The wait is over. The X-Men have returned, full-force, to the Marvel Universe, including a solo series for the one founding member who has never had her own. But there’s some unfinished cosmic business in Jean Grey’s future… Your Major Spoilers review of Jean Grey #1 awaits!
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Victor Ibanez
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Jean Grey: “When a teenage Jean Grey traveled through time and arrived in the present, she learned the terrible fate that befell her predecessor: Possessed by a cosmic entity called the Phoenix, Jean was trapped in an endless cycle of life and death. Determined to escape that future, Jean set out to write her own destiny. But now, she’s visited by a premonition that the Phoenix is coming for her…
Now, she’s going to fight tooth and nail to escape becoming its next victim!”
THE WRECKING CREW
This book, frankly, has waited far too long, and the main reason for that is that Jean has no cool code-name with which to anchor her title. Well, that and the fact that she keeps getting sidelined, cloned, duplicated and such and also that she’s been dead since 2004. We open with young Jean (who was yanked from the past by The Beast a few giant crossover schmaggegis ago) in Japan, enjoying a bowl of Ramen with a teleporting demon named Pickles. In the middle of her lunch, interrupting her reverie about the OTHER Jean Grey, she is suddenly attacked by The Wrecking Crew!
Well, most of the Wrecking Crew, Bulldozer is absent. She engages the three strongmen in battle, and to her credit, handles them pretty well until a mysterious voice interrupts her, causing her to lose focus. Property damage ensues, and Jean has to find clever uses for her powers to save innocents, track down missing Crew member Piledriver and recover the stolen money, but is defeated when the voice is revealed to be the Phoenix Force!
CAN’T ESCAPE DESTINY
With most of this issue consisting of internal monologues from Miss Grey, it feels very Bendis-y, and it’s interesting to get some depth on Jean’s character. (She refers to the other founders as her “four filthy weirdo brothers”, which is a good step to positioning her as something more than just designated X-girlfriend/wife.) It’s been quite some time since Jean has been active, so seeing the question of whether or not the Phoenix is inevitable isn’t as familiar as it might have been in the 1990s, but it’s still a concern whether the identity questions can be the center of the story. Cyclops’ own book faced that issue a couple of years ago, but it works in these pages, partly thanks to strong art from Ibanez and careful use of dialogue and telepathy. Still, if this is going to be an ongoing series, there will need to be something more than “I’m not big Jean” to anchor
Marvel Girl Phoenix olwhatsername Jean Grey’s story.
THE BOTTOM LINE: IT HAS POTENTIAL
I wasn’t sure when I heard that Hopeless would be writing this book, but this serves as both a good first issue and a primer of what is going on in the mind of the artist formerly known as Marvel Girl, setting her apart from her doomed elder self and the role of token girl X-Man. Jean Grey #1 shows off Jean’s depth, her humor, and does it all with impressive art, overcoming the barriers of the whole Phoenix thing remarkably well, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m very interested in seeing more of our psionic mutant’s solo work, and interested in her interactions with Rachel Grey-Summers next time around…