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''Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely'': The Dark Phoenix Saga
on 11 May 2014
The Dark Phoenix Saga is an amazing and outstanding storyline focusing on Jean Grey's transformation from Phoenix to Dark Phoenix.
The background of the story is that Jean Grey -a powerful telepath and telekinetic mutant- after an adventure with the X-Men in the outer-space, transforms into Phoenix (Uncanny X-Men #100-101). Phoenix is an almost invincible entity. Its power is huge. Jean Grey must control this power. But what will happen when Jean can no longer keep it under control?
(SPOILER ALERT! This paragraph focuses on the plot. If you don't want to know what happens skip to the next paragraph)
The plot focuses on Jean Grey's transformation from Phoenix to Dark Phoenix. Jean is manipulated by a man who is called Jason Wyngarde (a.k.a. Mastermind), who is an illusionist and part of the inner circle of the Hellfire Club, a club that seeks to rule the world. He makes Jean believe that she is re-living the life of an ancestor of hers, who lived in the 18th century, awaking -eventually- Jean's dark side. Jean is seduced by Mastermind and she becomes the Black Queen of the club and helps them beat the X-Men. But this doesn't last for long. Jean Grey regains control of herself and she and the X-Men fight the Hellfire Club. But the damage has already been done. (Huge Spoilers Ahead!) While the X-Men escape, Jean's dark side is unleashed. She names herself Dark Phoenix and she attacks the X-Men. After beating them, she leaves from the Earth and, seeking for power, she destroys an entire planet system, before returning to Earth. On Earth, the X-Men fight against her, trying to help her remember who she is and convince her to stop. They win. Jean Grey is good again. But a space race -the Shi'ar- wants to destroy Phoenix, in order to punish her for her crimes. The X-Men insist that Jean Grey now controls the Phoenix and that she shouldn't be punished. So, the Shi'ar and the X-Men agree to fight for Jean's fate. But Jean knows that it's too late. After transforming herself into Dark Phoenix during the battle with the Shi'ar, Jean understands that she can't control Phoenix anymore and commits suicide in front of Cyclops, her lover.
It is an awesome and outstanding storyline. I love Jean Grey's character development and her inner fight with the Phoenix. I also love how she starts becoming dark and uncontrollable, when Mastermind starts unleashing her depressed and dark part of her soul. Additionally, I particularly enjoyed her romantic relationship with Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men.
Chris Claremont's writing adds more drama to the story, making it amazing and really touching. John Byrne's artwork is flawless and Terry Austin's inking precise.
This paperback edition collects Uncanny X-Men #129-137 (the actual Dark Phoenix Saga) and includes a few pages (about 10-15) of bonus material, such as alternative covers and penciled pages. It is coloured and it has got a superb quality.
In conclusion, the Dark Phoenix Saga is a storyline every comic book fan should own. It is one of the best, most tragic, epic and touching stories Marvel has ever published and my personal favourite.