After having a vision that the Phoenix is coming, Jean Grey seeks previous hosts of the cosmic being to get some guidance on how to handle it. When one of them is in trouble with Reavers, Jean goes to her rescue. But when she isn’t satisfied with the answers she’s getting, Jean moves along to another promising host: Namor.
Hopeless reminds us that the Phoenix presents itself differently for each host. For Rachel, it was a sense of safety. For Quentin, he has to keep a mental mindscape clear of the Phoenix to function. We can clearly tell that Jean is in a tough spot here, uncertain of how and when the Phoenix will present itself. Hopeless is setting something up to connect Jean and the Phoenix as one, and I can’t wait to see how Jean deals with a force as powerful as this.
The writing in this issue is fluid and shows quite a bit of movement. The dialogue is natural and direct between characters, showing some really good dynamics between all of the Phoenix hosts. They’ve all been through the same force but in different variations of it, and all of their experiences come into play as Jean tries to figure out what to expect. Seeing so many different manifestations of the Phoenix makes for a really interesting read and it builds up the suspense as to what we will see for Jean, too.
Ibanez’s artwork is clean and detailed. There is a lot of work that goes into the different environments we see in the middle of the issue, from a farmhouse to a library and more. A lot of cluttered panels actually work really well with the chaotic tone of the issue. This book shows a lot of mental instability and psychic turmoil with the Phoenix, and the artwork shows that hectic atmosphere really well. Paired with Jay David Ramos and Chris Sotomayor’s colors, the realistic but dark artwork speaks a lot to how Jean is feeling about the Phoenix.
Jean Grey’s history as a character can get a bit confusing, especially when taken out of the time stream, but the exploration of what it means to host the Phoenix lends itself well to the overall titular characterization. Being able to see Jean working with Cerebro also adds to our understanding of her character’s abilities. We can see what her mind does, and it’s powerful. I’m pumped to see what Namor has to say about all this and how Jean will deal with the Phoenix when the time comes. Until then, read up on this series to make sure you know what’s going on!
Written by: Dennis Hopeless
Illustrated by: Victor Ibanez