Comic Reviews

Review: Jean Grey #1

In this review of Jean Grey #1, we find a story that picks up on the adventures of the young version of the X-Men team that found themselves in the future.  They have returned to their time but they are not the same as when they left.  In particular the Marvel Girl, Jean Grey.  Where she could not control her powers when she left, she now can.  Is this newfound control a positive thing or not?

 

Jean Grey #1
Written by: Louise Simonson
Art by: Bernard Chang
Main Cover by: Amy Reeder

Variant Covers: George Pérez, Ariel Diaz, Juann Cabal, and Derrick Chew
Page Count: 36 Pages
Release Date: August 23, 2023

 

 

Mind Maze

Jean Grey is dying, again.  This must be her fault.  She does not remember what she did wrong.  If she can figure this out she can fix everything.  She looks to her past, but it he memories are scattered.  Jean can only see images.  She remembers when her powers first manifested.  Her best friend Annie was hit by a car.  Jean used her telepathic power but it overwhelmed her.  She too nearly died.  When she encounterd Charles Xavier, he offered to block her telepathy.  She agreed and joined his school.  An older Hank travels back in time to ask the -Men to travel to the future, they agreed and traveled to the future.  Their presence however make things worse until a young Cable from their future convinced them to return to the point of their leaving.  Jean however was changed.  She found a greater control of her power and instead of wiping the memories from herself and her friends, she decides not to.

Jean surmises that they might need the knowledge they had acumulated in the future.  She suggests that they change the abysmal future by changing their now.  With their knowledge of the multiple futures they have seen, they can avoid the bad like the Phoenix.  Jean is able to block Xavier from reading their minds.  Jean will control what she can to hide their knowledge, she will make it work.

The X-Men’s training is interrupted .  Jean can sense that Magneto is attacking Manhattan.  Professor X realizes that Jean already knows.  Jean tells her mentor that his block on her telepathy is gone and she can control it now.  She tells Charles that she wants the same thing he wants, save mutankind and safeguard the future.

 

First Mission Since Returning

The X-Men arrive and confront Magneto.  After a brief skirmish where the X-Men are seemingly defeated by Magneto, Jean manages to remove his helmet and then gives him a psychic lobotomy incapacitating Magneto.  This allows the X-Men to stabilize the bridge and examine what happened to Erik.  Jean suggests that she change the perceptions of the bystanders but the team convinces her to allow the rest of the team to just play it off as good guys versus bad guys.

 

Mission Fallout

Charles however was not happy and the team ended up leaving Xavier and setting up a base of operations in one of Warren’s skyscrapers.  Weeks later, Scott and Jean are talking about Charles’s attempts to hammer away at Trask’s anti Mutant messaging.  Scott would rather fight Juggernaut and Jean suggests a mind tweak.  Scott chastises her and is soon interrupted by Hank.  Jean insists that they are doing the right thing.  If they stop evil Mutants from being evil then Mutants are not feared and then the humans will not hate the Mutants.  

The issue is that more Mutants keep appearing and it is becoming impossible to keep up with the new threats.  Hunk however has enhanced Cerebro, making it easier to detect emerging Mutants.  It can detect the first quivers of power emergence and give them more time to act.  Jean tries the new Cerebro and they have a hit.

 

Not In Time

The team however does not get to the Mutant in time.  He is young and panicking with a strong psi power.  Jean is unable to reach him telepathically and the building explodes as the X-Men arrive.  Jean can sense the Mutant in addition to ordinary humans.  The X-Men jump into action.  Jean reaches the child but it is too late, he dies and she collapses.  Scott holds her telling her that there has to be a better way.  During the fall out, the X-Men tell the press that it was a gas leak and the X-Men were fortunately just in the area.  Jean planted that idea in everyone’s mind.  She does not want it to get out that a Mutant caused the explosion.  This leads to an argument where Jean suggests she makes the other team members think it was a gas explosion.  This is the first chink in the X-Men’s armor.  They start to question Jean’s actions and whether she even needs the X-Men.

 

Realized Fears

The fear that the truth would be discovered is realized.  Trask discovers that the explosion’s true cause was covered up.  He has created the Sentinels and the first target is the X-Men.  Their base is attacked driving the X-Men underground.   Jean suggests that they use their knowledge of the future and collect the Mutants before their powers manifest.  They start with Kitty Pride and Jean uses her telepathic powers to convince her parents that Kitty must go against the child’s will.  This just opens more questions.  The team keeps gathering kids and Jean keeps changing people’s memories.  Now they need a place to hide these kids.  They approach Charles Xavier.

 

Sanctuary

The X-Men meet with Xavier and a recovering Magneto.  Charles was able to partially heal Magneto after Jean’s attack.  Xavier tries to reason with the woman but Jean does not listen.  The result of this conversation is the kids will have sanctuary but Warren and Bobby leave the X-Men.  Jean Scott and Hank walk out.

 

Last Straw

Hank meets with a reporter.  She is covering the missing children.  Hank tries to convince her that this story could lead to more fear mongering.  Hank tells her about Trask and Jean erases her memory.  This angers Hank and she attacks him screaming that she is not a monster.  This infuriates Scott and he finally leaves Jean alone.

 

Phoenix arrives

Jean alone and now questioning her actions is found by the Phonix Force.  Jean Grey becomes the Phoenix after all.  This newfound power drives her to increase her attacks on the Mutant haters.  She begins killing those that begin to hate the Mutants.  This forces the X-Men to take a stand against their former team mate.  Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, and Magneto done protective helmets to meat Phoenix in the field.  Beast will stay and protect the kids in Xavier’s mansion.  Xavier tries to reason with Jean telepathically.

This does not work, Jean quickly becomes the Dark Phoenix and resists Xavier telepathically and the X-Men physically.  She strikes out incinerating everyone and everything.  Jean finally realizes exactly what went wrong and she as Jean Greyt looks on a crashing space shuttle saying she knows exactly where it went wrong.

 

Final Analysis

The art is very dynamic.  We get a slightly different X-Men uniform.  It follows through with the original coloration but the yellow becomes more of an outer tunic covering the blue body suits.  We get texture lines on the yellow differentiating it from the blue suit.  The team moves away from wearing masks and Scott loses his hood covering his hair.  This is probably designed to make the members more relatable to the public and to foster trust by not hiding their true identities.  It is interesting to note that Iceman appears more with his ice armor here that before but part of his costume is not covered by the ice and is visible, notable the yellow tunic and gauntlets.

The most noticeable use of colors in this issue is the closing sequence after Dark Phoenix obliterates everything.  All that is left is a bright yellow aura signifying that she is truly alone and she is able to see what happened and hopefully as in the beginning of the story says, she will be able to fix everything.

The writer, Louise Simonson had a field day with this issue.  I can detect two themes.  The lesser theme is the fallout of the time travel of team.  Before their returning to the past Cable tells Jean to wipe their memories of the future.  At first that is what is supposed to happen but Jean thinks differently.  They went to the future to stop a disaster and when they were unable to do that they were to return to the past and live their lives.  Jean does not want to lose her newfound control of her powers and she reasons that they should be able to stop the disaster by avoiding their mistakes.  This creates a whole new reality where people are changed and sometimes they are unable to grow on their own.  The growth is forced on them.

The second theme is how does one know when one chose too far.  I think Jen starts out on the right path but her tweaking of morality to get to the positive ending creates more problems.  In trying to save the Mutants from distrust and hate, she starts to hide facts from the people.  When the people start to understand and see that their have been lies, this creates more distrust and hatred.  This actually causes the early introduction of the Sentinels and more deaths and property damage.  It is conceivable that some of Jean’s tweaks on peoples memories also has an effect on their overall personality also.  This is evident in Magneto actually joining the X-Men in the final battle.  This is a positive example.  There are likely negative examples as well.  The Dark Phoenix manifested much earlier and Jean’s own personality grew dark even before merging with the Phoenix Force.

 

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Jean Grey #1
Final Thoughts
Pros
Thoughtful narrative full of action
Dynamic colors to add to the excitement of the the narrative
Crisp drawing allowing for creativity in character presentation
Cons
A rehashing of past stories
Where does this fit in with the Hellfire aftermath and the death of Jean Grey and the turning of Beast?
4.3
Overall Score
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