It’s clearly the day for What Ifs about familiar comic teams: First, Jim Shooter revealed the Kryptonian who never joined the Legion, and now Chris Claremont explains who he wanted to join X-Factor instead of a resurrected Jean Grey:
I’d taken this short story I’d done the previous year with Jean and her sister. I said ‘Okay, you want a Grey. How’s this? Sara Grey. What’s her power? Her power is to detect mutants. She knows where they are. She can find them and even manifest their power in advance, so they’ll know who they are. If you’re going to do this with X-Factor, here’s the person. Here’s why: She’s a Grey, okay, but she’s not affiliated with anyone. Suddenly you have the girl at play for all four guys.Scott might feel ‘I’m torn. She’s Jean’s sister, but I love Jean and can’t betray Jean. Jean is dead.’ And Warren? ‘Hey, you’re cool.’ Bobby? ‘I’m not a kid anymore.’ Hank? ‘Why not? I’ll get some action.’
Suddenly you have physical and romantic tension that you don’t have with Jean. With Jean it’s reasserting everything that existed. With Sara, you have ‘Do I want to get involved with these guys? If I get involved with these guys and something goes wrong, what happened to Jean could happen to me, or worse. And yet, do I really want to spend my life running around in a skintight suit?’
I’m not the biggest fan of Jean coming back to life in the first place – Sorry, Ragnell – and I admit, I think I’d have rather seen this version of the book than the one that actually saw print (Admittedly, I’d really have rather read the version that had Dazzler in the team, but that’s just my bias for roller-skating disco divas coming out). Think of all the angst we could have been spared! Think of the possibility of a Scott Summers who was still married to the woman who really had nothing to do with his dead girlfriend! It could’ve been a whole new world! A new fantastic point of view!