Marvel has announced a live press conference of some kind tomorrow to announce the story that will see the return of the Phoenix, the cosmic force in the Marvel U that has done such damage and led to so many big stories (mostly X-Men and Shi'ar related ones.) This return has been teased since ComicCon, along with the names of basically every big writer Marvel has on staff, as well as being featured in the (very disappointing) Point One issue in a story with Nova, apparently alive, racing to warn others of Phoenix's return.
Fan reaction has been generally poor, from the small amount of comment-reading I do and groan-detecting I employed at NYCC this year. There's a small group of people, the minority for years now, who want Jean Grey to just come back already. The majority, it seems, is rather sick of the Phoenix, was sick of it even when Grant Morrison was killing Jean, and is sick of seeing the not-subtle hints for the past year or two that Hope Summers now bears the Phoenix.
And by not subtle, I mean, having her eyes go red and flame-birdy whenever she gets slightly pissed.
When Hope showed up, before we saw the flamebird to make it entirely obvious, we were given some pretty big clues, such as the Phoenix Force's abandonment of her previously maintained semi-hosts, including Rachel Grey-Summers (the longest carrier) and the Stepford Cuckoos, who possessed a small bit frozen in their diamond hearts after they discovered they were three of thousands of clones fertilized from the stolen eggs of Emma Frost (yeah, they don't talk about it much either.)
Now Rachel's back, the Cuckoos still run cerebra, and everyone saw her manifest the Fire Raptor when she was on the Golden Gate bridge beating the crap out of Bastion. They continue to not talk about it, and despite all this Schism stuff, it's been clear for awhile that the Phoenix was gonna be the next big story for the X-Men.
But will it be X-centric as usual? (Not a pun.) Or will it be a Marvel-wide crossover? Do we have to wait till summer for it? Will Jean really come back, or at least make a cameo appearance via satellite from the White Hot Room where she is the nexus of reality or something?
Also, how is Nova alive? He was drawn like a twelve-year-old cartoon character in Point One with a different costume, but it must be him because when he was trapped in the fault, the Nova Force and Worldmind disappeared, and the small corps that remained (including his brother) lost their powers. Besides, Star-Lord was with him, and I want Star-Lord back too please.
And how did Black Bolt get back? He kinda died in the Fault too, but Hickman hasn't explained his return in FF, just shown a very belligerent Black Bolt who abandoned the Kree after all that war stuff to return to Earth and get involved in Reed and Valeria Richards' mess. Does that mean Vulcan/Gabriel Summers is alive somewhere too? Is he related to Hope? Is Rachel? Who were Hope's parents? Why was she born in Alaska where Scott lived with Madelyne Pryor for awhile? Her whole town was killed upon birth, the way the Shi'ar wiped out any remaining family member of Jean Grey's, while Rachel looked on helplessly. Connection?
What is the significance of her powers as a template/copycat of all mutant powers? Is that just from Rogue's touch when she was a baby, or is it the Phoenix Force restoring the mutant species by creating a living archive and triggering new activations like the Five Lights?
Ooof, lotta questions, sorry. Point is, I'm not one of the disinterested fans. I've been waiting for these answers for awhile, but not in a painful way. I like the Phoenix. I've always liked the Phoenix stories (well, maybe not the Cuckoos/Warsong one.) I want Jean back, I want Emma to freak out, I want Rachel to see her mom, and I want Hope to discover, explain and fulfill her destiny, without going evil or anything.
So, I'll just have to tune in tomorrow during work hours to find out what's coming. If you have any theories, please feel free to contribute. The crazier the better.
One final idea. Charlie's been suspiciously absent from the pages of major X-books these days. Perhaps a return to his more powerful days is to be expected?