- Rachel Summers
caption=Marvel Girl, on the cover for X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #4. Art by
real_name=Rachel Anne Summers
Uncanny X-Men" #141 (January 1981)
Chris Claremont John Byrne John Romita Jr.
X-Men X-Treme Sanctions ExecutiveExcalibur Clan Askani Hounds Starjammers
aliases=Rachel Grey, Phoenix, Mother Askani, Bright Lady, Alyzr'n Summerset
Temporal astral projection,
Residual phoenix force energy|
Rachel Summers (who now calls herself Rachel Grey and Marvel Girl) is a fictional character, a
Marvel Comics superheroinecreated by writer Chris Claremontand artist/co-writer John Byrne. She first appeared in " Uncanny X-Men" #141 (January 1981) and has been affiliated with several teams including the X-Menand Excalibur.
She is the daughter of the X-Men Cyclops and Jean Grey-Summers from a harsh,
dystopian alternate future. She inherited her mother's telepathic and telekinetic abilities and was originally codenamed Phoenix after her.
Fictional character biography
Rachel Summers comes from an alternate future earth known as
Earth 811as seen in the " Days of Future Past" storyline from " The Uncanny X-Men" issues #141 and #142. In this reality the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly provoked the ratification of the Mutant Registration Act, leading to a dystopian future where the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots rule the world. Rachel was abducted by operatives working for Ahab, who used drugs and hypnotherapyto turn Rachel into a "Hound," a mutant who tracks down other mutants. She fulfilled her duties, but her psychicpowers linked her to her victims, fueling her grief and despair, until she attacked Ahab and scarred him. In return, he sent her to the mutant concentration camps. There, she befriended the surviving mutant rebels, including Wolverine, Magneto, Colossus, Storm, Kitty Prydeand her lover, the adult Franklin Richards.
Rachel managed to send Pryde's consciousness into the past to prevent the assassination, but it did not change their time; she sent her astral form into the past to find out why and discovered she had sent Kitty into an alternate past. On the way back, she encountered the disembodied Phoenix Force and it followed her to her present. Rachel passed out from the strain of
astral projectionand the Phoenix Force revealed itself to Kitty, who asked it to give Rachel a fresh start.
When Rachel and Kitty broke into "Project: Nimrod" on a suicide mission to destroy a new model of Sentinel, Kitty spoke the words "Dark Phoenix" and the Phoenix Force ripped Rachel from her timeline and sent her body back to the alternate past to which she had sent Kitty's consciousness, a past where Jean Grey was dead and her father was married to someone else. She experienced additional heartache and displacement trauma when she discovered that her father's new wife,
Madelyne Pryor, was pregnant with a son (Nathan Summers), because in her timeline she was the first born child of Scott Summers.
She had a brief membership in the X-Men, before finding the
Shi'arholoempathic crystal with an imprint of her mother in it. After she took a vow to remember her mother with the uniform and name of Phoenix, the Phoenix Force fully bonded with her, granting her access to its power on a cosmic magnitude, albeit in a much more limited fashion than the Dark Phoenix. Soon after, the grudge which she had begun with Selene boiled over when Rachel secretly invaded the Hellfire Club with the intention of taking vengeance on her for the murders she had committed, particularly that of nightclub owner, Nicholas Damiano, who had taken Rachel into his home after Selene attacked her. Selene proved to be no match for Rachel's newly increased powers, but just as she was about to finish Selene, Wolverine arrived and was forced to stab her in the chest to prevent her from killing the immortal witch. Mortally injured, she was lured into Spiral's "Body Shoppe."
Months later, while recuperating from injuries on
Muir Island, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler both had the same dream, where they were actors on a weird set and helped Rachel, who was trapped there, escape. Shortly thereafter, Rachel escaped from the alternate reality of Mojoworld. Rachel has once been cited having a flashback to her time there where she is held in chains and tortured. The three former X-Men were joined by Captain Britainand Megganand founded the British superhero team Excalibur. While part of the team she discovered that this universe's version of her mother, Jean Grey, was alive. She attempted to bond with Jean but Jean, upon discovering Rachel was the present host for the Phoenix, rejected any contact with her as she still resented the Phoenix Force for stealing a portion of her life. Jean Grey's feelings for Rachel later changed once Jean and Cyclops planned to marry.
Rachel remained with Excalibur until an incident caused her to be lost in the timestream. She exchanged places with a time-lost Captain Britain and emerged two thousand years in the future, in a world conquered by Apocalypse and crushed under his iron fist. She gathered together a group of rebels and founded the
Askani. She trained one of her followers to travel back in time and bring her "brother" Nathan forward in time when he was infected with a techno-organic virus. The Askani cloned Nathan in case he was not able to survive the virus. Apocalypse's followers attacked the Askani and took the clone (who would later become the supervillain Stryfe), leaving Rachel critically injured. Hooked up to life support, she drew the minds of Scott and Jean into the future, as "Slym" and "Redd", to raise Nathan and tutor him in the use of his powers. Rachel finally died ten years later and sent Scott and Jean back to their original bodies seconds after they had left.
After Cable had finally defeated Apocalypse, he went into the timeline to retrieve Rachel. There he discovered a Rachel "sans" Phoenix Force. With the premature death of Apocalypse, the Askani timeline had been diverged from the mainstream 616 Marvel Universe and as a result, she had been flung into the far future yet subjectively a short time after she'd been lost in the timestream, as the slave of a creature called "Gaunt," who'd used her to lead Cable there for a "battle of the ages." He defeated Gaunt in the battle and Rachel, now free, was able to use her residual Phoenix Force to return them both to the present. She then decided to take a break from superheroics and enrolled in college after she made Cable promise he wouldn't tell anyone she was back. Despite her efforts to live a normal life, however, she was kidnapped by the telepath
Elias Boganand subsequently rescued by the X-Men.
She decided to rejoin the X-Men, taking the name "Marvel Girl" to honor her mother (who had recently died yet again) and wearing a costume her mother had designed but never worn; a variation on Jean's first green costume. She has also changed her last name to "Grey," becoming Rachel Grey, possibly to express disapproval at her father's betrayal of Jean, as well as continuing his relationship with
Emma Frost, though she and Emma have made a truce of sorts during one of the team's missions in Hong Kong. Her stint with this team also included a visit to the Savage Land. In this storyline, "World's End", which was heavily criticized by readers, Rachel was subjected to the mind-control of a tribe of advanced dinosaur people, the Hauk'ka, causing her to believe she belonged to their species, after which she subconsciously used her telekinesis to change her own genome in their image. This was eventually reverted. After " House of M" and "Decimation", where most of the world's mutants lost their powers, the government had Sentinels instituted at the X-Mansionto protect the mutants in case any enemies used this low point to attack. Though their intentions were good this time, it reminded Rachel too much of the previous timeline when Sentinels herded mutants into concentration camps.
Rachel had a short stint with newly re-formed Excalibur reminiscent of the former team, shortly after the House of M events. She assisted the team in battling the Dark X-Men and the Shadow King in the guise of Professor X ("New Excalibur" 1-4).
End Of Greys
Rachel spent some time with her grandparents, bonding with her grandfather. At a family reunion with all her relatives, a commando unit under the order of the
Shi'arattacked the party, killing everyone including Rachel's grandparents, in hopes of wiping out the Grey genome. Though unable to kill her, they were able to graft a deathmark on her back that would allow them to find her wherever she went. It is assumed that the only remaining member of the Grey family now left on Earth besides Rachel is Cable. Afterward, at the graves of the Grey family, Rachel vowed a terrible vengeance on the Shi'ar and was quoted as saying: "I'm not my mom. I'm not the Phoenix. I'm my own woman. And by the time I'm done... they'll wish I "was" the Phoenix."
The Death Commandos later broke free of their prisons, and found Rachel at the psychiatry offices of Dr. Maureen Lysinski. Rachel saved her, and with the help of Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Bishop, and Cannonball, took them down. She decided to imprison them instead of kill them, saying that "I mean to find destiny in a way that brings us both [Jean Grey] honor." She is also sometimes referenced as 'Starchilde' in this series.
Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire
After Rachel was kidnapped, along with Cyclops, by her paternal uncle Vulcan and freed Darwin from inside him,
Professor Xrecruited Rachel, along with Havok, Nightcrawler, Warpath, Darwin, and Polaris in a space mission to stop Vulcan from laying waste to the Shi'arempire. ["Uncanny X-Men #475"] Xavier, who recently was stripped of his powers, recruited Rachel to serve as his telepathic "eyes and ears" during their mission. Aware of Rachel's vendetta against the Shi'ar, Xavier has agreed to use their trip into space to find out who in the Shi'ar Empire gave the order to wipe out all members of the Grey family and has warned Rachel that they will deal with the people responsible for her recent losses Xavier's way.
While in space, the team was attacked by Korvus, a Shi'ar warrior sent to kill Rachel. Korvus's ancestor Rook'shir was a previous host of the Phoenix Force, and a small portion of the Phoenix's power was left behind in his sword, the Blade of the Phoenix. With this power, Korvus made short work of the other X-Men, but when Rachel blocked the sword their minds were involuntarily linked and Rachel learned that Korvus's family was also murdered by the Shi'ar government because of their connection to the Phoenix. The remaining echo of the Phoenix power from the sword was then transferred to Rachel. Rachel claimed that rather than having taken the power, the power chose to go to her, saying "The Phoenix knows me, remember? It likes me." When this happened, Rachel's normally gold energy aura turned blue, the same color as the Blade of the Phoenix. She then telekinetically disabled an explosive implant that the Shi'ar chancellor was using to force Korvus's obedience.
Due to connecting with the sword, Rachel also connected to Korvus and the two begin to share memories. Rachel discovers the Phoenix Force formerly in the blade is just an echo, a "blue shadow", of the Force. The shadow of the Phoenix begins influencing Rachel's behavior, causing her to design a darker new uniform and begin a romance with Korvus. ["Uncanny X-Men" #481]
Leading up to the fight with Vulcan, Rachel is shown using her powers to kill the guards who stand in her way. Havok warns her not to but Rachel tells him that they deserve to die after what they did to her family. When it comes to the big fight, Rachel shows just how powerful she is by protecting Korvus from one of Vulcans blasts. Rachel is one of the X-Men stranded in Shi'ar space when their ship is sent back to earth.
After the death of her other grandfather, Corsair, at the hands of Vulcan, she, along with Havok, Polaris, Korvus, Ch'od and Raza become the new Starjammers. They elect to remain in Shi'ar space and restore Lilandra to the throne or die trying. As her uncle states, "If they fail, he has no doubt that Vulcan will head for Earth." ["Uncanny X-Men" #486]
During the conflict, the Starjammers find another threat in the form of the Scy`ar Tal (translates as "Death to the Shi'ar"). Rachel makes contact with the Eldest Scy'ar Tal and discovers their true origin. The Scy'ar Tal were originally called the M'Kraan. Early in their history, the Shi`ar attacked them, killed a great number of their people, making the rest flee for their lives. Eventually, the Shi'ar settled on their planet, took the M`Kraan Crystal as their own, and passed down the legend of the M'Kraan Crystal as a sacred gift from their deities, Sharra & K`ythri. The M'Kraan then changed their named to Scy'ar Tal and devoted their culture and society to the destruction of the Shi`ar Empire. With their first attack, they destroyed Feather's Edge by transporting a star to obliterate it. After which, Vulcan makes contact with the Starjammers to call a temporary ceasefire.
During the ceasefire, Rachel comes into contact with the Death Commandos again and attempted to kill them to avenge the deaths of her relatives; however, she is deterred by Polaris. At the end, all the Starjammers are captured by the Shi'ar except Rachel, Korvus and Lilandra.
X-Men: Kingbreaker & War of Kings
Marvel has announced that Rachel and the Starjammers will play a large role in the upcoming sequel to Emperor Vulcan called X-Men: Kingbreaker. [http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080823-XMenKingbreaker.html] She will also be seen prominently in the War of Kings storyline, which also features Vulcan, The Inhumans, Nova, and The Guardians of the Galaxy. [http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.4329]
Scott Summers (Cyclops, alternate timeline father), Jean Grey-Summers (Phoenix, alternate timeline mother, deceased in own time), Alex Summers (Havok, alternate timeline uncle),
Franklin Richards(alternate future husband), Jonathan Reed Richards ( Hyperstorm, alternate future son), David Richards (alternate future son) and Dream Summers (alternate future daughter)
Powers and abilities
Rachel is a
mutantwho possesses the psionic powers of telepathy, including psychometry, and telekinesis as well as limited time manipulation abilities.
Marvel Girl is a high level telepath which allows her to read minds and project her thoughts into other's minds as well as form mind links that can connect her with another despite great distances or power inhibitors. Rachel has honed her telepathy to sense, locate and track other mutants based on their thought patterns, but has a moral apprehension about using this telepathic skill based on her experiences as a Hound. Rachel can use her telepathy to project a blast of psi-energy that can disrupt the higher functions of the brain, and defensively shield her mind from other telepaths, create illusions, sensory invisibility and edit memories. In addition, Rachel has demonstrated the ability to telepathically block access to super-powers, control minds, repair minds, and swap minds from one body to another.
In conjunction with Marvel Girl's ability to astral travel through astral projection, Rachel can combine her telepathy with her abilities to manipulate time -- "chronoskimming" -- allowing her to temporarily transplant a person's mind and send it through time into a younger/older version or a close ancestor/descendant, or as a disembodied astral form. Rachel combines her ability to manipulate time with her telepathy and telekinesis with varied effects including the unconscious emanation of a fourth dimensional pulse which creates a chrono-shield protecting her from changes in the timeline,
psychometricprojections of past events and physical time travel (a skill that she can now perform without the aid of the Phoenix).
By using telekinesis, Marvel Girl can manipulate matter down to the atomic level. She can channel her telekinesis to create force fields and fire concussive psionic force blasts. By using her telekinesis to levitate herself, Marvel Girl can fly at incredible speeds.
For a time, Rachel was also bonded to the Phoenix Force as "the one true Phoenix," and had its cosmic powers at her disposal. As Phoenix, Rachel demonstrated heightened psi-powers as well as the ability to manipulate energy and lifeforces, and a limited cosmic awareness. Rachel's connection to the Phoenix power was lost in the distant future and did not return with her when she traveled back to the early 21st Century (present) of Earth-616. However, this did not mean she could never host the Force again. Recently, Marvel Girl absorbed a residual echo of the Phoenix Force left in the sword of a previous host, a Shi'ar named Rookshir. Its full effects are unknown at this time. It was revealed in "Uncanny X-Men #481" that the power Rachel has is not the true Phoenix Force, but a shadow or echo of it, which is less powerful, but easier to control. However the echo's true level of power may be greater than has been seen so far, as seen in "X-Men: Emperor Vulcan" #3 when she manifested it in the form of the familiar fiery bird image with which the Phoenix is commonly associated. In issue #5 of "Emperor Vulcan", the echo is also powerful enough to allow Rachel to survive in and fly through the vacuum of space without the need for additional protection.
Curiously, Marvel Girl exhibits a Phoenix emblem energy signature, which appears over her left eye whenever she uses her powers, and can manifest a shadow form (much like the shadow form Jean Grey-Summers gained when she absorbed the telepathic powers of
Psylocke), which could be due to the fact that Rachel and Psylocke's fates were "bound together" by Psylocke's reality-twisting brother, Jamie. After regaining a small portion of the Phoenix Force echo, the Phoenix emblem over her eye changed from a gold phoenix emblem to an electric blue flame in the shape of a phoenix.
Rachel's current level of power is not yet known; in most cases it appears less extensive than the abilities she has displayed as the Phoenix. She was, however, able to more than hold her own against the immensely powerful Gladiator with the aid of the Phoenix echo in X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #5. It has been theorized that like her mother, Rachel is considered an
Omega-level mutant. The future Sentinel, Nimrod once classified Rachel as an Omega class mutant several years before the Omega-level term came into being. On the official character bios from Marvel.com Marvel Girl is described as a mutant with virtually unlimited telepathic powers. ["Uncanny X-Men #208"] Further proof is her status as a host for the Phoenix Force, a feat Omega-level mutants are known to be capable of.
Rachel's telepathy, though massive in raw scale, is mitigated by her limited training and techniques. This was proven in "Uncanny X-Men #452", where the admittedly less-powerful (yet more experienced)
Emma Frostwas able to outflank an incredulous Rachel in a contest on the astral plane.
Other instances have depicted Rachel's telekinetic potential to be nigh-unlimited. Even without the Phoenix, Rachel was able to create a micro black hole ("Uncanny X-Men" #447), levitate an entire city for a time ("Cable and Deadpool" #10), and sustain shields that withstood Jovian atmospheric pressures ("Uncanny X-Men" #449). Moreover, Rachel's current telekinetic fine-motor control allowed her to alter molecular valences ("X-Treme X-Men" #44), sense and manipulate residual energy to generate psychic manifestations in the form of
psychometryof past events ("MK Spider-Man" #6, "X-Men: Deadly Genesis" #2 and "Uncanny X-Men" #464), create a psychic sword (much like the psychic katana from Psylocke)("Uncanny X-Men" #464) and even rewrite human genomes ("Uncanny X-Men" #459 and "Uncanny X-Men Annual" #14 - where Rachel used the Phoenix Force to reconstruct the DNA of the Invisible Womanand Cyclops).
At times, Rachel has been shown to learn new skills extremely quickly. For example, in "Excalibur" #16, she mastered a set of "demon ninja" sword skills simply by watching her teammate Shadowcat perform them. Rachel also mentions that she had learned lock-picking skills from the Storm of her timeline, knowledge and use of advanced technology and weapons, as well as skills in repairing engines. However, these abilities have not been evident in her more recent appearances.
Even with the powers of the Phoenix, magic and magical objects prove to be an enigma for Rachel's powers. When the
Soulswordappeared near the Excalibur lighthouse headquarters seeking Kitty Pryde to become its new wielder, Rachel attempted to remove it from the bedrock it had embedded itself into in order to alleviate her friend's apprehension. Despite using the full extent of power permitted by the Phoenix Force, Rachel was unable to remove the sword, which she then surmised only Kitty Pryde could remove. This could be the reason why Rachel has not telekinetically removed the Shi'ar deathmark on her back, although Nightcrawler theorized that this was only because Rachel didn't wish to remove it.
According to Rachel Summers' creator Chris Claremont, the Rachel Summers that currently appears in Earth-616, who was originally from Earth-811, is unique in the multiverse and has no alternate timeline counterparts (Uncanny X-Men #462). These other Rachels are not alternate versions of the Rachel Summers of Earth-811, but characters that might have the same parentage, name, or the same powers but are not connected due to aspects of Rachel's genetics or history. The reason for her unique nature is still unknown. Some have theorized that this is due to her link to the Phoenix Force, but this has not been confirmed as fact.
Variations of Days of Future Past
In at least three alternate future timelines that derived from "Days of Future Past", a Rachel Summers married Franklin Richards and had at least one mutant child with him. One such child was the time-traveling supervillain
Hyperstorm(Jonathan Richards). Hyperstorm was responsible for causing the Fantastic Fourto think that Mister Fantastic(Jonathan's grandfather) and Doctor Doomwere dead; he was only defeated when he was trapped in another dimension by Galactus. The second child was Dream Summers, with the power of empathy, a superhero who appeared in the "Spider-Man/X-Men: Time's Arrow" trilogy of novels (although Marvel Comics novels tend to be considered non-canon). In the third reality, they produced a child named David Richards, who was rescued from a concentration camp by the interdimensional travelling Exiles and raised by the Age of ApocalypseSabretooth. In this reality, David's traumatic experiences at the camp led him to become a fanatical murderer.
Weapon X: Days of Future Now
In a variation of the Days of Future Past shown in "Weapon X: Days of Future Now", a Rachel Summers was captured by
Weapon Xand detained in the "Neverland" concentration camp.
In the so-called "Legacy Earth" Reality, in which the Legacy Virus mutated into a
techno-organicplague, a Rachel Summers was a member of the Avengers, the last superhero group. At Morph's behest, she attempts to contact Thor and the Asgardians to help them against the Vi-Locks, a race of beings infected with the techno-organic Legacy virus.
House of M
Rachel was the bodyguard and traveling companion to Psylocke, British royalty after her brother Brian became ruler of all England. She became involved with Captain Britains mission to seal the void that was created by the Scarlet Witch's manipulations.
X-Men: The End
Rachel is the manager of Kitty Pryde’s campaign to become Mayor of Chicago however she abandons this position after a series of attacks on the X-Men and allies. She then teams up with Cable and goes to Shi'ar space to face Cassandra Nova who is behind all the attacks. Rachel is killed by Cassandra Nova and is later seen joining several others in creating the “Tree of Life” from the Quabala and presumably transcended this plane of existence.
In other media
*Rachel Summers could be seen in the "X-Men"
animated television seriesof the mid-1990s as one of Apocalypse's captive psychics in the final episode of the multi-part storyline, "Beyond Good and Evil", wearing her red-spiked Hound costume.
*Rachel Summers made one video game appearance as Phoenix, a playable character in the 1990s for the PC. She wore her red-spiked costume from Excalibur, and during gameplay, had a "psi-flash" attack where her Phoenix effect would glow brighter, and her enemies would collapse (stunned telepathically). If her power was running low, she could sweep her fiery wings towards a nearby enemy and cause physical damage. She was also one of the game's few flying characters (along with Jean Grey-Summers as Marvel Girl from the original X-Factor, Archangel, and Rogue)
* [http://www.marvel.com/universe/Marvel_Girl_(Rachel_Summers) Marvel Girl (Rachel Summers) at Marvel.com]
* [http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/spotlight/showquestion.asp?faq=10&fldAuto=59 Spotlight On... Marvel Girl III at UncannyXmen.Net]
* [http://www.rachel-summers.com Rachel-Summers.com]
* [http://askani.strength-within.net Askani Rising]
* [http://www.thephoenixforce.com/phoenixFrameSet1.html The Phoenix Force]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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