Monday, January 21, 2013

Unboxed: What If...#33

What If...? Volume 2, #33, cover date January 1992, release date November 19, 1991

Writers: George Caragonne, Pencils: Rod Ramos, Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti

This what if story starts off where the previous tale left off. Phoenix had her powers removed by the Shi'ar Empire. Left for dead by the Shadow King through Mastermind, Phoenix regains her powers and with a stray thought murders the real Jean Grey. The Phoenix is alive and well, now we must ask, what if the Phoenix rose again.

After erasing Jean Grey from existence, Phoenix detects the Shadow King on Muir Island. While searching Moira's compound, Phoenix is ambushed by the Shadow King using her daughter Rachel's body as a host. Rachel's body is also now that of a full grown adult.

The two engage in a psychic battle on the astral plan. The Phoenix over takes the Shadow King destroying him. Phoenix is able to restore Rachel to her rightful infant state. Upon their return to the mansion, she finds the X-Men and New Mutants have returned.Phoenix tells them nothing of has happened.

Eight years go by, Phoenix does not use her powers the entire time, until the Mutant Registration Act starts to become a reality. Phoenix starts to ask herself how much longer she should go on living her the way she has, all that power and doing nothing to help her friends and family.

Logan (Wolevrine) is walking down the hall and hears Rachel crying. Checking in on her, Rachel tells Logan about dreams of a fiery bird killing her mother and hurting her. Rachel doesn't want to talk tell her mother or Charles about the dreams, so Logan promises that he'll keep her safe. That same night Phoenix decides to take matters into her own hands by using her powers on the President to reverse his stance on mutant registration.

Phoenix's actions do not turn out well. The President is quickly assassinated and the implementation of the sentinels begins. The sentinels take out the Avengers, Fantastic Four and any super powered being that registered themselves as such. Those that didn't, heroes and villains alike, band together and take shelter at the mansion.

Logan decides to finally talk to Phoenix. He figures out that Phoenix has regained her powers and that she used them to alter President Russel's brain. Telling Logan none of that is true, he starts slapping her across the face, demanding that she tell the truth. Having had enough, Phoenix reveals her power, and makes Logan forget everything about what he knows. To her surprise as she and Logan exit the room, Scott and Professor Xavier are standing there having heard everything that happened. Phoenix decides to leave the mansion and the X-Men.

Meanwhile the sentinels attack the mansion, the X-Men find themselves having to team up with Magneto and other foes for survival. Using the tunnels used by the Morlocks for shelter and traversing the city, the X-men are discovered by the sentinels who immediately take Magneto out the fight, but just as quickly destroyed by Phoenix who has returned and it is decided to take the fight to the sentinels and Master Mold.

Surrounded by the mechanic hunter-killers the X-Men hit the sentinels fast and hard but not without casualties of their own. Nightcrawler is the first to fall dying in Kitty's (Shadowcat) arms. Kitty grabs Piotr (Colossus) phasing the two of them and head to Master Mold's chamber. Piotr hurls Kitty towards Master Mold, she phases into the master sentinel's head, and sacrifices herself by solidifying inside and destroying Master Mold from the inside. Phoenix is aware of what has happened. Scott orders the X-Men to scramble and Phoenix lights up, destroying the remaining sentinels.

Sometime later, Phoenix approaches Scott and tells hims that she is not the real Jean Grey. Scott is unphased by this and states his love for her. Phoenix then speaks with Destiny, who tells Phoenix that every possible future ends with her losing control of her powers and destroying everything that she holds dear. The only way to avert this, if for Phoenix to leave and return space.

Phoenix leaves her her friends and family on Earth, shedding the human form she had adopted. As she soars into the cosmos Phoenix asks herself, what if? Would thing be better if I had died?

Next up, Thor #337. 'Nuff said.

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