The Fury and Fallout From Phoenix Times Two
Jun 15, 2017
by Vince Brusio
If you were given the opportunity to meet your future self, what would you say? Would you spend time talking about the changes in fashion, or music, or would you instead contemplate how your role as a weapon of mass destruction should be addressed — and stopped. Jean Grey and Phoenix come face-to-face with their mortality and destiny in Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 (JUN170848), and we get the goods straight from the horse’s mouth with this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview with the books’ writer, Cullen Bunn!
Vince Brusio: Cullen! With a storyline this big there couldn't be any time for fine food and theater. You existed on carry-out, right? What provided the muse? How did you wrap your head around the scope of your project given that it's interconnected with the future of the Marvel Universe?
Cullen Bunn: I went through a number of possible stories for this book, all of them quite different from one another. I really thought long and hard about how Jean and Phoenix would interact with one another and how this interaction would leave a lasting impact on both characters. I struggled with the adventure they would be going on, because I wanted it to be wild and crazy and HUGE. In the end, I think I arrived at a great place, a story that will have people talking. You're going to see something I don't think you've EVER seen in an X-Men book so far — something totally unexpected. And the interactions between Jean and Phoenix — and the ramifications of those interactions — will be equally surprising. I think this is a book that readers will NEED in their collection because it treads into some important territory, while still being wildly fun.
Vince Brusio: We have the potential for serious sibling rivalry in this book. Or things could go in the opposite direction. We could have a spin on Freaky Friday. Or this might be "Mom" showing her "daughter" how to properly dress for a rock concert. But in this case, the grand finale would be to how to properly blow up a planet. What characteristics did you consider for each of these ladies that helped you come to your decision about how the chemistry between Phoenix and Jean Grey either mixed, or exploded?
Cullen Bunn: Young Jean has sort of an idolized (if somewhat scary) view of older Jean. I mean, this is a character that all of the X-Men revere. At the same time, though, she eventually becomes one of the most powerful forces of destruction ever, and young Jean may potentially grows up to be her. But Jean's expectations of her older self may not be entirely accurate. It's a very twisted take on looking up to your parents as a superhuman, perfect individual — someone invincible —only to discover that they are, in fact, flawed just like everyone else in the world. Plus, let's not forget that young Jean believes the Phoenix Force is coming after her. And now she's face-to-face with the greatest (and worst) host of that cosmic entity ever... and it just so happens to be herself. Jean's understandings and fears about the Phoenix play a huge role in this story.
Vince Brusio: Let's look at this storyline as a reality TV program. Its Humpty Dumpty getting put back together again, but there's new drama to make things complicated because new characters are being folded into the same time continuum as the old characters! It's like a high school love affair coming together full circle, but a future spouse gets added to the mix. What ingredients do you bake into the pie to build up critical mass so that your story's conclusion levels buildings?
Cullen Bunn: One of the things that was important to me is that the younger Jean Grey had to walk away from this story with some greater understanding of her significance to the Marvel universe. I want this to be a fun adventure tale, but it needs to "matter" in a pretty significant way for Jean, Phoenix, and for the X-Men. There are many, many callbacks to classic X-men stories and history here, but the future of the X-books isn't left behind. The adventure in this story should get the blood pumping. But there are also elements in this tale that will thrill people looking for connectivity to the stories that have come before. And there are story beats that set up some pretty big things to come in the Marvel Universe.
*To learn more about what’s in store for Marvel’s Generations one-shots, read our previous creator interviews with the books’ writers!
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.