Coworkers’ wandering eyes in the faculty room were intrigued by the “demonic possession” title of Ramzi Fawaz’s article “Consumption by Hellfire: Demonic Possession and the Limits of the Superhuman in the 1980s,” as I prepared for class last week. I explained the detailed transition of the Phoenix to the Dark Phoenix through a history of American economy and X-Men history, before I realized that no one was listening shortly after I began.
Superhuman Jean Grey acquired the Phoenix Force, exemplifying moral good. In short, she fights for egalitarian alliances and the X-Men kinship. That is until she becomes the Dark Phoenix. Her transition begins in Episode 108 by healing the M’Kraan Crystal. Mastermind continues to manipulate her psyche throughout the Dark Phoenix Saga. The Dark Phoenix’s demonic possession leads to the questioning of identity and sexual gender. She no longer fights for moral good but manipulates others for her own advantage. The Dark Phoenix “[questions] both the viability of human agency and the underlying notion of a universal “moral good” that informed human action” (Fawaz, 205). When Jean began using her powers for moral corruption, her team realized the pleasure she gained in that power. Scott and Ororo worried that there was an evilness that could take over. When this power took over, she acquired “an aggressive sexuality and a violent temper” (Fawaz, 212). She was constantly craving power, fulfilling her lust for it
Fawaz theorizes that the rise of demonic possession reflects the rise of capitalism in America. Jean threw out all notions of justice and morale when Mastermind infiltrated her. For example, when she saw herself as an 18th century aristocrat and Ororo was seen as a slave, a piece of property that she owned; just as the “rich ruling over the poor…she [owned] the X-Men” (Fawaz, 221). The breakdown of America’s national morale and the potential evil in humans was ever present in Jean’s transformation. Although she fought for neoliberalism and feminism, she was easily manipulated when consumed by Hellfire.
Can you compare the Hellfire Club’s meaningless concerns in regards to the “potential immortality of manipulating Jean Grey…[the] disloyalty of exploiting fellow mutants for financial gain” to current society (Fawaz, 221)?
Can you discuss Jean Grey exemplifying being a superhuman?
How did Claremont relate Jean Grey’s transformation to the reader? **Class discussion
How is narcissism present in the Dark Phoenix? **Class discussion