…the origin of Hope Summers?

New Avengers #25 is being touted as an Avengers Versus X-Men tie-in where “Iron Fist Discovers the Shocking Connection Between Himself And The Cosmic Phoenix Force.”

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Now regardless of the re-emergence of the Phoenix definitely occurring in this crossover…

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…now that we know of Iron Fist’s involvement, I’d posit that Hope Summers is not the reincarnation of Jean Grey and thereby inheritor to the cosmic force.

But if not inheritor to the Cosmic Phoenix Force, then what special heritage is held in store for her?

Given architect of the this event, Brian Bendis, has made it known for the last decade what a fan he is of Marvel’s 1970s properties, demonstrated through his revival of b-list characters from that period including Luke Cage, Jessica Drew, Carol Danvers, Danny Rand, Brother Voodoo, Dazzler, Rom Spaceknight (not to mention villains from that period), I’d suggest returning to a story from that period…

…in particular Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #19-25, written by Chris Claremont, where we were introduced to the Firebird.

Deadly Hands 19

Before the Great Cataclysm just after the N’Garai were banished from ruling the Earth…

Jade

…a woman known as Jade was physically and sexually assaulted by a band of men and left for dead in the woods.

When she recovered she was so mentally anguished that she prayed for death; and in response was exposed to a blinding light which set her afire, and transformed her into the Firebird, the mystical embodiment of all that is good, kind, decent and noble in humanity.

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In this way Jade represented all that is best, and served as humanity’s soul, and thus lifted humanity out of the charnal pit the N’Garai had dug for it, allowing it to rise above its damned infancy.

Firebird

Millennia later, the demon sorcerer Dhasha Khan sought the power of the Firebird, directing a group of people to assault its human manifestation, Jade, in Feng-Tu, the realm of the dead for the people of K’un L’un.

Dhasha Khan

This assault was prevented by Iron Fist, who it was suggested was Firebird’s protector.

Iron Fist champion

With this in mind, it’s interesting that the upcoming Avengers Vs X-Men is suggesting that Iron Fist is the protector of Hope Summers.

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So would it not be more interesting if Hope Summers was revealed not as Jean Grey, but the reincarnation of Jade from Feng-Tu…

And this all looks very Kung Fu don't you think?

And this all looks very Kung Fu don’t you think?

…and that K’un L’un’s Book of the Dead reveals that the duty of each Iron Fist down the ages has been to protect each incarnation of her!

Jade represented the soul and potential for goodness on Earth. She possessed minimal offensive abilities, but her soul, the Firebird was what helped mankind stave off its baser instincts. Without Jade, humanity would descend into unknown darkness and depravity. In addition, the power of her soul could be harnessed by others to perform massive, planet-wide, changes in reality.

So how cool would it be for there to be an unseen twist that the mutants are backing the wrong horse, and Hope turns out to be the re-incarnation of Jade (with the Firebird manifesting through her giving all the signs of the Phoenix), and not an actual avatar of the Phoenix as suspected?

Postscript: With what New Avengers #25 revealed about Yu-Ti and the Phoenix, it is interesting to note that seeking to save the Firebird (Jade) from Dhasha-Khan in Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #21, Lord Tuan (Yu-Ti) pretended to be showing Iron Fist how to defeat Dhasha Khan, guiding him to see Feng-Tu as it really was, the Land of the Dead.  In doing so, however, Tuan entranced Iron Fist so that the Bowman could slay him… that he might die in Jade’s place.

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