Welcome back to X-Men: Bland Design, the column where we rip off Ed Piskor’s X-Men: Grand Design, except instead of recapping the good old issues of X-Men, we’ll recap the new ones that come out each week.
This week, there are six X-issues on the stands, if you count The Despicable Deadpool as an X-book, which we do. Despicable Deadpool #292, Old Man Logan #33, X-Men Blue #19, Cable #153, and X-Men Gold Annual #1, and Phoenix: Resurrection #3. Total cover price: $25. Total time it would take you to read those decompressed stories? Probably shorter than it took to read this introduction. So technically, you won’t be saving any time by reading these recaps, but at least it can help you decide which of these comics to take out a second mortgage to follow on a regular basis.
Now let’s wrap this thing up…
Phoenix: Resurrection #3
Writer: Matthew “Matty from the Block” Rosenberg
Penciler: Joe Bennett
Inker: Lorenzo Ruggiero
Colorist: Rachel Rosenberg
Leterer: Travis Lanham
Phoenix: Resurrection is comic of the genre “event comic,” subgenre “dead character rebirth.” We can reasonably expect one of these to follow any character death in comics. You might even say these are the point of the character deaths. But this one has been a long time coming, possibly because dead character resurrections have a long cooldown and Marvel has used it for Jean Grey before. The story so far: the X-men have been detecting strange psychic phenomenon around the world, and it seems to be tied into the return of the Phoenix Force, a bird-themed cosmic death god. Meanwhile, Jean Grey is back, living the simple life in a small town populated by other dead X-characters, or previous versions of living X-characters, working as a waitress at a diner. Just sayin’, we’d read an ongoing comic where that second part was the entire premise.
In Phoenix: Resurrection #3, we open with Jean reliving her first death while hallucinating in the grocery store. Back in New York, a team of X-Men are debating whether they’re dealing with the Phoenix Force or Jean Grey. Can’t it be both? The X-Men dig up Jean’s grave and her body isn’t there, seemingly answering the question.
Back in Pleasantville, Jean is talking with “Mr. Patch,” who is working on her car in an auto shop. Even as a ghost or a figment of Jean’s imagination or whatever he is, Logan has only one thing on his mind.
Jean reacts appropriately to Logan’s sexual harassment, blasting him with telekinesis. The manifestation of powers startles her, but Logan attributes it to an earthquake.
Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde leads her team of X-Men for a parlay with Emma Frost. The X-Men are running low on telepaths with which to operate Cerebro, as several of them have gone missing or been incapacitated. Emma has a better idea, though. She says that she used to mindspy on Scott while they were having sex, and Scott would think of Jean. Ergo, Jean is in New Mexico, where Jean and Scott had sex all the way back in X-Men #132.
Oh, Matty Rosenberg! Such a romantic!
Back in Jean’s fantasy world, things are starting to unravel as her real memories continue to intrude. A second Jean shows up, in the green Phoenix costume, and wants to have a chat with herself. At the same time, the X-Men have located Jean’s love nest on the butte, and Magik opens a portal so they can enter. Phoenix Resurrection #3 ends there, so we’ll have to wait until next issue for more. Luckily, it comes out next week, so we don’t have to wait long.
You said it, Hank!
Creating a comic where everyone already knows the ending — the storyline is subtitled “The Return of Jean Grey,” after all — is no easy task. It’s also tempting to phone it in, since comic book fans can’t stop themselves from buying a comic deemed “important.” But the team behind Phoenix: Resurrection obviously have care for these characters, and all of the references to the past are sure to tickle your nostalgia. Sure, Marvel will screw up Jean’s return eventually, and probably kill her off again, but it’s still got that fresh, newly resurrected character spell, so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts.
Next week: only sixteen bucks worth of X-Men comics, a light week, featuring Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #4, Generation X #86, Weapon X #13, and X-Men Gold #20.