Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Comics review: Dark Phoenix saga

The definitive arc of the Chris Claremont's epic 16-year stint (can you call 16 years a "stint" I wonder) was the Dark Phoenix saga. This is often called the greatest comic story arc of all time and featured a who's who of comic greats at the helm including: Chris Claremont (author), John Byrne (artist/plotter), Louise Simonson (editor) and Jim Shooter (editor in chief).

Unknown to any of us reading at the time, it was also the focus of a pitched battle behind the scenes as the creators fought with their editor in chief over how to end the story. Phoenix, in turning evil, had killed millions. Should she be punished?

Jim Shooter, always ready to impose his personal morality on the Marvel Universe threatened to fire the entire creative team if Phoenix was not punished. His initial proposal, that she be sent (effectively) to hell, banished to an asteroid where she would be punished for eternity, likewise had Claremont threatening to walk.

In the end Phoenix comitted suicide, at least allowing her a noble exit from the story and for a time it was thought, from the Marvel universe.

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