Marvel has released a new teaser image for the final issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men and, well, that's a very loaded picture to anyone with any sense of X-Men history. Despite all the denials, are we about to see a return for the Dark Phoenix?

Of course, it's possible that we shouldn't be expecting a return for Jean Grey in the 12th issue of Marvel's successful summer event. After all, there are two (living) characters who have already played important roles in AvX so far: Scarlet Witch and Hope, the character originally assumed to have been destined to be the new Phoenix. Either one could potentially take on the guise of a new Phoenix in some kind of apocalyptic finale for the event, after all - or, perhaps, what we're seeing isn't actually a real, live person at all, but a vision come to remind the Phoenix-powered Cyclops of what the Phoenix is capable of.

That is, of course, assuming that Cyclops survives to the final episode of the series; after all, Marvel has promised a fatality in the eleventh issue, with a cover that shows the leader of the X-Men fighting Emma Frost, the only other member of the Phoenix Five left standing; for all we know, she kills Cyclops and becomes so overwhelmed by the experience that her hair becomes blood red.

The uncertainty of the new image reinforces the impressive secrecy that surrounds the end of the crossover event; despite preview art for the following Marvel NOW! titles featuring both Cyclops and Emma Frost, editor Tom Brevoort has suggested that "just because they're shown on a cover or a promotional piece of artwork doesn't really tell you anything, you know." After all, neither character has actually been mentioned as actually appearing in any comic post Avengers Vs. X-Men #12, and there is a chalk outline in the promotional artwork for the follow-up Consequences mini-series...

Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 will be released in October.

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