In the wake of tragedy, Jean Grey has become unstuck in time. But reliving her life is more complicated than it seems, given her penchant for dying heroically. Your Major Spoilers review of Jean Grey #4 from Marvel Comics awaits!
JEAN GREY #4
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
Editor: Sarah Brunstad
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 15, 2023
Previously in Jean Grey: The most powerful telepath on Earth still doesn’t know the extent of her own mind. For months you’ve watched her relive her greatest traumas. Now the smoke clears…
And the flame burns brighter than ever.
THE WHITE HOT ROOM
After calling on The Phoenix, Jean has spent the last several issues traveling her personal timeline, trying to figure out what she did wrong. Each attempt has left her more confused, and the Phoenix Force itself has been trying to get her back as its avatar. Worse still, she is haunted by her past selves, which isn’t just a clever metaphor. Marvel Girl, The Phoenix, her younger time-traveling self, and more all hound her about her inaction and inability to save the men she loves. But in rejecting the Phoenix in one potential reality, she created a world of unimaginable horrors, something Maddie Pryor reminds her was or would have been Jean’s own fault. Their conflict ends with Jean finally remembering what happened at the Hellfire Gala: her death, and the death of her friends and her team. It’s only when she finally stops to listen to what the Phoenix Force is saying that Jean realizes what has to come next.
A BIT ANTICLIMACTIC
There’s something really attractive about this story, with Simonson doing a deep dive into the heart and mind of one of the founding X-Men, giving us a story that feels very Bronze Age in its conception. There’s a lot of Claremont-era wonderful to be found in her dialogue, but the entire four-issue miniseries suffers from the problem of many modern X-Books: Too much, too many, too hard to put together. Spinning out of a one-shot, Jean’s solo adventure in the shattered mind of the Phoenix would make for an incredible secondary plot of a primary X-Men comic, and while it’s great to see Ms. Grey get this kind of attention and focus, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough plot with the heartfelt script. Chang’s art is lovely, and combined with the coloring, there’s a lush, shiny glamour to everything in these pages. It supports the unreality of the White Hot Room, but it is a bit disconcerting to see Jean’s original black-and-yellow costume or the Frank Quitely New X-Men version of Jean Grey in what feels like shiny latex.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH IT FOR WEEZIE
It is an unfair reality that the biggest weakness of Jean Grey #4 is a matter of timing and placement, falling in the middle of a dark, brutal, and very post-modern period of X-works, with the best parts of Simonson’s script feeling out-of-place or dated, but the art balances out that well, for a total of 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. If I had my way, modern Big Two comics would stop siloing these sorts of character moments into multiple miniseries rather than as part and parcel of one book, but if that trend is going to continue, we can at least hope that they’re all this readable.
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JEAN GREY #4
Simonson's script makes for a wonderful read, and the premise of facing down with your past selves is a strong one, but the chaos of 'Fall of X' mutes some of the most enjoyable parts.