JEAN GREY #10
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Penciller: Alberto Albuquerque
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 12/13/17
There is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Jean Grey must finally face the Phoenix in the epic conclusion of “Psych Wars” in Jean Grey #10.
Plot: It’s been a long road for Jean Grey, but the time has finally come for her to face the Phoenix. She is aided by fellow psychics: future Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Hope Summers, Quentin Quire and the Stepford Cuckoos.
Story: After a lot of false starts and side quests, the moment for young Jean Grey to face the Phoenix force arrives. Taking the series into context as a whole, it’s been interesting to follow Jean’s journey as a confused, scared young woman to the brave warrior we see in this issue.
However, instead of letting Jean go into the battle alone, Hopeless has her surrounded by fellow psychics. The psychic characters in the X-Men books are often isolated and misunderstood, but this book has placed an emphasis on them working together. In the end, the battle is Jean’s alone but it’s still very touching and heartwarming to see them team up.
The book also benefits from a very powerful twist at the end, one that lays repercussions for the X-Men books to come. I won’t spoil the reveal for readers, but it’s safe to many readers didn’t predict this outcome.
Those elements I just mentioned were the strong parts of the book for me. The excess of bird puns about the Phoenix and too many dramatic speeches (bordering on melodrama) were weak spots that cheapened the overall quality of the story in my eyes. If you can see past those weaknesses, however, it’s an issue worth picking up.
Art: In a book where the main character is fighting a giant ball of flames, you can expect the heat to be turned way up on the pages. Jay David Ramos manages to incorporate the necessary color palette for all the flames without letting it overtake the panels. He adds enough contrast (the greens in uniforms, the blue and whites of the snowy backdrop), so the flames complement rather than overwhelm.
Alberto Albuquerque does a great job capturing the movement and immensity of the Phoenix Force. It straddles the line of looking like an actual bird and a giant ball of flames, making sure it’s not too much of either. Despite so much big, loud action going on, you don’t lose too much of the finer details in the scene (a common problem I’ve seen artists run into in action-packed issues). There is plenty of facial expression from the characters displaying their emotions of fear and anger.
There are also some really great panels when Jean fights the Phoenix, where the two almost seem to merge into one even before it attempts to take her over that I really like.
Verdict: This issue some issues, but as a whole was enjoyable to read. There might have been a few moments I rolled my eyes, but there were also some that made my heart skip a beat. It’s also hard to deny the importance this ending will play in the X-Men books moving forward. So if you are a reader of X-Men titles, including the upcoming Phoenix Ressurection #1, this book is a must for the groundwork it lays for the future of Jean Grey(s).