Anyone who knows me (and is familiar with comics) knows that Cyclops and Jean Grey are my two favorite X-Men. And if you’re a fan of, uh… Scean? Jott? Jeanclops? Cyclean?
No, that last one sounds like a washing machine.
Forget their couple name. If you’re a fan of Scott and Jean, there’s no denying those “Dark Phoenix Saga” issues of Uncanny X-Men featured many of their relationship’s defining moments. All credit is, of course, due to Chris Claremont’s emotional dialogue and John Byrne’s expressive art.
So, to see Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #3 writer Matthew Rosenberg make one of those significant moments so central to this story reaffirms my confidence in the creator. While Rosenberg has sprinkled little nods to Phoenix’s origins throughout this series (I’m looking at you, Cockrum Hill Cemetery), I’m talking about the real deep cuts here. Locations die-hard Scott and Jean fans will never forget.
If I’m being semi-vague, it’s because I don’t want to spoil for others what gave me great joy while reading this issue. And as you’ve likely pieced together by now–this being issue 3 of 5–we’re nearing the conclusion of this refreshingly twisted tale. While the last issue continued to introduce more mysteries, this installment is more focused on getting us to the finish line. Sure, there are more dead characters popping up in unlikely places, but at least the X-Men are getting close to the truth (no matter how much it scares them).But just because Phoenix Resurrection is at its halfway point, don’t assume Rosenberg is finished with the surprises. It may not be Cyclops at the door with a bouquet of flowers, but this issue features a very unexpected mid-issue team-up that’ll leave you relating to Strong Guy of all mutants. Rosenberg is great at writing funny X-Men.
Unrelated to X-Men (kind of); I’ve loved how each issue, Rosenberg shines a light on how everyday people are being affected by… whatever the Hell Jean and the Phoenix are unleashing on the world. We had the small-town kids in the first issue, astronauts in the next and this week, we have a father and son who will never go fishing again. In addition to making everything seem a little bit creepier, it reminds readers of just how dangerous the Phoenix can be.
Penciller Joe Bennett is Jean’s artist of the week. I’ll be honest with you–the art took me by surprise. Joe Bennett: The name looked very familiar. Was this the same Joe Bennett who drew some of the comics I read back in the ’90s? Based on the pencils, I didn’t think so at first. But apparently this is the same guy! Props to Bennett for letting his style evolve over time. His characters have a lot more personality than they did in those comics from Marvel’s raddest era. The artistic evolution reminds of X-Men Gold artist Ken Lashley’s own growth as a penciler, from the ’90s to today.
With all that said, I’m honestly not a fan of this current Marvel trend of rotating artists. Call me old-fashioned, but I love to see a consistent writer-artist team on a single story arc. In my opinion, series like Astonishing X-Men and X-Men Blue and Gold can’t help but feel uneven from time to time with their changing visual styles. Don’t get me wrong, the art on this series so far has been fantastic, I’d just love to see one of the talented artists tackling all five issues.
Overall, this issue has me excited for Phoenix Resurrection #4, which seems poised to serve as the series’ most significant issue to date. I’m looking forward to seeing how Rosenberg ties everything together and gets Jean back to a more familiar state. Unfortunately, just when you think this is a true weekly series, you learn that you have to wait two weeks for the next chapter.
I blame the Phoenix.