The return of Jean Grey in Phoenix Resurrection #1 brought a lot of intrigue from the beginning. That’s not to say that the first issue of Phoenix Resurrection knocked it out of the park. Farm from it. There were still some technical problems that have plagued the X-Men Universe for several years now. But what Phoenix Resurrection #1 did to do is light the spark for what potentially be the beginning of the X-Men’s revival. And it is only appropriate for Jean Grey to be the one that lights that spark given her status within the X-Men Universe. Now it will just be up Matthew Rosenberg and his team to deliver on the final execution of this mini-series as whole. Will that be the case? Let’s find out with Phoenix Resurrection #2.
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In space an astronaut spots what appears to be a giant solar flare nearby.
Back on Earth, Jean Grey wakes up from a nightmare in the middle of the night.
In the morning Jean and has a quick chat with her neighbor Jamie about if he felt an earthquake last night. Jamie says he didn’t and Jean thinks she was just dreaming and drives off. As she does several people dressed as Jamie (guess this could also be called Multiple Man resurrected) appear outside.
At the Xavier Institute Kitty has gathered the core X-Men to go over what they know about the recent phenomenons that have happened around them, including all of their psychics being knocked out. Logan thinks it may be the Phoenix but the team can’t confirm since they don’t have Cerebro. Cable speaks up and says he can use Cerebro.
At a diner Jean serves a guy named Erik (Magneto as a normal customer who happens to be dressed in red) who says he was friends with Jean’s old teacher. Jean thinks it is Mr. Claremont (nice call back to X-Men’s greatest writer) but Erik says no. Erik then just places his breakfast order.
Back at the Xavier Institute Cable struggles to activate Cerebro but when he does he is suddenly hit with feedback that knocks him out cold.
Back at the diner after Jean puts in Erik’s order her manager notices that she does not look well. Jean brings up how she is having bad dreams that are keeping her up at night. The manager brings up Jean going to see Dr. MaCTaggert or Scott, who recently returned. Jean says she might though finds it odd she just remembered who Scott was.
Jean then goes to give Erik his order but finds out that he is missing.
Outside the Xavier Institute Kitty has gathered all of the X-Men and goes over what she knows and how they must find out what is going on. After giving an encouraging speech Kitty split’s the X-Men up into several teams.
The X-Men teams that search Jamaica Bay (where Jean first returned as the Phoenix way back when), the Ruins of Genosha, Marauder Sewers and the Savage Lands are unsuccessful in finding clues on the Phoenix.
In Phoenix, Arizona while the team end up running into Magneto. Iceman quickly has his team spread out and attack Magneto from all directions. Even with this Magneto is able to easily overpower everyone, though Wolverine (Laura Kinney) is able to cut his nose with her foot claw. When the team regroups they notice that Magneto has disappeared.
Back at the diner Jean is surprised to see Erik back and offers him some coffee. Jean wonders why Erik is bleeding from his nose. Erik says it was from a war.
Erik then brings up how Jean is looking better. When Jean says she is the Phoenix suddenly burns the entire town outside the diner down. End of issue.
The Good: Phoenix Resurrection #2 continues the momentum that the first issue created. That does mean that this second issue, much like the first, won’t blow anyone’s socks off. But the more you read Phoenix Resurrection #2 along with the first issue you see that is not what the point is. Instead they are trying to lay the groundwork for the X-Men’s future and how it centers around Jean Grey to a degree of success.
So far where Matthew Rosenberg is finding the most success with Phoenix Resurrection is his message to the reader that his mission, and Marvel’s, is to set things right for the X-Men. Even after the events of IvX where the X-Men were reset with Blue and Gold teams there wasn’t a lot of change from what we have seen in the last few years. Sure there was change up top in terms of who was leading the various X-Men teams but there wasn’t much of a tonal shift. When it came to the status quos they were as confusing as ever with no overarching structure to tie everything together.
Now that is changing as Rosenberg uses Phoenix Resurrection #2 to create a key element that can tie the entire X-Men franchise together with Jean Grey’s return. Surprisingly it is not just Jean’s return that is the significant threat. Instead it is what Jean’s return represents to the entire X-Men franchise. Because not only do we see how Rosenberg is bringing Jean Grey back but also possibly bringing back classic X-Men characters to their original forms. Characters like Multiple Man and Magneto are classic X-Men characters who can fill a large hole in the X-Men Universe.
Seeing these characters again along with the mentions of Scott Summers and Moira MacTaggert also brings up how Phoenix Resurrection is being used to bring back classic plot and character elements for the franchise. The question Rosenberg is creating with these returns is which ones will actually stick when Phoenix Resurrection comes to a close. Because it is clear that some of the things that are currently going on are being done by Jean Grey or the Phoenix. Who is actually responsible and why it is happening in the first place is a strong question for the rest of this series to center itself around.
It was also great to see the X-Men as a whole be proactive in a united effort to figure out what is going on. By not fracturing the team like normally happens in these type of events Rosenberg is able to focus in on the event nature of this mini-series. Just seeing the X-Men working together by splitting up into different teams we are able to get a better idea of how Jean’s return spans the entire Marvel Universe. That scope is something that is refreshing, especially for X-Men events, as it builds on the mystery of what is actually going on to take out all of the Earth’s psychic characters.
Carlos Pacheco provided some solid artwork throughout Phoenix Resurrection #2. Though this isn’t the strongest artwork we’ve seen from him, Pacheco does a good job conveying all the confusion going on around the X-Men Universe. This is especially well done when handling Jean’s range of fear and how she forces herself to act as normal as possible. It added impact to when we see the big action scenes of the X-Men taking on Magneto and when Phoenix destroyed an entire town.
The Bad: Though Phoenix Resurrection #2 does a good job in trying to bring back X-Men fans it is not the most new reader friendly issue. As a whole Rosenberg fills this issue with so much little references that it is easy to see readers get lost in what is actually going on. While these confusing elements have always been part of the X-Men having things be a little bit more streamline would greatly help the X-Men’s appeal.
It doesn’t help that we aren’t really seeing the impact of all the world’s psychics being taken out. Though an important event Rosenberg treats this plot point as more of a side piece when it should be extremely important to the overall plot. Even a short scene where we see Rachel Summers, Emma Frost, Psylocke and other psychics in the emergency room would’ve added weight to this sub-plot. By not doing so Rosenberg misses out on showing readers the greater impact of Jean Grey and Phoenix’s return.
Additionally, it is odd that plot points such as the classic versions of Wolverine and Scott Summers return are being also being treated as an aside. These are important characters to the X-Men Universe and there should be some greater impact felt to their presence in the first issue. By not questioning or dealing with Wolverine or Scott’s return in some way made the little things Rosenberg does fall flat. That is best seen when Jean mentions not remembering Scott before he re-appeared be something that can be easily looked passed by newer readers.
There was also an odd noticeable attention to detail in the artwork where Magneto goes from having a sleeve in his costume cut off in one panel and then the next panel showing his full costume without damage. That lack of attention did take away from the fact that the final attack Magneto launched was one out of anger for getting such damage. It’s a little thing like this that does go a long way when getting character actions over to readers, especially when the error happens in the same page.
Overall: Phoenix Resurrection #2 is a solid follow-up on what the first issue of The Return of Jean Grey event established. Matthew Rosenberg has created a lot of intriguing story elements around the return of Jean Grey and Phoenix’s return to the Marvel Universe. While some of them end up falling flat there are enough plot points that hit the mark to keep readers coming back to find out how Phoenix Resurrection ends up shaping the X-Men franchise.