Graphic Novel Review: All-New X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy: The Trial of Jean Grey
PUBLISHED: 14:56 10 June 2014
The young X-Man Jean Grey faces a kangeroo court for crimes she has yet to commit - can her friends save her in time?
After several volumes of each series which appeared to be treading water, the teenage X-Men and the Guardians come together for a crossover event which actually does something, even if that something is fraught with continuity concerns.
When intergalactic space empire the Shi’ar discover that the teenage versions of the original X-Men have been transported into the present day, they decide to put Jean Grey on trial for the crimes she would later commit (from her chronological perspective) under the influence of the cosmic force known as the Phoenix, including the destruction of an inhabited planet.
With the X-Men unable to prevent Jean’s abduction by a Shi’ar commando force, they join forces with the Guardians to plan her rescue, with the latter team getting involved because of their pledge to protect Earth from alien interference of any kind. As such, it’s really the X-Men’s story, with the GotG existing largely to ferry around the young mutants and engage in writer Brian Michael Bendis’ trademark witty dialogue.
Bendis obviously has a plan for the young X-Men, as he’s started to hammer home the point that their continued experiences in the present day are changing their histories and diverting them away from established continuity. Quite what the implications of this will be is uncertain at the moment, but a major reboot of the entire X-Men line isn’t inconceivable…
The continuity holes are difficult to overlook, including the glaring fact that Phoenix was actually a copy of Jean, not the definite article, and that the Shi’ar did nothing to deal with her adult version when she was originally resurrected. One would have hoped this story would focus on Jean’s guilt over her future actions, and the moral argument of executing someone for crimes they have yet to commit, but Bendis skirts around both of these themes and leaves the reader frustrated more by what wasn’t shown than what actually was.
However, at least we’re starting to see some sort of plot development in both these series. The X-Men lose a team-mate on a soul-searching mission in space, and find themselves changing their own personal histories through their experiences in the present. And the Guardians? Well at the very least they’ve cemented their position as intergalactic fugitives by going head-to-head with the Shi’ar Empire, which is sure to have future consequences.
A step in the right direction then, but still not ticking all the right boxes.