Guardians of the Galaxy #12

Or: Trial of Jean Grey part 4 of 6

Honestly, this issue didn’t really get anywhere plot wise. Somehow Brian Michael Bendis makes that work.

In the last issue of All-New X-Men, Kitty Pryde and her team met up with Guardians of the Galaxy and they blasted off. She’s crushing on Quill, too, which is very cute. In their travels, they were attacked by a Shi’ar ship and then saved… my Starjammer leader …Christopher Summers. Scott hasn’t seen his father since his mother saved him from certain death my tossing him out of a plane. His father figured that both Scott and his brother died, by the time he got back to Earth, Scott was old and lived around it. For Young Scott, back from the past and in a spaceship with a talking tree and raccoon after his girlfriend got kidnapped by aliens for crimes she will commit in the future… It’s all too much.

Quill’s father, the King of Spartax, finds out that the Guardians have inserted themselves into the Jean Grey situation. Oracle tells the Shi’ar that they may as well have declared war on the X-Men. They kidnapped a founding member, the mutant population of Earth isn’t going to take this lying down. 

Just outside of the Shi’ar empire, Young Scott summers starts losing it. Everyone watches as he falls apart. he’s comforted by X-23. X-23 who is confused by hugging checks on him and lets him cry on her shoulder. I like them together. If they go ‘friends forever’, I’ll still like that too. But I’m thinking of all the interesting timeline disruptions that could happen if a less cocky version of Cyclops and Wolverine’s genetic clone fell in love.

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Look! a picture I took with my phone in my den with bad lighting! But I wanted you to see this part that made me have so many feelings.

 

And no one is there for Jean Grey, Oracle will be her council. But Jeannie can’t control her temper, The tribunal begins, and Jean Grey sees the final broadcast from a battle cruiser and she finally sees what she will do/has done. And she’s horrified. Will she sacrifice herself for the fate of the universe? Even if she could, would it do anything? She can’t go home but the timeline is intact.

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Pichelli’s art is magnificent. The facial expressions are just perfect, raw angst, concern, sadness, the body language just multiplies the emotion involved. It’s beautiful. 

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All-New X-Men #23

In which everyone’s favorite Omega-Level Ginger has an intergalactic existential crisis. 

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Jean Grey is one of the most important X-Men characters. IGN voted her #13 in Top 100 Superheros. She’s brought back from the dead a few times, plotlines of decades worth of books and many of the films have revolved around other character’s relationships with her. She’s been Marvel Girl, the Phoenix and the Dark Phoenix- which of course is when she went “planet eater” and genocidal. She’s was copied. She was cloned. Her child from an alternate timeline came to Earth. And recently she was brought back from the past in her younger form where she faced her future self (who appeared as Xorna) from an alternate timeline.

But even with all this revolving around her… she’s just one being… and in the scheme of the universe… How important is Jean Grey? 

To the Shi’ar she is very important. But they don’t care about her relationships, they don’t care what a special snowflake she is. They only care about one thing: that she murdered a planet. Anything else that she accomplishes is overshadowed by the acts committed by the Dark Phoenix.

The Shi’ar want her to answer for her crimes. 

But it’s complicated: technically she hasn’t committed them. She’s aware of what will happen. If she goes back to her time, Xavier will wipe her mind and it will all re-happen. 

So, I’m wondering what the Shi’ar’s plan is here.

Option 1: 

Kill her.

The Shi’ar would introduce a whole new timeline where she did not become the Dark Phoenix, but no one can really be sure what would happen. That seems unreliable. And, right now the time space continuum is so disrupted that the timeline is permanently altered and Jeannie and co. are still in the future without it having any repercussions. Well… yet, anyway. But they are tampering with things with no guarantee. 

Option 2:

Imprison her? Same deal for the Shi’ar above but with the added heat of X-Men raining fury on them for taking one of their own.

Is there an Option 3? What is the End Game here?

This issue doesn’t provide much info in that aspect. What we get is Scott Summers waking up on the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship after having a dream where he confessed his love to Jean (even though he’s recently been getting closer to X-23, I wouldn’t mind if Young Cyclops and Wolverine’s genetic clone went the “friends forever” route). Even to a groups of mutants who, collectively, can pass through walls, shoot lasers from their eyes, are made of ice, can fly, pass through walls and heal a bullet wound in a moments notice- a talking Racoon, 2 murder girls, a (sort of) talking tree + more are still really weird. 

Jean Grey is imprisoned in a Bubble by Kallark (Gladiator), her telekinesis and telepathy doesn’t work there. This version of Jean Grey has this out of control Sookie Stackhouse thing happening and she relies heavily on reading the thoughts of others. Not being able to causes her to bug out. And they drop her into… the ocean? still in her containment bubble.

Professor Kitty Pryde blames herself for not seeing this coming. which is a duality. I don’t think she should have seen it coming, but she shouldn’t have been confused about WHY the Shi’ar showed up in Part 1. While they debate X-Men saying repeatedly that Jeannie didn’t actually DO it… and Rocket reminding them, “Yet.” Then the Shi’ar attack their ship. Angela wants to board the ship and take them down, Groot goes along as back-up. 

Jean Grey meets with Oracle who explains what’s happening here. She’s under arrest and getting ready to be brought before tribunal. Oracle sees that she has no first hand knowledge of being the Phoenix (How would she? She hasn’t been the Phoenix?) somehow she’s perplexed by this. Jean lashes out and acts threateningly towards Oracle. And… she goes back in the bubble.

After being struck by the Shi’ar, the Guardians’ ship is on fire. Gamora and X-23 make friends. Rocket says he’s going to propose to Angela. Gamora starts to head out. Suddenly, there’s another ship! They get blasted with purple lasers and it’s revealed that the pilot of THAT ship is… Summers. No, not that Summers, Major Christopher Summers, USAF.  

There are things Immonen does very well, which corresponds heavily with what Bendis does well. Bendis writes great characters, great reactions. Immonen draws great expressions and great body language. On these pages we see an off his game and defeated Scott Summers hunched over, sullen and it correspond to the voice we should hear perfectly.. Jean is questioned by another “minder” (telepath) and we see her demeanor change for outraged to regretful. But for me these fight scenes are disjointed, weird lighting and coloring obscures what’s happening to who. 

Speaking of “What is happening?!” Christopher Summers firstly is Scott’s father, the alias Corsair was supposedly dead (at the hands of his son Vulcan, who was not raised on earth and slaughtered Shi’ar’s after being incubated and sold into slavery). So… what is going on here? He’s also the leader of Starjammers, who pillage and pirate Shi’ar ships.

“I hate space” I’ve had very bad luck in space!” -KP

One of my favorites, Greg Rucka, is writer of the (SOME SPOILERS LIVE HERE–>) upcoming Cyclops series that spins off the events in Trial of Jean Grey. Honestly, the spoilers keep me more confused about what will happen to Jean Grey.

All-New X-Men 22.NOW

or The Trial of Jean Grey #1:

After an anticlimactic previous issue this story arc *promises* to be much more. And will also con me into reading Guardians of the Galaxy… ergh CROSSOVERS.

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The original X-Men +KP +X-23 are back at the New Xavier School. X-23 is working on her combat skills, Beast is doing some heavy duty theoretical mathematics, Iceman’s making snow angels… and Angel’s just trying to eat a burger when Jean Grey comes and starts a shouting match with Scott (who’s mind she’s reading without permission… again. And she keeps doing it. But in all fairness, he’s not really giving her a chance and is judging her for being herself after all the incredibly weird shit she’s been through, including; knowing how she dies, seeing her future self has joined the Brotherhood, watching her future self die, knowing Scott ends up with Emma Frost etc.) While she gets in touch she freaks out and levitates Angel’s burger. Control is not what she is in. 

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For the record: Iceman and Angel would totally eat these

Outside: some explosions from the sky, Bobby tries to build an ice wall but there’s Shi’ar, in fact. The Shi’ar have been mingling with the X-Men since 1977! They are an alien humanoid/avian race that has hyper-advanced technology. Their homeworld was put in SERIOUS peril by Jean Grey during her the Phoenix heyday and they killed her family in case the Phoenix was attracted to her genetics… yeah: They figured out she’s back in some version. 

X-Men rush into action to protect the school. Kitty tries to disable their tech while X-23 gets wicked pissed. Jean Grey tries to throw off their attacks using telekinesis and everyone goes full force… to no avail. They get trapped in bubbles. Bobby tries last minute heroics, but they take Jean Grey. 

But then… it looks as if the Shi’ar are coming back… but they aren’t… it was the Guardians. It was actually pretty damn funny. But as a whole this issue didn’t do it for me. It’s definitely the art. Stuart Immonen: I cannot understand what was happening in those fight sequences. Maybe it was BMB’s fault, he seems great at writing dialogue and angst… but not much else. I know that it was just the set up but if you want me interested in a 6 issue crossover with a book I don’t read and a team I don’t care about (I don’t bandwagon jump because there’s a movie, kids) you’re going to have to give me more… Bobby’s action hero antics were awesome but they couldn’t carry the issue.

Battle of the Atom Chapter 10

Or X-Men Battle of the Atom #2

SHIELD “has unleashed” a hail storm of bombs at ALL the past present and future X-Men (and Future Brotherhood) ensuring that here at Cape Citadel, where the X-Men were born, that some of them will die. 

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SHIELD tries to regain control of their firing systems as the first flurry of bombs drop. Xorn/Jean and Xavier are behind this, of course, Quentin Quire, AKA Kid Omega AKA the Phoenix knows what’s up and confronts the telekinetics from the Future Brotherhood. Future Beast is still trying to convince everyone that the attacks from SHIELD are genuine but no one seems to care. 

But one missile holds Sentinels. So now SHIELD’s “anti-mutant ordinance” is exposed. When they realize what this means, convictions waiver. Future Beast is the first casualty.

Quentin accuses future Jean of blaming the Phoenix for going all “dark and psycho.” She’s all “you don’t deserve that power, it’s calling my name.”

Future Jubilee (who has lazer Wolverine claws) goes after Raze. She gets cheap shotted by the Sentinel. Shogo rushes in to destroy the robot. Colossus gets destroyed from the inside out by Xavier. Illyana goes all Darkchilde after seeing what has happened to her brother and her friends try to tell her to reign it in. Future Iceman is horrified by the X-Men on X-Men violence. Wolverine and Cyclops are attempting to take out Future Jean/Xorn and they are still squabbling over Who’s girl Jean is before the two men face off against her. She’s furious and barely holding herself together, becoming overwhelmed by her powers. 

To save Wolverine and Cyclops the original X-Men intervene. Young Jean reminds her future self that they TRIED to go home. She doesn’t need to do this. As future Jean self destructs, Xavier calls the Brotherhood to him. She explodes taking the Sentinels with her. 

Maria Hill reaches the ground but there is no living- or dead to be found.

Epilogue 1- Magik got them out, she kept from losing herself. Wolverine is still hardlining sending the original X-Men home (They tried to go home! did you all forget that?!). Of course the 5 X-Men from the past aren’t the only of the time displaced. There are still the bunch that Illyana transported from the future, though, they are down a few. Cyclops reminds everyone that SHIELD “tried to kill them” (which they should have thought the Brotherhood was behind, but the real issue) that they had Sentinels. 

Epilogue 2- Kymera (Storm’s daughter from the future) wants to stay in the present time to fight the Brotherhood. Shogo from the future and present day Jubes have a heart to heart (his mom, her future self is dead, remember?) She asks questions that she probably shouldn’t about how she deals with vampirism, but is mainly just happy that it all works out. That she adopted a son and raised him as an X-Men and it all worked out (after the very strange beginning, what with him being inhabited by an alien virus that could control technology and was bent on controlling the earth).

Epilogue 3- The X-Men from the future -sans Kymera- depart.

Epilogue 4- Kitty Pryde quits the Jean Grey School. She tells off Ororo, lashes out at Iceman and stuns Rachel, Wolverine and the rest. She and the original X-Men defect to Cyclops and the Charles Xavier School.  

After seeing Kitty Pryde relegated to the back burner by Storm in Brian Wood’s X-Men series, I was glad to see her take a hardline, I’m interested to see how this will impact the team dynamics in that series going forward. I’m sad about future Jubilee. Wolverine and Cyclops facing off on issues from the self-righteous to the teenage are very real. The art in this particular issue was not my favorite (what was up with Emma Frost? and some characters faded into the background while they were still fighting leaving it difficult to decipher what was happening). But as a whole this crossover event was monumentally entertaining, funny, epic and bad ass. I enjoyed that Illyana was the one to save the day. There wasn’t a huge resolution, the young original X-Men are still displaced and now they have to deal with the fall out of the 5 plus Kitty Pryde defecting.

Battle of the Atom (Chapters 1&2)

AKA X-Men Battle of the Atom #1 AND All-New X-Men #16

Oh man… do I hate crossovers. Damn you, Marvel comics. Just take my wallet. Bleed me dry, you goons. But i’m down… and now subscribed to 5 different X-Men series. If you haven’t been subscribing to the 73,863 X-Men books: here’s a primer for Battle of the Atom that the wonderful nerds and nerdistas at IGN put together. Can I also add, I also hate time travel. Crossovers involving time travel and two cyclops existing in the same place. THAT’S SO ANNOYING.

(And Beast bringing Jean Grey to the future… of course she doesn’t deal well with her own death… what’s wrong with you??)

Regardless, it’s ten issues and I’m reading it (because if I don’t the X-Men book I usually read probably won’t make sense and I’ll go batshit)

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#1 begins with cerebro alerting the X-men, (specifically Kitty Pryde, young Cyclops, young Jean Grey, young Iceman and you Beast) that there is a new mutant discovered that is creating havoc in Phoenix, AZ. Animax, she makes dragons and basilisk looking things… she’s also a career criminal with a serious grudge. Right when Jeannie is about to get the upper hand… dun dun dun Sentinels show up. Kidlet Cyclops doesn’t want to follow Kitty’s plan because showing off is clearly more important than survival. He almost gets his head blown off and then suddenly they are saved… by Cyclops… the other one (and Emma Frost, Angel and a whole bunch of others). He and Kitty have a less than friendly exchange and then join forces to beat some robot tuchas!

They do, obvi. Animax surrenders. Cyclops gets zapped by a Sentinel and the world blurs as both Cyclopses are nearly erased from existence. It’s actually really cool. And then of course, everyone wants to send them back to their own time… you know space-time ramifications. And young Cyclops says “you’re not letting us choose our own destiny, you’re damning us to our predetermined fates” which is understandable, since he ends up at odds with wolverine’s X-Men and Jean Grey ends up dead and Charles Xavier is going to erase their memories. 

So everyone is about to get thrown in the “time cube” and then it goes all purple and wonky… And then it gets really weird…

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The X-Men from the future arrive to STOP EVERYTHING and tell them they are about to make a dangerous mistake. 

Hey, where are those Sentinels coming from? Is it S.H.I.E.L.D.? Celeste thinks it is. 

Christopher, who saved Cyclops in the last chapter is incredibly freaked out. He exclaims “I think that you X-Men are so used to the space and time and life and death craziness in your lives that you don’t even notice how crazy it is anymore.”

Which is a great segue into THE X-MEN FROM THE FUTURE CONFRONTING PRESENT DAY X-MEN AS THEY ATTEMPT TO SEND THE FROM THE PAST X-MEN BACK.

“Your worst fears have been realized, you DID screw everything up.”

Wolverine: “and which of our numerous, terrible mistakes are you referring to?”

Future Iceman is huge. There are three Icemans, three The Beasts, Charles Xavier’s grandson, super old Deadpool, old Kitty Pryde and Molly Hayes… so uh, yeah. 

Wolverine is pissed, claws, drool, whole nine. A fight breaks out. Especially irrational in close quarters where someone might kill their former self and thus their present self.

…so what happened.

Oh damn it’s good. You know what? Just go buy it. 

I know, I hate crossovers, too. 

but it’s gong to be worth it.

I’m not even going to tell you anymore.

Okay I am, serious, you brought Jean Grey to the future and her powers started increasing ahead of time (the powers that she uses to eat planets… those powers?) and she knows that if her life follows the course she’s been shown SHE WILL BE DEAD… and Cyclops, who loves her obviously doesn’t want this either… DUH. Wolverine figures out what went wrong… sort of and time travel and alternate timelines kill me, the cliffhangers in this are already enraging. 

Get it!