Jean Grey is something of a legend, and perhaps the ultimate definition of psionic. In this post, Loz put forward the fascinating idea of a ‘psi forest’, and briefly discussed just how Jean’s powers work. I want to expand it…
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When Jean first appeared on the scene, she manifested some telepathic ability – and that was about it. The telepathy only came to the fore over time, and it took a while before we learned why. Jean’s powers had initially triggered when her friend Annie was caught in a car accident, and she telepathically ‘shared’ the experience. Understandably, this was pretty traumatic, and Professor Xavier intervened by placing mental barriers in her mind to restrict the development of her powers.
Now, there are two fascinating ideas to this; the first is that Jean’s powers manifested to a degree for which she was unprepared (she was emotionally and contextually unprepared for the experience); and the second is that Xavier was able to so powerfully affect another person’s power-development. To use the ‘Forest’ analogy, Jean was in such a central place in the forest that she couldn’t cope; and Xavier remedied it by moving her. It’s really rather fascinating.
Equally fascinating is the fact that, over time, Jean moved back to the same spot. It’s as though she had a mental compass designed to draw her back to the same spot, and there are even hints that Xavier had to keep replenishing his blocks in order to ensure her powers developed in a reasonable manner. Better still, I get the impression he found it harder as time goes by; Jean’s ‘compass’, if you like, was so very strong.
What does all this mean? Well, first of all, take a look at Jean in ‘All-New X-Men’. There are many possibilities as to why her powers are developing so strongly, but perhaps one of them is simply that Xavier isn’t there, and her internal compass is drawing her onwards. Perhaps another is the presence of so many other telepaths, acting as catalysts.
But this also has meaning for the six-month gap. The interaction between Jean and Betsy perhaps included an element of each inadvertently pulling the other away from their natural location. For Betsy, the journey back (using her ‘compass’) allowed her to explore new territory.