I was kind of split between reviewing this, Edge of the Venomverse 1 and Cable 2, but I ended up choosing Jean Grey 3 because there’s more to talk about. So instead, here are my quick thoughts on Edge of the Venomverse 1 and Cable 2. Edge of the Venomverse is the first issue in the lead-up to the Venomverse event, featuring an alternate universe version of X-23 who is possessed by venom as she’s escaping the facility. It’s good but nothing special, except that we finally get to see the NYX kids again. It’s worth checking out for either X-23 fans or those looking forward to Venomverse. Cable 2 has pretty much all the same strengths and weaknesses as the first issue, but it does properly introduce the man Cable is chasing. It’s still light on story explanations though. And now, let’s talk about Jean Grey 3.
Written by Dennis Hopeless, today’s issue continues Jean Grey’s search for Phoenix Force answers. In the first issue, she received a vision that implied the force was on its way. In the second, she met up with a whole bunch of former Phoenix hosts all at once, and they all fought Reavers together in a creative fight scene. Here, she meets up with one more former host, Namor. This entire issue takes place underwater, most of it involving Jean Grey and Namor fighting a giant sea monster.
The dialogue goes back and forth between focusing on the fight and Jean asking about Namor’s experience with the Phoenix. It’s well-written, with a couple of Namor’s insults for good measure, but he’s never overly harsh and he does seem to care. The fight scene itself is intense and entertaining, with Jean spending most of the issue afraid and seemingly overwhelmed. When she and Namor are backed into a corner however, she shows a bit of a warrior spirit – one that even impresses Namor. For most of the issue Namor is entertainingly condescending, but he does end up giving Jean potentially great advice. It gives her focus on how to prepare herself in a way the others might not have thought of. It’s also nice that it explores how the Phoenix Force affected Namor’s own mind, something that hasn’t been explored enough. There’s not much, but it’s something.
The art by Victor Ibanez is great. The underwater environment is very well detailed, with a variety of fish swimming around and various plants sticking out of the ocean floor. There’s great use of motion blurs as Jean propels herself with telekinesis underwater, and when Namor is cut, the blood flows out of his body realistically. Facial expressions perfectly convey emotions, like Namor’s surprise when the monster’s venom temporarily paralyzes him, and the look of sheer determination when Jean unleashes herself on the monster. The look of Namor’s mind in burning ruins is haunting, with all sorts of dead bodies floating around. The colouring by Jay David Ramos and Dono Sanchez-Almara is also great. The sun shines into the water on the surface, dimming as Jean gets deeper. The overall blue look is balanced out with Jean’s pink telekinesis, her red hair and Namor’s overwhelmingly orange mindscape, making for a bright and colourful comic.
Jean Grey’s solo series is off to a good start. I still think the Phoenix story arc should have been saved for later, but it does give this series a clear direction. Namor’s dialogue is both entertainingly condescending and full of useful advice. At this point Jean is starting to separate herself from the original, adult version, even though the similarities are still clear. Fans of the character should check this series out.