This series has been a bit weird in some ways. The first issue pit Jean Grey against the wrecking crew, and it did a great job at balancing between Jean’s formidable mental abilities and her limitations. It ended with the Phoenix Force announcing to her that it was on the way, through a vision. Ever since then, every issue has focused on Jean trying to figure out how to beat the Phoenix, or otherwise how to prepare for its arrival. It’s featured a bunch of guest stars, all of which have added something to the story.
Jean Grey 8, written by Dennis Hopeless, is a bit different. After the Scarlet Witch helped Jean relax in the previous issue, the spirit of the original Jean Grey took over teenage Jean’s mind, flew right up to Emma Frost, and attacked. This issue begins with Teen Jean inside Emma Frost’s unconscious mind, while the spirit of the original is holding Emma Frost in place to the best of her ability. I hope that makes sense, because as much as it’s easy enough to follow in the comic itself, it sounds really confusing when I try to explain it.
Anyway, Emma Frost’s mind takes shape of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, with the art style matching the tone of that series. Unlike X-Men Gold’s excessive use of nostalgia, this is just the right level of nostalgia and Hopeless plays with it in clever ways. The interactions between teen Jean and adult Jean’s spirit are more civil here than the previous issue, not that they don’t still argue a bit. It makes for a really entertaining comic, and the ending feels like it moves the main story forward.
The art by Victor Ibanez is great. Save for Jean Grey who looks like her normal self, everything about the environment and the surrounding characters feels like Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. There’s Beast in his cat-like form, Beak showing up a couple of times, and Wolverine in his black jacket that kind of looks like the first X-Men movie. The few panels taking place in the real world look more modern and conventional, making it easy to tell when we’re glimpsing outside of Emma Frost’s head. The colouring by Chris Sotomayor is mostly good, with a slight faded feel inside Emma’s head, save for Jean’s more solid look. There’s also great use of glowing when Jean tracks down the phoenix fragment that Emma Frost hid inside.
This is a fun comic, and it’s a much better use of nostalgia than you’ll find in X-Men Gold. The dialogue between the two Jeans is entertaining, the ending promises that we’re not yet done with Emma Frost, and best yet, it makes me want to re-read Grant Morrison’s run. Maybe I’ll have time in the New Year. Jean Grey fans will likely enjoy this issue, especially if you enjoy seeing her fighting Emma Frost.