Season 3 Episode 7

The Phoenix Saga (5): Child of Light

Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Sep 09, 1994 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
59 votes

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Episode Summary

Shi'ar Emperor D'Ken's rise to power via the M'Kraan Crystal is causing a universal implosion. The X-Men, Imperial Guard, and Starjammers find themselves overpowered and unable to stop it. Jean Grey must unleash her destiny as the host of the Phoenix, even at a most personal cost.moreless

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  • Spider-Man's cameo

    I know that when they showed Spider-Man, they only showed his shadow and his hand. I heard that at the time, they were still deciding on Spider-Man's look for the Fox series. They didn't know whether he should look as he did in the 1980's series or if he should have the look with huge eyes on his mask like he did in the comic book series. Though this episode aired the year Spider-Man made his debut on Fox.moreless
  • Emotional ending.

    D'Ken has become one with the M'Kraan crystal, and everything within the galaxy is going to be absorbed within it. The first victims are the X-Men, along with others who have previously served D'Ken, and the Star Jammers. They fight a futile battle against him and the universe he controls. On earth, natural disasters are erupting left and right. Superheroes all over the world are doing their part to protect the world, and even Spiderman makes a small cameo appearance! Back in the M'Kraan crystal, Phoenix is revived, and brings everyone to a near by ship. She contains the crystal, and says goodbye to all of her friends. She has to bring the crystal with her to a place where no hands can abuse its power. That's the end of Jean Gray.

    This episode reminded me a lot of the last couple minutes of the second X-Men movie. What a sucky ending that was, they should have stuck with this! Well, for obvious reasons, that wasn't possible. Anyways! What I liked the most about this ending is that it didn't end off cliched or predictable. Well, it seemed rather apparent that Phoenix would have needed to sacrifice herself one way or another in order to contain the crystal, but I didn't expect her to leave permanently. The ending wasn't actually anything emotional, it just delivered on shock value. The action here was great though. The battle with D'Ken was fruitless, but it was pleasing to the eyes. Seeing the multiple warriors battle with each other was just awesome. It makes you want to write fanfics about Gladiator.moreless
  • A breathtaking emotional conclusion to the Phoenix Saga, both in story and heart.

    Rewatching Child of Light brings back a lot of memories I have to consider. It's a hard episode to review. Emotionally, this part of the story strikes a stunning similarity with Star Wars: Episode III. I'm not saying that an episode of a saturday morning animated series can be possibly compared to the greatest movie ever made. But if you look at the episode from beginning to end, it plays out like a true piece of Greek tragedy. You know how it will end, but the whole process can be extremely compelling to watch.

    The episode never allows the viewer to breathe. It's one hell of a ride that never lets up and it's worth every single minute of it. This is the final episode written by Mark Edward Edens, and by far his best work ever. Larry Houston also performed admirably in bringing this episode to life on the screen.

    The episode opens as D'Ken's power grows exponentially. He attacks the X-Men, but Phoenix tries to protect them with a shield that eventually falters. Rogue and Wolverine are equally powerless to stop D'Ken. He withdraws into the crystal where he begins to rebuild the universe in his own image. Jean/Phoenix realizes only her can stop this now.

    Corsair tells his crew to take the ship out of there as fast as they can. Phoenix sends the X-Men to the ship before returning to D'Ken's ship to heal the crystal. The Imperial Guard also make their escape from D'Ken's ship. At this point, it's become evident that D'Ken's no longer the emperor. He's gone mad with power and has no compuctions about endangering his own people to gain absolute power. Gladiator is already referring to Lilandra as the new empress. It's a sudden turn of events again.

    Jean/Phoenix is unable to stop the crystal's resonance and is sucked within it. The crystal begins to emit powerful shockwaves that begin to pull back both the Starjammer and the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard vessel. Lilandra realizes that the Phoenix has failed. Her premonition becomes even more true as the monitor shows D'Ken's ship breaking up and being sucked inside the crystal in slow-motion. This was a brilliant piece of animation. Wolverine realizes that they're next in line.

    Act 2 opens with Corsair opening all guns on the crystal. He's a survivor to the bitter end. Their firepower has no effect. On Earth, the sun's light can be seen drained away by the crystal. Jubilee gets a first glimpse of this haunting image while chewing a gum. Xavier is talking to Storm, who's in New York. They all realized what's really happening. This whole section shows how powerless they really are. The X-Men are their only hope now.

    As the ship is about to be sucked inside the crystal, Rogue and Gambit get ready for another hot kiss. It never happens thanks to the crystal. The ship crash-lands in a mysterious landscape. And D'Ken rules over this new world. This is where the episode really shows its strength. The music never lets up. The whole sequence is overpowering. D'Ken is truly invincible. None of the X-Men are able to harm him in any way possible. As a display of his power, D'Ken annihilates the Starjammer vessel with his bare hands.

    D'Ken has to be a cruel and sadistic person. Otherwise he would have wiped out the X-Men before they exited the ship. He enjoys taunting and terrorizing them. Gladiator plunges himself against D'Ken in an act of mutiny. It doesn't work and it only enrages D'Ken. He uses his power to trap Lilandra inside a bubble, ending Act 2. Everything continues to get increasingly worse and dangerous.

    Act 3 opens at Earth. Several mutants are doing their best to keep the planet from breaking itself apart in the middle of these gravimetric disturbances. Even Storm's spiritual son helps some people in the African coastline. There's room for a lot of famous cameos in this sequence. Even Spider Man makes his only appearance in the X-Men.

    My favorite sequence has to be Storm's use of her powers to stop that tsunami coming towards New York. That scene reminded me a lot of The Day after Tomorrow. The animation was brilliant all the way through. Storm can sense that the planet's gone mad. Xavier monitors her and other mutant activity going on around the globe. It's ironic that mutants end up being the salvation for a lot of people that hate them. I wish this particular bit of plot development had been taken further in the series.

    The Imperial Guard have joined the X-Men inside D'Ken's world and began an all-out assault against this inpenetrable giant. They try to keep D'Ken as overwhelmed as he can be. One of the Shi'Ar combatants manages to grow to D'Ken's size behind him and knock him out. It makes D'Ken even more powerful as he creates a powerful earthquake that shatters the ground below them. Everything seems to be lost, but there's hope in the very end of the tunnel.

    The Phoenix resurfaces in a glorious moment and takes everybody out of that place. D'Ken is incapable of stopping her now. Everybody rendezvous in Lilandra's Cruiser. While Cyclops is overjoyed to have Jean back, the Phoenix finally reveals the bitter truth. Thanks to Jean's abilities the Phoenix know knows how to repair D'Ken's damage. She has to become one with the crystal in order to repair it and save the galaxy. It could destroy her. Jean sees that is the only choice she has. Cyclops vows to join her in this, but deep down he knows he can't be with her again. It's an emotional moment as they embrace and kiss for a final time before she completes her mission.

    As the Phoenix works to repair the crystal, Jean resorts to the memories of her loved ones to keep her going. There's a fantastic remix of the X-Men theme in this scene. The crystal is finallt sealed with D'Ken trapped forever within it. Hope has prevailed.

    Jean/Phoenix know must bury the crystal deep inside the sun in order to prevent its capture. We see sad faces from all of the X-Men. I was touched by Beast's tears in this scene. One of the few times animated tears really worked on television. Jean and Scott bid goodbye and heads inside the sun.

    The X-Men return to Cassidy Keep as the sun sets down. Lilandra and Xavier have a sweet parting. They desire to be together, but they both have a lot to accomplish in their own worlds. There's also a great scene between Corsair and Cyclops as he apologizes for using him against D'Ken. There's a real sense of closure in this relationship as they both share the same loss. Both must find a way to move on. The only thing I felt that was unnecessary was Beast's needless reference to Emily Dickinson. It took the emotion away from the scene.

    In the end, Lilandra and the Shi'Ar depart in a shuttle. Wolverine looks at his old photo of Jean and Scott (either Logan has a lot of different scratched photos or the continuity was really messed up).

    The episode ends in a sorrowful tone as Xavier gives Scott a condensed story about the legend of the Phoenix. He says that hope will always resurface even in the most bitter end. That will eventually get paid off in the series. But for now, the episode ends with Scott staring at the ocean's horizon and seeing a blurry image of Jean in the sky.

    It was truly a marvelous conclusion to the Phoenix Saga and remains to this day, one of the best episodes ever done.moreless
Lenore Zann

Lenore Zann


Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Gambit/Remy LeBeau

Catherine Disher

Catherine Disher

Jean Grey/Phoenix

Cedric Smith

Cedric Smith

Professor X/Charles Xavier

George Buza

George Buza

Beast/Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy

Norm Spencer

Norm Spencer

Cyclops/Scott Summers

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Two Marvel Comic alien-race cameos occur in the Living Galaxy: a Skrull and a Badoon appear among the Imperial Guard at two different points, the latter then appearing aboard Lilandra's starcruiser, along with a Kree and a Shi'ar Lord Chamberlin.

    • Moira MacTaggert and Banshee again appear but do not speak (they'll both next appear in "The Dark Phoenix (1): Dazzled"). Also, Gladiator is the only Imperial Guardsman to speak. They'll return in the "Dark Phoenix" saga, as well.

    • The connection between Corsair and Cyclops will be dealt with when the Starjammers next appear, in "Orphan's End".

    • Sunfire (from "Slave Island"), Mjnari (from "Whatever It Takes"), Alpha Flight's Aurora, Northstar, Shaman, and Snowbird (from "Repo Man"), and Marvel Comics superheroes Spider-Man and War Machine, are among the cameos of heroes fighting the Earth's natural disasters.

    • The Imperial Guard are trapped in the Living Galaxy with the X-Men, yet their arrival is never seen, they literally just show up between commercial breaks.

    • When Gladiator says "all is lost, empress", Gambit's neck is fleshcolored, instead of the usual black.

    • When Rogue flies at D'Ken to "play catch", her hair is entirely white.

    • Where did the Skrull and Badoon come from? And where did they go after we saw them? They weren't disguises by Hobgoblin, since he was visible right next to the Badoon. And both alien races wouldn't be caught dead hanging out with Shi'ar!

    • Cyclops claims Jean may be locked in "here" forever, yet they're outside of the crystal at that point.

    • D'Ken destroys the Starjammer, and it appears in a slightly later backdrop of those just about to fight him.

  • QUOTES (6)

  • NOTES (4)

    • Animation Company: AKOM Animation.

    • This episode is loosely based on Uncanny X-Men #108 (Dec 77).

    • This episode (and the other four parts) originally aired over five consecutive weekday afternoons. It made its Saturday Morning debut on November 5th, 1994.

    • The season 5 episode "No Mutant Is An Island" was supposed to debut after this episode, to serve as an epilogue to this saga and set up the backstory for "The Dark Phoenix (1): Dazzled", by revealing that Jean Grey was still alive, and back on Earth. However, heavy animation problems resulted in the episode being delayed for two years.


    • Beast: I believe Emily Dickinson said it best... "Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell."
      Beast quotes from the 19th century poet, namely the selection, "My life closed twice before its close."

    • Professor Xavier: Do you know the legend of the Phoenix?
      Xavier explains a condensed story of the Egyptian myth of the Phoenix.