Graphic Novel Review: Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey - Credit: Archant

Phoenix rising…?

(Panini Books)

When original X-Man Jean Grey sacrificed herself to save reality from the threat of ancient cosmic entity the Phoenix in 1980, it was six years before she made an unprecedented return to life, only to be killed off again in 2004, apparently permanently.

But her story has always been one of death and rebirth - with the occasional foray into clones and duplicates - and it was perhaps inevitable that one day Jean would return.

In the years since her passing, the Phoenix Force sought out new hosts, including Rachel Summers (Jean’s daughter from an alternate future), psychics Quentin Quire and the Quentin Cuckoos, and even X-Men Cyclops, Namor, Emma Frost, Magik and Colossus, but without enjoying the same bond it had shared with Jean.

After failing to merge with the time-travelled teenage version of Jean currently living in our present, the Phoenix resolved to resurrect her elder counterpart, triggering psionic disturbances across the globe.

Not only do these locations have close links to Ms Grey’s past, but they are also visited by manifestations of mortally-challenged mutants. The mystery brings together the entire active X-Men line-up and sends them in search of the resurrected Jean.

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It seems the former Marvel Girl is living in a reconstruction of her old neighbourhood, populated by her dead friends and family, in a bid to push her into accepting her fate as the Phoenix’s host…

Having waited 14 years to finally bring back Jean, the execution of this series seems to lack the epic grandeur one might have expected from such an event. Populated with more mutants than makes sense, it’s full of crowd scenes which border on the ridiculous, and fails to achieve the emotional connection which this landmark event deserves.

That said, the consequences of Jean’s return were always going to be more interesting than the means, especially given the changes which have been wrought in the Marvel Universe since she died, and it’s worth sticking around to find out how she acclimatises to this drastically reshaped landscape.