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Jean Grey in Immortal X-Men #17
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Immortal X-Men’ #17 gets in Jean Grey’s head — and it’s a mess

The White Hot Room isn’t done with Jean yet.

The Fall of X has been an age of trauma, horror, and guerrilla warfare for the X-Men. The Quiet Council has been scattered, the telepaths are still grappling with Sinister’s influence in Sins of Sinister, and Krakoa is hibernating. An age has fallen, and the mutants suffer for it. Yet, as the Phoenix always promises, Kieron Gillen, Juan José Ryp, David Curiel, and VC’s Clayton Cowles have ushered in the potential for rebirth in Immortal X-Men #17.

Immortal X-Men is a book that started more than halfway through the Krakoan era. When it first came into being, Jean Grey had long since left the Quiet Council to start a new X-Men team. Her return to this book is a welcome surprise, but she is hardly the Marvel Girl that she once was. At this point, she also isn’t the Phoenix.

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It isn’t a spoiler to reveal that Jean’s mind is scattered — Jean Grey has already been doing that work. Yet Immortal X-Men has taken care to show just how frazzled Jean truly is. The narration has an ethereal quality that occasionally matches the events of each panel with such precision that it almost feels like the Phoenix Force is speaking through her.

Exodus meets Jean Grey in Immortal X-Men #17

Marvel Comics

All the while, that same narration calls back to events from Jean’s past that are both her greatest regrets and her greatest victories. Doubtless, there will be numerous analyses written about Jean’s involvement here.

Unfortunately, the absurdist narration style does take some getting used to. While it will make the issue worth the cost, it will take many rereads to understand just what happened here. It’s hard to rely on a narrator who is not just unreliable but both outright incomprehensible and uncomprehending.

With very few issues left for Immortal X-Men, it is working desperately to tie up loose ends, but it may be moving too quickly. The pace of the previous 16 issues was slow and methodical with a few rushed moments to define each character’s interactions with the world. This issue reveals nothing previously unknown about Jean, and it also fails to properly land the impact that it hopes to.

Exodus fights Apocalypse in Immortal X-Men #17

Marvel Comics

The art is, unfortunately, not up to par with the rest of the book. There are moments where Gillen, Ryp, and Curiel appear to have completely different plans for the story. One panel, in particular, appears to feature a character’s head caving in, before the next panel reveals that the character is fine, and the art was exaggerating. It is a baffling disconnect between the art and the story, and it is more than enough to take the reader out of the story.

The Sinister sections make up for any confusion, however. Immortal X-Men #16 revealed that Sinister has been haunting Xavier, and this issue details just how he has done it. In the process, it managed to do the impossible: It made Sinister a sympathetic figure.

Sympathy for the devil is a long-standing and tired trope, but it really works here. The final panel that Xavier and Sinister share has a melancholy air to it that perfectly encapsulates their interactions. Sinister’s regrets, shame, and horror collide well with his revelation that he has never been in control of his own destiny.

Immortal X-Men has always been a book that shines when it focuses on Sinister. In many ways, he is the main character within its ensemble cast. Here, in his swan song, his role is better than even the manipulative Sinister in the Red Diamond universe. For once, he is genuinely appearing to be a tragic figure.

Exodus keeps fighting Apocalypse in Immortal X-Men #17

Marvel Comics

Unfortunately, of all of the Sinisters, Mister Sinister remains the sole compelling figure. Every appearance by Mother Righteous has stripped away her mysteriousness, and what’s left is little more than a shadow of the promised monster.

What made Sinister’s plan so interesting was seeing just how long it was in motion and just how long it took to fall apart. Righteous is speed-running his efforts, and the result is as disappointing as it is dragging. Her actions have become painfully predictable — even to the point that literal children are catching on with disappointing ease.

Thankfully, Righteous is no longer the chief villain in this story. Sinister’s return and the mystery of the White Hot Room has become a saving grace for Immortal X-Men and easily make up for any pitfalls in Righteous’ plan. If this issue was solely composed of Xavier’s sections, it would be an 11/10. If Exodus’ inclusion remained, it would stay a 9/10. Those sections are that good, and it really helps to cover for any disappointment with Righteous.

There are undoubtedly flaws in Immortal X-Men #17, but there are some sections of the story that elevate it to greatness. Sinister has never been more compelling, and Jean’s narration begs to be read a dozen times before it can be fully comprehended. Fall of X has been all about the Fall, but Immortal X-Men #17 is already paving the way for the return of the Quiet Council and the redemption of the X-Men.

Jean Grey in Immortal X-Men #17
‘Immortal X-Men’ #17 gets in Jean Grey’s head — and it’s a mess
Immortal X-Men #17
There are undoubtedly flaws in Immortal X-Men #17, but there are some sections of the story that elevate it to greatness. Sinister has never been more compelling, and Jean's narration begs to be read a dozen times before it can be fully comprehended. Fall of X has been all about the Fall, but Immortal X-Men #17 is already paving the way for the return of the Quiet Council and the redemption of the X-Men.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Jean's narration is incredible and ties in and flows out with genuine care.
Sinister has never been more tragic, nor more compelling.
It's great to see Jean return to the Quiet Council after so long away.
The art can be inconsistent and can easily confuse elements of the story.
Without the mystery, Mother Righteous is downright boring.
7.5
Good
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