We’re about half-way through the mini-series that sees the return of adult Jean Grey, who’s been dead in mainline continuity since 2003. Funny, as much as Jean Grey has this reputation of dying and coming back way too often, it’s only happened a handful of times at most. There are plenty of characters who have died and returned more than her.
Anyway, Phoenix Resurrection 3 starts off with a strange dream sequence where Jean is piloting a space shuttle that crashes into the water. She starts drowning, only to wake up in a grocery store, surrounded by a water spill. Writer Matthew Rosenberg does a great job at capturing the rest of the weirdness going on in Jean Grey’s scenes, like encountering X-Men characters who probably shouldn’t be there and always wearing her diner outfit as if she’s straight out of the 1960’s. Her scenes also start getting more intense by the end, with a sudden burst of telekinesis against Patch, and then she starts getting chased by her Phoenix form while her neighborhood burns around her. It’s also interesting how everyone seems to know Jean’s name. It’s almost as if her surroundings are an unintentional creation of her own.
Although all the Jean Grey scenes are great, the X-Men scenes kind of just exist. There are too many characters involved and most of them only amount to wallpaper. Apart from Kitty Pryde, who shows about as much personality as X-Men Gold, and Beast, not one X-Men character gets more than one line. Well, maybe Old Man Logan, but his lines are so short and they could be said by anybody, so he might as well not be there. At least in this issue, the X-Men are getting closer to Jean Grey, meaning they’re encountering more of the weirdness. Even then, it would be much easier to make these scenes interesting if there were fewer characters. Perhaps mostly stick to those who will be in X-Men: Red?
The art by Joe Bennett is great. No matter how weird Jean’s surroundings get, she consistently wears her diner outfit straight out of the 60’s. Nobody seems to mind, further implying that some of this may be an unintentional creation of her own. There’s plenty of background detail, like the grocery store complete with shelves within the fridge doors full of various products, tools flying all over the place when Jean’s telekinesis burst out, and a variety of buildings on the street as Jean’s walking at night. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotion, like Jean’s panic when she’s being chased by her Phoenix form, Emma Frost’s smug look when she’s explaining where Jean is to the X-Men, and Patches keeping a gruff yet calm expression, even after Jean’s telekinetic burst. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colouring is also great. The comic as a whole is bright and colourful, with great use of tinting everything red to enhance the intense moments.
The Jean Grey scenes in this comic are great. Everything about those moments are weird in all the right ways. Unfortunately, the rest of the X-Men’s scenes are bloated with too many characters and not enough reasons to care about them. It balances out to a comic that’s good, but too flawed to be great. Like I said earlier, these scenes would work better if there was a smaller team of X-Men involved. With all that said, this is at least worth a read for those looking forward to Jean Grey’s return. Just read it before you buy it if you can.