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. 

All-New X-Men #25

“Monumental 25th issue featuring the greatest artist roster ever assembled.”

At the Jean Grey School we see present day Beast lying awake, riddled with anxiety, his head heavy while he thinks of what a mess he has made bringing back the original X-Men. There’s a man standing over him. He tells Beast that the consequences of his actions are infinite. And through interpretations of different artists we see these possibilities that have been destroyed. The first being Bruce Timm drawing Jean Grey. Jean Grey, who has been heaped with tragedy and catastrophe has recently gotten a bad ass powerset in Guardians of the Galaxy #13, and we see that, but on the next page we have another version of Jean Grey the Jean that this Jean will become, the one in the Brotherhood who bends men to her will. Arthur Adams/Justin Ponsor’s hard a desolate interpretation with crumbling cities and a throne of bent and twisted men directly contrasts with Bruce Timm/Laura Martin’s peppy and fresh bright and uncluttered view of young Jean. While not necessarily my favorite art of the issue the juxtaposition was in my opinion the most well done.  

David Mack’s Cyclops page was also masterful. On this page we see Cyclops displayed like Jesus on the cross (but it’s an X) in front of protesting masses while words describe how he is abandoned and mocked. It’s all water colors and is amazing.

Scottie Young/Jason Keith’s Iceman turns into ice-monsters rampaging out of control. There was a touch of this in BotA where Iceman confronts his future self as a soul less snow monster (who turns out to be future Jean Grey’s puppet) and then as a snow wizard. While the narration says that Iceman will be destroyed from within, this seems to be a fully outside interpretation. Iceman doesn’t seem that perturbed in the series currently.

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It kind of goes on from there showing how monstrous they’re all becoming. That Beast will lose more of his humanity (something about dinosaurs, admittedly, I didn’t get it. I don’t know who was on Kent Williams’s page. The Colossus page was unremarkable). Beast sits up in bed with his head in his hands and pleads to be shown “the good.”  

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JG Jones gives us an image of the whole X-Men line up being treated as celebrities. Beast looks like Ghandi, while light reflects off of them instead of shadows, it’s really unique. The X-Men are photographed by fans with signs that say THANX Everyone is happy and playful. Magneto even looks pleased. 

Ronnie Del Carmen’s image looks like a cross between a vintage Charlie’s Angel’s themed pinup catalogue and a children’s picture book about summer vacation. Which makes sense, since he’s been a storyboard artist on Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up. He draws some X-Ladies having summer fun and beheading monsters on motorcycles. I really don’t get it, but it looks GREAT.

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J Scott Campbell/Nei Ruffino have Psylocke, Storm and Nightcrawler in more modern and conventionally stylized fashion in outer space for exploration.

Maris Wicks gets a few pages to tell a story of an ill timed love story featuring Kitty Pryde and Colossus. Hyper cartoony tale of bad timing. Highlights include KP wearing a shirt that says “I’m not Daredevil” and having Nightcrawler’s baby.Jason Shiga keeps up with the cartoony and tells a tale of Scott + Logan BFFs FORVER! With a senile Cyclops and still aggro Logan eating spaghettios. And the less serious fashion continues in Dan Hipp’s pages where Jean and Logan fight like the old married couple that they are. Jean’s a couch potato who barely looks away from her laptop when he comes in bleeding. The squabble over him forgetting to pick up hot pockets. I didn’t love it, but the “I can still read your mind” jokes were funny. 

There’s more about who will bloom and find purpose and then Beast is confronted with the reality that these roads will never be taken because of his actions. Beast pleads, “Then help me. Help me put it back. Help me.”

“I am the Watcher. I do not act.”

And Beast tries to convince himself that it’s not too ay, and the page ends with him as restless as ever.

It was a really great issue, The tension that Beast is enduring is very intense and conveyed really well, angst is Brian michael Bendis’s main jam. It was really amazing to see where the artists all took their page/s along with the story. Some stood out more, which is debatable. But “Greatest Artist Roster” ever? They’re going to have to arm wrestle Harley Quinn #0 for that one. A great issue… i don’t know if the sidenote was worth it. Don’t hate me. But Scott’s in space, Jean Grey AND X-23 are missing him, the plotlines for KP and friends are all wrapped up and in need of a new adventure. And apparently that adventure will be Beast continuing to find a way to send everyone back again, even though that has turned more X-Men against each other. It doesn’t make sense it just makes angst. But… it was good, too. I’m on the fence.

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.

All-New X-Men #20

The Original X-Men and Kitty Pryde, now teamed up with Cyclops try to make nice with X-23 (Laura Kinney) who freaks the heck out -partially because the Charles Xavier School is housed in the Weapon X facility but even more so since she almost died in the Arena and then was hunted by a religious mutant-hater cult called the Purifiers.. As Wolverine’s genetic clone, it rightfully gives her the creeps. 

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And this series in particular has a track record of putting things on their covers that have little to do with actual events. X-23, with her long flowing hair making out with young Scott Summers. Oh that did not happen. But X-23’s hair did grow considerably since her last appearance and Scott had a crush for sure. 

KP tries to get X-23 through her recent trauma, while Jeannie pulls a Sookie Stackhouse and allows Laura absolutely no privacy within her own. Professor K knocks her down a notch and says that she can’t be intruding on Laura (or anyone) like that. After a heart to heart with young Cyclops, X-23 decides that she wants to take on the Purifiers  So she tracks them.

William Stryker’s son is holding a meeting, speaking to his fellow zealots. Getting everyone all riled up.

But, it should be noted that Scott Summers + Co. have proved themselves varying degrees of dangerous. And the Original X-Men are breaking the laws of time and space.

The sneak in, KP sabotages the electricity, Jean takes over the Purifiers small minds and then everyone attacks. It goes well and good for our mutant friends until Stryker makes some sonic telekinetic emanation and everyone falls flat.

So he’s one of those self-loathing mutants? 

Hmm…

Unlike in other issues, I very much enjoyed the teenage antics. Fickle Scott Summers, jokes from Angel and Bobby about why someone would want to MAKE Wolverines, Jeannie playing pranks on the Purifiers. 

What I didn’t really understand: It was just KP, X-23 and the young ‘uns. Admittedly, the Purifiers came across as a weak threat and they’re all capable. But no Magik? no Stepford Cuckoos? 

And KP’s orders to follow X-23 but answer to Scott (the young Scott who at the beginning of Battle of the Atom almost died apprehending Animax which threatened current timeline Scott as well) were perplexing. X-23’s role I understood because it was her fight… but putting the inexperienced version of Scott in the leadership role made little sense.

Major cliff hanger. 

All-New X-Men #19

I’m still subscribed to a few more than I bargained for X-Men books… But at least in this one, Kitty Pryde gets some respect. 

The Original X-Men are still around and have now defected, along with Professor K to Cyclops’s Charles Xavier school, which is housed in the former Weapon X facility. 

In the streets of Miami, a woman is confronted by a group of armed mercenaries who tell her “Mutant is the abomination of the Devil.” and “God doesn’t want Mutants.” Which, of course, are rip offs of derogatory slogans used currently to oppress LGBT people by WBC and the like. There are huge issues with using real oppression to sensationalize fictional oppressed groups, among these issues, the fact that mutants are actually dangerous. 

The woman screams “I am not a mutant!” and then all the armed men explode.

This is exactly the plot of last week’s Agents of SHIELD actually. Way to recycle, Marvel.

Oh wait, but she didn’t make them explode, it was Kitty Pryde, Magik, Young Jean GreyBeastIcemanAngel+Cyclops.  

The mercenaries think they speak for God and are REALLY excited about the prospect of killing Scott Summers. They also take particular offense to Angel. To defend her team, Jeannie shiows her strength. 

The girl escapes the melee and makes a run for it, however she is followed but one of the cult/mercenaries/wackos and she still insists that she is not a mutant. Kitty finds her, saves her and… recognizes her. The girl’s name is Laura. She does not, however, recognize KP and makes a break for it AGAIN. 

While Scott pummels a man for intel, Jeannie reads his thoughts. These men truly believe that Jean Grey is the Devil. (BTW… Dynamite has the lockdown on THE redhaired She-Devil) 

Scott Summers attempts to give the police a statement. Not realizing STILL how much people hate mutants. Remember why the future Brotherhood came back and tried to force them in the time cube? No?

Kitty tackles Laura and they engage in a chick fight while officers think it’s just some bar brawl spilled onto the streets. Kitty Pryde tries to talk her way out of it, too; “I’m an associate of Captain America, not to name drop. Then she tackles Laura through a building and having her captive, Laura lashes out with some adamantium claws.

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Laura is, Laura Kinney, X-23: Last seen facing off with Hazmat in Avengers Arena. She’s a clone made from Wolverine’s genetic sample in which the Y chromosome was damaged.

I wasn’t thrilled by this issue. The best part was Angel facing off with the Purifiers. I like the idea of X-23 joining forces with KP and Illyana, so we will see how that goes. Next Issue:

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