In this universe, the Phoenix Force is an independent psychic entity that has "been afflicting telepaths since mutants first emerged." When a powerful telepath is born, the Phoenix Force is already inside him/her. As the mutant grows and their powers mature, so too does the Phoenix's power inside them. When the Phoenix has fully matured, it manifests itself and takes over its host. Its rise to the surface is always accompanied by calamity and death, as neither the telepath nor the Phoenix can control its vast powers.
Over the centuries, a sort of shadow cabinet called the Inner Circle formed with a single purpose: to find the Phoenix's next host and avert the disaster of its awakening. The Inner Circle came to believe that because the Phoenix Force is a psychic entity that requires a host, it may be possible to expunge it from the Earth by removing it from its host before it reaches maturity. With that purpose in mind, Emma Frost attempted to forcibly retrieve Jean Grey, its current host, from Charles Xavier's institute. She, along with five other telepaths (the "Cuckoos"), assaulted Xavier psychically with the intention of taking out everyone else afterward. At that time, Jean was in the area and sensed their attack, and when she tried to thwart it, inadvertently tapped into the Phoenix Force, which resulted in the massive explosion that leveled the mansion, put Xavier in a coma, and rendered Jean amnesiac.
The Phoenix Force was sealed again inside of Jean during her weeks in the hospital. When she inadvertently tapped into her own powers, she alerted the MRD and Emma to her presence, as well as Mister Sinister. Emma tricked Scott into helping her retrieve Jean alone, but Sinister sent Archangel to collect her for his own experiments. Archangel succeeded in capturing Jean and Scott and brought them to his lab to rape them of their genetic material. Emma managed to scramble the rest of the X-Men for an impromptu rescue mission, which was nearing failure until the Phoenix Force, empowered by the stress Jean was enduring, again surfaced and made short work of their enemies. Emma and Scott were able to calm Jean and the Phoenix again settled into its agitated silence.
After Jean was brought back to the Mansion, Emma put everyone to sleep psychically and the Inner Circle procured Jean and took her to their own facility. There, Emma awoke Jean from her sleep and restored all of her memories. She then informed her of the Phoenix Force and the destruction that always followed in its wake. She told Jean of the Inner Circle's plan to deprive the Phoenix of its host, but Jean was unwilling to move forward without Professor X, who at this point was still comatose. Emma and the Cuckoos were then forced to sedate Jean and trick her into opening the many barriers Charles Xavier placed on the Phoenix Force in Jean's own mind. The first was an enormous door; the second, the door of her own childhood home; the third, Jean's own bedroom door; and the final was the door of a bird cage within which a canary lived. (These doors were all symbolic and inside of Jean's mind, and the Cuckoos tricked Jean by taking on the forms of those she loved and convincing her to open the barriers for everyone's safety.)
It was then revealed that during the weeks that Emma was carrying out her role with with the X-Men, the rest of the Inner Circle members' plans for the Phoenix "evolved". They theorized that the Phoenix itself wanted to be controlled, and that through the centuries that it traveled from host to host, it was actually seeking out a telepath strong enough to wield its great might. The members came to the belief that the five Cuckoos would be more than capable enough to control the Phoenix's power, since one telepath could not.
With all the barriers broken, the Phoenix Force was released in full and Emma's Cuckoos managed to pull it into themselves before it overtook Jean. The Phoenix, however, kept making desperate attempts to return to its own host, which would have been catastrophic now that it was fully unleashed. Emma warned that the girls would lose control, but the leader Sebastian dismissed her warnings and gave the Cuckoos instruction to destroy the Sentinels, the X-Men and all of Genosha. The women, united as the Phoenix, then destroyed the complex during their departure and made their way toward the battle that raged in the nearby city.
With the Cuckoos gone, Jean reawakened and trapped Emma against a wall with rebars. Before she could take her vengeance, Scott reminded her that the rampaging Phoenix took priority. Jean demanded to know if reabsorbing the Phoenix would stop it, and Emma replied that it would, but only temporarily. Scott was heavily opposed to the plan, but Jean felt that the Phoenix chose her for a reason, and that she had to at least try. With that in mind, Jean and Scott set out for the city, leaving Emma pinned to the wall.
In the city, the Phoenix arrived and turned the remaining Sentinels to scrap with minimal effort, and would have killed Magneto had Pietro not rescued him. As it set out to kill the wounded X-Men, Jean arrived and made her presence known. The Cuckoos lost control as the Phoenix made its attempt to return to its host, but was unexpectedly attacked by Scott, who would rather have died than see Jean destroyed by the Phoenix Force. Outraged, the Phoenix neutralized him and prepared to incinerate him. As it made its charge, Emma (freed by Logan) valiantly came between it and him, and absorbed it completely, ejecting the unconscious Cuckoos onto the street. Emma then changed to her diamond form to better contain the Phoenix, and told Scott to get Jean away because she could not hold it back for long. After asking Scott's forgiveness, Emma exploded into countless diamond shards and the Phoenix was released into the atmosphere. Without a host to contain it, it dissipated into nothing.
Whether the Phoenix Force was destroyed or simply put out of commission until it reincarnated into a new host was left unclear.
Powers and Abilities
Seemingly those of Phoenix Force of Earth-616.
requires a host
- Although it was deemed a destructive force, it's unclear if the Phoenix Force was actually evil.
- In the future, when Charles Xavier read Lorna's mind and memories, he saw the Phoenix Force arrive at Genosha and raze it to the ground with psychic fire, meaning that, in that future, the Cuckoos were able to fulfill their orders before losing control of the Phoenix.