Knights of X #4 by writer Tini Howard and artist Bob Quinn instantly enters the ranks of the best Rachel Summers comics for depicting the first kiss between Rachel Summers and Betsy Braddock. The kiss not only cements their budding romance, but also acknowledges years of sub-textual narration regarding Rachel’s sexuality, as The Claremont Run notes academic project.
Rachel plays a major role in several key X-Men and Mutant storylines, including classics like days of future past, in which she first appeared. His importance in the larger mythos of mutants, the Summers family, and his uniqueness in the multiverse make his best comics a must-have for fans, as mutants inevitably make their debut in the MCU.
Knights of X #4
Knights of X #4 marks a defining moment for Rachel Summers, making it an instant classic in her comic book legacy. The X-Men and mutants, in general, represent a metaphor for many diversities, including LGBTQ+. Rachel’s coding as a lesbian from her earliest adventures plays a part in this, which makes her passionate kiss with Betsy Braddock so significant.
Although Rachel’s romantic gravity rests primarily with Kitty Pryde among fans, her relationship with Betsy opens new narrative doors for Rachel in the comics and likely in live-action as well.
Weird X-Men #462
Rachel Summers and Betsy Braddock visit the White Hot Room in Weird X-Men #462, and there they discover a major fact: Rachel is unique in the multiverse. Although other Rachel Summers exist in other universes, they are only named. Rachel is alone in the entire Marvel Multiverse, with no other variants, like America Chavez in the MCU.
This likely plays a big part in Rachel’s potential appearance in the MCU. With the Multiverse being heavily considered in the franchise for the foreseeable future, this issue likely informs Rachel’s place in the live-action quite a lot.
Weird X-Men #199
Rachel Summers becomes the Phoenix in Weird X-Men #199, a key comic with major ramifications for mutants in the years since. Rachel discovers her mother’s costume in the X-Mansion and when she puts it on, the Phoenix Force chooses her as their new host, and she instantly transforms into one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe.
Rachel’s role as the Phoenix plays a major role in X-Men storylines throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, especially during a time when Jean was still believed to be dead.
Excalibur: the sword is drawn
Rachel helps form Excalibur in the one-shot Excalibur: the sword is drawn from legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont and artist Alan Davis, among the best X-Men artists of all time. This key issue reunites former X-Men Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler with Rachel, forming a strong bond that continues to this day. Rachel’s deep need for family makes their reunion all the more poignant.
The issue helps establish the UK’s Mutants film crew and expand the Multiverse’s role in Marvel Comics. Major elements of Excalibur, including the Captain Britain Corps, likely play a role in the MCU and in some way already thanks to Captain Carter.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #14
When Rachel first arrives in the present, she finds that the past is nothing like what she remembers. Her mother, Jean Grey, died without giving birth to her. When Jean returns and the two finally cross paths years later, the reunion is anything but positive. Weird X-Men Annual #14 creates a complex tangle in Rachel’s emotional journey when Jean rejects her.
Rachel’s desperate need to connect with her mother and Jean’s desperate need to avoid any Phoenix calls generate massive friction and potential story opportunities for the MCU.
Excalibur #50 sees Rachel finally and fully embracing the Phoenix Force, unleashing its potential in an extraordinary moment against Necrom. This issue somewhat complicates the Phoenix Force’s backstory, but at its heart it features Rachel seizing the reins of her identity and power against a powerful villain seeking to usurp them.
The issue features an extraordinary battle between Rachel and Necrom, with Alan Davis pushing the boundaries of the page to show that Rachel’s power extends even beyond the comic book’s ability to contain it.
The adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1
The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1 forms a key intersection in the increasingly complicated history of the Summers family. This issue reveals that Rachel, lost in time after switching places with Captain Britain in Excalibur #75, found herself in the distant future and was responsible for bringing her brother Nathan Summers, possibly Cable, there for the save from a techno-organic virus.
Scott Summers and Jean Gray arrive in this dark future Marvel Comics timeline themselves and learn that Rachel has lived a lifetime there as Mother Askani, battling Apocalypse. The comics later revealed that this Rachel existed in a divergent timeline, and the other Rachel eventually returned to the present.
Weird X-Men #447
Weird X-Men #447 provides Rachel with an absolute display of her cosmic power. She creates a miniature black hole to defeat The Fury, a techno-organic villain far beyond the practical power the X-Men can wield. She harnesses their collective power, including Wolverine’s healing factor, to unleash elemental force against the villain.
This issue, another collaboration between Claremont and Davis, also delves into her ever-changing relationship with Jean. Rachel now takes the name Marvel Girl and wears a green and yellow costume in honor of her mother, who died again in the early 2000s.
Weird X-Men #141
Weird X-Men #141 begins days of future past, among the best X-Men comic storylines of all time. The issue also introduces Rachel for the first time and her incredible power, easily making it one of his best comic book issues. Rachel uses her extraordinary talent for chronoskim to send Kate Pryde’s consciousness back in time to ward off a dystopian future.
The issue establishes the close bond between Rachel and Kitty in every timeline she finds herself in, as well as creating a historic moment in X-Men lore that the comics, animated series, and movies return to again and again.
Excalibur #61 features Rachel in perhaps her greatest fight ever in the comics. Drifting through deep space, she encounters Galactus about to devour a planet. She seeks to stop him, unleashing the full power of the Phoenix Force in Davis’ most dynamic footage featuring the hero as he raced across Excalibur.
Rachel defeats Galactus, proving that the Phoenix Force ranks a bit higher than him in Marvel’s grand cosmic hierarchy in the comics and possibly live-action as well.
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