Jean Grey #1
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Victor Ibanez
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: Travis Lanham
A Review by Greg Brothers
Jean Grey, Xavier’s first student, wife to Scott Summers, Bearer of the Phoenix Force which consumes her as she tries to kill all of those around her. Jean Grey #1 is not about her. Nor is it the much older, much more confident leader of the X-men who sacrifices herself to protect her friends and family. No instead Jean Grey #1 focuses on the much younger, less confident, time displaced Jean Grey.
Jean Grey #1 starts with Jean and Pickles enjoying a nice quiet lunch together in Kyoto, Japan. Jean is reflecting on her life and how different it is, to live in the shadow of yourself while also trying not to become another version of yourself. Her quiet lunch and self-reflection is interrupted by the super-villain team of the wrecking crew, whom are in town to rob a bank. As the fight rages on Jean continues to be pestered by a particularly loud voice in her head until it is revealed just as her teammates show up.
I hate to admit it at times, but I am what some might consider a X-Men “Zombie” meaning I will buy just about anything that comes out that involves the X-Men. Although Marvel will always get me for at least the first issue of an X-Men related book, it must be an enjoyable read for me to continue to buy it.
Here in Jean Grey #1, Hopeless does a respectable job showing us the battle that Jean has daily as she not only tries to live up to her own expectations, but get out of the shadows of her future self. The now decreased adult version of Jean Grey was one of the most powerful mutants on Earth. This younger version knows the pitfalls and just how powerful she is but she does not yet have the ability to control that power. Because of that she is constantly worried about unleashing the power and hurting people around her. During the battle with the Wrecking Crew Hopeless is able to show how she holds back because of the fear of accidently hurting anyone around her or destroying property. While the fear of effecting the innocents around her is also always in the back of her mind the immaturity that would be expected from a teenager rears its head a couple of times in Jean Grey #1, which is a welcome change in a universe where many times age differences are rarely addressed.
The art throughout is bright and engaging, with greens and blues that pop throughout. The panels feel like they have movement within them and it is easy to follow the action within them. The physical difference between how the teenage Jean Grey versus the hulking adults of the Wrecking Crew look is obvious and realistic. Lettering is one of those things that only stand out to me if either one they distract from the story, or if they are done so well that they enhance the story. Thankfully here the lettering when it comes to both Jeans inner dialogue and the voice she is hearing help lead to better story telling.
Check it out! I know after reading my review you were probably thinking I was all in with a buy. There is one major thing that bothered me with Jean Grey #1. Without giving away too much, this is supposed to be a Jean Grey story, and for me there are just way too many other characters that show up throughout this first issue, including her teammates of the original five. If this story is going to continue in the direction it seems to be going and the original five face the issues together I question why the story could not be told in a continuing All-New X-Men book rather than a Jean Grey book. I hope that Hopeless proves me wrong and with issue two the other characters disappear into the background and we learn more about this younger Jean Grey.