Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #4 gives us one of the most terrifying takes on the Phoenix in a long time.
Shhh. I want you to listen closely. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of hearts breaking around the world. OK, let me be more specific–we’re talking about X-Men fans’ hearts, including my own. That’s because in Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #4 writer Matthew Rosenberg lets us know that all those dead X-Men… yeah, they’re not real.
Not really a spoiler. If 100 dead X-Men were returning–including Cyclops–don’t you think Marvel would have spoiled it by now?
But let’s rewind. With help from frenemy Emma Frost, the X-Men discovered a giant Phoenix egg in the middle of New Mexico, in a very special spot from Jean Grey’s past. Rosenberg continues to inject some much needed fun into the X-Men’s interactions with one another. How long has it been since we’ve seen a Beast this wise and compassionate? Or “background” mutants like Hellion and Glob Herman (who was great in Jeff Lemire’s Extraordinary X-Men run) showing so much personality with so few words?
Reading Rosenberg’s X-Men is genuinely enjoyable. So, I’ll say it again, Marvel: Give him a monthly X-Men series.
The team ventures into the egg (or is it Hell?) and runs into the Phoenix’s “resurrected” X-Men almost immediately. They may not be real (or very talkative), but they’re wearing red and black uniforms, which made me think of some of the designs I’ve seen for next month’s X-Men Red. It makes me wonder if whatever’s going on inside that egg will have some ramifications on Jean’s approach to outfitting her X-Men squad.
Speaking of those costumes, this issue’s artist of the week is Ramon Rosanas. This is my first time reading a Rosanas comic, and I enjoyed the experience. At times I caught shades of Barry Kitson, and others John Cassady. Of course, those are both great comic artists, so I guess what I’m trying to say is… he did great!
Over the course of Resurrection‘s four issues, we’ve spent a lot of time unraveling the mystery of Jean’s return and all the strange happenings around the world. So it’s kind of nice to finally see some action. We reach the finish line next week, so the Phoenix is getting a bit anxious.
This issue, Rosenberg also manages to deliver a very nice exchange between Old Man Logan and young Cyclops–because you can’t have adult Jean without these two going at it. What’s so great about their interaction this time around is we’re dealing with two “alternate” versions of Scott and Logan. It’s fun and fresh but still manages to give us that classic X-Men feel.
With that said, this issue’s ending ensures that next week’s finale will deliver at least a few emotional gut punches. Jean is so out of it inside this world the Phoenix has created for her that you know the transition to reality will be jarring for her. Can you even begin to imagine what that would feel like? I’m hoping X-Men Red writer Tom Taylor runs with what Rosenberg is establishing here to give us a very different adult Jean. Whereas Jean and the Phoenix may have been a team more often than enemies in the past, this miniseries makes me think their relationship has become flat-out abusive and it’s time to send this bird back to space for good.