Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art: John Romita Jr.
Yes friends it’s that time again, time for a Marvel big summer event. These big events are generally either hated or loved; there’s very little in between. Summer story arcs can be fun if they are well executed, but that can be said about most things….
So the Phoenix Force is back to wreak some more havoc in the Marvel U. If you’re unfamiliar with the Phoenix Force then you aren’t much of a fan of the X-Men. This force of nature destroys lives and everything else in its path when it visits Earth. When it visits Earth it takes on a human host, most notably Jean Grey, Cyclops’ wife. Grey was overtaken by evil and ended up dying. The story of the Phoenix has been told over and over and reinvented a bit since that original epic story but the core of it is the same. Now the force is hurtling toward Earth again and it appears that Hope Summers, a young member of the X-Men will be the new host. This is all happening after the near destruction of the mutants as a race. Cyclops believes that the return of the Phoenix may represent the rebirth of the mutant race and that it is his responsibility to train Hope and prepare her to deal with this powerful force when she becomes it’s host.
Of course Captain America and the Avengers simply see that this powerful entity is murderous and destructive. So he and SHIELD believe that Hope should be taken into protective custody. The heroes have already taken one hit and the force is still far from earth. The entire comic is really leading up to a meeting between Captain America and Cyclops, the leaders of the two teams. My bias toward the Avengers may be at play here but as I read the two heroes’ exchanges and really all of Cyclop’s appearances in the comic I couldn’t help but feel like the leader of the X-Men came off like a total dick. That may seem blunt but it’s truly how he came off. That feeling may level off as the story is expanded and the reasons for Cyclops beliefs are revealed. This first installment leads us to believe that Cyclops is willing to sacrifice much destruction and possibly death in order to see the Phoenix Force return. He “says” that he can train Hope to “be ready” for the force. What does that mean, to be ready?
The first issue does a couple of things right; it builds tension between the two hero leaders, and it ends with a powerfully epic vibe. While I think the story needs more filling in it was an exciting read, especially having read issue #0 and digital Infinite issue #1 tie-ins. This should be a fun summer.
John Romita Jr. is one of the best artists in the industry and he proves it in this issue once again. Character designs look great and the detail is consistent throughout the issue. Romita walks the line between the modern cinematic art that’s common in Marvel books and the classic comic book stylings of his father. It’s a great line to walk and he does it perfectly here. Colors are bright and shading adds a level of depth that suits Romita’s style well.
For a starter issue this one sets the stage properly. It’s tense, it’s epic, and it’s full of questions. The main story does need a bit of development but I think that will help in upcoming installments.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Story 7.5/10
The Art 9/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10