Sunday, 15 February 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli)


Teenage Jean Grey, along with teen Cyclops, Beast, Iceman and Angel, are brought from the past to the present day - this is the All-New X-Men series setup. We’re multiple books into the series now and for some reason nobody’s decided to send them back in time where they belong. Anyway, the Shi’Ar take it upon themselves to punish teen Jean for the crimes her older self committed as Phoenix and abduct her for a trial in their kangaroo court. Guardians and X-Men dutifully follow. 

Here’s the idiotic “moral quandary” Brian Bendis poses to the reader: is teen Jean responsible for her older self’s actions? Here’s the bleeding obvious answer: NO! Besides the fact that she’s not the same person who’s committed the crimes, she’s also younger than the version of her who did - duh! And by the way, this is the Marvel Universe - there are multiple realities and multiple versions of each character. You can’t pin the crimes of one version of a person onto a different version of that person. 

So even if Phoenix has committed genocide and the Shi’Ar want someone to blame, and maybe because they also fear that she’ll do it again, even though that problem could be solved quite easily by sending her back in time - which should’ve happened a long time ago!!! - they’ve proven lord knows how many times that the past can be changed; so could the future, just as easily. All of this is fuss over nothing! But then not thinking things through and just rushing off to do a bunch of dumb shit is superhero comics all over - and Bendis does this kind of crap par excellence. 

I really, really hate the plotting of All-New X-Men. Bendis has gone so far left in his views he actually justifies the teen versions of the X-Men as having the right to stay in the present/their future if they choose. Because fuck the time/space continuum, I guess? What a complete idiot. 

I took a break from Bendis’ comics for the whole of 2014 because I was so burned out on them, hoping I’d return with a renewed appreciation for them afterwards. I haven’t. I’d say his writing has only gotten worse and more irritating, to me anyway. It’s actually amazing how little happens in this book. Guardians and X-Men faff about in space until they turn up at Jean’s side and it turns out their presence is useless - they’re little more than drivers for Jean to take her back to Earth. 

Jean’s “trial” on the other hand takes up a handful of pages. In comparison, a go-nowhere plot about a Skrull assassin and Star Lord takes up the same amount of pages. And the “trial” is in the title! 

Here’s Bendis’ way of telling a “story”: take a double splash page, cram in as many characters as you can, standing and sitting, and have them talk about nothing like it’s a house party; repeat! I’m amazed how many fans Bendis has when he does so little with his characters. I guess the fans enjoy the soap-opera scenes Bendis gives their favourite heroes? Personally I can’t stand such inanity. “D’ya wanna talk about feelings?”, “Will you… go out with me?”, “Oh my god, my hair’s all frizzy today!”, “I’m hungry, what do I want to eat?”, “I’m going through some stuff, man - and some things!”, etc. Done! 

There’s some pointless superhero action scenes thrown in here and there but they’re the usual pap - everyone snarls and fires guns/powers, and they stop when they’ve taken up enough pages. Nobody’s hurt, nothing’s resolved, none of it was exciting. It’s so tiring to read such predictable garbage. 

I’ll give one star for Stuart Immonen’s art, one star for Sara Pichelli’s art, and nothing at all for Bendis’ terrible, brainless script. I’m going to go back to ignoring Bendis’ comics for at least another year!

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey

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