‘The Trial Of Jean Grey’ continues to be a good story, but this issue was mainly filler really, saved only by very strong opening and closing scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy reading Bendis-filler, because of his great dialogue, but this issue was basically the X-Men and the Guardians flying to the Shi’Ar Throneworld with little incident. Now of course, there’s bound to be more than just incident in the next 2 issues, but still, this was just Bendis moving the pieces forward that one final step.
As I said though, the opening was very strong. We start with Cyclops having a flashback to the last time he saw his parents, with them being attacked by Aliens and his mother giving him and Alex the only parachute to make their escape. Scott wakes up, and his reunited with his dad, and I’m not ashamed to say I got a bit emotional. Bendis really nailed how surreal this must have been for Corsair as well, because he’s already done this once before when he met the present-day Cyclops. The emotion isn’t over however, as Corsair also tells Scott that his mother is truly dead. I wonder if young Cyclops will find out about his half-brother Vulcan? It might over-complicate things, and he is dead, but then again, Marvel’s cosmic characters have a habit of coming back with no explanation lately, so you never know. You know what, I’m guessing that Vulcan will come back in Rucka’s upcoming Cyclops ongoing. Scott goes off to be alone, but is comforted by X-23. I still think that relationship is all kinds of weird, but Bendis is making it work. Cyclops gave her a hug a few issues back, and now she returns the favour.
In case you thought this was all a bit too schmaltzy, Bendis does lighten things up with Rocket Raccoon and Star-Lord’s reaction to this family reunion, with Rocket not understanding why someone would hug their dad. We all know about Star-Lord’s fuckhead of a dad, but now I want to meet Rocket Raccoon Senior.
Speaking of Star-Lord’s dad, he reappears here, being told that the Shi’Ar have captured Jean Grey, and that his son is involved, so it looks like the Spartax will have a part to play in this story, I wouldn’t be surprise if we end up with a Spartax/Shi’Ar War. There might even be a Shi’Ar Civil War, as we see Oracle and Gladiator discuss the upcoming trial, and Oracle basically telling her King that he’s in the wrong, but that doesn’t stop him. I really can see Oracle turning on him, especially after another scene where she tries to help Jean out inside her head.
As I mentioned, the Guardians, X-Men and Starjammers get to Chandilar with no real trouble, only to run into every ship in the Empire guarding the courtroom. They are cloaked, so there’s no action yet, but how long can that cloak last? I found the short conversation between Kitty Pryde and Star-Lord intriguing, especially because Pichelli’s art seemed to be conveying a flirtatiousness and attraction between the 2. They probably will hook-up, we all know that Kitty has a thing for men called Peter (Colossus, Pete Wisdom, Ultimate Spider-Man). Pichelli’s art is brilliant throughout, her facial expressions are just perfect for subtle things like that, so the reunion between Cyclops and Corsair really did hit you. Stuart Immonen, who is of course drawing the other half of this story in All-New X-Men pops in for a few pages here too, which is always welcome.
We end with another great scene, as Jean’s trial begins, and she is shown footage of the Phoenix’s destruction of that planet way back in the day, and finally gets an up close look at her future. Again, Pichelli’s art perfectly conveys her reaction. So yes, whilst this issue wasn’t a hugely important, eventful part of the crossover, there were strong emotions at play, great art, and now the stage is set for Bendis to blow us away in the final chapters.