JEAN GREY #3
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciller: Victor Ibanez
Colorist: Dono Sanchez-Almara and Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 6/28/17
Jean Grey goes in search of Namor in order to find a way to defeat the Phoenix Force. That is if she can survive the deep sea first.
Plot: After meeting with former Phoenix hosts, Jean Grey seeks out Namor who she believes was able to fight off possession. While searching for Namor, Jean finds herself face-to-face with an unusual enemy and must team up with the Sub-Mariner before learning his secrets.
Story: Only three issues in, it already feels like we’re going somewhere with this story. Hopeless managed to hook the attention of readers in #1 and continues to pay off revealing a piece of the Phoenix puzzle with each issue.
This issue I also loved the banter between Namor and Jean. We saw in previous issues Jean was feisty but she finally gets a worthy sparring partner with Namor. Hopeless balances out the wit and humor with emotion, showing Jean’s fear and then later Namor’s own anguish over his possession by the Phoenix. While this was touched on the last issue, we’re really starting to see that the Phoenix doesn’t just leave physical destruction behind but also emotional destruction.
Teenage characters can be difficult to write, but so far Hopeless has mastered that balance of snarky teen angst with a vulnerability that makes Jean relatable to readers way past their teens. Jean Grey is not too unlike our friendly neighborhood Spider-Gwen written by Jason Latour in that regard.
Art: I never thought I’d say this, but maybe more comics should be set underwater. It gives the pencilers and colorists different room for fun movement and depth in the panels. Victor Ibanez nails it drawing the movements of Namor and Jean in the water, and you can see the contrast between Namor’s effortless gliding compared to Jean’s awkward telekinetic propulsion.
Dono Sanchez-Almara and Jay David Ramos team up for beautiful coloring capturing the light and movement of the ocean. The entire creative team puts so much into each panel, you almost forget about the action as you’re soaking in all the minor details. Look at this panel that captures the realistic look of blood as it spreads through the water against the mossy green:
There is so much great art in this issue it’s hard to pick just a few examples, but one of the most exemplary panels shows the damage caused by the Phoenix in Namor’s mind. On its own, the Phoenix is visually impressive, but the creative team managed to capture how the flames of the Phoenix would look lit under water. The slight tilt of the perspective really emphasizes the damage and pain of Namor’s suffering.
Verdict: Jean Grey is coming into her own as a character and readers are starting to see how she is different from the old Jean Grey referenced. Committing to a clear arc (a showdown with the Phoenix Force) makes even an issue where relatively little time passes still feel important in moving the plot along. Combined with the strength of the art of this issue, Jean Grey #3 is a must-read for X-Men fans. Picking up a title with the X-Men can always be intimidating, but this is easy to follow for even a casual reader.
Rating: 4/5 Stars