connection to that individual.
She can project psionic force bolts which have no physical effects but which can affect a victim's mind so as to cause the victim pain or unconsciousness and turning someone brain-dead.
She can project her astral form from her body onto Astral Plane or the physical plane. In the physical plane she can travel in astral form over vast distances. In the astral plane, she can mentally create psionic objects and manipulate the aspects of her environment. She can communicate with others astrally through her own will, or through contact with the thoughts and memories of others.
She can sense the presence of another superhuman mutant within a small but as yet undefined radius of himself by perceiving the distinctive mental radiations emitted by such a being.
She can manifest her telepathy as a psionic firebird; whose claws could inflict both physical and mental damage.
telekinetic abilities enable her to levitate herself or other objects, propel or manipulate them however she wishes, stimulate individual molecules to create heat, and generate concussive force or protective shields.
Jean Grey usually protects herself with others a personal force field. As well powerful shields and energy blast. While she has access to the Phoenix Force, she is able to manipulate matter and energy on a sub-atomic scale using her telekinesis. She can even change her Phoenix clothes into a set of street clothes, and lift multiple heavy objects at once without having any difficulties.
Phoenix Force Avatar
As the favored avatar of the Phoenix Force, Jean may greatly increase her powers by tapping into the life energies of those yet unborn. The Phoenix Force also allows its avatars to manifest additional powers.
A Phoenix Force avatar can fly unaided through the vacuum of space, and can travel interstellar distances faster than the speed of light
Jean, while acting as a Phoenix Force avatar, can create 'cosmic' flames under any conditions even the impossible ones such as vacuum space or underwater. These flames do not require oxygen to burn, and burn so intensely that matter is consumed without by-products such as ash. Jean has perfect control over these flames, and they only consume what she wills. Typically they manifest as a raptor or part of a raptor such as a claw or wings. It is unclear whether these flames are an extension of her powerful telekinesis or a more general property of the Phoenix Force, or it is possible that she can create her very powerful 'cosmic' flames by the combination of both her extended telekinesis power and Phoenix Force as the result of her status as the one true Phoenix. It is certainly true that the cosmic flames are literal punctuation to the Phoenix's purpose to 'burn away what doesn't work.'
That lets her feel the texture of objects she has a telekinetic hold on, feel when other objects come into contact with them, and probe them at a molecular level to identify if they contain alien materials or feel when two things which she has a telekinetic “hold” upon are similarly composed.
The Phoenix Force can resurrect others after they have died. It is unknown if factors such as time since death have an effect on the ability to successfully resurrect a person, nor is it clear how the Phoenix calls back the soul of a person to their body.
Jean and the Phoenix Force are one-and-the-same entity at some fundamental level, and as such Jean can never truly die. Upon the death of her corporeal form, Jean spends time in the The White Hot Room doing 'Phoenix work'. The Phoenix Force can also restore Jean's body to life, although there appears to be some unknown limitation to how quickly it can successfully accomplish this following her death.
While acting as the Phoenix Force, Jean can manipulate the past across large temporal distances and with a profound knowledge of the causal effect her actions will have. It may be the case that time as a concept doesn't apply to the White Hot Room.