Originally Published: March 28, 2011, on Comicvine.com

It is one of the X-Men’s most persistent threats, mostly because it is a godlike entity that cannot be destroyed. The Phoenix Force has possessed nearly two-dozen characters over the X-Men’s history across several different universes. And it seems to have returned, at least in part, once again. This time in the form of the Mutant Messiah, Hope Summers.

It’s not a question of if the Phoenix Force will make its presence felt via Hope, but when as it has picked several moments to rear its head already. It had its big coming out party against Bastion in order to destroy that threat and save what was left of Utopia. And since then it has been seen deep in the green eyes of Hope as her temper flared some in a meeting with Cyclops in Generation Hope #5. But this is a creature that has the power to both create and destroy, so what exactly is the Phoenix’s agenda this time around and how will it once again affect the destiny of the X-Men?

The first question you really have to ponder is just how powerful the force that inhabits Hope is because this is not the entirety of the Phoenix force. Part of the Phoenix previously possessed the Stepford Cuckoos and in order to overcome it in the Phoenix Warsong mini-series, each Cuckoo turned their hearts to diamond in order to trap the essence. So is Hope harboring the remaining power, or like the Cuckoos, is this just a small fraction of it? And if it is just a small fraction, where is the rest? Could these “lights”, these new mutants the X-Men are now discovering, actually be harbingers of other remnants of the Phoenix force and why Hope feels so close to them? Is that why the “lights” powers’ are so chaotic at first and only Hope can bring their powers under control when she makes contact with them?

Let us assume though for a second that Hope is the embodiment of the remainder of the Phoenix Force. Is Hope simply the form the Phoenix Force chose to take in trying to reform itself? Could this be the reason why she looks SO much like Jean Grey, the form that the Phoenix is most accustomed to and why she flares up more often when Cyclops is around?

The Phoenix could also have just decided to possess a baby this time around and could be molding Hope as she ages into what she thinks she should look like, which would be Jean Grey. Maybe this was some cosmic sized attempt at understanding life by the Phoenix and so in order to do so was hoping to live a full human life. Unfortunately for her, she spent many of her formative years time-hopping with Cable. If that was the Phoenix’s plan, I guess that was a bust.

The most likely scenario for all this though is probably nothing as deep and this will all simply culminate as the fix to M-Day caused by the Scarlet Witch. The question that arises from this is how is it going to be implemented because it makes perfect sense for the Phoenix to be the reason why the mutant race would rise from the ashes. And only a primal force like the Phoenix could overcome the Scarlet Witch’s chaos magic.

Is every issue of Generation Hope going to be her locating new “lights” and bringing them under control? Saving the mutant race one soul at a time? That could work for a little while, but would become boring and tiresome at some point. I can’t see continuing like this for more than a couple dozen issues before we see some major event where either Hope will unleash her full potential and heal a great many “lights” all at once or sacrifice herself and in that noble act serve as the catalyst that once again jump starts the X-gene and saves the mutant race from extinction. And if Hope doesn’t make a noble sacrifice, but learns to control the Phoenix Force, could this be another way for some more recently deceased X-Men to return to the comic pages? No matter what happens, I’m going to be reading any comic that features Hope because she is clearly going to be the catalyst for some major changes happening in the ranks of the X-Men down the line.

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