The final chapter of ‘The Trial Of Jean Grey’ wraps up everything that Bendis has set up very well indeed, and at the same time sets up some interesting new possibilities for the future. The biggest impact here is obviously for the X-Men, but the Guardians have been affected too, as now even more of the Universe hates them.
The action picks up right where All-New X-Men left off, as Jean Grey interrupts the big fight, and basically admits that yep, she was (or will be) The Phoenix, and she couldn’t stop it. But then neither could anyone else, so why is she the only one on trial? She also says that she doesn’t want to punish Gladiator for what he did to her now, but that she can’t forgive the Shi’Ar killing the entire bloodline so she… powers up. She doesn’t become the Phoenix, no, this is something new. She glows pink and is even more powerful than ever. Inside of her mind, Jean and Oracle work out that this is psionic energy, and that this is Jean using both her telepathy and telekinesis at the same time. I suppose it’s a bit like Psylocke’s psychic dagger, but on a bigger scale.
She and Gladiator clash, and both of them basically cancel each other out, which leads to Oracle declaring the battle over. Cyclops, who once again is a total bad-ass, stands up to Gladiator and tells him to leave Jean alone, because if they come back for her, he’ll come back too, and he’ll bring all of Earth’s other superheroes with him.
Gladiator lets everyone go, but he tells Starlord that he and the rest of the Guardians are no longer allowed in the Shi’Ar system. So now they have the Spartax and the Shi’Ar after them, great. After this, everyone heads home, and we get more fun interactions between the various characters and great Bendis dialogue. However, the most interesting thing here is dialogue free, as Angela eyeballs Jean Grey. That has to be leading somewhere.
Once back on Earth, Starlord gives Kitty a comm-device so they can talk again, and whaddayaknow, they kiss. It’s kind of cute. Bendis also throws in some great comedy, with Groot acting weirdly towards Earth trees, and Rocket Raccoon being shocked by ordinary Earth raccoons and how naked they are. The issue ends with Cyclops dropping a bombshell, as he reveals that he’s leaving the All-New X-Men to go and travel through space with his dad. It would have been better if this had not been spoiled by the announcement of the upcoming Cyclops solo series, but this was still a big moment, and should lead to some interesting places.
This issue really seems to mark the point where the All-New X-Men really do live up to the All-New label. Jean has new powers, and Cyclops has gone into space, it’s not the same anymore. I also hope that this means that Bendis will start focusing more on Iceman, Beast and Angel, as Scott and Jean really have been at the forefront a bit too much.
It is perhaps a bit of a shame that this story was so much more about the X-Men than the Guardians, as they were mainly there just to get the merry Mutants into space, but as I said, the team is now even more outgunned than before, the future certainly looks intriguing, I mean, Venom? What the?
The art here from Sara Pichelli and David Marquez was very good, I normally hate fill-ins, but Marquez and Pichelli have similar styles, as seen on Ultimate Spider-Man, and from his short stint on All-New X-Men, Marquez knows how to draw the X-Men, so it wasn’t too jarring.