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Phoenix Resurrection (2017) #1 [Review]

phoenixresurrection2017_0001Chapter One: Frustrate the Sun

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Main Cover: Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino
Assistant Editors: Christina Harrington & Chris Robinson
Associate Editor: Darren Shan
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: February 2018
Cover Price: $4.99

I read the first couple issues of Morrison‘s NEW X MEN run, along with the first issue or two of that "new era" of Uncanny X-Men as well (and I think same for X-Force and/or X-Statix and Soldier X) before trailing off for awhile. I got back in toward the latter part of the run, having obtained the first two "deluxe oversized hardcovers" and not wanting to wait (then) for another. I remember making a special trip to the Toledo comic shop while visiting a friend for her graduation in December 2003, largely to get #150…and reading it left me with quite a surprise. Jean…dead? Well, SURELY, being Marvel, she’d be back pretty darned quick. A year, maybe two? Endsong kinda let me down, and I’m not sure if I ever actually read Warsong.

Move through time–2004, 2008, 2012…the Jean from the past was brought to the present (how long would THAT last? A year or two? The premise of the "original five" coming to the present sucked me into All-New X-Men for a bit!). 20012 to 2016, still the "original five." Into 2017…now the very tail-end of 2017, and we have this issue. Phoenix Resurrection #1 (never mind that 1995 gave us a Phoenix Resurrection in the Ultraverse books!).

Unlike the anecdotal "disaster" of the ordering requirements for the main wave of Legacy Lenticulars (LL, anyone?), this one’s "main cover" is *A* lenticular…but this one is actually done "right." Gone is the blurred mess of two static images blended together to approximate a real-life "gif," here we have an image of several of our mutants reacting to the flaming appearance of Dark Phoenix–Jean Grey–in the Red Costume…and we get that 3D/slight movement effect that DC has used to great effect and that had put to shame Marvel‘s versions. My main complaint with the cover is that it is at best symbolic, or some sort of prelim for use with an eventual collected edition…as has become the "norm" for modern comics, the cover does not necessarily depict what’s contained within the issue itself.

Visually, this is a pretty book, and I enjoyed the art itself throughout. As I’m no longer closely familiar with much of the X-verse, and am aware of plenty of recent changes and such, nothing much stood out in a negative way for me, and I marked inconsistencies up to my unfamiliarity; nothing seemed horrendous or off-putting to me.

Where I have problems with the visuals is layouts: the issue has 30 pages of story, 32 content pages if you count the "cinematic" double-page splash with the series’ logo and credits for the issue (in place of an opening/frontispiece to be simply omitted in collected format). While I applaud the relatively "strict" panels/gutters–a "classic" sort of page layout rather than EVERYTHING being full-bleed quasi-panels and such, I was not thrilled at so few panels per page–many pages having a mere 3-4 panels, a number of them having only 2, with very few words to a page. One page has a whopping THREE WORDS: "Elsewhere," "Well," and "fudge." (18 letters, not 18 words!). Yeah, the art is an integral part of telling (selling?) the story, but given this IS a comic book and not actually cinematic video, I’m rarely keen on "wasted space" trying to imitate another medium.

Story-wise, I did not feel that this issue remotely lived up to the hype or expectation–at least not the hype and expectation that I personally laid at its feet. Phoenix Resurrection. The Return of Jean Grey. Dark Phoenix (not Phoenix) depicted on the cover. Shiny cover. Surely Jean would appear in this issue, with plenty of questions as to her authenticity, what brought her back, why she’s back, what it means for "Young Jean," how it’ll affect other characters, if it has anything to do with "Regular Real Not-Old-Man Logan/Wolverine" being back, etc. Appear in this issue, set up questions and four more issues to dig into the details, the effects, push this story itself forward, etc.

While I can guess that the Jean we see toward the end of the issue is supposed to be "our" Jean (though whether it implies she’s been alive awhile–long enough to have a job and home and life with no overt recollection of life as one of the X-Men, or is some sort of dream-sequence or illusion or some sort of alternate life in her mind as her body heals/comes back/whatever) is not clear to me as of this single issue, on a typical single-read-through that I give whatever (new) issue(s) I read. I don’t see THAT she’s back (or not). I don’t see if there’s actually another force behind her return (the Phoenix Force) or if this is some sort of self-resurrection from her having BEEN one with the Phoenix Force in the past. Is there likely some other Big Bad waiting in the wings? Other than Jean maybe showing up/being back and having to figure out for herself what it means to her as herself, what’s the driving conflict of this title? What makes it justify five weekly issues (and I think a tie-in for a sixth issue) vs. Jean just showing up again/being a subplot in some sort of main title?

I’m curious about stuff–especially given I was there when she died back in 2003’s New X Men #150, and expected her return at least a decade ago–so will get the next issue, at least. And I would not be surprised if this was a good opening chapter to the eventual "graphic novel" when this series is collected into hardback, deluxe oversized hardback, and/or TPB. But as a single-issue, as a first issue of a mini-series, I’m not impressed with this, and would not recommend it if you’re looking just to do a toe-dip on stuff…especially at $4.99 instead of $3.99. As an art piece, the cover wouldn’t be bad to hang on a wall or such. Unless you’re eager to read/follow along in "real time" as issues are released (and given the title/subtitle, it’s not like there’s really any mystery as to whether or not it’s actually Jean, if she’ll actually be back, etc.) you’re probably better off waiting a couple months for the inevitable collected edition, if anything.

Otherwise, if you’re willing to invest in a 6 issue story within about 5 weeks, and you’re a fan of Jean herself, I’d say this is worth getting, as an opening chapter, that is by no means a stand-alone issue/story.

Some Thoughts On the Week’s Comics (Week of March 29th, 2017)

I didn’t (and haven’t, and won’t) get around to full review treatment for any of last week’s issues at this point, but I did have a few thoughts on several issues. Unfortunately, I haven’t actually gotten around to reading all the new issues I bought, as Real Life has continued to be a bit of a hindrance in that department. But given a couple of purchases were made with the intention of writing about them, I figure I probably should actually write about ’em.


X-Men: Prime (2017)

xmenprime2017When I (premeditatively) decided I would actually go ahead and pick this issue up–despite having originally decided flat-out not to touch any of these ResurrXion titles–I’d had no idea that I would find it completely sold out at two shops before 6pm its day of release. I found a copy at a third shop, which was down to only four copies at that point, including the Venom variant.

The second shop actually did have the Venom variant as well, but I didn’t even recognize it as an X-Men issue, let alone this issue, THE issue I was very specifically looking for! (Way to go, Marvel and stupid-*** variants!)

I bought this issue largely on the premise that I was already buying several $5 issues, might as well lump one more into the mix…plus, I’d have no room to talk about it if I didn’t at least give it a shot myself, right?

The art wasn’t all that bad…it certainly didn’t put me off the X-titles. But it’s far from being enough in and of itself to pull me in. The multiple art teams wasn’t terribly jarring, though it was noticeable…particularly when it came to Storm, due to the character’s hair style(s).

The story felt rather forgettable…nothing really drew me in, and I did not feel like there was really even a full STORY here…more a through line to give us a quick tour of characters and situations that’d make up a number of too-expensive biweekly series and such.

This certainly trades on NOSTALGIA, in title as well as the notion of the ResurrXion thing in general, and the forthcoming X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold titles. It cerainly suckered me into stuff.

xmenprime2017xmenprime1995

I read the ORIGINAL X-Men: Prime back in 1995 the day it came out, a week after X-Men: Omega, the end of the Age of Apocalypse saga.

At that time, I’d been following the original Uncanny X-Men series, the original X-Men series, the original Wolverine series off and on, with a spattering of other titles…and having gotten and read the entirety of the X-family of titles the month prior to the Age of Apocalypse and then the entirety of that saga…so I was pretty "up" on the books at the time going in and coming out, so I was a ripe target for such a book, to touch briefly on numerous characters and stuff that’d "spin out" into other titles that I was planning on trying to follow.

This time around? Not so much. It’s telling that I almost have more to say about the original from 22 years ago than this one from a week ago!


All-New X-Men (2015) #19

all_new_xmen_0019I can firmly blame my purchase of this issue on hype from Bleeding Coo, and a curiosity for more detail, and to get some actual context. There’s also something about that cover that hit a bit of the nostalgia-trigger for me as well…perhaps the banner at the bottom identifying this as a finale, perhaps the fonts, I don’t know…but it’s telling that I was more interested in this AS a final issue than I was in a #1 for this or any of a number of other X-books when they’ve hit over the last few years.

The art for this wasn’t bad; nothing overly distracting or such. I actually rather like the costumes and general character designs overall (though Jean looks a bit "off" for this cover despite my otherwise liking it). I especially like the young Cyclops’ costume…a lot like the ’90s version that I’d definitely claim as my favorite and consider THE most iconic of the character’s looks.

Though I already knew it going in, this issue "reveals" that the "past" these X-Men came from and have "access" to presently has their younger selves as if they’d never been pulled out of time…and thus, this young team has nowhere else to GO, and are apparently separate from the adult versions they’ve thought where their own older selves.

I can’t begin to guess at all the continuity or lack thereof in the last couple years since I read most of the original run of the original iteration of this title (from 2012/2013)…but this seems to cut these characters "loose," where there’s no longer a "question" of when or if they’ll go back to their own time–the adult X-Men have past selves properly in their own time, and these five apparently aren’t it, so whatever they do, they’ve got their own future/fate to forge in the present, simply AS themselves, and all their new/recent status quo elements.

The novelty has worn off for me on these versions of the characters…there may still be some interesting-ish stuff to be done with them, but overall, I’m less than thrilled at the notion that these are simply THE "replacements" overall for the characters I grew up on, and am not thrilled at any notion of continuing to follow their adventures (I believe they’re X-Men: Blue?)


Booster Gold/Flintstones #1

booster_gold_flintstones_0001While hardly on the same level as Robin, Superman, or the TMNT, Booster Gold is definitely a draw for me.

Already curious about the re-imagined take on the Flintstones, realizing this was coming had my interest…all the more when I saw this cover (which may actually be a variant…I which case it’s a rarity as I far, Far, FAR prefer it to the other cover!)

The story’s a bit light and goofy, and rather irreverent…and I don’t get much of a sense of Booster himself as a character here nor of the Flintstones characters. In a way, I guess that makes this a good stand-alone issue, as I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything with any of the characters involved.

The Booster side of the story seems largely predicated on what I’d consider an outdated take on the character, drawing visually on more recent takes on the character while not seeming to use his most recent ongoing series (that touched into and ended with Flashpoint back in 2011). I’m not sure how it ties in with his general New 52 stuff, but that’s because I haven’t read much of that.

I was curious as well, once I got the issue, at what the Jetsons story would be, and suspected from the image on the cover that it’d involve a new take on the robot maid…and I was definitely right! The story proved to be an interesting glimpse into a new version of the characters’ lives/status quo, while also telling an interesting story of how a robot maid would be able to be such an integral part of the family.

Though the $5 cover price is a bit much, for the length of the issue and its contents, the two stories, it’s mostly worthwhile. I enjoyed the issue overall, probably more for the Jetsons than the lead feature, but I did not feel like my money was wasted by having bought this.


I still have the Green Lantern/Space Ghost and Adam Strange/Future Quest issues to read, as well as most of the first Flintstones volume, and assorted other "recent" issues. I’m hoping to keep this week a bit "small," after such an expensive week last week…looking forward to the new Superman issue, as well as needing to check for the AvP: Life and Death #4 that I missed last week.

Also looks like a season of omnibii is approaching, which may get very expensive very quickly…and only a couple weeks or so until The Button, which with Superman Reborn now completed, is probably the story I’m most looking forward to for a few weeks.

Time will certainly tell!

xmenprime2017_blogtrailer

Alien Resurrection: Found!

20121203-140243.jpgLast year, I tracked down the Aliens and Predator films on blu-ray. I’m stupidly particular about those cardboard sleeves, which made the hunt a bit more problematic that simply being in stock or not.

I wound up missing only Alien Resurrection, as Walmart and Target don’t carry it and I didn’t want to pay a full $20+ at Best Buy, couldn’t find it at any of the used stores, and an online purchase might not have the sleeve to “match up” to the other 3 Aliens films’ cases.

The other day at Sam’s Club (in Alabama, visiting a friend) I came across the film with the sleeve…for only $10…a great price (especially as I’d expected to pay at least $15 or so) to get this.

Given Joss Whedon’s involvement and seeing hints of Firefly in it (and starting to rewatch the Firefly pilot recently) I might just get sucked back into that, thanks to this.

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