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Review: Jean Grey #1

STL043696.jpgIf you’re keeping up with the other happenings in the vast, somewhat convoluted, and complex X-Men universe then you know all about the time jumping, still very much alive, younger, Phoenixless (for now) Jean Grey who is now roaming free with some other time jumping younger self X-Men in the present. If you’re not aware, I’ve pretty much caught you up on the back story behind this latest upgrade/reboot of canon infallible characters and we can continue to go into what works and what doesn’t in this new “reboot” of the classic Jean Grey.

In this debut issue, Dennis Hopeless gives us a look into how the time jacked Jean Grey is dealing with her new life, knowing of her past life that hasn’t happened, and trying to figure out where she belongs. Hopeless does something that most male writers don’t do, he tries to create a real inner dialogue for Jean and give her not only autonomy but complexity. Even her missteps while trying to thwart some super powered bad guys comes off as authentic and real for the character in the situation. There’s also a sense of agency and wonder infused into her thoughts and words. You are aware that she has no idea how to handle any of the things that she’s been thrust into but at no point does Hopeless make her appear weak or lacking.

Victor Ibanez delivers some very nice art to look at. Jean’s face is soft, youthful, uncertain and full of detail. The panels were all a cross between traditional 80’s comics and some nice pop art. The panels that Jean appears in vacillate between making her sharp and in focus when she’s in control and living her life or winning a battle, to having her appear jagged and small when she feels out of control or is losing. It’s these small details that pull you into this comic book. Ibanez’s style in this issue adds tension, creates longing, and in some panels hope which serves the story well and pulls the reader into Jean’s world. Jay David Ramos‘ color palette adds an extra layer to the story, it’s not too bold but, it’s not muted either. Ramos uses colors that you can easily associate with Jean’s mood and actions, the colors just are which work well in the context of the story of a young girl trying to make sense of things. The panels tell the same story as Hopeless’ words, the story of a girl making her own way and add a visual dimension to the story that makes it easy to relate to her situation.

Hopeless’ writing makes Jean feel like a real person and in some ways, gives her more autonomy than her previous versions had. She seems real, not guided by the men around her. She never feels like a damsel in distress, even when she’s fighting the bad guys on her own and, she never stops trying to figure it all out, in her own way on her own terms. Hopeless allows Jean to make mistakes and grow as a person, a mutant, a member of the team and, as a young woman, and even with the suspense of the ominous ending of this premier issue leaving the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, I feel like Jean is in good hands and I look forward to seeing with this arc and this version of Jean goes.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Victor Ibanez and Jay David Ramos
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review