PHOENIX RESURRECTION #1
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham, Jay Bowen, & Anthony Gambino
Edited by Christina Harrington, Chris Robinson, Darren Shan, Mark Paniccia
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 27, 2017
What a time to be revealed to be alive.
A lot of strange things are happening in the world, and apparitions from some famous mutants’ past are popping up. Split into three teams, the X-Men all face these anomalies, culminating in a bright specter emblazoned in the sky while a couple of familiar faces make their apparent return.
As soon as I knew this comic was dropping, I had to read it. Jean is forever one of my favorite characters in comics on a grand scale and to hear she was coming back made me feel beside myself. That being said, I expected more of her to be in the comic. Coming off the heels of Legacy, Generations, and the Jean Grey solo, I thought the story had its set up. So, I was definitely surprised, but I’m interested to see where this story goes for a couple of reasons.
For one, I can’t remember the last time all these mutants were together without some threat of genocide against them. Phoenix Resurrection FEELS like an X-Men comic and I wonder how long we’ve been missing something of this caliber. Second, this story is weird as shit, in true X-Men fashion, so the building mystery is one that I’m excited to see unfold.
Matthew Rosenberg starts the issue with a bit of a gut punch. I’m not a fan of violence happening to children, especially with little explanation, but this immediately sets the tone for aforementioned weird shit to follow. With this point in particular, I’m glad that Rosenberg was explicit about them being hurt but ‘recovering,’ rather than leaving them at the mercy of wanton violence. From the jarring opening pages, Rosenberg capitalizes on changes in characterization since these characters have been introduced, from the X-Babies hanging with Rogue to Kitty’s stellar leadership. There’s certainly a lot to work with, but characters are incorporated in a manner which stays true to form and that I feel will color Jean’s eventual return.
Leinil Francis Yu is definitely one for drama and action. There are some panels which are excellent pieces of the story and that provide great effect. The fight with Wolverine at the North Pole is one of my favorite scenes and I love the shot of the designated team all jumping into action. Some moments though seem strange, rather through emotion or posing. Not every figure seems to fit neatly into this issue, but I think Yu excels at making the right images feel incredibly important.
Gerry Alanguilan on inks provides a somber tone for the story. I like how characters are put in and out of focus using these skills, and the range of depth from moment to moment is great for conveying action and guiding the reader to the right visual points. Alanguilan’s work in the final pages are the issue are wonderful, particularly for conveying the importance of the final scene and what’s to come. Everyone is in excellent clarity, heightening the fact that they are integral to this tale of the Phoenix.
Rachelle Rosenberg’s use of color is toned down just enough until the last pages of the comic. This effect helps to pull the story into a world which feels mysterious and somewhat foreboding. With Rosenberg’s talents, everyone feels as though they are covered with a sheen that is just dark, just muted enough to fully capture the confusion that the X-Men find themselves encountering. Similar to Alanguilan’s inks at the end of the issue, Rosenberg changes the level of brightness, an eerie departure from the pages that came before. I like how brighter hues in the context of the story can almost feel more strange than floating kids with head injuries, and it proves that intention at this level of storytelling can elicit a paradoxical and power effect on its narrative.
To say this story is weird is an understatement, but then again it is also about a woman who has died and come back numerous times due to being imbued with the power of a cosmic firebird. Phoenix Resurrection gets things so right when it comes to the X-Men, and it’s nice to see them all like this, even if they may feel like they’d rather not fight ghosts around the world. Especially with the bombshell last panel, I think we are in for one hell of a ride.
The Verdict: 8.5/10