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All New X-Men #22.NOW The Trial of Jean Grey #1 Review

By Andy Frisk
January 25, 2014 - 00:29

First and foremost I have to get something off my chest. The whole Marvel NOW! (now the ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW!) renumbering, re-volumizing marketing strategy is driving me crazy. In order for Marvel Comics to make quarterly profit projections (which any business has a right to-as much as we have a right to not patronize said business), there appears to have to be a certain amount of "#1s" released, or cross-over events forced upon the reader. The current volume of All New X-Men is only up to issue #22 and apparently isn't ready for another volume relaunch (and hence a new #1). So, instead it has a big white #1 plastered on its cover next to the words "The Trial of Jean Grey." In the lower right hand corner of the cover it is labelled as 022.NOW. It's a deceiving convention, and even more, it's a silly one. I guess though in order to entice someone to buy All New X-Men 022.NOW The Trial of Jean Grey #1 thinking it's the first issue of a new series, and thus sell more copies...well, all's fair in love and comics I guess...

Anyway, I wouldn't be so put off by the silliness of stretching the typical comic book numbering conventions to asinine lengths to make a single issue (which is not the first of it's series) into a sort of "issue #1" and therefore a little more attractive to the casual X-Men reader, if the story within didn't feel like a story that we've already read countless times before. To be fair though, just about every story involving Jean Grey of The X-Men beyond Uncanny X-Men (1963) #137 feels redundant, so writer Brian Michael Bendis definitely had his work cut out for him when he was told...uh, I mean write a story involving the X-Men that forced...uh, I mean caused...them to happen to meet up with The Guardians of The Galaxy...who by the way are starring in their own movie later this year (hint, hint). Anyway...

Bendis actually does find a way to make this issue #1 of All New X-Men...I mean issue #22.NOW of All New X-Men The Trial of Jean Grey engaging as it can possibly be by focusing a large part of the story on the teenage personalities of Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, Angel, and Beast. It's still fun to see the original X-Men written by a contemporary writer in the vein of how Stan Lee wrote their personalities way back in the early issues of X-Men (1963). One can only wonder just how long the fun will last though...having the original X-Men here in the "present" is really making for some wild and crazy confusion. I read X-Titles regularly and sometimes I have to stop for a second to straighten the plot out. Complicated plots are what drive the X-Men franchise though, so honestly I'm not really complaining here.

Speaking of complicated, please accept my apologies for not filling you in on the main events of this issue yet, and please allow me to do so now (if you're still with me that is). Jean Grey is kidnapped by Shi'ar Empire warriors (The Shi'ar being longstanding X-Men supporting characters as well as an advanced alien civilization), who always seem to be watching the universe for any Jean Grey resurrections, in order to put her on trial for the billions she killed while flying around the universe as The Dark Phoenix. This all happened way back in the Uncanny X-Men issues that culminated in issue #137 where Jean, and the X-Men, were kidnapped by the Shi'ar Empire in order to put Jean Grey on trial for the billions she killed while flying around the universe as The Dark Phoenix. Confused? Well, the Jean Grey that they kidnap in All-New X-Men #022.NOW The Trial of Jean Grey #1 (wow...that's a lot to type) is the time displaced Jean Grey who existed before she became Dark Phoenix, hence the new twist to an old story (sort of). If you're still confused, just Google "Dark Phoenix Saga" and read up on it. Just make sure you have the free time set aside to do so.

Again, watching the interactions between Scott (Cyclops) and Jean while they fumble around like teenagers trying to explain their feelings for one another is classic, and masterful, storytelling (something we've come to expect from Bendis at this point). The ensuing battle with the Shi'ar warriors is also classic, but not so masterful, Bendis storytelling though. Just about every good guy/bad guy/confused guy fight convention, including the lateness of the cavalry arriving, is thrown in. Long term superhero comic book artist Stuart Immonen (whom I most fondly remember from his days as the artist on Adventures of Superman in the early 90s), brings Bendis' plot to striking visual life...including the obligatory, full two page spread of The Guardians of The Galaxy at the end of the issue.

Overall, I hope that this crossover between The X-Men and The Guardians of The Galaxy really helps boost interest in the upcoming film, but more importantly gives Bendis a plot convention to help make this latest "Trial of Jean Grey" storyline interesting. Again, putting aside the laughable attempts at making All New X-Men 022.Now The Trial of Jean Grey #1 appealing to speculators, this whole thing feels a little too familiar. Hopefully, Bendis will find a way to surprise us with something new.  



Rating: 7 /10

Last Updated: April 9, 2021 - 22:22

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