Welcome to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly column that answers the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?” This week there are four X-Books on the stands, which will cost you a total of $17 to buy and take roughly eight minutes to read. If that seems like a waste of time and money, you can keep your money by reading our recaps for free. We make no promises about the use of your time, however.
This week, we’ve got Phoenix: Resurrection #4, X-Men Blue #20, X-Men: Blue Annual #1, and Legion #1. We’ll kick things off with Phoenix Resurrection…
Phoenix Resurrection #4
Writer: Matty Rosenberg
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Travis Lanham
In the previous issue, the X-Men had traveled to New Mexico after figuring out that Jean Grey’s obsession with Butte Love meant she was probably at the scene where she and Cyclops did the nasty back in X-Men #132. There, they found an opening to Jean’s weird retro dimension, where she’s been living as a small town waitress with a bunch of deceased X-characters in other small-town roles.
The latest issue opens with Jean waking up in a mostly destroyed house, wondering if she overslept. Happens to us all the time. Stepping outside, Jean has some interactions with townsfolk where they appear to be dead or dying, but nobody notices.
Back on the butte, the X-Men are debating whether to enter Pleasantville and kill the Phoenix. Eventually, they agree to go inside and talk to it. Inside, they find all hell breaking loose and a bunch of dead former acquaintances, which happens roughly once every couple of issues for the X-Men, so no one is overly concerned.
A battle ensues, and Storm tells the X-Men they can go ahead and murder their former teammates, as they’re actually Phoenix constructs and not the real thing. The X-Men kill their way to Jean’s diner, and they find Jean, but Jean can’t see them. Inside the diner, Jean complains that business is down due to their reality being a mask on an apocalyptic hellhole. Jean’s friend Annie accuses her of having sex dreams about the Wolverine construct that works at the auto-shop, but Jean says she actually dreamt about herself as a goddess. That’s not good.
Back outside, it’s time for some X-pository dialog. Beast explains that the Phoenix created this reality in order to woo Jean into accepting it as its host. If the Phoenix succeeds in merging with Jean, everyone will die, so the X-Men have to do something. However, the X-Men wonder why the Phoenix let them inside. Is Jean fighting back? Or is it a trap? The Phoenix shows up, ready for battle, but the X-Men don’t take the bait. Instead, they’re going to send someone to talk to Jean.
Teen Cyclops offers to go in, but Old Man Logan insists it should be him, revealing Phoenix Resurrection to disappointingly be more of the pro-Wolverine, anti-Cyclops propaganda Marvel has been pushing for years.
Et tu, Matty Rosenberg? Et tu?!
Kitty agrees with Logan and sends him in, with instructions to kill Jean if things get out of hand. Wouldn’t that be a twist: dying in her own resurrection comic? We end there, heading into a Logan/Jean finale in next week’s final issue, because if there’s one thing Marvel can’t get enough of, it’s shipping Jean Grey with its favorite stabby Mary Sue, even the old man version if that’s the way it’s gotta be.
We suppose we’ll have to reserve judgment until we see what happens, but we’re vehemently opposed to a Logan/Jean pairing, if you couldn’t tell, and it will definitely affect our ultimate opinion of this series. Your move, Marvel. Hopefully she burns him to a crisp on the first page and we get back to enjoying this comic.
Do you need our recommendation on buying this one? It’s Jean Grey coming back. As an X-Men fan, you’re contractually obligated to buy this no matter how many times it happens.