It’s the second last issue in the All New X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy crossover, which has been more of an X-Men story that guest stars the Guardians than anything else. That doesn’t bother me as an X-Men fan in the slightest, but it’s worth noting that the Guardians of the Galaxy series hasn’t had enough characterization so far. It’s been a solid crossover with a great character focus on Jean Grey and Cyclops, so how does this issue fare?
This issue starts with Jean Grey learning that the Shi’ar wiped out her family, and then things get real. This issue shows how quickly her powers and skills are growing as she defeats most of the imperial guard on her own, and from an “impenetrable bubble” of all places. The other X-Men, the Starjammers and the Guardians of the Galaxy also begin their own fight against the Shi’ar as they work to rescue Jean. Several of the action scenes take place off page, allowing us to fill in the blanks as we see fit. The interactions between the three teams are always entertaining, with all sorts of quips and battle strategies. The real fight between the X-Men/Guardians and the Imperial Guard is over a bit too quickly though as they’re easily defeated, save for a blast of Cyclops’s eyebeams into Gladiator’s face. It’s not that the fight would realistically last much longer, but I was hoping for a bit more of a fight. Still, this issue is entertaining.
The scenes that focus on Jean Grey are again the best in the issue. Her whirlwind of emotions continue as she’s hit by several major revelations in the opening pages, and then finally has a moment to process them after escaping. Her words on the last page were quite the surprise. If taken at face value, they may be out of character, but there’s most likely something else behind her intent. The next issue could go in so many different directions, with so many things motivating her. She really is the star of this crossover.
As usual for Stuart Immonen, the art is very good. The actual trial is a grand scene, with so many different types of aliens in attendance. There’s a Watcher, a brood … some floating fish thing. Here, we also see Jean’s expressions change as she slowly learns of what the Shi’ar have done to her family. Angela’s look of excitement in her special scene is priceless, as is the panel showing all the damage she caused. There are so many well done group shots. Perhaps the best page is the previously mentioned wordless spread after Jean escapes. There’s a smooth sense of progression between panels, matched with a sense of scope, the large futuristic cityscape and the panel where she can finally take time to think.
While it isn’t the best entry in the crossover, it’s a solid penultimate issue. There’s lots of drama and tension on Jean’s side of the story, with a lot of fun action and humour on the tri-team side. It still makes me hope for some sort of X-23/Gamora team up in the future. But the main excitement factor is waiting to see what Jean Grey does in the next issue, and how it affects her and the X-Men in the future. This might just be the indirect return of the original Jean Grey.