The penultimate issue of ‘The Trial Of Jean Grey’ is actually only the start of the trial, but then I don’t think it’s a case that’s going to last long. Here, Bendis brings all of the various forces together and the sparks, oh they do fly.
We begin in the trial room, with Jean being asked how she pleads, but remaining silent. Gladiator is about to take this silence as a tacit admission of guilt, but he’s interrupted by J-Son of Spartax, who says what any right-minded person should think, that young Jean is innocent, and that this trial is a farce. He also reveals to Jean that the Shi’Ar killed all of the members of her family in case they became the Phoenix too, which appears to be inadvertent, but given that J-Son is a huge dick, has to have been on purpose.
Out in space, the Guardians, X-Men and Starjammers have figured out their way past the fleet and onto Chandilar. They sent out Angela on her own to play dead in space. Given that she’s not from this universe, the Shi’Ar scanners would be intrigued by her, and bring her into one of the ships. Once inside, she wakes up, takes them all out, and commandeers it for our heroes, who are able to fly in and land on the planet. Meanwhile, furious at J-Son’s interruption, Gladiator calls a recess in the trial, and sends Jean back to her cell, but before she can reach it… she escapes into the city. It’s not clear whether or not this is Phoenix-inspired or not, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon.
The assorted heroes land, but not before Corsair tries to talk Cyclops out of going because he’s too emotionally tied up. As Corsair himself says to Hepzibah, it must be really weird and difficult for Corsair to see his son fuck up in the same way twice. They open the door to the ship, with X-23 in the lead and Jean’s scent in her nose, but as soon as they do, they are face-to-face with Gladiator and the rest of the Imperial Guard. The fight we’ve all been waiting for is here, and whilst what we get in this issue is brief, it’s not the end, there will be more in Part 6 for sure. The best part of this fight was Cyclops blasting Gladiator twice, and basically standing up as a total utter bad-ass. How crazy is it right now that both Cyclops’ are cooler than Wolverine? I love it.
Gladiator and Scott square off yet again, but before they can, they are interrupted by Jean, who finally says how she pleas… and it’s guilty. She is a monster. I have to admit I did see this coming, this Jean Grey has always seemed to believe the worst about herself, but her admitting this right in front of the Shi’Ar will have some serious consequences.
Stuart Immonen’s art here was, as you’d expect, amazing, I loved the silent 2 pages of Jean running around in the Shi’Ar city, the art alone sold her confusion and fear. When you have that rock-solid visual storytelling combined with excellent dialogue and characterisation, you’re onto a winner, and he and Bendis have been proving that for years and getting better and better. The final part of this story in Guardians Of The Galaxy has a lot to wrap up, I can’t wait.