This is it! The final chapter of Matthew Rosenberg’s Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey!
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
There’s a lot of tension as Logan enters that diner in the opening scene. Is the tension from the narrative or the desire for this story to successfully cross the finish line without cringe? I think it’s fair to say it’s a little bit of both.
After a violent throat slash by wrinkly Logan, Jean remembers who she is and has it out with the Phoenix Force once and for all. They literally hash it out in a way we’ve never seen the Phoenix before.
While the entirety of Phoenix Resurrection hasn’t been without some drag, there’s none to be found here. Matthew Rosenberg takes us into a new chapter for one of the most crucial X-Men in a fresh way without inducing any eye rolls.
Somehow Rosenberg made the Phoenix a sympathetic entity, with Jean’s well being at heart. It was fantastic to come into this expecting some big battle, only to find a heartfelt conversation about living life with all its risks. It’s a fragile human denying the immortal offer of a god in order to live her life. It was a touching, human moment.
The moment with Scott was a heartbreaking tease that resulted in a strong moment for Jean. She played the last ditch effort of the Phoenix in her favor and got to say goodbye to her husband. His rotting corpse on the final page is a bit unsettling afterwards, a curious choice by the art team.
At the end of the issue, it really feels like our Jean is back and that it matters. It doesn’t feel shoe-horned or thrown together, it feels earned. Rosenberg had a tough task in front of him and fully delivered.
The story as a whole five-issues definitely had some fat that could’ve been trimmed. I fail to see why every available X-Men had to be there still, especially having now seen the final page. There was a lot of standing around and pointless walking to fill pages. A smaller cast would’ve made for a more intimate affair, but Marvel probably requested a full roster and the usual “BIG EPIC, FOREVER CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE” kind of story.
X-Men comics have this thing they do all the time where they constantly find a reason to take a visual tour through the history of costumes. It’s not an exclusive to X-Men comics, it just happens most frequently (especially recently) with the mutants.
I can’t tell if it’s a frequent celebration of history or a lazy trick to fill pages. Either way, it works every time because no X-Fan gets tired of going down memory lane. It’s hard to make the largest and most iconic collection of superhero costumes unappealing.
Artists Leinil Francis Yu and Joe Bennett, inkers Gerry Alanguilan and Belardino Brabo, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg land the plane smoothly. Jean’s emotional return and struggle against the Phoenix were supremely illustrated. A big reason in why a return of this magnitude is such an easy pill to swallow is because of the art. Also, that new black and red Phoenix costume is dynamite.
In the age where nobody is satisfied with anything, even when it’s tailor-made for them, this book manages to take home a win. The original Jean Grey is successfully back in our lives. Phoenix Resurrection. continues the trend of righting the X-Men ship and buying the goodwill of fans back