Full Name: Jean Grey
Codename: Marvel Girl
Occupation: Student of Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Adventurer
Advanced telepathic abilities that allow her to read minds, project her thoughts, and influence both cognitive and motor functions in others. She also is a high level telekinetic, able to manipulate psionic energy in various ways to project great force with her mind. Her telekinesis also gives her limited flight abilities and enables her to create powerful barriers.
History: Jean Grey was born in New Jersey to a troubled yet well-to-do middle class family. Her father, John Grey, was a respected teacher and her mother, Elaine Grey, was a restaurant manager. While early life was fairly uneventful, she was heavily influenced by a very fragile home life. She would quickly learn that the Grey family had a very troubled history. On both her mother and father's side, there was a long tradition of deviance, substance abuse, and overall underachievement. Her mother and father tried to stop the trend by focusing on stable careers, but various conflicts kept coming up.
Chief among these conflicts involved Jean’s cousin, Madelyne Pryor. Both she and her Aunt were accomplished con artists that were wanted for various dealings back in Los Angeles. They frequently requested help from the Greys. Of what little they provided, they often took advantage of. It led to a great deal of strain that took a toll on both the family's resources and their relationship.
From an early age, Jean showed a talent for empathy. When her parents fought it affected her a great deal, more so than most children. This kind of empathy was written off as a sort of sensitivity and often it was her older sister, Sara Grey, that helped her avoid being overwhelmed. As a result, Jean developed a special bond with her older sister. They ended up supporting each other as their parents struggled to keep their fragile lives together. As she grew Jean continued to walk a fine line between being overwhelmed and being empathic. It did not help that her family issues continued to put pressure on her parents. Then in one night everything took a very tragic turn.
While returning home late one night from another incident involving Madelyne’s mother, the Grey family was involved in a terrible car accident. The wreck killed Sara Grey almost immediately, leaving a shocked and traumatized Jean Grey to feel her sister die in her arms. While she and her parents survived, her mother suffered severe injuries that left her paralyzed from the waist down and in chronic pain. She would have to live the rest of her days in a wheelchair and rely on powerful pain killers to allow her to function. Her father, while relatively unscathed, was overwhelmed by the loss of his daughter and the condition of his wife that he never truly recovered. Jean, who was only eight-years-old at the time, was affected the most.
The trauma from the accident caused the first major manifestation of her mutant abilities. When her sister died, she felt it in her mind and from there her vast psychic potential unfolded. She began to actually hear thoughts and sense the feelings of others. But without Sara to support her, this power easily overwhelmed her. Between her grief and confusion, she sensed the anguish of her mother and the sorrow with her father. With her mother unable to support her due to her chronic pain, the responsibilities fell on her father. Unfortunately, John Grey fell into the same trend as other Greys. He became distant and started drinking heavily, so much so that he simply could not deal with Jean. It forced Jean to fend for herself and develop her own strength to get her through.
Over the years she tried to manage. Forced to fend for herself, she avoided dealing with her family and taught herself to shut out most of the psychic chatter. She did her best to function in school, resisting any help offered by peers or teachers. She was too afraid of sensing more pain or being thought of as crazy. Her passion turned to a defensive shell that made her often push people away even when they tried to reach out to her. It only added to her inner anguish, which only exacerbated her mutant abilities even further.
Her telepathy continued to cause tremendous strain over the years. At the same time, her mother’s health began to decline. Her addiction to pain killers made it nearly impossible for her to work. It also left her paranoid and emotionally unstable. She often lashed out at Jean, further adding to her instability. Her mother insisted that Jean was suffering from psychosis. Jean resisted any efforts to treat her as such despite her father insisting as such. She was content to ignore the strain caused by her telepathy, but she could not ignore the effects caused by her telekinesis when it began to manifested at age 13.
It began in small bursts that were often accompanied with arguments with her parents. Random objects started levitating and anything that wasn't nailed down started flinging itself across rooms when she was agitated. This led to an incident at her school where a classmate provoked her in a way that caused her to lash out in a telekinetic burst that shattered windows and left several of her peers injured. She was promptly expelled as a result.
Eventually, a fully alcoholic John Grey couldn't handle her and had her committed to a mental asylum. This only added to Jean Grey’s suffering while completely destroying whatever was left of her relationship with her family. The experience deeply hurt Jean as she was subjected to shock therapy, extensive drug treatments, and special restraints. Over time she became mentally unstable and was restricted to only to the most secure wings of the hospital.
Her luck would finally turn when she was discovered by Professor Charles Xavier. Since the hospital struggled so much to handle her, they allowed him work with Jean privately. He taught her about her mutation and helped her gain control over her mind. Steadily, she became more stable and expressed a strong desire to leave the asylum so that she could rebuild her life. However, that life would not include her parents. At around his time, her mother passed away due to her pain killer addition and her injuries. This caused Jean's father to descend further into alcoholism. Because of his inability to cope, he signed custody of Jean over to Charles Xavier. At age 14 she was officially enrolled in the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning full time.
The scars from the asylum and her family left Jean emotionally fragile during her early days at the institute. However, her desire to be strong on her own drove her to train both in the classroom and with the early team under the guidance of John Proudstar. She also developed a strong friendship with Scott Summers, who helped her channel her passion into the X-men. Along the way, she shared some of that passion with John Proudstar. At age 17, they became lovers and had a relationship that would span three years. She would later play a role in recruiting Wolverine, who she also ended up dating for a while. Eventually, she settled into a romantic relationship with her longtime friend, Scott Summers. In that time and through these many tribulations, the X-men grew and Jean Grey became one of the most dedicated members of the team that inspired others with her passion.
Character Breakdown: Jean Grey is all about passion. In many ways her most defining trait is her passion. She is passionate about her abilities, her friends, and the cause the X-men fight for. She has a tremendous capacity for emapthy and reaching out to others. She is outgoing, kind, and emotional to a fault at times. This in many ways makes her the emotional core of the X-men. She best embodies the compassion they stand for, reaching out to those who were confused and scared just like she was growing up. She is so compassionate she will reach out to those who may seem beyond hope to the rest of the world.
A lot of this stems from the nature of her powers. As a powerful psychic she is very akin to the mindset and the emotional state of others. Even before her powers manifested, she had a major capacity for empathy. Seeing other people suffer really does affect her and she is naturally inclined to do something about it. This level of empathy could make others potentially weak, but Jean developed a level of strength that complimented that empathy in a profound way. After the death of her sister, who helped keep her from getting overwhelmed early on, she was forced to develop her own strength. Since her parents were ill-equipped to help her, she had to stand on her own in the wake of loss and tragedy. In doing so she developed a strength to go along with her empathy that adds a more outgoing dimension to her personality. It goes beyond just coping with personal tragedy and extends to staying true to what she knows is right even when she is being pushed and pulled in other directions. Seeing her parents give into despair she not only balks that trend, she uses it as motivation to be better. It helps her avoid the same trend others in her family have followed and maintain a strong sense of humility that she defends with great passion.
But as strong as Jean is, her greatest weakness is how she is often overwhelmed. Before it was just dealing with the emotional distress she picked up from others. Then her mutant abilities came into the fold and the challenge was much greater. Her strength allowed her to function to a point, but eventually she lost control and it landed her in an insane asylum. Even though she eventually learned to control her powers, the fear of being overwhelmed remains a constant challenge and one she overcomes by staying strong and leaning on the support of others. This is a reason why she is so passionate about her friends. Like Sara before them, they help her when her strength just isn't enough. Thanks to such passion, her friends are often just as dedicated to her as she is to them.
As a member of the X-men, her passion and her strength provide an emotional rock from which the team can draw inspiration. Her passion doesn't just help her reach out to others, it makes her a powerful fighter who can dedicate herself to Xavier's cause. At times her passion can get the better of her, making it difficult to know the difference between what is truly right and what feels right. Despite such shortcomings, she embraces the challenges before her and channels her passion into everything she does while always maintaining a strong sense of pride and humility.