On paper Marvel’s Generations one-shot set of comics has a lot of potential to deliver powerful, nostalgic-filled reading experiences. That potential did not exactly get fulfilled out of the gate with the first Generations one-shot featuring the Incredible and Totally Awesome Hulks. The reading experience was thin and did not carry the colossal tone a story feature two versions of Hulk meeting should. Now that was last week and we are in a new week for Generations to deliver on its potential. This time around we are going to get to see Cullen Bunn write the young Jean Grey who has been running around in the present meeting the future Phoenix version of herself in the past. How will this meeting of past, present and future versions of Jean Grey go down? Let’s find out with Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: R.B. Silva
Inkers: Adriano Di Benedetto and R.B. Silva
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Jean Grey wakes up in the middle of a forest. She takes a look at her surrounding and while doing psi-scans in the area she detects a beach filled with people.
After changing to more beach appropriate clothing, Jean walks around to figure out where she is. Jean suddenly comes across an older version of herself relaxing on the a secluded part of the beach. Taking a look inside her future version’s head she figures out that she has come across the Jean Grey who is currently The Phoenix.
The young Jean is quick to fight off the Phoenix Force’s influence before it becomes overwhelming.
As that goes on a random guy comes up to Phoenix Jean to hit on her. Sensing the young version of herself, Phoenix Jean tells the guy hitting on her that she wants to be left alone.
After the guy leaves, Phoenix Jean calls over the young Jean. Young Jean is quick to ask Phoenix Jean about the Phoenix Force’s capabilities and limitations. Phoenix Jean tells her younger self that they should talk in another location.
At a restaurant Phoenix Jean talks about how alone she has been since Scott and the other X-Men were “killed.” Young Jean thinks about telling Phoenix Jean that she’ll see the other X-Men alive soon but decides against it.
Phoenix Jean suggests they go have fun and takes Young Jean to a local nightclub to dance.
While they dance Young Jean thinks about how she has always thought herself to be different from her future self but seeing Phoenix Jean now she realizes they are the same, which terrifies her.
Phoenix Jean asks young Jean why she is actively trying to avoid having a good time. Young Jean can’t answer. Instead she thinks to herself how she wants to talk about the Phoenix Force coming for her and that the guy from the beach who is following them is actually Mastermind messing with Phoenix Jean’s mind but can’t.
Phoenix Jean decides to show the young Jean what the Phoenix Force is all about and flies the two up into space. Young Jean is amazed at the incredible power of the Phoenix Force as they land on a new planet.
The two Jeans spot Galactus and Terrax the Tamer threatening the locals of the planet. Phoenix Jean is quick to act and begins fighting Terrax. It doesn’t take long for Phoenix Jean to completely overpower Terrax.
Galactus confronts Phoenix Jean and says that while he reveres the Phoenix Force’s power he won’t stand for someone who disrespects him. Galactus is quick to use his cosmic powers to overpower Phoenix Jean.
Young Jean jumps in to help her older self with a psychic energy blast that rocks Galactus.
Young Jean thinks she may have pissed Galactus off but Phoenix Jean says it is the opposite.
Now recovered, Terrax reveals that Galactus is impressed by the two Jeans power and has decided to spare the planet.
Phoenix Jean thanks her younger self and says she hopes young Jean sees that the Phoenix Force is made to protect people. Young Jean disagrees. Phoenix Jean asks what her younger self is keeping from her.
As young Jean hesitates to reveal what she knows the Watcher appears over the two. The Watcher reveals that the conversation between Phoenix and young Jean is a pivotal moment in the history of mankind. Young Jean wonders what that means but the Watcher says he can’t reveal the full extent of his meaning for being there.
Young Jean continues to ponder if she should tell Phoenix Jean all about her history, both good and bad. After some time young Jean says she cannot tell Phoenix Jean anything.
Young Jean asks the Watcher if she made the right choice. The Watcher says that young Jean made the decision to allow time to play out normally.
Young Jean suddenly disappears and goes back to her timeline in the present.
Phoenix Jean flies away believing she will meet her younger self again. End of issue.
The Good: Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 is a major improvement over the Hulk opening entry into Marvel’s set of one-shots. The improvement the meeting of past and present Jean Grey’s has a sense of importance that the Hulk’s did not. That sense of importance was made clear as soon as the two versions Jean Grey’s and was carried throughout this issue of Generations.
If this was another type of meeting having the Watcher appear towards the end of the issue would’ve felt forced. Instead Cullen Bunn used the Watcher’s appearance to enhance the overall theme of Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 of how much things could change with information that is revealed. Bunn constantly showing us how much the young Jean struggled in not spilling the beans on her older self’s future as the Phoenix was a powerful one.
The struggle that young Jean was going through made the constant thought boxes work in Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1’s favor. It gave us a clear idea of how the young Jean’s own struggle to reveal everything she knows made it harder for her to learn more about her future self. That struggle made it so we never had to see a battle between young Jean and Phoenix break out, like we did with the Hulks, since there was all this hesitation.
Through the young version we got to see how much people revere the older Jean Grey. Bunn did a good job in making the Phoenix version of Jean have a unique aura that made her special. The confidence that Phoenix Jean carried herself with, even when fighting Galactus. It was a reminder of how with the Phoenix Force power at her control Jean is one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe.
This meeting in turn sets up the young Jean, who has her own solo series along with appearing in X-Men: Blue, to have a bigger arc for writers to pick up on. The Watcher’s appearance at the end of issue added to how important young Jean’s decision was. Having that physical representation of what Jean decides to say to the Phoenix version of her future herself made her decision feel like it’ll have greater ramification for her future.
The Bad: Though the Jean Greys’ were well handled the villains that Bunn added to give a sense of a threat to this Generations one-shot was lacking. With how Bunn was set Mastermind up early into this issue there could’ve been much more done if he was the main villain of this issue. Having that focus of the young Jean getting her older Phoenix self away from Mastermind would added an intriguing cat and mouse game to the story. It would’ve also made the final decision even more important as the young Jean also had to decide to let Mastermind still control the Phoenix.
Galactus appearance wasn’t any better. While it was cool to see two powerful cosmic characters facing of the Phoenix vs Galactus felt like nothing more than fan service. Having young Jean be the one that put an end to the fight also felt like a cheap way to conclude things. It was almost as if Bunn ran out of pages rather than actually ending the story in a way that was logical.That quick end does left a lot to desired when it comes from an action standpoint.
The artwork wasn’t particularly strong either. Though RB Silva had his moments with the splash page showing off the Phoenix Force at the beginning of the issue and young Jean Grey taking down Galactus that was it for highlights. The rest of the issue felt rushed with the lack of detail in character faces. Everything outside of the action scenes looked like a half-done cartoon being colored. This added up to artwork that did not enhance the emotional weight the young Jean Grey was carrying in the story.
Overall: Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 was an impactful one-shot that had a sense of importance to for the future of the current adventures of Jean Grey. For X-Men fans,this is an issue worth purchasing, especially if you are reading X-Men: Blue and the Jean Grey solo series. For others this is a Marvel Generations issue that is passable as it is crafted for hardcore Jean Grey and X-Men fans.