This is it. It is time to see in what form the iconic Jean Grey will return in. Up until now Matthew Rosenberg has teased that we will be seeing Jean Grey return with the Phoenix as part of her once again. That would definitely shake up the X-Men franchise moving forward given how great of an impact Jean has had even while she has been away. Now with her return we may need to wonder if the X-Men can continue on as they have. Or will Jean actually prove to be the spark that lights the flame that will return the X-Men to who they once were as fan favorites within the comic books. Let’s find out with Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #5.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu and Joe Bennett
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan and Belardino Brabo
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Logan takes a seat and is at first stunned to see Jean but quickly orders a coffee. Jean mentions that Logan looks familiar. Logan mentions he is meeting someone soon. Logan then touches Jean’s hand, calling her “Jeannie” in the process. Jean gets nervous
Annie takes a seat to try to get Logan to leave. Logan instead slashes Annie’s neck much to Jean’s horror.
Outside the diner the ground starts to shake uncontrollably and the X-Men try to stick together.
Back inside the diner Jean is surprised to see Annie recover. Annie tells Jean to calm down as she knows it is a lot to take in.
Logan tells Jean to remember who they are are. Jean suddenly remembers, which unleashes the Phoenix inside her and she destroys the diner, sending Logan flying out to where the X-Men are.
Jean appears out of the flames in her Dark Phoenix costume. Jean says hi to all of the X-Men including the younger Cyclops who admits that he is scared of her. When Beast asks if this is who Jean is it once again triggers the Phoenix.
Kitty holds all the X-Men back as Jean struggles to fight for control against the Phoenix. Annie appears to try to calm Jean down. Jean does not buy it and knows it is the Phoenix Force trying to manipulate her again.
Jean’s parents then appear. This further causes Jean to struggle. Suddenly everyone Jean cared about appear and surround her. Jean unleashes a massive psychic blast that breaks the egg the Phoenix Force created to contain her.
When the dust settles Jean tells the Phoenix Force that she is done with it’s illusions.
Suddenly Cyclops (the older Scott Summers who is supposed to be dead) appears. Believing him to be another illusion by the Phoenix Force, Jean throws Cyclops to the ground.
Scott recovers and reveals he is not an illusion. Jean reads Scott’s mind and finds out that he died from a disease. Scott mentions that he remembers Jean dying as well. Both are shocked to see each other alive. Jean tells Scott to take off his visor. Scott does so and Jean uses her powers to hold back his powers so that they can kiss.
After kissing Scott apologizes for everything that happened. Jean understands because she knows they should both would be better off dead. Jean and Scott say they will always love one another. Then suddenly Scott once again succumbs to the disease that killed him before and dies in Jean’s arms.
Jean asks the Phoenix Force if that was it. The Phoenix Force does not respond. Jean then tells the Phoenix Force she will not play God with it anymore just to repeat the same cycle of hurting the people she loves again. Jean then thanks the Phoenix Force for choosing her and saving her when she asked years ago but she can’t be what the Phoenix Force wants. Jean says that the Phoenix Force role in the universe is unknown to her but it is not with her.
The Phoenix Force uses its powers to transform Jean to all her previous forms. As it does that the Phoenix Force tells Jean that together they could be transcend everything and they could forget all this happened.
Jean takes off her Marvel Girl mask and says the Phoenix Force can’t keep trying to protect her from pain that she must confront on her own. The Phoenix Force says Jean will die without its power. Jean says she knows but she wants to live life without regrets and go on a journey that is her own. Jean then tells the Phoenix Force to forget her.
Jean takes the Phoenix Force in the palm of her hand and they say their “goodbyes” to one another.
Beast, Kitty, Logan, Storm and Iceman comfort Jean and welcome her home. End of issue.
The Good: Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #5 does a lot of things well for the star of this mini-series: Jean Grey. Matthew Rosenberg clearly shows his knowledge and care for Jean Grey as he establishes who she was and now will be moving forward. That was by far the most important thing Rosenberg needed to accomplish with Phoenix Resurrection. It’s just unfortunate that not everything that Rosenberg did throughout the course of this series ended up having the same proper execution.
With Phoenix Resurrection #5 Rosenberg lays out exactly what has made Jean Grey such a fascinating character can’t be who we see her return as. Rosenberg presents this in a way where we see that Jean knows that she can’t just return like nothing ever happen. Because as great some of the Phoenix stories have been in the past the door needs to be closed on that long chapter of Jean’s life. And that is something Rosenberg does a very good job in detailing during the course of Phoenix Resurrection #5.
That breaking of the Phoenix cycle now opens Jean up to have a proper character evolution. As Jean mentioned in her talk with the Phoenix Force, now Tom Taylor and other writers can explore what a human Jean is. There is no more thoughts of Jean being able to be resurrected the next time she dies. Without the Phoenix Force now Jean has full control of her life, that includes how long she lives and when she dies being permanent. While this is still a comic book world where characters are always brought back bringing in that sense of danger for Jean’s life is much needed for the character.
What made all of this more poignant was Jean having one last meeting with Scott Summer. Having Scott, the real older one, get the opportunity to say his goodbyes made what came after feel like Phoenix Resurrection #5 was a closing of a chapter for Jean. Scott and Jean telling one another that they love each other felt like it gave closure to both characters. At the same time, it sparked the moment that Jean realized that she does need to move on from who she was in the past. That includes being the Phoenix, Marvel Girl and other identities she has taken on in the past. Now it is about who Jean is on her own and how she decides to be a leader for the X-Men.
Through all of this Rosenberg also was able to make the Phoenix Force into a sympathetic being. Because as much death and destruction the Phoenix Force caused it did so out of a sense of survival. It wanted to find a host that would be strong enough to keep it connected to the world and Jean was by far the best host body it had. The talk it had with Jean drove this fact home as it did see it’s time with Jean as the only period where it truly felt like a God above all others. Now without a host Rosenberg creates an intriguing question as to when the Phoenix Force does show up again what form will it take on.
Rosenberg also did a good job giving Old Man Logan an important role that did not place a big focus on the forbidden love he has had with Jean. While Logan was clearly shown to love Jean, Rosenberg was able to turn that love into making Logan the spark for Jean to evolve as a character. His actions were incredibly important in breaking the cycle Phoenix wanted Jean to take part in. This allowed Jean’s meeting with Scott to be more significant as we didn’t have the love triangle angle in the back of our minds. At the same time it gave Logan an important role in Jean’s return.
Individually Leinil Francis Yu and Joe Bennett delivered some solid artwork for their respective segments in Phoenix Resurrection #5. Yu being given the segments that involved Logan was the right choice as he excels at drawing Old Man Logan. He also got across the conflicted emotions Jean felt when realizing things aren’t as she thought.
Bennett continued that on his part of Phoenix Resurrection #5. Bennett’s art style is more in line with what you think an X-Men comic would look like. That was particularly appropriate for the extended scene where we see the Phoenix Force transforming Jean into wearing all the costumes she has worn throughout her life.
The Bad: Phoenix Resurrection #5 gets a lot right when it comes to Jean Grey’s character development. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the rest of the X-Men. While they weren’t the stars of the issue or mini-series it was head scratching to see Rosenberg treat the X-Men as nothing more than background characters. Outside of Logan, the X-Men added almost nothing to the story of Phoenix Resurrection. The only real role the X-Men had in this story was to give Rosenberg the opportunity to have some action scenes in order to have enough content for five issues.
This is an unfortunate way for the X-Men to be treated. It is especially bad given that characters like Storm, Beast and Kitty Pryde are such important parts of the X-Men that they could’ve been given something more to do than just stand around. This is made even more odd by the fact that we do see Scott Summers seemingly get redeemed. Even though it is great for Scott to get a redemption in a way it would’ve been fitting to see the core X-Men react to his short return. Even if it was a panel or two, it would’ve added weight to the short time Scott was brought back and left alone to speak with Jean.
That brings a spotlight on the fact that it was never clear if the Phoenix Force actually brought any character back. Because as we saw the Phoenix clearly brought back Scott to mess with Jean and get her on its side. If that is the case we aren’t told if the Phoenix also used other deceased X-Men and Jean’s relatives bodies during the course of this story. And if that is what happened does that mean some characters did in fact return to life along with Jean. That is something never made clear since Rosenberg did make the other returns feel important when they should have been.
Though the artwork Yu and Bennett provide us with in Phoenix Resurrection was solid their art styles are not a good mix together. It was very clear when the change in artist happen since both the penciling and inking changed for the different character designs. That clashing of art styles did cause a moment where you are taken out of the story as you adjust to the different art style. It would’ve been much better for either Yu or Bennett to draw the entire issue, even if it meant this final issue got delayed by a few weeks.
Overall: Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #5 did its job in setting the stage for what is next for Jean Grey. Matthew Rosenberg did a great job using key interactions with Scott Summers and the Phoenix Force to create an intriguing future for Jean Grey. It’s just unfortunate that while there is a lot of momentum created for Jean’s future the same can’t be said for the rest of the X-Men. The X-Men’s treatment throughout Phoenix Resurrection keeps this series back from being the home run it should’ve been.