Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Inks: Gerry Alanguilan
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover by: Leinil Francis Yu
Publisher by: Marvel Comics
Matthew Rosenberg’s star has risen incredibly quickly recently, and nothing is a testament to that more than pairing him with superstar art team of Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan in this massive event. Jean Grey has been dead now for well over a decade, though her bird-like shadow has long-loomed over the X-Men. Rosenberg, Yu and Alanguilan have a tall order in this miniseries.
The story starts with a strange psychic event near Jean Grey’s childhood home (which no one but Jean’s daughter Rachel Grey notices). From there, the X-Men split up to confront what is happening. Each of the three teams are confronted by violent, possibly psychic, constructs, which suddenly vanish as the Phoenix raptor manifests in the sky above them. And then we end up “elsewhere” which seems to be some sort of afterlife or purgatory, where we see Jean, Sean Cassidy and Scott Summers all living some sort of idyllic life.
Rosenberg knows how to hook us. For the long-time X-Men fan, he hooks you instantly with its ties to Jean Grey’s history and weirdness. For a newer fan, it’s still captivating to try to piece together the mystery and the clues this opening reveals. It’s also smart in that making sure that the characters don’t know as much as the readers, with no one making the Phoenix/Jean connection until late in the story. He also keeps the pace chugging along. There’s no decompression, no excessive exposition.
Yu and Alanguilan can do X-Men stories in their sleep, but here they give it their all. It’s a gorgeously illustrated issue, with the eerie moments rendered as well as the action and talky moments. There’s no dip in quality through the issue. It just looks great.
Color artist Rachelle Rosenberg deserves a special mention here too. Rosenberg’s lighting saturates the page in brilliant light throughout. A lesser colorist though may have oversaturated, and washed out the colors and characters. Rosenberg is able to avoid that.
A great start to this story worth reading for any X-Men fan.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Tony Thornley is a Mormon geek dad, blogger, Spider-Man and Superman aficionado, amateur novelist and all around awesome guy. He was born and raised in Utah and has been reading comics since age five. His first comic series was GI Joe and he was doomed from there. You can follow him on Twitter @brawl2099.