Comic Review: Jean Grey #1-11 (and Phoenix: Resurrection)
Over the course of late 2017 and into this year, Jean Grey, for the first time, got her first solo ongoing, not in the form of her adult self (who was, until recently, deceased), but in the form of her time-displaced teenage self, brought into the present day (it’s complicated) – which lead into the return of Adult Jean Grey. As the series recently wrapped up, I figured I might as well give my thoughts.
The storyline followed Teenage Jean Grey (henceforth “Teen Jean”), as she basically has to come to terms with a legacy that, to her, hasn’t taken place yet – and in particular her yet-to-be formed connection to the Phoenix Force. Over the course of the series, she seeks out not only people from Jean’s past, but also other living hosts of the Phoenix Force (particularly from the Avengers vs. X-Men event, along with Quentin Quire), to help her prepare.
The series comes to a head with a massive psychic battle with the Phoenix Force occuring in the conclusion of Jean’s solo book and the Phoenix: Resurrection miniseries, which pushes to the very heart of the miniseries themes – Jean’s desire to be her own person, free from the “legacy” of decisions she head yet to make.
The theme of being able to forge your own destiny becomes the primary thrust of the Phoenix: Resurrection series in particular, as the series focuses on the Phoenix Force’s attempt to resurrect adult Jean in a manner where rather than trying to control the Phoenix Force or to reject the Phoenix Force, she would be willing to subservient to it.
Instead, Jean, both as an adult and as a teenager, probably for the first major time in the Marvel Universe since the Phoenix Force bonded with Adult Jean way back in Chris Claremont’s run of X-Men, is able to be completely completely free of the Phoenix Force, by persuading it to leave her alone (in adult Jean’s case), and to allow her to exist (in Teen Jean’s case).
While the overall series and the mini do serve as a good cohesive whole, I am disappointed that the series is being brought to an end. Jean has never had much of an opportunity to be her own character throughout the Marvel Universe, having always been depicted in the context of her teammates, and Cyclops in particular. Seeing Teen Jean pursue her own identity was great, but once we’d gotten to her claim her own place free of the Phoenix Force, having the series wrap before we’d gotten a storyline of that next step, the “I’ve grappled with who I am supposed to be, so who am I now?” story is, unfortunately, not one that will get to be told in Jean’s solo book. Instead it’s one that will be told in X-Men Blue, which is certainly a good book, but is again one that puts Jean in the context of a team, instead of letting her stand on her own.