Jean Grey created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee; Phoenix created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
“The Vanishing Point”
Generations is a ten-issue anthology, weekly comic book series published by Marvel Comics. Each issue is written and drawn by a different creative team, and each issue will feature a different team-up of a classic Marvel superhero with his or her modern-day counterpart. The series is meant to unite the legacy of classic Marvel Comics characters with the next generation of heroes, as both move into the future of Marvel Comics storytelling.
The second issue of this series is Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey. This stand-alone story brings together two versions of Marvel Girl/Jean Grey. First is the young Jean Grey of the original X-Men, who was brought to the future/present and stranded there beginning in the series, All-New X-Men (written by Brian Michael Bendis). The second is The Phoenix/Jean Grey, the version of the character that came into existence in X-Men #101 (cover dated: October 1976) when Jean was possessed by the nigh-all-powerful cosmic entity, the “Phoenix Force.” This entry in the Generations series is written by Cullen Bunn; drawn by R.B. Silva and Adriano Di Benedetto; colored by Rain Beredo; and lettered by Travis Lanham.
Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 (“The Phoenix”) opens as young Jean Grey finds herself somewhere she shouldn't be – another world. After a short walk, she discovers a beach and an older version of herself sunning on the beach. Jean knows that this older Jean is “The Phoenix.” Young Jean knows that the Phoenix Force is coming for her (in fact, it already is back in her world). Now, is the time to ask questions about the Phoenix, but older Jean seems reluctant to tell. Plus, Jean Grey/The Phoenix suspects that young Jean knows something about her fate – something terrible. Plus, three classic Marvel Comics cosmic entities guest star.
THE LOWDOWN: I wanted to be cynical, but I really enjoyed Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey. Writer Cullen Bunn makes young Jean Grey ask Jean Grey/The Phoenix ALL the questions she should. Older Jean Grey should be annoyed, but Bunn depicts her as reticent and troubled. Bunn's approach not only makes this issue of Generations intriguing, but also makes the current ongoing Jean Grey series seem like a comic book that should be read (and yes, you should be reading it.)
The art team of Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey – R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, and Rain Beredo – deliver some gorgeous art, and the storytelling is quite good. The character scenes are dramatic and even a little poignant and maybe even sad, and the action scenes come across as something a little different – or different enough from standard X-Men franchise fare. In fact, the art in Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey reminds me of the best of Stuart Immonen and company in one of the few high-quality recent X-Men comic books, All-New X-Men (2012),
So Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1, the second entry in the Generations series, is the best so far. If the Generations to come are better than this one, the entire series will end up being more than just another cynical Marvel editorial ploy
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Marvel Comics' regular readers will want to try Generations, and some former readers may want to try an issue or two or three.