I have no interest in reading anything Shooter might have written on the subject. Here, for the umpety-umpth time, is the correct and factual story. Compare and contrast as you will:
|Posted: 02 June 2011 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 2
For several issues, Chris had been playing up Phoenix more and more, even when I tried to shunt her into a supporting role. The X-Men seemed very much in danger of becoming guest stars in their own book. (Keep in mind that Jean Grey, altho one of the original team members, was not officially an X-Man at this time, having left in issue 94.)
Knowing of my grumbles about this, Steven Grant one day suggested that a possible "solution" was to have Phoenix become a villain. That way she could be as powerful as Chris wanted, without it being at the expense of the other characters in the book.
Chris passed this idea along to me, and while I did not much like the idea of doing this to one of Marvel's oldest characters (and their second female superhero!) it did present a way around my problems with Phoenix. So I agreed, and, since Chris was at that point unfamiliar with X-Lore beyond the Thomas/Adams issues, suggested Mastermind as the engine by which this transformation would be accomplished.
We then set off on a several issue arc in which we laid the groundwork of Jean's downfall. (Of course, Phoenix was still Jean at this point. I have sometimes wondered how things would have played if someone back at that point had suggested that Phoenix was, in fact, an entirely separate being. That way we could have had Jean and Phoenix both. A win-win.)
Eventually we reached the point that Phoenix would go "dark", and off she went into space for her debut rampage. As originally plotted, the total extent of destruction was one Shi'ar battle cruiser -- which fired first! So, to up this from an action that was basically self defense, I had her destroy a star, heedless of any inhabited planets that might be orbiting it. To tie this into the Marvel Universe a bit more closely than the destruction of some newly invented alien race, I got editorial permission to make it the "asparagus people" intoduced in AVENGERS 4. At this point Shooter was also told what I planned and approved it. After all this was no "worse" than anything Galactus did on a regular basis -- and at that point Galactus was still being played as nothing more than a cosmic badguy.
As planned, we then had the Shi'ar fight and defeat the X-Men, capture Jean, and "psychically lobotomize" her. Since the plan -- also approved by Shooter -- was to have Dark Phoenix become a recurrent villain, this would set it up for us to bring her back when we were ready.
The issue was finished, as was the next, which was double sized. I was well into 138, when Shooter declared that Phoenix's crime was too great, and that she must be "taken to a prison asteroid and horribly tortured for all eternity".
When Chris passed this edict along to me I saw nothing but complications. Obviously the X-Men would not stand still for this -- especially Scott! -- and I seriously doubted the fans would either. I saw the X-Men becoming mired in an endless series of hopeless attempts to rescue Jean, who, of course, would have to be "horribly tortured" the whole time. And there would be no chance of an actual rescue as long as Shooter was in charge.
It was at this point I uttered the immortal words "Fuck that! I'd rather kill her!"
Which, with much redrawing and rewriting of already completed issues, is what we did.