The previous issue of The Trial of Jean Grey ended with quite the teaser. Just as the three teams started losing their fight against the Imperial Guard, Jean Grey walked in and confessed. She admitted that her past/future self caused a lot of death and destruction. This issue begins seconds later.
As with the rest of the crossover, the real focus is on Jean Grey, and oh boy did this crossover’s stress do her power development a favour. Her newfound psionic abilities allow her to outfight Gladiator in a 1-on-1 fight as the others defeat the Imperial Guard. The real question being, will she be able to control this incredible new power? The fight scene goes by quickly, but it’s still a good one. My only complaint on that front (and this isn’t really a problem) is that we never see that X-23/Gamora/Angela team up I was hoping for. Maybe in the future Bendis? Make it happen!
The remainder of the issue has a bit of the teams socializing on the way back to Earth. There are a few amusing lines, but most of it acts as a vague teaser for the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Once they reach Earth, everyone says their goodbyes. That includes Cyclops, who is getting his own series written by Greg Rucka as he travels around with his space pirate father. This scene is well balanced with some good humour (Groot and trees anyone) and a few dramatic goodbyes both happy and sad. Also included are a few vague teasers about how things may get more intense for the Guardians of the Galaxy pretty soon. It’s a complete package ending and a solidly written comic. Also worth noting is that, with Cyclops’s departure, the All New X-Men are equally male and female.
As good as the writing is though, Sara Pichelli’s art is fantastic from cover to cover. Jean’s new psionic abilities are amazing. There’s a pink glow around her entire body with all sorts of strange energy emissions. The rest of the fight is also impressive and appropriately chaotic with the mix of powers, costumes and the wasteland background. The later group shots are equally good as it shows each character hanging around, with good use of lighting, poses and facial expressions. Everything about the art works in this comic, except that X-23’s eyes are brown instead of green. That’s a small price to pay for art that easily rivals Stuart Immonen’s. Honestly, this crossover is almost worth it for the art alone.
The Trial of Jean Grey was a satisfying crossover for X-Men fans (unless you dislike Bendis’s writing), and while the Guardians didn’t have much character focus, they had about the same as they did before the crossover. For Guardians fans it’s fun, but if you’re hoping for deep characterization, let’s hope Bendis picks up on that after the crossover. As an X-Men fan though, I won’t complain that they had more character focus.
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“My only complaint on that front (and this isn’t really a problem) is that we never see that X-23/Gamora/Angela team up I was hoping for. Maybe in the future Bendis? Make it happen!” -I second this!
Also when Scott didn’t say anything to X-23 before he left …I. was. PISSED. The break with Jean Grey makes sense, they are not on the path to become the same people at all, and they both know the tragic turns.
KP flirting with Quill was pretty cute. Rocket yelling at raccoons to put pants on was pretty good. HA!
brit: In fairness, Scott did tell Laura to keep them all safe. And we got that fabulous reaction panel of Laura – specifically, her lack of a real reaction.
This was a really good issue. Great stuff for both Jean and Scott. I like that Jean’s gotten a power-up unrelated to the Phoenix – it seems like Bendis is taking the major Jean stories, and pushing her away from them. And that’s good, because it’s making her more interesting.
Also, Jean kicking Gladiator’s ass was awesome.
I saw a bunch of people complaining that Gladiator was out of character in this story, but I disagree. He’s always been irrational when it comes to the Phoenix force, and he’s never been described as all that bright. He’s a decent emperor, but that’s partly because he usually knows when to let other people think.
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