All-New X-Men #27

Now this one’s interesting. Bendis kill me because #26 was focussed on drama, feelings, the shattered team dynamics. This one? Not so much. Non-stop action and revelations. 

The Charles Xavier from the future Brotherhood? Mystique’s child with Charles Xavier. I still don’t know exactly how that works.. And Raze is his half brother, the child of Mystique and Wolverine. Raze had been parading as his mother long after she had died. Weird. Raze has also shifted into the form of X-23 and infiltrated the New Xavier School. It happens fast, one of the Cuckoos, Mindee, is under future Jean/Xorna’s control. Future Cyclops delays the Brotherhood with a giant laserbeam. 

Kitty, Beast, Angel, Magik, Eva, Iceman and Christopher are all fighting Raze (who’s bringing the mindfuck) while being psychicly tortured by Xorna and CX. Young Jean, Emma Frost and Cyclops are trying to get over to the others without being tracked. 

Young Jean: “We should call for help.”

Emma Frost: “We would but everybody hates us.”

The Future Brotherhood’s heavy hitters infiltrate Young Jean’s psychic shield and Emma knocks her out. Cyclops is not pleased.

In the final panel we see Xavier confronting Young Jean, saying that he knows now that she’s the biggest threat and she’ll be dealt with first.

BotA is STILL wreaking havoc.Bendis is still killing me with his weird acing and cliffhangers. I love it. Stuart Immonen is a great artist. In the past some of the fight scenes have been convoluted, but this issue was amazing. Even with the shapeshifting villain it was easy to keep up with.

All-New X-Men #26

OOoooh Young Jean Grey showcasing her brand new psionic powers on the front cover.

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That doesn’t happen in the story. Jean Grey is having nightmares of levelling the X-Men with devastating ferocity. She wakes up screaming and is comforted by Scott. Not the young Scott: he’s in space now. But Cyclops: “Old Cyclops” or “Present Day Cyclops” or “the Cyclops that’s supposed to be here.” The two have been thoroughly ignoring each other. Because it’s weird. It’s really weird. The way he looks at her is almost paternal, but they still talk like old friends when he confesses that he’s jealous of all the time that Young Cyclops is spending with his space pirate dad. But Jeannie ramps up the icky with the line, “You’re so much older. I think that’s why I like you more than younger Scott. It’s like instead of hoping you’d grow up to become this man. You’re here. The man I hoped you’d be.” Cyclops puts the kibosh on that, he tells her they can NEVER. And then he tells her she’ll be training with Emma Frost to help stay in control of her new powers. Emma Frost is also his ex, she has a mountain of a grudge against Jean Grey… and yeah, this is going to get weird. “Well.. why should this be different than everything else?” 

Kitty stops by and eavesdrops, she notes that he handled it well but reminds him that being alone in her room is not appropriate. She earns a “Yes, ma’am.” While an apprehensive and lonely Jeannie still can’t sleep.

Angel, out for a morning fly sees Laura leaving school. He tries to stop her, she yells at a bear. No one knew she had feelings for Scott, but she doesn’t open up for just anyone. And Angel, physically incapable of knocking her out and dragging her back heads back for reinforcements. X-23 finds herself being followed… by young Scott. Who stabs her. Holy WTF it’s Mystique (who has been terrorizing Amazing X-Men, posing as Dazzler while draining her of her mutant growth hormone). 

Angel, back at the school riles up KP, who is all “No way, we can’t lose Laura,” while Bobby says “Who’s Laura?” and Angel says “Literally the only girl we know who’s not Jean Grey.” 

They find Laura, worse for the wear and she stammers out that it was a shapeshifter, not only that, the shapeshifter has been interloping for sometime now. And she knows Laura’s personal shit. That’s not going to go over well. But while they are distracted, Molly, Deadpool, Xorna, future Beast are marching in. The Future Brotherhood is back!?

Bendis and his dialogue always floors me, it’s perfect. His writing really helps you get in the mindset of the characters. Little things, like Cyclops saying he worries about Hank not being able to undo his mistake (and now with the Brotherhood back, I wonder if he’s to blame), Iceman being so young/clueless/self absorbed that he’s been calling Laura “Wolverine Clone.” Kitty is being written as a full grown woman with good decision making skills again, which is nice. That lapsed for a bit. Stuart Immonen is just wonderful, pensive facial expressions abound. The first page where Jean Grey envisions herself as the Phoenix is majestic.Backgrounds disappear as KP flies into a rage.

Hey: I just realized that Mystique stole X-23’s backpack! What’s up with that. 

Guardians of the Galaxy #13

The Trial of Jean Grey: part 6 of 6

Jean Grey comes to the conclusion that she will not be able to stop the Phoenix ..but neither will anyone else. She didn’t ask for thisshe was just the host, no one else could stop it and yet she is the only one on trial. But this Jean Grey is not the same as her past/future self. And she develops a wholly different power set. Psionic powers. She redirects everyone’s psychic energy back at them. A fight ensues between Jean Grey and Gladiator while the X-Men, Guardians and Starjammers handle the Imperial Guard. Oracle talks Jeannie through it and ends the fight before any casualties occur. Oracle then tells Gladiator that THIS Jean Grey is different and this time won’t be the same. Cyclops issues badass threats to Gladiator that the fight is over and tells him if he goes anywhere near planet earth again “I will bring a hellstorm of asgardians, mutants, atlanteans and hulk monsters right down on top of you!” It’s bad ass.

And, as most who keep up with comic book news already knew.. Scott announces that he’s leaving for space with his father (Christopher Summers, leader of Starjammers). Greg Rucka is penning that series, I’m definitely going tobe reading. Anyway, Scott tells Jean that maybe this way they can be happy. Everyone is stunned. He doesn’t say a word to Laura. I’m furious. X-23 deserved a few words. They didn’t have a relationship but she let him in in a way that was very vulnerable for her. And it’s obnoxious  to me that she was left hanging. (Hopefully that’s not really it for them. X-23 teams up with Angela and Gamora for space adventures, anyone? Please Please).

KP and Peter flirting was the freaking cutest. “Listen, I’ve travelled the galaxy up and down and met a total of maybe 7 cool people. You seem very cool.” 

There are funny moments. This was a very good finish to the crossover. Great way for newer comic readers to get accustomed to the Guardians (and the Starjammers). Bendis was teasing us with a possible X-23 young Cyclops hook up, but created a wholly original path for THIS Jean Grey. Sara Pichelli’s art is gorgeous, I was totally digging the reactions/expressions and representation of Jean’s new powers. Her art has been compared to Immonen’s and I think Pichelli’s is better: the fight scenes were much more comprehensible.

All-new X-Men #24

AKA Trial of Jean Grey part 5 (of 6).

After a slow paced part 4, we jump right in this issue. King J-Son of Spartax interrupts Gladiator’s trial on the grounds. That Jeannie is still a child and he lets Jeannie know thgat the Shi’ar have killed her whole family. (Oracle’s stolen glance at her; that complete ‘oh, shit ‘ expression? Perfect) She escapes.

The Guardians, Starjammers, KP, and the Original X-Men are closing in. Anxiety getting to Scott Summers. His father is watching him make the same impulsive decisionsover Jean that the older Scott Summers did. The Guardians lay the majority is the smackdown on the Shi’ar Imperial Guard.

But while Jean was on the run she felt herself turning into the Phoenix…

Talk about self fullfilling prophecy.

So she goes to turn herself in. One more issue left and I’m desparate to know which way everyone is going!

…Especially X-23 I hope she becomes BFFLs with Angela and Gamora and still hooks up with Young Cyclops in outerspace sometimes.

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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X-Men #11

I was so pumped for this issue. #10 left us with a masterfully executed cliffhanger: Mach 1 Sentinels rising from the ocean with Jubilee, Bling!, Quentin, Mercury, etc., waiting to take them on. Ana Cortes is finding herself in over her head with the Arkea situation. Arkea is ready to unleash some Omega Level dames.

Issue #11/Ghosts part 2 picks up with Ana and Amora having an a debate between and within themselves about what they are about to do.  They do it, of course. They’re bad girls and they’re outclassed, there’s no turning back. Held in Stasis, her soul distributed into the very air of a contain cell -reassembled by Amora: Lady Selene/The Black Queen/the oldest mutant.

And after that it starts to get hairy. Wait, is it hairy? Or is it just Anka’s weird art style?

No seriously. Is that a hairy armpit or is it just sketch lines?

No seriously. Is that a hairy armpit or is it just sketch lines?

I mean, if Selene Gallio (not Gallo, not Galio -as it has been spelled in the past 2 issues) who debatably came to life before the middle ages and before disposable razors doesn’t change her beauty routine to fit patriarchal fashion standards that’s fine by me.

But that’s not the only time that they art was a distraction.

When we leave the bad girls to see the good girls they are on the Cortes Yacht. Some were there last issue. Some were new arrivals. So I saw this:

Look at the top left + bottom right.

Look at the top left + bottom right.

Since we can barely see any of their attire and have no distinguishing facial features for some reason I could only gather that Monet was talking to herself somehow. Next page I figured out it was Karima. No one addressed her by name and in the last issue she was on the plane.

Anyway, on the yacht the girls put together that Yuriko was dead, Arkea was dead maybe they’re recruiting more dead mutants. Monet figures this out employed logic that is a complete stretch yet somehow EXACTLY what’s happening. They contact Sabra who confirms that there have been buyers for the genetic material of both Maddie Pryor and Selene (and apparently no one else, for some reason) (and also WHY would this be for sale? How is it not in their vault?).

At the Jean Grey School: Quentin Quire is babysitting John Sublime. QQ is everyone’s high school’s too-cool, punk rock nerd and he’s fanpoodling at John Sublime for being such a big bad. Sublime sees Shogo go by with Storm’s daughter from the future who never went back after BotA and somehow everyone was okay with that. Sublime says ominously, “Check your books Quire for a nasty example of a serial killer called ‘The Future’ something just reminded me of him.”

In Japan, Typhoid Mary and Lady Deathstrike are playing with swords. Ana’s in control and the cracks in her sanity get deeper. She asks Mary to kill her, she’s in over her head. She wanted power. She wanted to be popular. Maybe she wanted to meet Cyclops (I don’t know). But Arkea, her plan, it’s too much. Mary refuses. Ana goes at Mary, says she’ll force her if she has to.

Arkea enters, says “spare us your dramatics” and tells her that Maddie’s consciousness is primed. The plan is to add the consciousness of Jean Grey’s genetic clone into the same host as Yuriko? Ana’s already got too many voices in her head. So she ups the dramatics and impales herself on her samurai sword. To be continued..

SOMEHOW there’s a MEANWHILE

(it’s really a BEFORE)

Clay Mann did the art here and it was the best looking. We’re back to Catalina Island. Pixie and Bling! are taking out a Sentinel. Bling! gets dragged into the ocean, Mercury summons Pixie back to the plane and goes to save Roxy. Hellion and Jubilee are working on another. Quentin Quire is in the plane (see how it’s a “before”, not a “meanwhile”?) Karima is also in the plane and now in the last pages we find out that Pixie transported her to the yacht (but we didn’t see Pixie on the yacht). Jubilee turned into mist to escape the fist of a Sentinel and didn’t rematerialize… dun dun dun

Clay Mann’s art is fantastic, by the way. Shout out to Seth Mann and Paul Mounts, too. The layers are perfect. The water looks like actual water. Lights and lasers stand out above really REALLY ON POINT fight scenes.

Look at Pixie's laser, look at Bling!'s sparkle, look at all that STUFF in the background.

Look at Pixie’s laser, look at Bling!’s sparkle, look at all that STUFF in the background. All their pages are like that.

WHAT was happening with the timing in this issue? So QQ goes back to the Jean Grey School and doesn’t say anything about Jubes? Maybe… Maybe he wouldn’t say anything, but no one there seemed concerned. Wood really wanted to dual cliffhangers to work. And they would have. If Karima wasn’t on the yacht and Quire wasn’t the one with Sublime. Maybe it still “works” …technically. So much cool stuff happened this issue I just wish it wasn’t foolishly bogged down with spelling errors (yeah, I nitpick, and what?), trying to decipher who is talking and why/how they got there, and whether something is ‘meanwhile’ or “before”. I shouldn’t have to do that.

But, eff yeah; Black Queen! So, that forgives a lot.

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.