This article contains spoilers for “X-Men” #12.
X-Men comics have reinterpreted Jean Grey’s abilities again. It’s always been hard to figure out how strong Jean Grey really is. This is partly because of her mysterious connection to the Phoenix Force, because she is so closely connected to this cosmic being that it is difficult to understand where one begins and the other ends. But it’s also because Marvel Comics can’t seem to make a decision.
Jonathan Hickman took readers by surprise back in 2019 when he finally defined what it means to be an Omega-level mutant. According to House of X#1, Omega is “a mutant whose dominant power is considered to be registered—or reaching— an indefinable upper limit of a specific classification of that power.” Further on the data page, it was noted that this term is used to refer to only one mutant power; according to Hickman, few mutants have more than one Omega-level ability. Jean Grey, he explained on the data page, is no exception in this role; she is an Omega-level telepath, but not an Omega-level telekinetic.
Hickman left X-books, and funnily enough, it didn’t take Marvel long to revisit that. “X-Men #12” by Jerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz contains many scenes in which the X-Men discuss Jean Grey’s telekinesis at the Omega level, as well as her telepathy. Indeed, the comic represents one of the most impressive demonstrations of Jean’s power to date, as she telekinetically captures the countless spores of a creature named Cordyceps Jones. She is assisted by Rogue, who copies her telekinetic abilities and directly calls them the Omega level.
In truth, no one expected these definitions to last long after Hickman’s departure. In Jean’s case, this is largely because she has proven herself too well as an Omega-level telekinetic in the first place, with a phenomenal number of feats to her name. In one story, Jean even telekinetically reflected the forces of Black Thunder—sonic explosions that can level mountains. Incredibly, she didn’t even seem to be making any effort.
Thus, it seems that fans of Jean Grey can again happily call her an Omega-level telekinetic. Jean’s powers were re-modified, returning her to the levels of power at which she worked before the Hickman era, and this is for the best, because the clarification was unnecessary, contrary to established knowledge. The repeated retcon also potentially serves as preparation for the next wave of X-Men stories that promise to clarify Jean Grey’s relationship with Phoenix once and for all. Hopefully, when this is all over, Jean Grey of the X-Men will return to a more stable status quo.