It’s a terrible feeling when someone holds something you did years ago against you as if it just happened. It’s probably a worse feeling when someone holds something against you that you are going to do in the far future. It’s one of those sci-fi deals that pop up – if you know someone is going to do something terrible in the near future, isn’t it your responsibility to stop them now? Then there’s moral ambiguity and lots of running around, explosions, etc.
That is not what this story is about.
A crossover between Guardians of the Galaxy and any team of X-Men might not be an obvious one, but with a movie coming out of pretty obscure characters, any kind of publicity is good publicity, and when it comes to Marvel characters, X-Men and Avengers are about as high-profile as it gets. So here we are – space story with the X-Men so the Guardians can get some spotlight time.
The problem here is that there’s really no reason for the X-Men to be getting a space story. Sure, the Shi’ar are originally X-Men creations, but they’ve since parted ways, especially now that Marvel went through this big long story to make the Phoenix Force a non-entity. So instead, we get something kind of stupid.
Now that Jean Grey is back in the Marvel U (sort of), Shi’ar Emperor Gladiator thinks it’s a good time to go scoop her up and put her on trial for eating a star and killing a bunch of broccoli people waaaaaaaay back in the early 80’s Dark Phoenix Saga. This immediately throws up all kinds of flags for the astute X-Men reader like myself. In no particular order:
- Jean Grey was already put on trial for the incident. The X-Men fought for her life, failed, and she ended up killing herself.
- That Jean Grey (the one responsible for the incident) was not ACTUALLY Jean Grey, but a duplicate created by the Phoenix Force and has been dead since she killed herself in said trial.
These are both pretty much ignored, and instead the moral issues of putting a time-travelling younger version on trial just because becomes the main factor, and the story turns to focus on Gladiator’s obsession with Jean Grey with the Phoenix Force. As the story brings up, he went so far as to slaughtering her entire family to make sure that none of them would be future hosts. Of course, the eventual host would end up being Hope Summers, though right now I can’t remember if they ever did reveal a Hope/Jean connection. Maybe all the signs were just a red-hairing. But Gladiator argues that having Jean around risks a repeat of the incident, whether or not she’s the same person. Obsession, you see.
And that’s all well and good, but the story fails to bring up two big points. For one, if you kill a teenage Jean Grey before she ever gets caught flying a shuttle in a radioactive storm, you’ve changed a lot of history. It’s the entire point of the All-New X-Men book and it doesn’t even get touched here. Two, Gladiator’s argument is defeated by Rachel Summers, who was the host of the Phoenix for years without any kind of catastrophic incident, which no one bothers to bring up. But whatever. It’s not like every single fact gets brought up in every argument, right?
The real purpose of the event is to launch this month’s Cyclops solo series in which the teenage Cyclops decides to leave Earth and go on space-pirate adventures with his father, Corsair and the Starjammers. This is the PERFECT idea for this Cyclops, and the first excellent on-character use of him since he came here.
In actual continuity, Cyclops met Corsair after he had been leading the X-Men for years. By the time he learns that Corsair is his father and is invited into the Starjammers, he is leading the X-Men and preparing to settle down with Madelyne Pryor and start a family. He has too much in his life to just leave. At this point, Cyclops is just starting with the X-Men, has barely been established as potential leader and is full of self-doubt of his place in the team and his feelings for Jean. It’s what the first 40 issues of X-Men were all about. Suddenly his father shows up and offers him space adventures? BAM! Good call.
Of course there is one huge problem here. The Starjammers just magically show up in the middle of the story and no one bothers to mention that Corsair is dead. He was killed by Vulcan during one of those Emperor Vulcan stories. It’s the reason that Hepzibah came to the X-Men. Oh, and she’s back with the Starjammers without any say-so whatsoever. Korvus shows up with the team, making it appear that the Havok-led Starjammers thing did indeed happen. I would bitch and moan about this, but instead I’m going to wait to see if the matter gets brought up in the Cyclops solo series.
You might also notice that I haven’t mentioned the Guardians of the Galaxy here – and that’s because they didn’t really do anything besides provide a means for the young X-Men to get Jean back. If the idea of the crossover was to introduce X-Fans to the characters, then it failed. I still know Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Angela and that’s about it.
Overall, not a good story but it does have me excited about the Cyclops solo. So that’s good.