Writer: Louise Simonson
Art: Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo, VC’s Ariana Maher, Jay Bowen, and Amy Reeder
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 23rd, 2023
After the events of the Hellfire Gala, Jean’s life is in shambles. Mutantkind is in dire straits – and there’s nothing this founding X-Man can do. She’ll have to save herself first. And that means looking into her past – for the moment when it all went wrong – in a desperate attempt to save her and all Krakoa’s future. Legendary writer Louise Simonson returns to the X-Men with a story full of fan-favorite moments, heartrending revelations and pulse-pounding devastation as Jean Grey #1 by Louise Simonson kicks off!
Do you remember the time-traveling younger versions of the mutants that came to the future? Well, if you enjoyed that story, you’ll love where Jean Grey #1 kicks off. The question that Simonson inspires through these pages is, what if the younger versions of themselves DIDN’T forget the events of traveling to the future? What would they do with all that knowledge? Moreover, with them being in the future for so long, they managed to craft their abilities and hone their skills faster than they originally did. So, how could all of this impact the core X-Men and the timeline? Again, this angle offers an amazing premise for an opening gambit.
However, the story doesn’t go where you think it does. And, the person who starts to go off the rails isn’t who you think it would be either, which is again what makes this story pure genius. The angle Simonson represents is one in which views time manipulation as a huge vantage point making Jean Grey #1 come across as this “What If…” comic when it’s not. Nevertheless, what’s amazing is that regardless of the actions accomplished to alter the future, it almost seems like certain aspects of history are fated. The effort to realign events just seems to ultimately fail and get the X-Men exactly where they were supposed to be anyway with the same people upset with them as normal, which is actually pretty wild.
The bigger issue is watching the evolution of Jean Grey. And it’s absolutely fascinating. The keyword used multiple times throughout this issue is “monster”. However, she’s not a monster like the Dark Phoenix was. This is entirely different. Her motives seem pure but hellbent on saving mutants in a way that’s even more extreme than Magneto. And truthfully, it kind of fits the character. Eventually, the Phoenix Force does get involved while Jean Grey #1 picks up pace. Now, I kind of wish it never did. That was the crux that kind of threw the issue over the top a bit too much. I personally just loved watching Jean’s own omega-level abilities decimate anyone and anything in her path.
Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo do a fantastic job manipulating the color scheme and design to provide Jean Grey #1 with an almost dated yet modernized look that was very inventive. At times, the colors were dull to represent certain time periods but still managed to pack a punch. Yet, the design did a spectacular job of ushering forth the power and abilities of the cast involved. For example, there were many instances in this issue where characters were so injured that they became lifeless. Do you know how difficult it is to draw a comic panel that simultaneously makes one character look lifeless while the other is moving? That in itself could be a mutant power! Overall, this entire art team complimented Simonson’s story so well and was truly a highlight of the issue not to be overlooked.
Jean Grey #1 presents itself almost as a Marvel What If… story focusing on the young time-traveling core X-Men team. It takes readers through a storyline where one specific core mutant becomes more fanatical than Magneto setting the world on a trajectory far worse than anyone could ever imagine. Yet, Simonson’s vision of that timeline makes total sense. Longtime fans of the X-Men will love this angle rich in mutant history that’s quite impressive and equally imaginative.
Jean Grey #1 takes fans on a journey as she wonders what went wrong and how things could have been different. Walking back through history, fans will eventually see the inevitability of certain emotional events that frankly may just be fate’s way of saying they’re always meant to be. This issue was wildly entertaining, fast-paced, explosive, dynamic, and extremely well done. This is a must-buy for any X-Men fan and should be on the top of your list this week. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!