Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Trial of Jean Grey: All New X-men/Guardians of the Galaxy Crossover is Official!

Teasers can either be like watered down booze or extra pure blow. They can leave you deeply disappointed or high off your tits in the best possible way. Like walking into a whore house blindfolded and picking up the first woman (or former man depending on the price range), I never know what I'm going to get. As I speak from my semi-sober state, the New York Comic Con is underway in New York City. And had I not spent so much money on comics, blow, and booze I would be there right now waiting in line to get my ass signed by Stan Lee. So I'm stuck following news in between bong hits and benders.

One of the teasers that emerged long before an actual teaser was the possibility of an All New X-men/Guardians of the Galaxy crossover. Hell, Bleeding Cool announced that this was in the works back in February this year when I was still chipping ice off my car and pissing my name in snow. Then a few weeks ago, Marvel released a couple of teasers with some fairly familiar imagery in the background.

Reminds me of my last arrest.
Since Avengers vs. X-men sucked enough to remain fresh in my mind, I recognized the flames in those letters before I actually read them. My first reaction was, "Fuck, this weed is awesome." Then I sobered up and said, "Fuck, more Phoenix gimmicks." But since there is actually a Jean Grey in the X-men comics now, I took some comfort in the knowledge that it's less likely to involve some bitchy replacement character whose name escapes me at the moment.

Reminds me of my ex-girlfriend.
With respect to judgment, I think it goes without saying that the Phoenix Force is guilty of some pretty horrific shit. Wiping out five billion aliens with the same crass that I use when I wipe my ass warrants some pretty nasty shit by any standard. But is it fair to judge someone like Jean Grey for the crimes she committed while under the influence of this cosmic parrot? Is it fair to judge anyone for crimes they commit when they're under the influence of a power they can't control?

Maybe this is a bad example because Marvel has already set the precedent. After Avengers vs. X-men, everyone in the Marvel universe passed judgement on Cyclops for the shit he did with the Phoenix Force. But there's one key difference. Cyclops didn't kill 5 billion aliens while he was the Phoenix. Hell, he tried to create a global utopia and bring about peace on Earth. Yet for reasons that no amount of bong hits can help me understand, that shit is still a crime. And if he's still a fugitive for that reason, then I don't see any hope for anyone in the Marvel universe judging Jean Grey.

And that's exactly what the O5 X-men will have to deal with after X-men Battle of the Atom is over. I guess this counts as a bit of a spoiler in that it means the All New X-men will not be sent back to the past and the future X-men fail miserably. But if a drunk like me could see that coming, then nobody else with a functioning brain has any excuse. So now it appears that once word gets out that Jean Grey is alive in some form, a bunch of pissed off aliens are going to try to hold her accountable for crimes she hasn't even done yet. It's like Minority Report, but hopefully it doesn't suck. And Marvel made it official at NYCC with an announcement and an interview with Brian Michael Bendis.

And not only did he give some tantalizing details about what we can expect from this trial, we even get to see the brand spanking new uniforms that we've been promised. And while I know as much about fashion as I do about the brain chemistry of a eel, I think I can say without reservation that these costumes are pretty fucking awesome.

If you thought Battle of the Atom and INFINITY put Marvel's most misunderstood heroes through their paces, just wait until you see what writer Brian Michael Bendis has in store for ALL-NEW X-MEN and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY next.

There's no time for the time-displaced mutants to catch their breath following the status quo-shifting final moments of Battle of the Atom, especially now that the entire Marvel Universe has been alerted that Jean Grey, the former and most terrifying host of the Phoenix in the eyes of many, seems to be alive and well. On the other side of the cosmos, the band of space pirates known as the Guardians of the Galaxy will be forced to get involved with one trouble-making species they've managed to steer clear from: mutants!

Joining Bendis for this storyline on art will be ALL-NEW X-MEN’s Stuart Immonen and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s Sara Pichelli. "The Trial of Jean Grey" will put the fear of the Phoenix into this teen team for the very first time.

We spoke to Bendis about the two series as they head into All-New Marvel NOW! Without spoiling the end of Battle of the Atom, what can you tell us about the teen X-Men's status quo in All-New Marvel NOW!? How shaken up are they?

Brian Michael Bendis: Without spoiling the end of one of the biggest X-Men events of all time, I will say that a lot has changed. Not everyone is where or when they were when the event began. But, it is safe to say that Jean Grey is still here, and now a lot of people know about it. Once the word gets out that Jean Grey, who was once host to one of the most formidable and destructive cosmic forces in the entire galaxy, [is back], there are people—major players—[that] will want to hold her accountable for some of that destruction. The Guardians of the Galaxy just had the Marvel Universe playing in their backyard in INFINITY. Can you give us a hint as to what state the team is in following the event?

Brian Michael Bendis: They are pretty much intact except for the fact that there is something from the outcome of INFINITY that the Guardians are very uncomfortable with. While the members deal with that—and each other—they receive word that Jean Grey is a target. They rush to help. The teaser word "Trial" carries a lot of Phoenix baggage with it. Is it safe to say that Jean Grey is at the forefront of this crossover?

Brian Michael Bendis: This storyline is called “The Trial of Jean Grey,” so yes! The X-Men and Guardians have rarely interacted before, if ever. What's been the most interesting thing about writing them together? Do any of the characters clash or get along surprisingly well?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, let's remember that the All-New X-Men are still some of the youngest, most na├»ve heroes in the entire Marvel Universe. They still have only been X-Men for a few weeks, so everything is a new experience—especially finding out that one of you was the host of a destructive force that took out entire planets, or that there are spaceships, or that raccoons have rockets and laser guns. There is a great deal of fun to be had and a great deal of serious life-changing drama.

And not all of the Guardians are going to have the same feeling about Jean Grey and the Phoenix. She is and will always be a very polarizing figure in the Marvel Universe. This “trial” will put the spotlight right on that. Will having knowledge of adult Jean's trials help teen Jean navigate these circumstances?

Brian Michael Bendis:  I think it's part of her puzzle that she can't even deal with yet so, yes, this story is going to make her focus on this, a confusing and upsetting part of her history and what her responsibility to all of it really is. The Guardians usually find themselves on the other side of the law, yet their teaser word is "Judgment." Are they passing judgment on the X-Men or helping the teens escape judgment?

Brian Michael Bendis: Right there, that is the reason to tell the story. Everyone has a judgment, but whose is right? Should Jean be held accountable for things that she has not done yet? Should she be stopped before it happens again? Is a crime a crime if the person who committed the crime hasn't committed it yet? These young X-Men have already had to deal with time travel, and now they've been thrown into space for the first time. How will they handle that?

Brian Michael Bendis:  For those who know their X-Men, some of you may already be thinking about the fact that one of the original X-Men's fathers already has a very important place in the Marvel galaxy. The X-Men may be shocked to find themselves dealing with space for the very first time, but some of them may be surprised how personal the story will get.

So Jean Grey is basically screwed in the present for shit she would end up doing in the future. And she has to find a way to deal with it while keeping a straight face in the presence of a machine-gun toting Raccoon. The odds are against her to say the least. It's like the OJ Simpson trial, but Jean doesn't have the money to hire Johnny Cochran.

But beyond the event itself, this news reveals a few more tantalizing details. For one, it appears they patch things up with O5 Angel because he seems to rejoin them and gets a new uniform as well. I imagine it's going to lead to some very awkward moments where O5 Jean has to apologize for mind-fucking him in an earlier issue of All New X-men. It also hints that maybe O5 Angel changes his mind about wanting to go back to the past. Something may happen in the next three issues that makes him think, "Fuck, I need to stop being a whiny little bitch." I think it's overdue because he has basically done jack shit since he ditched the O5 X-men.

Another issue that's worth bringing up is the connections between this story and the Phoenix Saga. Marvel tends to have this nasty habit of flat out ignoring past events in favor of looking ahead to bolder, often more fucked up stories. But for once, Marvel is being detailed in dealing with the many ramifications of having time displaced X-men in the present. They're already doing a great deal in Battle of the Atom, but something like the Phoenix Force and the shit it did to make their trip to the future necessary is something else that shouldn't be ignored, yet often is. I'm glad it's being addressed, but it does have the potential to do more than just be another crossover.

Since All New X-men began, it has focused largely on the O5 just being shell shocked by how fucked their future is. Yet as Battle of the Atom has shown, what they do has a big effect on the timeline. And the longer the O5 stay in the future, the bigger that effect could be. So in theory, that means that Marvel could do some major retconning with the history of the X-men. In practice, however, it could fuck shit up even more or take a huge shit on otherwise iconic stories. It's hard to say how far Marvel will take it at this point, but a crossover with Guardians of the Galaxy is already pretty fucking far. The best anyone can do is grab a cold beer, light up a joint, and enjoy the ride. Nuff said!


  1. LOL BOTA "one of the biggest X-men events of all time" Really!? is he serious, or is his ego that staggering? maybe if this crossover was accomplishing ANYTHING, but from the NYCC panel we know the O5 aren't going back, so BOTA isn't going to accomplish jack shit.There won't really be any "big effect" on the future b/c the O5 could go back at anytime. The "threat" is bullshit when Magik can go backwards and forwards in time, so if say O5Scott dies, she could take a step back in time and prevent it. it's insulting when Nick Lowe says they won't do another Xbook with other mutants, but yet they'll keep 2 versions of the Original Xmen in more than one book, make a few crossovers centered around characters that have already had their hay day.

    1. Marvel says that about all their events. Hell, I think they copied and pasted that language directly from the Messiah Complex teasers. So I've learned to not give too much attention to the "This will change everything" shit. I mean what else are they going to say? This event is just a mediocre effort to get fans to buy more? That would be too honest.


  2. They just don't give up do they? Original Phoenix died on the moon. The D'Bari survivor tried to kill Jean in Claremont's second run. The Shiar tried to obliterate the Phoenix during Endsong. They annihilated Rachel's entire family and branded her. And now this.

    Apparently the alien species never learn that messing with a Phoenix is both doomed to failure and bad for your health.

    1. Who knows? Maybe the fifth times the charm for them. Or is it sixth? Hell, I'm pretty sure they lost count and that's why they're jumping at the chance for more stupidity.


  3. This story should of happened the first time Jean came back and formed x-factor. It's a delayed plot. Not sure teen Jean will even have a emotional connect esp having not gone through the dark phoenix experience. I follow anything Jean so I'll likely check it out. Not sure how it will be resolved. I hope they bring up all the good things Jean did before the Hellfire manipulation. Though I do hope this ends with Jean being an honorary GOTG.