· Episode Guide
· Episode Reviews
· Character Bios
· Backstage
· Media
· DVD Releases
· Discussion Forum
· MAA Home Page

The Dark Phoenix Saga, Part Four: The Fate Of The Phoenix
Comparison By A. Magik, Media By Stu and James Harvey

X-Men often adapted stories from the comic to the screen. But due to the different nature of each medium, no episode could be directly translated. Presented in the list below is a list of changes from the comics to the episode. This episode is based on Uncanny X-Men #137.

-Both versions of the X-Men have members in Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, and Beast.
-The roster of the Imperial Guard is the same in both versions: Gladiator, Oracle, Starbolt, Smasher, Warstar (B'nee and C'il), Earthquake, Manta, and Hussar.
-Majestrix Lilandra captures the X-Men, declaring her official duty to execute Phoenix. The X-Men are willing to defend Phoenix.
-Professor Xavier declares the Arin'nn Haelar, a Shi'ar duel of honor that cannot be refused. This means that the X-Men will duel with the Imperial Guard, with the winner deciding the vindication or condemnation of Phoenix.
-Beast has misgivings about the Professor having the team participate in this duel without their consent.
-Lilandra has a communications insta-link with the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree Empire and the Empress of the Skrull Empire. They both consent to the duel.
-The X-Men have time to think about their decisions (some practice in a battle room). Beast questions the ethical issues behind Lilandra's death warrant on Phoenix. The team unanimously decide to fight for Phoenix.
-Phoenix, her powers supressed to normal levels, decides to fight the duel in her old costume as Marvel Girl, with green miniskirt and yellow mask, gloves, and boots. She gets support from Cyclops to fight on her side, whatever the cost.
-As Lilandra's flagship hovers over the moon, the X-Men and the Imperial Guard are separately teleported to a "Blue Area" on the Moon, an old ruin with an atmosphere.
-The X-Men fight the Imperial Guard. The Guard owns most of the X-Men.
-Battles adapted from the comic:
Gladiator pulls a floor off Storm and an X-Man, causing them to fall off a cliff. Storm safely pulls the X-Man to a safe descent. Their ground is again upset by Earthquake. Storm uses her wind powers to fling stones back at Earthquake. Her guard diverted, Storm gets surprised by the whip of Hussar (in the comic, the whip winds around her neck. In the cartoon, it is her waist with an electric shock). Earthquake dispatches Storm quickly (though it's more violent in the comic, Earthquake spraying a volley of stones at her with the bullet-like speed).
One X-Man gets toasted by Manta.
B'nee and C'cil of Warstar separates into two attacks. Beast fights one of them.
Oracle mindblasts one X-Man.
The strongest X-Man fights with Gladiator. This X-Man drops a pillar on Gladiator, whose calm posture proves more resilent than the pillar that breaks upon his head. The fight eventually causes their surroundings to collapse on them. Gladiator arises from the wreckage, bearing the defeated X-Man (From a tele-screen, Professor Xavier views this defeat and despairs. Lilandra reluctantly stays away from him).
The only X-Men left standing, Cyclops and Marvel Girl are getting cornered by the Guard. They hide in an alcove, with Marvel Girl providing a wall of lunar dust to hide themselves. They have a moment of love, then charge out to fight again.
Cyclops gets injured. The shock and grief Marvel Girl feels to this shatters the psychic blocks supressing her powers. She becomes Phoenix again. She instantly defeats the Guard and hits Lilandra's flagship.
Professor Xavier realizes things have gone too far. He telepathically revives his fallen X-Men, telling them to destroy Phoenix while she is still weak!
Cyclops reluctantly blasts a tower to fall on Phoenix.
Storm hits Phoenix with a hurricane.
The strongest X-Man pounces upon Phoenix, punching her.
Her darkside consuming her, Phoenix pleads for her teammates to kill her. They refuse. She runs away. Cyclops pursues her. Phoenix insists that she die. She can't fight this power, fearful that she will slip and go insane again.
Phoenix relies on an alien cannon to destroy her. A powerless Cyclops watches in shock.

-In the comic, Colossus and Nightcrawler are X-Men in this story, not Gambit and Rogue. Beast and Angel are guests.
-In the comic, Lilandra's declaration and Xavier's Arin'nn Haelar occurred on her flagship, not on Earth.
-Comic Xavier didn't need to rape Lilandra's mind to learn about the Arin'nn Haelar at that moment (unlike his cartoon counterpart). In the comic, Xavier had a previous stay at the Empire before this, where he learned about the custom.
-Comic Lilandra is somewhat glad that Xavier is using the custom (though she still plans to destroy Phoenix). Cartoon Lilandra has misgivings.
-Cartoon Lilandra's motive to destroy Phoenix is fear that she might destroy lives. Her comic counterpart had better reasons, since comic Phoenix destroyed an inhabited planet (and a Shi'ar cruiser, though that's small fry compared to planetary genocide).
-Xavier doesn't try to reason with Lilandra in the comic.
-The cartoon omits the Kree and Skrull representatives sent to witness the battle.
-In the comic, it is Wolverine (not Gambit) who falls with Storm.
-Comic Storm is by herself in her battle with Earthquake and Hussar.
-Wolverine's adventures are different. In the comic, he gets pushed- and fades into- Uatu the Watcher's house. After a brief warning, he gets kicked out, meets, and attacks the Skrull rep before getting blasted unconscious by the Kree rep. The Skrull rep repays this gratitude by attacking the Kree rep (What happens to them is another story...)
-In the comic, Beast fights the smaller Warstar B'nee (and gets shocked unconsious). In the cartoon, he fights C'cil.
-In the comic, it is Angel (not Rogue) who gets mind-blasted by Oracle. It is Colossus (not Rogue) who fights Gladiator. It is Nightcrawler (not Wolverine) who gets fried by Manta.
-In the comic, the battle wears upon the X-Men's costumes, getting ripped and torn (Storm is especially dressed in tatters). The cartoon X-Men's clothing comes out fine.
-In the cartoon, Wolverine hesitates about killing Phoenix. In the comic, it is he who thrusts Colossus down on Phoenix, throwing him to kill her (this becomes Rogue punching her in the cartoon).
-Unlike the cartoon, comic Phoenix doesn't turn Dark Phoenix during the final battle. She is getting there, though.
-In the comic, Phoenix has an old alien cannon destroy her. In the cartoon, she moves the Shi'ar flagship over her, letting Lilandra blast her from above.
-Most importantly, comic Phoenix is destroyed and remains destroyed. In the cartoon, the Phoenix entity separates from its dead host. The entity allows allows the X-Men to use their lifeforces to resurrect Jean.
-The comic shows nothing of how the X-Men got back to Earth.

Interesting facts:
-The Blue Area on the moon was a city created- and then abandoned- by the Kree aliens. Uatu the Watcher stays nearby it. The area was later inhabited by the Inhumans of Attilan.
-In many ways, the cartoon conclusion to the Dark Phoenix Saga was faithful to the planned ending. Chris Claremont and John Byrne had planned for Jean Grey to be stripped of her powers (via a psychic lobotomy by the Shi'ar designed to strip Jean entirely of her super powers. The Shi'ar didn't plan to kill the host, fearing it might undo the repairs she made to the M'krann crystal in UXM#108. They wanted to remove any threat of becoming Phoenix again). Editor Jim Shooter accepted this, having read the original script which gave no indication that Phoenix did anything morally wrong. However, this changed when Shooter learned of John Byrne's last-minute addition of Dark Phoenix destroying an inhabited planet. Shooter now insisted that Phoenix pay for her genocidal actions, even though Claremont excused it as a moment of insanity where Phoenix was not in the right state of mind. Planning at one point for the punishment to be strapped to a asteroid for all eternity, Claremont and Byrne decided that Phoenix commit suicide.
-Now, you must have noticed that I always put Phoenix instead of Jean Grey. It is because, from 1985 to now, Marvel canon states that Jean Grey and Phoenix were never one and the same. It was retconned that the Phoenix entity became curious with Jean's sacrifice in the shuttle back in UXM #100. The entity wanted to learn about humanity through Jean. So, it promised Jean the X-Men's safety, but in return, taking her emotions. She agreed. The entity absorbed Jean, the flush of humanity overwhelming its own consciousness to the point that the entity actually believed it was Jean Grey. The entity then wrapped the dying girl into a healing cocoon. When the shuttle crashed into Jamaica Bay, the coccon was forgotten and left there until a few years later, when the Avengers located it. The cartoon kept the Jean-as-Phoenix idea originally used, though it made the corruption the entity's fault instead of Jean (the comic still keeps the dark Jean factor, since the entity did replicate all of Jean's personality, including the good and bad side of her humanity) Rather then keep writing about this in every post, I decided to just call Jean Phoenix.
-I dunno, but the way the cartoon X-Men restore Phoenix to life is based on a Legion of Super-Heroes story, where the team surround the dead Lightning Lad, ready to give their life energies to revive him.

Return to X-Men Comparisons: Comics to Cartoon