Artworks by John Byrne, Terry Austin, Chris Claremont, and Glynis Wein:
(Click on the images if you wish to view them individually.)
© All rights reserved for all the images in this post series by Marvel.
I’m not sure I agree with Wikipedia’s emphasis points and plot summary, so I’ll give some additive considerations. As Phoenix’ uncommon powers mature, it becomes more difficult for her to think clearly. In this weakened mental state, the Hellfire Club and Mastermind enter in and skew her perceptions of reality. Her new environment and reduced perceptions lead her to treat her old allies as adversaries. She is torn between choosing which side to fight for: the Hellfire Club or the X-Men. And the Hellfire Club persuades her she cannot do both.
Phoenix, existing in a world of never ending emergencies, catastrophies, and save-the-world stressful events, does not have sufficient time to come to terms or to control her new powers and responsibilities. This is coupled with the fact that the people she loves most are constantly in harm’s way on their missions to save the world. This would make any woman, superhero or not, less likely to think clearly. In that altered mindset and environment, she consumes a disproportionate amount of energy and empowers darker forces she would not have done otherwise.
The subsequent guilt she feels for her actions only further weakens her previously caring spirit. Separated from the support of her past friends and family, she becomes an instrument of others more than a self-determined entity.
But luckily, this is not the end of the Phoenix saga. Soon her friends, some old and some new, and her old self return to her side. (As an insider’s wink to everyone who knows, loves and is so familiar with this story that they have memorized these images, please forgive the graffitied alteration I made to the image below. It will hopefully make sense in the next two ‘Phoenix Rising’ posts.)
Tomorrow: new post(s). There can always be a better tomorrow.