The Dark Phoenix Saga
|"The Dark Phoenix Saga"|
Cover of X-Men Legends Volume 2: Dark Phoenix Saga (1990), trade paperback collected edition. Art by John Byrne.
|Publication date||January – October 1980|
|Title(s)||The X-Men #129–138|
Shi'ar Imperial Guard
|Dark Phoenix Saga||ISBN 0-7851-2213-3|
"The Dark Phoenix Saga" is an extended X-Men storyline in the fictional Marvel Comics Universe, focusing on Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force, and ending in Grey's apparent death. It was written by Chris Claremont with art by Dave Cockrum and John Byrne.
It is sometimes divided into two parts, with the "Phoenix Saga" (The X-Men #101-108, 1976–1977) referring to Grey's seeming assumption of the Phoenix power and the repair of the M'Kraan Crystal, and the "Dark Phoenix Saga" (The X-Men #129-138, 1980) referring to her corruption and fall. It is one of the most well-known and heavily referenced stories in mainstream American superhero comics, and widely considered a classic.
It was adapted for the X-Men animated series, and alluded to in the movie X2: X-Men United. A third movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, released in 2006, contains some elements from the saga. Wolverine and the X-Men adapted the "Dark Phoenix Saga" at the end of its first season, though it changed many elements of the story.
Plot summary 
Returning from a mission in space, Jean Grey is exposed to the deadly radiation of a solar flare, and briefly attains her ultimate potential as a telepath and telekinetic. Jean becomes a being of pure thought, and then reforms herself upon return to Earth with the new costume, identity and power of "Phoenix". It is with this incredible power that Jean repairs the fractured M'Kraan Crystal, but voluntarily restrains her powers afterward in order to keep them under control.
Her vast potential makes her a target for Mastermind, who is attempting to prove himself in order to join the prestigious Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Under the identity of Jason Wyngarde, he begins to seduce Jean. With the help of a mind-tap device created by the Club's White Queen, Emma Frost, Mastermind projects his illusions directly into Phoenix's mind. These illusions cause her to believe that she is reliving the memories of an ancestor, Lady Grey, who in Mastermind's illusions, was the Hellfire Club's Black Queen and the lover of one of Wyngarde's ancestors. Phoenix eventually accepts the Black Queen as her actual identity, a decadent role that allows her to relish the extremes of human emotion and begins to break down the barriers that she had erected.
She helps the Hellfire Club capture the X-Men, and Jean's true love Cyclops faces Mastermind in a psychic duel. When Mastermind kills Cyclops' psychic image, it breaks his hold over Jean's psyche and shatters the final barriers on her power. Experiencing this power in its totality overwhelms Jean, and she renames herself "Dark Phoenix". To break her ties with her less powerful identity as Jean Grey, she strikes down the X-Men and departs for a distant galaxy. However, her power proves to be far more limited than she thought; the interstellar trip leaves her almost completely drained. To recharge, she devours the energy of the nearby D'Bari star, causing a supernova which kills the entire population of the only civilized planet orbiting the star. A Shi'ar vessel attacks to prevent her from destroying other stars. Dark Phoenix easily destroys the vessel, but not before they alert the Shi'ar Empress Lilandra. A council of intergalactic associates is gathered, including the Kree and Skrull empires, and concludes that Dark Phoenix is an even more serious threat than the planet-consuming Galactus and must be destroyed.
On Earth, the X-Men are greeted by Avengers member (and former X-Man) Beast. Dark Phoenix returns to Earth, to her family's home, and finds herself conflicted between her normal feelings for her loved ones and her new destructive impulses as Dark Phoenix. The X-Men attack her but are again defeated. Her mentor, Charles Xavier, arrives, and through a vicious psychic duel, he creates a new set of psychic "circuit-breakers" which reduce her to only her original Marvel Girl powers. This allows Jean's normal personality to reassert control.
The Shi'ar abduct the X-Men, tell them of Dark Phoenix's casual genocide, and declare that she must be put to death. Xavier challenges Lilandra to Arin'n Haelar, a Shi'ar duel of honor that cannot be refused. After conferring with the Kree and Skrull, Lilandra cedes to Xavier's demand.
The next day, the X-Men and the Shi'ar Imperial Guard are teleported to the Blue Area of the Moon to do battle, with the victors deciding the fate of Phoenix. The Imperial Guard defeat most of the X-Men, leaving Cyclops and Phoenix alone to make a final stand. When Cyclops is seemingly killed, Jean Grey's panic overrides Xavier's psychic restraints and restores her to Dark Phoenix. Lilandra initiates Plan Omega, which would consist of destroying the whole solar system in hopes of eliminating Dark Phoenix in the process. Xavier orders the X-Men to subdue Jean to preempt Lilandra's emergency measure. They battle her until she regains her senses. Running inside one of the Blue Area's ruins, Jean, struggling to keep control, activates an ancient Kree weapon which disintegrates her after an emotional good-bye to Cyclops. He deduces that Jean had planned her sacrifice from the moment they had landed on the moon.
Editorial controversy 
The ending of the story was a matter of intense controversy with the editorial staff. Jim Shooter's recollections are that the original intent of the Dark Phoenix storyline was to introduce Dark Phoenix as a cosmic nemesis for the X-Men. This was what had been discussed originally amongst the creative team and Shooter, and this was the story development that had been approved. When Uncanny X-Men issue 135 was in the final artwork stages, Shooter happened to look at the proofs for the issue and noticed that the story included the destruction of an inhabited solar system, with an explicit mention of billions of lives lost. Louise Simonson feels it was Shooter's outrage over this plot element which led to him taking editor Jim Salicrup off the series several issues earlier than he'd been scheduled to.
Upon questioning Salicrup about where the plot went from there, he was told that issue 137 ended with Jean being permanently depowered by the Shi'ar and released into the custody of the X-Men. Shooter disagreed with this development both from a storytelling standpoint as well as, secondarily, a moral standpoint, likening the ending to "taking the German army away from Hitler and letting him go back to governing Germany," and finding it out of character for the X-Men to retain friendly relations with a being who had committed genocide. Byrne and Salicrup explained that they had no problem with this resolution because they had always thought of Dark Phoenix as a separate entity who had possessed Jean Grey, with Salicrup drawing an analogy to the film adaptation of The Exorcist: "In the movie there's this little girl who's taken over and several people get killed, but by the end, when the demon's gone no one thinks, 'Let's kill that murderous little girl.'" However, on reading the issues over they agreed with Shooter that from the reader's perspective, she did not seem to be possessed, and Claremont admitted that while writing the Dark Phoenix Saga he was never clear in his own mind whether Jean Grey was possessed or her actions as Dark Phoenix were her own.
Shooter, during a conversation with Claremont, suggested a scenario where Jean would be permanently imprisoned as a compromise, and Claremont responded that such a scenario was unfeasible since in his opinion, the X-Men would want to continually try to rescue Jean from imprisonment. Shooter claims that Claremont suggested having Jean die at the end out of frustration. Although Shooter claims that the suggestion was a bluff by Claremont, playing on the unwritten rule that main characters were not to be killed permanently, he accepted the idea. Ultimately, it was decided by Byrne and Claremont to have Jean commit suicide after her Dark Phoenix persona resurfaces at the climax of the fight against the Imperial Guard. Issue 137 was left largely unchanged, but the last five issues were completely rewritten and redrawn for the new ending, and Claremont also took the opportunity to write a second draft of his script. Because of this, comparison of the original and published versions of X-Men #137 reveals numerous differences in the script with no connection to the ending; for instance, in the original version of the day of rest, the individual X-Men are each thinking of their own personal issues, while the published version shows them reflecting on their decision to protect Jean.
The original ending ultimately saw print in 1984 in Phoenix: The Untold Story. Besides the original version of Uncanny X-Men #137, it featured a transcript of a round table discussion between Claremont, Byrne, Simonson, Salicrup, Shooter, and inker Terry Austin, discussing the story behind the original ending and why it was changed.
Jean Grey and Phoenix as separate entities 
Shortly before the publication of Uncanny X-Men #137, future freelance writer Kurt Busiek, then still a college student, heard about the upcoming events through the fan grapevine, as did fellow future comics pros Carol Kalish (who would go on to head up Marvel's Direct Sales Department for years) and Richard Howell (artist of the Vision and The Scarlet Witch 12-issue limited series, among others). The three of them also heard that Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter had declared that Jean Grey could not be revived unless it was done in such a way as to render her guiltless of Dark Phoenix's crimes. Taking this as a creative challenge, all three then-fans decided to come up with their own resurrection scenario. Busiek's involved the discovery that Jean Grey was still on the bottom of Jamaica Bay in suspended animation following the original shuttle crash and that the Phoenix entity had used her body and mind as a lens, creating an immensely powerful duplicate of Jean, but one which grew more corrupted and distorted the longer it remained separate from the true Jean.
In 1982, Dark Phoenix resurfaced in the DC Comics/Marvel Comics intercompany crossover one-shot The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans, written by regular X-Men writer Chris Claremont. The story (which is not part of DC or Marvel canon) has the cosmic villain Darkseid resurrect Jean Grey in her Dark Phoenix persona as part of his quest to discover the secret of the Anti-Life Equation. In the end, Dark Phoenix is betrayed by Darkseid and sacrifices her life yet again to stop Darkseid.
In 1983, X-Men writer Claremont introduced character Madelyne Pryor into the X-Men. Madelyne was a commercial airline pilot who survived with no injuries from an airliner crash that happened on the same day Jean Grey died, and who was the mirror image of Jean Grey. Madelyne met Cyclops when he went to visit his grandparents in Alaska and found himself drawn to Madelyne. The villainous Mastermind, seeking revenge against the X-Men for being driven mad by Dark Phoenix, manipulated the team into thinking Madelyne was Dark Phoenix reincarnated. Ultimately, Mastermind's scheme was defeated and Cyclops and Madelyne were married and soon had a son, Nathan Christopher Summers.
Also in 1983, shortly after beginning a freelance writing career, Kurt Busiek attended a comics convention in Ithaca, New York, staying at the home of Marvel writer Roger Stern. In conversation, both writers' longtime interest in the X-Men came up, and Stern expressed regret that there was no way to bring Jean back, not while satisfying Shooter's edict. Busiek told Stern his idea, not expecting it to amount to more than idle conversation. Later, Stern told the idea to John Byrne, then writer/artist of Fantastic Four.
In 1985, Jim Shooter greenlit a new series that would reunite the original X-Men into a new team called X-Factor, to be written by longtime freelancer Bob Layton. Hearing of this, Byrne called Layton and suggested Busiek's idea as a means of raising Jean Grey from the dead while satisfying Shooter's demands for total absolution for Jean.
A three-part crossover was planned to launch X-Factor, involving the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the debut issue of X-Factor, thus involving Avengers writer Stern, Fantastic Four writer/artist Byrne and X-Factor writer Layton. Busiek, by that time, was working at Marvel as a freelance assistant editor on Marvel Age Magazine. He was paid and credited for the idea, and edited a series of interviews for Marvel Age promoting the new series. Ironically, everything in the interviews pertaining to Jean's resurrection was marked out with black tape to create an air of mystery about the revelations that the crossover would involve, and Busiek thus found himself taping over the names of the writers giving him credit for the idea.
Storyline follow-ups 
Over the years, writers have attempted to do sequels to the "Dark Phoenix Saga" as well as attempt to further explain the true nature of the Phoenix Force.
During the Inferno crossover, it is revealed that when Dark Phoenix died, the Phoenix Force visited Jean Grey and sought to free her from her cocoon prison/healing pod. The Phoenix Force even offered to give Jean the memories it had acquired while posing as Jean as a means to make amends for impersonating her, but upon realizing that the Phoenix Force had committed genocide in her name, Jean rejected the Phoenix Force. The Phoenix Force circled the globe to find something to make amends for the problems it had caused and in the process, merged with the then-mindless Madelyne Pryor. The merging caused Madelyne to come to life, though the Phoenix Force remained buried within her until several years later, when the evil demon S'ym activated Madelyne's latent telepathic and telekinetic powers.
At Inferno's climax, Madelyne Pryor fought Jean Grey fought and revealed that her powers and existence was brought about as a result of Jean rejecting the Phoenix Force. To kill her counterpart, Madelyne telepathically linked her mind to Jean's mind and then killed herself. As Jean lay at death's door, the Phoenix Force reappeared and told her that the only way for Jean to live would be if she accepted the Phoenix Force and the memories of what the Phoenix did while pretending to be her. Jean agreed and gained in the process the memories of both Phoenix/Dark Phoenix and Madelyne Pryor. These memories began manifesting themselves as actual personalities inside Jean's head. Jean purged herself of these alternate personalities when she used her remaining Phoenix Force powers to battle a member of the Celestials.
Excalibur and Rachel Summers 
In Uncanny X-Men #199, it is established that Rachel Summers could channel the energies of the Phoenix Force to boost her own mutant powers of telekinesis and telepathy. She rechristened herself "Phoenix", having exposed herself to a memory crystal of her "mother" (in truth the Phoenix Force impersonating her mom) which granted her the knowledge needed to replicate her mother's power signature. Attempts to further the storyline were halted by the resurrection of Jean Grey/Phoenix Force retcon, ultimately leading to Rachel being written out of the series. When she resurfaced in Excalibur, in 1988, Chris Claremont resurrected some of his threads by having Rachel having a bounty placed on her head by Saturnyne, who feared the potential for Rachel turning evil like her mother did.
Necrom and Rachel Summers 
In 1992, Alan Davis took over the book as head writer and brought the Phoenix Force back to the forefront. Under Davis, the Phoenix Force's nature was revealed to be that of the embodiment of all life in the universe, and the Phoenix Force's appearance as a flaming bird was based on visions of the magician Feron, ally of Merlyn and Necrom. In a plan conceived of by Necrom, Feron called on the Phoenix Force to "project" a tower on "the prime Earth" across an infinite number of Earths, serving as a common point of alignment and thus creating a powerful energy matrix. This tower later would later be Excalibur's lighthouse headquarters. Necrom's true goal, however, was to use this matrix to collapse the various alternate Earths into a singularity. He would capture the energy released and gain the power of a god. Merlyn and Feron realized Necrom's deception. In the resulting battle between Feron and Necrom, Necrom ripped away a portion of the Phoenix Force and placed it into a corpse with a portion of his life essence to create the Anti-Phoenix. He left this to incubate and disappeared from Earth-616.
Merlyn made it his goal to master the energy matrix himself. As part of his plans to defeat Necrom, Merlyn faked his death and arranged for the founding of Excalibur. He would use them to draw out Necrom without risk to himself, and to prevent the convergence of the multiverses that would have destroyed the energy matrix. Necrom returned to Earth merged with the Anti-Phoenix. Excalibur stabilized the convergence before Necrom attacked and challenged Rachel either release the Phoenix Force to him or battle him for control of it; otherwise, he would kill her friends. Rachel wouldn't risk losing them. She fought Necrom until she tricked him into absorbing the full power of the Phoenix, knowing full well that Necrom would die trying in vain to contain its vast powers. She succeeded, but the process left Rachel in a coma, sustained only by the Phoenix Force. The remaining members of Excalibur chose to destroy the Lighthouse to prevent Merlyn from further utilizing the energy matrix.
Captain Britain contacted Professor Xavier and Jean Grey, seeking their help to restore Rachel. Xavier, Jean Grey, and Excalibur communicated with the Phoenix Force and agreed to let it take Rachel into space while it repaired her psyche. The Phoenix Force, acting in Rachel's body, was confronted by Galactus, who warned her to reject the temptation of a human existence for the sake of all living beings; according to Galactus, the Phoenix Force drained the universe's collective life force with its great displays of power and by living and acting with human awareness. When Rachel regained consciousness, the Phoenix Force spoke directly with her for the first time. It explained that its natural state was to simply exist, and it must return to this state without feeling or awareness. Furthermore, Rachel's spirit was bonded with the Phoenix Force's essence, making her the "one true Phoenix". The Phoenix Force warned Rachel to resist the temptation of unlimited power and then left for the stars. Rachel retained a more limited version of the Phoenix's powers and returned to Earth.
Rachel Summers returns 
Years later, in the mini-series, The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, Jean Grey and Scott Summers were telepathically teleported to the future by Rachel Summers. Dying, Rachel asked her mother to reclaim the Phoenix name in her honor before sending the two back to their proper time. However, Rachel would later return after the death of Apocalypse eradicated the future timeline from which she originated, thus casting her adrift in the timestream. She was soon rescued and returned to the present by Cable.
Kelly and Seagle thwarted 
In 1998, Uncanny X-Men writer Steve Seagle sought to do a sequel to "The Dark Phoenix Saga" where Jean would begin to manifest powers similar to those of the Phoenix Force. The planned storyline would see Jean slowly manifesting Phoenix powers again, culminating in those powers finally manifesting in full, after Cyclops would be mortally wounded during an X-Men adventure. This would then trigger the invasion of Earth by an armada of aliens, that had been secretly monitoring the Earth to watch and make sure Jean would never become Dark Phoenix again. This storyline was nixed at the last minute by Marvel editors Bob Harras and Mark Powers, who instead demanded that Seagle and Joe Kelly, the writer of X-Men, remove Jean from their books entirely and substitute in a Magneto storyline ("The Magneto Wars") they had cobbled together without Kelly and Seagle's knowledge. When Seagle argued to at least keep Jean on the book's roster, he was denied this and ordered to replace her with Gambit.
Seagle, along with Kelly, both quit their respective X-Men books after this demand, though Seagle's plot had already begun. Jean Grey began wearing the green and gold Phoenix costume and began manifesting the signature fire "Phoenix Effect" when she used her powers. Alan Davis, who took over the position as writer for the two X-Men books, sought to resolve the issue in Uncanny X-Men #375 with Xavier and Jean Grey playing a gambit where Xavier accused Jean of becoming Dark Phoenix again, attempting to weed out any possible alien Skrulls who might have infiltrated the team. A fight broke out between the X-Men as a result, concluding with Gambit confronting Jean Grey, who morphed into Dark Phoenix and threatened to kill Gambit before stopping when she realized that Gambit wasn't a Skrull. At the end of the issue, it was revealed that the fight had not, in fact, taken place - the combined telepathy of Xavier and Jean Grey had created the battle in the minds of the other X-Men.
Morrison's New X-Men 
Several years later, Grant Morrison took control of writing New X-Men, and began planting the seeds for a proper return of Phoenix. In this series, Jean Grey and Scott Summers had both returned to the X-Men following a period in which Cyclops had been merged with Apocalypse (The Twelve and Search for Cyclops). Jean's powers were once again in a state of flux: having briefly lost telekinetic powers as part of a "swap" with Psylocke, she was able to fully restore her powers with help of Eternity, who once again exposed her to the Phoenix Force in order to stop the cosmic super-villain (and former X-Men foe) Stranger. Her relationship with Cyclops was also on the rocks; Cyclops began distancing himself from Jean, having been severely traumatized by his time possessed by Apocalypse, as well as unresolved sexual issues involving Cyclops longing for Jean to wear both the Black Queen and Dark Phoenix uniform in bed, two costumes that were associated with the Phoenix Force and not Jean herself. The growing rift between her and Scott and the stress of having Professor Xavier out himself as a mutant on live television (then leaving Jean to run the school while he was away) begun to tax Jean heavily. When the school was attacked by a murderous group of body modificationists calling themselves the U-Men, Jean manifested the Phoenix Effect as she threatened to kill the ghoulish villains if they ever came near the school again.
Although Jean seemed to have complete control of her abilities, the rest of the X-Men began to show concern for her, afraid that they were looking at the start of another Dark Phoenix incident. While traveling on a world tour, Jean and Xavier began to investigate the remanifestation of Phoenix. Xavier managed to communicate with the Phoenix Force directly, who informed him that there was a great and terrible event coming, and that the Phoenix was there to keep it from occurring. Meanwhile, Cyclops used Jean's increased abilities as justification to further distance himself from Jean and instead turned to Emma Frost, and the two began a telepathic affair. Jean found out about the affair from Emma's students, and hurt and humiliated by this, she unleashed the full fury of her powers on Emma in the astral plane, forcing her to tell Jean the truth about the affair as well as admit why she always seemed intent on hurting other people. This "psionic catfight" left Emma deeply humiliated and shattered, causing Cyclops to leave the X-Men for a while to choose who he wanted: Jean or Emma.
The terrible event that the Phoenix spoke to Xavier about turned out to be the return of a mind controlled Magneto, who was a pawn of the villainous master of the U-Men: John Sublime. Sublime had Magneto (later haphazardly retconned to being Xorn posing as Magneto posing as Xorn) exile Jean and Wolverine on Asteroid M which was flung into the sun. To save Jean from suffering, Wolverine killed Jean only to unknowingly fully activate the Phoenix Force, which resurrected Jean. The X-Men managed to defeat him, but Jean was killed by an electromagnetic pulse from Magneto before she could identify Sublime hiding within Magneto's mind. Although she died in Scott's arms, everyone expected Jean to return sooner or later but it was enough of a trauma to cause Scott to quit the X-Men after Jean's death.
As the series "New X-Men" took a 150-year leap into a dismal future for Morrison's final storyline, Jean hatched from a Phoenix egg only to be turned into a pawn of future Beast, who was Sublime's new host. With help from a redeemed Cassandra Nova, Wolverine helped her break free and defeat Sublime once and for all. Returning to the M'Krann Crystal, the newly proclaimed "White Phoenix of the Crown" tried to erase the future she woke up in. Taking heed of Wolverine's claim that Scott's departure from the team was the event that caused the future to happen as it did, Jean reached backwards to tell Scott to "live," thereby setting the universe straight once more, as Scott chose to stay with Emma Frost and the X-Men.
Phoenix: Endsong and Warsong 
In 2005, the story arc X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong began publication. It was to be the "final" chapter in the Phoenix Saga, with the Force coming back and briefly resurrecting Jean Grey and possessing Emma Frost.
At the end of Phoenix: Endsong, a piece of the Phoenix is seen approaching the Stepford Cuckoos. This storyline is continued in the mini-series Phoenix: Warsong. Greg Pak said that "X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong is not a Jean Grey resurrection story. It's far too early to bring Jean back, both in terms of her own emotional storyline and the Marvel Universe as a whole. But we're doing our best to tell a story with Warsong that respects and deepens the Jean Grey/Phoenix mythos by exploring surprising new revelations and characters, pushing our heroes and themes to the next level, and laying the groundwork for the future." The story deals mostly with the Stepford Cuckoos, John Sublime, Weapon XXII, and Emma Frost. In the end, the Cuckoos split the Phoenix Force and hold it within themselves.
In other media 
- The Dark Phoenix Saga, along with the Phoenix Saga, was adapted in X-Men. During the Phoenix Saga, the X-Men had to help the Shi'ar fight Lilandra's deranged brother, D'Ken. Jean Grey's powers fully manifest during the Dark Phoenix Saga, turning her against her comrades. The X-Men, with the help of the Shi'ar, defeats the Dark Phoenix.
- The Dark Phoenix Saga was foreshadowed in X-Men: Evolution. In "Power Surge", Jean loses controls of her powers, making her dangerous around others. At the end of the episode, Rogue absorbed some of Jean's mind, defeating her. At the end of the series, Professor Xavier saw Jean transforming into the Dark Phoenix when he was under Apocalypse's control. The Dark Phoenix Saga was going to be adapted in Season Five. Unfortunately, the saga did not appear after the series was cancelled in 2003.
- The Dark Phoenix Saga was adapted at the season finale of Wolverine and the X-Men. In the three-part episode "Foresight", the Hellfire Club kidnaps Jean after the X-Men saved her from the Marauders. Wolverine finds out Emma Frost was in league with the Hellfire Club and locks her in a containment unit. Cyclops released Frost, enraging Wolverine. While the X-Men went to Genosha to fight the Sentinels, Frost tells Jean about the Phoenix Force. Later, Frost tells Cyclops of Jean's whereabouts when the X-Jet was crashed by the Sentinels. The two went to Jean's location, where the Hellfire Club betrays Frost and imprisons them. Selene reveals to Cyclops that Frost was the one who triggered Jean's powers when the Xavier Institute was destroyed. After the Hellfire Club was defeated at the hands of Jean, she and Scott left Frost after finding out Frost was trying to unleash the Phoenix Force within her. After saving the X-Men from the Mutant Response Division, Wolverine found Frost at the Club's hideout. Reluctantly, he releases her, and the two went to find Scott and Jean. After Magneto and the Sentinels were defeated, Jean unleashes the Phoenix Force. Frost absorbs the Phoenix Force into her body, seemingly killing her in the process.
- The Dark Phoenix Saga was alluded at the end of X2. After Jean supposedly dies while protecting her teammates from drowning, a sign that bears a striking resemblance to the Phoenix Force is seen at the final scene.
- Despite being an original story and not a strict adaptation, the plot of the film X-Men: The Last Stand contains elements of the Dark Phoenix Saga. In this film, the Phoenix is adapted as a repressed dual personality of Jean's psychological status which was awakened when Jean cocooned herself in telekinetic energy to survive the collapse of Alkaline Lake. Throughout the film, the Phoenix acts irresponsibly and has no control over her decision-making, including scenes where Jean succumbs to exposing her sexual desires for Wolverine, siding with Magneto and murdering Professor X. The Phoenix is destroyed when Jean is euthanized-by-stabbing by Wolverine.
Parodies and imitations 
Southern Knights #30 (December 1988) opens with a four-page parody of "The Dark Phoenix Saga", with the character Connie Ronnin wrecking havoc as "Dark Connie". The story particularly parodies Chris Claremont's scripts.
Redfox #5-10 (September 1986 - July 1987) are officially titled "The Demon Queen Saga", and the plot is essentially "The Dark Phoenix Saga" translated to a sword-and-sorcery setting, as writer/penciler Fox openly acknowledged.
Collected editions 
The story (issues #129-137) was first collected as a trade paperback in 1984. The first edition featured a cover painting by Bill Sienkiewicz.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Phoenix Saga, it was announced that this storyline would be reprinted in an oversized trim hardcover. The X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga hardcover (352 pages, July 2010, Marvel, ISBN 978-0-7851-4913-2) collects The X-Men #129-138, Classic X-Men #43, Bizarre Adventures #27, Phoenix: The Untold Story (one-shot), and What If? #27.
The story (The X-Men #129-137) has been collected into a number of trade paperbacks:
- X-Men Legends, Volume 2: Dark Phoenix Saga (192 pages, August 1990, Marvel, ISBN 0-7851-1147-6)
- X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga (200 pages, April 2006, Marvel, ISBN 0-7851-2213-3)
The story is also included in Essential X-Men, Volume 2 (584 pages, October 1997, Panini Comics, ISBN 978-0-7851-0298-4), part of Marvel's Essential series of black-and-white trade paperbacks. The volume collects The X-Men #120-144 and The X-Men Annual #3-4.
The story is included in the hardcover Marvel Masterworks: Uncanny X-Men, Volume 4 (The X-Men #122-131, Annual #3) and Volume 5 (The X-Men #132-140, Annual #4), and the opening of the story is in the final pages of Uncanny X-Men Omnibus, Volume 1, which includes Giant-Size Uncanny X-Men #1, The X-Men Annual #3, and The X-Men #94-131.
Finally, the saga was printed in hardback form for issue 2 of The Official Marvel Graphic Novel Collection, a graphic novel series based in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, in January 2012.
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