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X-Men: Phoenix Rising Paperback – September 14, 2011
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About the Author
John Byrne has worked on nearly every major American superhero. His better-known work includes Marvel Comics' X-Men and Fantastic Four and the 1986 relaunch of DC Comics' Superman franchise. Coming into the comics profession exclusively as a penciler, Byrne began co-plotting the X-Men comics early in his tenure, and launched his writing career in earnest with Fantastic Four (where he also started inking his own pencils). During the 1990s he produced a number of creator-owned works, including Next Men and Danger Unlimited. He also wrote the first issues of Mike Mignola's Hellboy series, and has produced a number of Star Trek comics for IDW Publishing.
Bob Layton has written, drawn, and edited comics for most of the major comic book publishers. Iron Man, Hercules, and X-Factor are just a few of the many books he has worked on.
Chris Claremont wrote the X-Men for seventeen years as well as the novelization of the movie X-Men 2.He has been the co-creator of several top-selling series for MarvelComics, and wrote the Star Trek twenty-fifth-anniversary graphic novel Debt of Honor for DC Comics. His debut novel was Firstflight, to which he wrote two sequels, Grounded and Sundowner.
Top Customer Reviews
The problem with many comic fans is that they can't seem to see beyond the "scandal" or "controversy". For example, the Batman story, "A Death in the Family". Everytime you hear fans discussing that storyline, they have to bring in the controversial decision that D.C. made at that time to set up a 1-800 number for people to call in voting whether to let Robin live or die. Seeing beyond that little piece of marketing ploy, the story by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo is pretty tight and solid. Same thing here. Jean Grey lives. The Phoenix entity that died on the moon was a different person altogether (therefore, Jean is not guilty of the crimes committed by Dark Phoenix). If the fans would just take time to examine the story carefully, they would find this a solid book to begin with.
Firstly, we have the issue from Avengers wherein the cocoon holding Jean underwater is found. The fans also screamed when they discovered this - Jean's resurrection taking place in "Avengers" rather than "Uncanny X-Men". But then that was the time when Jim Shooter was head at Marvel and continuity BETWEEN the books was very tight (unlike the current no-continuity nu-Marvel). I, for one, do not see a problem with that. And I'm thankful to see again the work of Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer, whom I consider the best Avengers creators ever (check out their work on "Avengers: Under Siege" to see what I mean). The second part of the storyline takes place in "Fantastic Four" and it's largely written and drawn by John Byrne. Great flashback scenes here explain in detail what really happened to Jean and Phoenix in "X-Men #101". I was told that Chris Claremont tampered a little with this story and some panels were redrawn by Jackson Guice. This, of course, contributed to Byrne's finally leaving the FF soon after. The best part of the book, and also the part that packs the most emotional punch is the last chapter - a reprint of X-Factor #1. Bob Layton writes and Jackson Guice pencils this tale of how Jean's closest pals/lovers, namely, the original X-Men, react to her being alive again.
Reading this carefully, one can see the seeds being planted for future storylines in the X-books like "Inferno" and "X-cutioner's Song". Scott is pushed to the limit emotionally and ends up a wreck, abandoning his wife Madelyne and son, Nathan. The original five X-Men, including Jean, forms X-Factor. The last panel with Madelyne discovering Scott's "unfaithfulness" on TV (in an X-Factor ad) is priceless.
Lastly, this book comes with an Introduction by Kurt Busiek, who had the guts to claim credit for coming up with the idea of Jean's resurrection in the first place. Overall solid writing and art throughout. Long live Jean...
I bought Phoenix Rising at the same that I bought X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga and together they tell one of the greatest stories of x-men history. While I was already familiary with the Dark Phoenix Saga, I had never read the issues that comprise Phoenix Rising. I do think that readers need to know the Dark Phoenix Saga before reading this book and it helps to know about the X-Men relaunch that was done in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (collected here X-Men: We Are The X-Men TPB )
However, once you have the appropriate background, Phoenix Rising tells a great story-- really a rebirth of two immortal powers. The title entity known as the Jean Grey makes a return after being rediscovered in a cocoon/egg/dormant state. But the rebirth of the original X-Men as "X-Factor" was a much more moving moment for this marvel reader.
Modern readers of the X-men can confidently pick up Phoenix Rising and a few other quality graphic novels and have the most important backstory for their favorite mutants. Older readers of the X-men (like me) may not have ever read these issues. I never followed Marvel's various x-overs especially into titles like the Avengers and Fantastic Four (doing extra chores around the house didn't pay a whole lot back then). Either way, Phoenix Rising will be enjoyed by x-fans new and old.
There isn't a lot of action here as you would find with most other X-Men graphic novels. However, this is an important link in the chain of Phoenix-related events. The development of the characters and the twisting of the plot is unmatched. No true fan can deny that this paricular era of Marvel's history was the finest in comic story-telling. The art is superb and the depth of the characters is what REALLY makes this worth reading.
Discover the complexity of Jean's revival. Watch the unravelling of Scott and Madelyn's marriage. See the forming of a new superhero team. Witness a woman's descent into madness... "Phoenix Rising" is an essential part of any worth-while collection.