Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Platinum: The Definitive X-Men Redux; X-Men: Phoenix Endsong
PUBLISHED: 14:38 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 05 July 2019
When the first suns were birthed from the primeval chaos at the dawn of time, as prehistoric creatures dragged themselves from the mud of distant worlds and blinked in alien sunlight, it was already waiting… Born of the void between states of being, the Phoenix Force is a child of the multiverse, the spark which brought the first life, and in the end will consume all that remains as the final stars go out.
But such overwhelming power can be tempered and controlled by sentient hosts, albeit temporarily, for dominating such destructive impulses can take its toll on even the strongest of psyches, ultimately driving them mad and leading to a transformation into the malevolent Dark Phoenix.
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One of the most infamous, and legendary, of these hosts is the human mutant Jean Grey, a once and future member of the superhero team known as the X-Men. Her experiences as the avatar of the Phoenix Force, both directly and indirectly, saw whole worlds live and die, and left her forever changed by its cosmic touch.
Released to accompany the final X-Men movie in the current sequence, the latest Marvel Platinum volume offers a snapshot of adventures featuring the Phoenix Force, including extracts from the groundbreaking Dark Phoenix saga, and the more recent Phoenix Endsong.
The entirety of that narrative, which sees the Phoenix Force return to Earth in a bid to resurrect a (temporarily, it would turn out) deceased Jean Grey, is also available as a separate release. Illustrated with magazine-photo realism by Greg Land, the script by Greg Pak is surprisingly emotional and nuanced, offering a perspective on the Force itself which had not truly been examined before.
Other stories included in the X-Men Redux book explore other hosts of the Force, such as Jean's daughter from an alternative future timeline, Rachel Summers, and the "Phoenix Five" seen in the Avengers Vs X-Men crossover epic. There's also a "missing" cutaway story from the pages of Classic X-Men, which adds further background to Jean's original corruption at the hands of Mastermind, and an instalment from the narrative behind her recent resurrection.
The recent movie might not have been the grand finale to the X-Men film series which most fans clamoured for, but this collection of stories proves the Phoenix will continue to rise…