Rachel Summers and The End of Greys

end of greys

 

The Uncanny X-Men (The New Age) issues 466-471 were released in January through May of 2006. They tell the tale of the End of Greys. The murder by the Shi’ar Empire of the entire remaining bloodline, referred to as the Grey Genome, of the Grey family. The family that gave birth to Jean Grey, Marvel Girl of the X-Men, wife to Scott Summers (Cyclops), the woman who would become The Phoenix. The Phoenix who would lay waste to Galaxies. The Shi’ar determine that the only way to keep the Phoenix from manifesting itself again, is to destroy the Grey Genome. To assassinate the Grey family. To kill the new Marvel Girl, Rachel Summers. Rachel Grey. Scott and Jean’s daughter from the future.

“…My name is Rachel Grey. My X-Men code name is Marvel Girl. I’m from the future. I grew up in a concentration camp for Mutants. Where I was trained to hunt down my own kind and kill them. I was the best. Every morning in the camps, the first thing we all saw were our guardian Sentinels, looming over us like skyscrapers. They were designed for one purpose. To make mutantkind extinct. They damn near succeeded. I came back to make sure my future never happens…”

It is the aftermath of the House of M story arc that tore through Marvel in 2005. In the space of a day, referred to as M-day, a huge majority of mutants lost their power. The remaining, are under a form of house arrest courtesy of the Federal Government. Sentinels patrolling Xavier Institute and monitoring their every movement. It is almost exactly like the future Rachel Grey grew up in.

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Rachel though, is trying to become a part of the family she never knew in her reality. The Grey family. Her mother Jean’s family. With Jean gone and her father Scott involved with the White Queen Emma Frost, Rachel finds herself alone. Her only family left are the Greys.

Then the Shi’ar come and in the space of 24 seconds, the Greys are killed and Rachel Grey is alone again.

The End of Greys storyline is important on many levels. It introduces new and old X-Men in the aftermath and continuation of mutant genocide. Mutants are and have always been, Marvel’s outsiders. Separated from humanity by the mutation of a gene. Hunted and hated by a human race too full of fear and hate for anything that is not like them to find understanding. Perhaps how the Neanderthal must have viewed the first Cro-Magnon men to appear on the evolutionary horizon.

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Marvel has gotten a considerable amount of mileage out to their mutant storyline. It has stood in for their themes on bullying, on how its okay to be different, to be yourself and not give into peer pressure. And let’s face it; for some well written and plotted themes on the effects and evil of racism. Yes all that from a comic book.

But what I want to talk about here is not just this story arc but Rachel Grey in particular. She is absolutely another character in the Marvel Universe who has played major, universal impacting, moments in the history of the X-Men but is widely unknown by the mass audience.  It is Rachel Grey (Summers) in Uncanny X-Men #141 who sends Kitty Pryde  back to the past to stop the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the mutant Mystique. The storyline known as Days of Future Past.  Yet she doesn’t even make it into the film at all. In the movie it is Kitty who sends Wolverine back even though she doesn’t possess the power to do so at all. She is the embodiment of Jean Grey, one of the most beloved X-Men, but unlike Jean does not start her career as an X-Men as a quiet and docile part of the team but in full feminist power.

Rachel has fallen back into obscurity since the End of Greys storyline. Though she was the one remaining Grey to survive; except for Cable who does not appear in the storyline at all, it seems that her character in large part may have died there with her family as well. The Grey Genome gone quiet. But isn’t that usually when the Phoenix herself rises?

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