In the last issue of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ we ended with with a lot of talking and not much moving forward with the actual plot. This issue? That changes as it is pure on plot movement and action all the way through! My only complaint? Unlike ‘Battle of the Atom‘ when I was this far I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Here though? It only has one issue left and I want it to be longer!

Gladiator is done with waiting and begins the pinnacle point of this comic: the trial of Jean Grey! It starts off rather strong with a video of Jean on a destructive spree as The Phoenix and when he asks her on her guilt, the entire proceeding is interrupted! Not by the X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, or even the Starjammers but by King J-Son who says she isn’t guilty because of the most obvious of reasons – she hasn’t done it yet. This is a time travelling Jean from the past who hasn’t committed these actions. Of course part of this was probably to let Jean know that Gladiator and the Shi’ar are responsible for killing Jean’s family in retribution for her actions.

Could he actually be trying to force her to embrace the Phoenix Force that may be locked within her? We know it will be coming back somehow as Quinten clearly embodies it in the future. Regardless, the look on her face alone is why Immonen is so perfect for this book. While the Shi’ar home world isn’t looking its best here, the characters all look absolutely outstanding.

Of course with the trial being interrupted, it is the perfect time for Angela to play dead and for the X-Men and company to use her and take over a Shi’ar ship to sneak into the home world. The snark here once again shows that Cyclops’ father is a face worth keeping around and I hope they somehow explain exactly how it is that he is still alive. Moving on though, their ruse works (shocking, I know) and as they leave the ship they come face to face with the Guardian and the Royal Guard who are all looking for Jean who just escaped. A fight ensues and young Cyclops shows exactly how much they’ve hinted that Scott has held back over the years as he is able to push Gladiator down with his optic blasts where almost everyone else, including Drax, are having their collected behinds handed to them.

The issues ends with Jean breaking in on the fight and uttering some very important words and we’ll see how this all plays out next issue. For as big of an event this is, it feels to have come to a close far too quickly. Still, if Bendis can end it on this high of a note and not the cluster that ‘Battle of the Atom’ had become, I can forgive it for feeling short. I’d take short but sweet over long and annoying any day of the week.


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen