Both this and Jean Grey 5 released today, and they also both focus on the Phoenix Force one way or another. Because of that I’m only going to give one of these issues a full review. But to sum up Jean Grey 5 – it’s fun. Jean Grey spends the full issue training herself how to wield psychic weapons with Psylocke’s help. There are ninja fights, some great jokes here and there and some brilliant training techniques by Psylocke. I actually think it’s the better Jean Grey comic released this week, but the Generations issue is part of a heavily advertised miniseries, so I’ll review that instead.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be referring to teenaged Jean Grey as Jean, and adult Jean as Phoenix.
Generations: Jean Grey and Phoenix, written by Cullen Bunn, starts with Jean Grey somehow ending up on a beach. It just so happens that her adult self, possessed by the phoenix force, is on that beach. It doesn’t take Jean too long to get co-ordinated, being a psychic who’s been displaced before in multiple ways, but she’s really not sure how she feels about being this close to her phoenix possessed self. Before they officially meet, the comic references the build-up toward the Dark Phoenix Saga and a couple other events, helping us figure out exactly when this comic is supposed to take place.
After Jean and Phoenix meet, they spend the comic hanging out and traveling around. Jean sees how Phoenix is almost nonchalant about the immense power she carries, while Phoenix seems to just want to have fun. Both of them are very curious about each other. Jean wants to know a bit about how the cosmic force feels to help avoid being possessed by it, while Phoenix realizes that Jean knows something about her future. All of these scenes are well-written, but there’s nothing particularly special about them.
Toward the end of the comic, the two of them face off against Galactus, who’s preparing to eat a planet full of people with transparent enough skin that you can see their brains. It’s a glorious fight scene where Phoenix is almost fighting more to show off her power than to actually stop Galactus. When Galactus seems to get the upper hand, Jean unleashes her own psionic powers, boosted by the Phoenix’s presence, in an awesome show of her own potential. It’s a moment that helps separate Jean from Phoenix and demonstrating how she might stand a chance at controlling the cosmic force better. Afterward, Jean is forced to make a choice that may alter the universe’s fate for the better or the worse.
The art by R.B. Silva is brilliant. There’s a lot of detail in the backgrounds throughout the comic, whether it’s the forest and rocks near the beach, the variety of people seen in several different locations, or the strange planet they land on with the rocks floating due to Galactus’s power. The brief montage shown when Jean first finds Phoenix is a brilliant display of the Phoenix saga as a whole, with the flames of the cosmic force surrounding the montage panels. There’s great use of energy flowing around whenever either Jean uses their powers. The fight scene with Galactus looks and feels epic. That said, Phoenix is wearing these big earrings when she first shows up, and they’re never seen again afterward. It’s just weird. Rain Beredo handles the colouring, and it’s mostly fantastic. There are times when the images almost look real with the variety of shades and the use of shadows sprinkled throughout every panel. The stars look brilliant with a variety of colours in the sky, and the page where Jean uses her psionic energy is brilliant to look at. With all that said, there are a couple moments where everything but Jean and Phoenix, including the backgrounds, are suddenly completely white. When everything else is so incredibly detailed, it’s distracting.
The general writing quality in this issue is very good, yet there’s nothing all that special about what happens in this comic. Jean Grey doesn’t learn all that much from her experience, besides how her adult self is very much like she is – just a lot more powerful and excited by that power. It feels like this could have gone further with Jean Grey learning something that could contribute to her solo series on a deeper level. It’s still a good comic and it’s worth reading if you’re also reading the main Jean Grey solo series. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it to anyone else though, unless you want to check out Dennis Hopeless’s Jean Grey solo series but haven’t yet. Also, a couple panels with large, completely white spots in otherwise very detailed art does hold this comic back a bit.
I might stop my reviews at two this week because I have some minor eyestrain right now, but we’ll see how I feel later.