Ultimate Comics Spider Man Volume 5 Review

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Miles is a character who I’ve given a lot of grief in the comics. Mainly because he comes across as a little overconfident, but not in a fun Kirito kind of way. It’s hard to differentiate, but there are many characters who act overconfident, but simply can’t pull it off as well as others. Maybe it’s because Miles also tries to act inexperienced and gets upset constantly at the drop of a hat. He’s too all over the place. That’s not the case here…but is that a good thing or have we traded personalities for another negative one? All that and more in the review!

It’s been a year since Miles gave up the Spider Man mantle. His mother was destroyed by a stray bullet and his dad was injured so Miles just figured that it wasn’t worth it to being a hero. A lot of other characters have gone through this decision in the past and it’s always wince worthy, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s not a Miles specific issue. That being said, the issue is presented in different ways based on who the character is and the situation. Here, everyone is telling Miles to get back on the horse. Whether they do it through blackmail (practically) or peer pressure, they eventually force him to get the costume back on.

Two new vigilantes have appeared by the names of Cloak and Dagger. They are hunting a meta human who has explosive abilities. SHIELD isn’t looking into the matter since this relates to an evil partner of theirs, Roxxon. This is why Jessica Drew needs Spider Man back in action to help her take this group of scientists down. The scientists aren’t purely academic geniuses, but they can also fight when necessary. The final pair or issues is where the bulk of the action is in this volume and the fights are pretty good.

I enjoy the art for this series for the most part. I feel like the humans can look a little odd at times. It’s like they’re always pouting. That all goes away once the action scenes start though. The art really looks vibrant during the meta battles like when Cloak and Dagger first appear. The final group fight against the scientists was also well done and Taskmaster’s bout was a nice hand to hand fight. It’s why I’m always open for a good comic book fight after a long period of dialogue. Dialogue is good as well of course and the first half is still solid, but I was certainly pleased with the ending.

I was actually worried a little that the heroes would lost to the scientists, which would kick off the next arc, but luckily that didn’t happen. The villains were decently tough with one of them even looking like the ultimate Sinister, but Spiderman’s group has this. I don’t care for Cloak, but his powers do make him decently OP. (Overpowered) Spiderman’s venom shock still proves to come in handy in just about every fight and it’s a power that would really aid the original as well. It’s a great ability for escaping from a tough situation or for launching a quick attack.

This is Cloak and Dagger’s debut so it was interesting to see them. They both seemed like decently likable character before the switch. After that…I can’t say that they looked too good. Cloak went from being a respectable fellow who seemed like a very nice guy to someone who didn’t really care if he destroyed someone. He casually puts people into his cloak even though he knows that they could blow up or be seriously injured. Dagger seems more grounded in that respect as she wants vengeance, but not for it to be fatal, even if she hasn’t really thought about how to accomplish this. Cloak is certainly stronger since his all consuming cloak can really cause a lot of damage, but Dagger’s no lightweight either. The way that they quickly assumed that a metahuman was working with the villains was very iffy though. They seriously didn’t have much of an excuse to go after the bomb user.

Bombshell was easily a more likable character than Cloak and Dagger. She didn’t ask for these strange powers, but took them really well. She wasn’t panicking or on a quest for vengeance. Bombshell just kept on living her life like usual until she was attacked out of the blue. She doesn’t really have anywhere to go, but it seems like SHIELD’s got their eyes on her. Bombshell could certainly be a valuable asset to the team and was one of the heavy hitters here. Spider Woman’s role is mostly that of a mentor to Miles here. She finally lets him know that she was a clone of Peter Parker this whole time. Jessica Drew can certainly still fight and she does well against Taskmaster, but without Spiderman’s venom sting, she seems to be at a bit of a disadvantage in these fights. She needs some kind of extra edge, but her hand to hand experience will suffice against most opponents.

As for Miles, he’s still not the greatest of main characters for me. He’s not as bad as he was in other comics, but deciding to stop being a hero for a whole year is a little iffy. Particularly when he decides not to step in when Bombshell was getting double teamed by two new figures. It’s one thing to not actively suit up, but another to just watch as a fellow super human is being attacked. It feels like he is always wondering about whether he should tell his girlfriend that he is Spiderman or not. I reviewed the first graphic novel of the sequel series to this one so I can safely say that he does make a choice soon. His friend isn’t much help though and that guy’s pretty annoying. It doesn’t help that the comic decides to randomly have two characters tell Miles that his friend was actually never his friend and one thought that they were actually together. Why do we need to keep on adding politics to our comics? Miles denies this which is good, but I wouldn’t put it past the comics to try and make this happen. Let’s hope not. I don’t think Miles needs to be in a relationship with the girl either though. Comics don’t need romance, I just want to see some action. Now that Miles is finally back in costume, that should happen soon.

It’s always something to think about just how different this Ultimate Universe is. There’s no Peter Parker, but he’s actually known as a hero here. He managed to really help a lot of people in his final acts and even Jameson accepted him. There aren’t Avengers around typically and the X-Men are hard to find as well. The flip side is that super villains aren’t a regular occurrence like in 616 and the world isn’t ending every other week. It’s definitely a more grounded universe and it’s a fun alternate universe that has been developed. It’s just a shame that most of the titles typically aren’t that good.

I do hope that Miles tells his Dad about his secret identity soon though. The guy seems pretty reasonable and I’m pretty sure that he would take it well. Even if he doesn’t, Miles has SHIELD to fall back on, but at this point, he should probably consider that it’s a necessary step or he may end up having some regrets soon. With the drama mostly tucked away, I’m ready for some more action packed volumes coming up although this was the last one for this series so back to the sequel or to the older titles.

Overall, This was a solid Ultimate collection. A little light on action, but the final 2 issues had enough action to cover the volume. The first half’s drama wasn’t that bad either. It can be a little annoying to see Miles give up on the costume for a whole year though since that’s no small stretch of time. I like his Dad, but the other supporting characters aren’t so good. I can’t say that Gwen’s great here either, but Aunt May’s decent. It would be hard for her to be an unlikable character I suppose. Miles seems to be less overconfident now so in costume he’s good now. He just needs to work on the alter ego now. Writing out his friend from the series would be a great start. I’d recommend checking this volume out and it’s a good jumping on point if you’ve never read Ultimate before.

Overall 7/10

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Spider Men Review

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Yes, technically you would usually use a hyphen here, but I actually prefer not to use hyphens. It’s a bit of a personal preference. I saw this comic at the library a long time ago, but I didn’t have time to flip through it. I finally read it now and Spider Men is a fun crossover. There may not be a lot of action, but it’s always fun to see the 616 universe meet up with the Ultimate one. It’s safe to say that 616 proves its superiority in this volume.

Spiderman was beating up on Mysterio like usual when he got sucked into a portal which took him to the Ultimate universe. He was quickly subdued by that version of Spiderman and reluctantly decides to work with the Ultimates to get back to his universe. Is there a way back or is he stuck in this universe for the rest of eternity? It’s hard to say, but at least Spiderman can meet some of his old friends who are still alive in this universe.

As I already mentioned, there isn’t a lot of action here. It’s actually surprising that this was a whole 5 issues as it felt more like 2-3 by the end. It’s a fun way for Peter Parker to have a final meet up with Gwen and to also talk with Aunt May a little. It reminds you that the Ultimate universe definitely switched things up a lot when you consider Spiderman’s history. Gwen isn’t coming back in 616…ever, but we do have the Spider-Gwen series so she’ll still be around. That will also be a fun meet up…as long as Slott isn’t writing the comic.

I was a little disappointed with the fact that Miles defeated Spiderman. I mean..are you kidding me? I have nothing against Miles….well, I don’t really care for the guy all that much. His personality irks me a little, but beyond that, I don’t see how he could take down Spiderman. Miles has his own spider sense and venom blasts going, but Spiderman is physically stronger, I’d say that he’s faster, and it goes without saying that he has more experience. In the fight between the two Spidermen, they made Peter Parker look like a rookie. He got careless and it cost him big time when it came down to the fisticuffs. Even without prep time, I’m confident that the original Spiderman would win this round.

The art looks fairly good. Peter Parker looks a little off model, but the artist was likely just trying to point out just how much older Peter is when compared to the ultimate version of himself. It certainly is a contrast to see Peter next to the other characters. The art’s not great, but it’s fairly good. The action scenes are just a little stilted and everyone looks stiff. Marvel can learn a thing or two from looking at DC’s more streamlined art. Now, that’s how you suck the readers into the fight scenes!

Spiderman is still a likable lead even if he’s portrayed as being inexperienced and a little weak. He heads over to Aunt May’s house and then panics a lot as everyone beats him up. He keeps telling himself that he shouldn’t have come…but he is already there. It was a little late for the second guessing and Spiderman definitely overdid it. Still, as Spiderman, Peter Parker was a good character. He has the quips ready and he certainly did his best to make Mysterio look bad.

Miles is still a little annoying for me. Maybe it’s because he’s so young, but he constantly acts like he’s a big shot while pretending to be modest. Kind of hard to wrap you head around that right? It’s hard to explain, but that’s just the way it goes. Give him a few years of experience under his belt and I’m sure that Miles will grow up to be a likable character. He’ll certainly be better than good ole Mysterio.

Mysterio looked pretty weak and helpless, which is what I would expect from the guy. He’s not quite in the same league as the average Spiderman villain. I did like the twist that there never was an Ultimate Mysterio and the real one just used a robot to troll the characters in the other universe. Now, that’s the kind of plot twist that I like to see although I need to check out his older appearances to see if this twist really lines up or if it was just made up for the lolz.

I do think that there were some missed opportunities here though. Think about it, there’s so much potential about having the original Spiderman in the ultimate universe. Extending this arc to around 20 issues would have been great. Spiderman could have fought some of the villains and interacted with the supporting cast members a little more. We could have really seen the contrast between this world and 616. The fact that everyone considers Peter to be a hero in Ultimate is a plot line that could easily hold 5-6 issues by itself. It’s awesome to see since Peter will never have such a rep in 616.

There was one moment where I felt like there was a lot of plot hax. Mysterio was in a room with the Ultimates and the two Spidermen. The heroes just watch as he gets up and whacks Spiderman over the head. Talk about slow reaction times right? Luckily, Miles was ready to challenge Mysterio and take him down for the count. Also, the comic tries really hard to show us that the Tony Stark in this universe is not even close to as smart as the main one. He can barely even comprehend the universe travelling tech and we know how much the heroes like to universe hop in 616. He also seems a little more sinister, which would fit when you consider how Ultimate Reed Richards acts. The Ultimates definitely aren’t earning their keep so maybe they should have tried harder to recruit Spiderman into the fold. Also, does this mean that the Mysterio will never appear again? That would be awesome, but it probably doesn’t matter all that much with the big Secret Wars arc that’s currently happening in the comics.

Overall, Spider Men was a fun little crossover. The hype was deserved since this was really the first time that the two universes had a proper meeting. From here on out, the meetings would certainly get larger in scope. The comic could have used a better villain as Mysterio is super overused, but I was pleased with the fact that the heroes could effortlessly beat him. If they needed to actually try to beat someone like this, they would have been better off giving up right away! If you’re a big Spiderman fan, then you should check this comic out. If you don’t care about Spiderman, then that’ll certainly hurt your chances of really enjoying the collection and then you should just take a pass on it. Either way, it’s an enjoyable/quick experience and you won’t be losing much time if you decide to give it a whirl. With this, you will be ready for the Secret Wars and the battle between Ultimate and 616 that nearly happened, but mostly finished off screen. It was still a moment of incredible hype and you’ll need to track down the Free Comic Book Day issue to find it.

Overall 7/10

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider Man Volume 1: Revival Review

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I haven’t read a lot of Ultimate comics compared to their 616 counterparts, but I could clearly see why it was known as a missed opportunity. The concept behind the Ultimate Universe was great. The characters would undergo a reboot and we could take a step away from the complex threats of multiversal scale for a little while. After all, how can Scorpion be a threat when Spider Man consistently fights foes like Thanos and the Phoenix? Unfortunately, the universe couldn’t live up to the hype. The Fantastic Four comics weren’t bad and the Spider Man ones were a bright spot amidst all of this. Here, we get to meet the new Spider Man!

The graphic novel brings the final Ultimate Spiderman issue before we launch into the first 5 issues of Miles’ new series. (I believe that this is already his second one) Miles is still learning to cope with his identity as a super hero as it is a tough job. He decides to tell his friend so there are no secrets between them, but she doesn’t take it too well. Things go from bad to worse for him as Peter Parker (Is it really him!) comes back from the grave and wants to be Spiderman again. Not to mention that the original Green Goblin is also back and he wants to destroy both of them.

You can see why things are a little tough on Miles right now. It’s certainly a lot to take in. Miles has a lot of fans, but I have to say that I’m really not one of them. His personality is just unappealing to me. For starters, I feel like he is constantly in shock and quickly starts swearing at every opportunity. This is a Bendis comic so it happens constantly by many different characters. All of the words are censored of course, but it’s still rather unnecessary and just shows us that Miles has a potty mouth. It makes it hard to identify with him as a character and likewise, it can be hard to root for him.

Handing out his secret identity so casually just doesn’t seem like a good move. He’s new to the superhero gig so some mistakes are to be expected, but he also tries to sound tough and/or confident, which is a mix that really doesn’t work. His Venom’s sting is certainly a good ability to have though and he’s a decent fighter. I’m sure that he could take on a lot of the opponents that the real Spiderman has faced throughout the years. He is not as strong as Spiderman physically, but his other abilities help to even the playing field.

He has two friends, who serve as supporting characters throughout this ordeal. One of them freaks out when she learns about Miles being Spiderman and it is certainly a cringe worthy scene. I don’t think people would react like that in real life and especially not in a world where superheroes are at every corner. I just don’t see it, maybe if Miles had said that he was the Kingpin or something, but certainly not for being Spiderman. As for the other friend, he is really just a generic friend. There’s really nothing to say about him and I don’t care for the character.

The Ultimate Universe may have a lot of heroes like the 616 one, but not nearly as many. As such, the civilians seem to have responded to them much differently. People actually don’t seem to fear Spiderman and they looked to him as a hero at one point. The cops are still trying to capture them and do their jobs of course, but it is an improvement. The universe is also a lot more down to Earth so you could almost call Spiderman a heavy hitter here. Gwen Stacy is still alive, which is a major change and just about everyone was friends with Spiderman. I definitely wouldn’t trade this universe for 616, but it does remind you of how the universe once held so much potential.

When Spiderman died, I’m sure that Ultimate fans were fairly disappointed. The final issue of the run is included in this collection as everyone attends the funeral and thinks about what could have been. I already read that one during Free Comic Book Day a while back, but it was still interesting to check out once again. With the “Revival” happening in this collection, that was surely going to be a big chance to the Marvel universe. Could it possibly be the real Spiderman or is it all a trick? I have a feeling that this is a fake, but at least he seems to be cool so far.

Peter is fairly unreasonable when he first appears though. He just barges into the house and tells Miles that the real Spiderman is back. This sounds nothing like the Peter Parker that we have known for so many years, which is sketchy. At least he does come back to help out against the Green Goblin and he looks tough enough to be the real deal. He handles the threat well and doesn’t fight against the cops. If the true Spiderman is back, then it’s a bright day for the ultimate universe.

The second half of the comic really stepped it up as the action scenes were a lot of fun. We also got to see the Green Goblin again and he proved why he is one of Spiderman’s greatest villains. Even 2 on 1, he was putting up a great fight and he hadn’t been prepared. For round 2, things could get hairy for the heroes, unless Jameson’s plan ended up succeeding. It was a fairly shocking ending and it’s hard to see how Osborn would be able to react in time, but that could be a reaction time feat. Miles is also about to get some “answers” from Peter, which should be interesting.

There’s a lot of ways that the comic can go with this so it will be interesting to see what happens. Right now, the series is mainly lacking in the characters department. Adding in someone likable and experienced like Spiderman could really help to shake things up. That being said, Spiderman has to actually be likable so we’ll see if that ends up being the case here. If not, then it certainly defeats the purpose. I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Green Goblin and the Ultimates should have something to say about Spiderman being back unless they’re currently gone. I think it was mentioned that Captain America may have vanished or something like that. I know that the Galactus event already happened, but I know almost nothing about it beyond the fact that Shadowcat had a big fight with him.

There’s even a reference to the Secret Wars event as the cops think that someone is crazy when she starts to babble about it. It’s a neat bit of foreshadowing as this comic came out quite a while ago I believe. If the Ultimate Universe had acted on this knowledge they could have thrown the 616 guys for a loop. I suppose that the cops just didn’t realize how important those vague references were at the time.

While the writing may not be up to snuff, the art is decently good. Only decently though as it really varies and some pages do end up looking pretty bad. The artist has trouble with the faces at times so the battle scenes are what stands out. The big fight with Goblin was a lot of fun to look at. Hopefully, the art will improve in the next one, but it’s still clear enough that you can easily tell what is going on and follow along with the action. The faces may just make you smirk at times.

Overall, Revival is a solid Spider Man story. Seeing the original Spiderman meet up with the new one was something that we had been waiting for. We got to go one better in Spider Men and in the Ultimate Spiderman TV show, but this got to be a pure Ultimate meet up. I don’t know if I’ll be checking out another Ultimate comic for quite a while, but at least I got to add another one to my reading history. As far as alternate universes go, Ultimate was definitely fleshed out more than most. It simply didn’t work and a reboot of it will probably be necessary. At the end, a new FF series for Ultimate was being teased so maybe that will end up being good. It’s hard to hold out too much hope for it, but you never know right? I recommend this comic if you want a quick action story and don’t really need much of a deep plot behind it. Then, you’re all set for some fiery action! (No guest stars showing up when the heroes are fighting Goblin in front of such a large crowd in a public neighborhood is a little sad, but most of the heroes may be busy at the moment since the Ultimate Universe is always in the middle of a fight somewhere)

Overall 7/10

Guardians of The Galaxy/All New X Men The Trial of Jean Grey Review

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It’s time to look at the recent crossover between these two series. It has always been a smart decision to have two series collaborate on their own mini arc. Marvel and DC have been doing this for decades at this point and the formula continues to work. You also don’t have to wait quite as long to finish an event since it is essentially getting double speed until it finishes. I recently finished a volume in the All New X Men series so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle this galactic mission!

The title is actually pretty self explanatory to the plot though. The Shiar has found out about the original X Men arriving on the present. Gladiator realizes that this is his chance to make his people look good so he decides to attack Earth and kidnap Jean Grey. Realizing that a frontal assault against the strongest planet in the multiverse would be a bad idea, he attacks during the night and kidnaps her. The X Men are dazed and confused, but luckily the Guardians of The Galaxy show up. The X Men decide to hitch a ride with them and head off to stop Gladiator before they can execute the telepath. Will they make it in time!

The X Men felt out of their depth in their own series and that is also the case here. Gone are the days where the X Men were a force to be reckoned with. Skism and AVX really changed things for them. If Wolverine and Storm were around that would help, but Shadowcat is really the only adult member at the moment. This means that the classic members have to do a lot of the heavy lifting as well and they simply aren’t cut out for this. It’s safe to say that they would have been doomed if the Guardians hadn’t shown up and I don’t even think that the Guardians are that tough. They are certainly not as imposing as they think they are.

Cyclops tries to act as the commanding leader for the team, but only once in a while. He does make threats to the villains on how he will destroy them, but considering his current level of power…I don’t really see him going very far. Still, he is still a good ally to have and he sticks by his friends. Jean Grey certainly hasn’t made it easy for him. That being said, Cyclop’s final decision isn’t the best one, how can he protect his team if he’s on another planet? At least he won’t have to worry about the Avengers messing with him anymore.

The Beast, Angel, and Iceman are really just around for levity. They certainly don’t do well during the fights and they don’t have much of a role in this arc. Angel already got his development though so we’re just waiting on the other two. Jean Grey naturally gets a large focus here and I’m glad that she made the right call in not surrendering. Just saying that she was guilty and waiting to be executed would have been a pretty lousy decision. Instead, she harnessed her powers and managed to take on Gladiator. Her new abilities will certainly come in handy for the upcoming battles and maybe she’ll get even stronger. She really needs to put a handle on her telepathy though. Constantly reading everyone’s minds is a sure way to destroy the trust between teammates.

X 23 is a part of the X Men roster this time, but her role is very small. The characters even joke about it as one of them forgot that she was on the journey. I consider her to be one of the stronger members of this X Men roster so hopefully she will get more action next time. From the Guardians Roster, Angela, Gamora, and Drax would be considered as the heavy hitters. The thing is..they simply aren’t very strong.

For Drax, he has been unimpressive ever since his latest retcon/design. Gone are the days where he could go toe to toe against powerhouses like the Hulk and Thor. I really miss those days as I also preferred his design back then. He’s all talk in the current comics. It’s hard to gauge Angela and Gamora’s strength as they mostly just fight minions. I’m inclined to say that they could probably take out most of the current X Men members,m but they’re still not ready to go up against Gladiator. Still, they’re good characters. As per usual, I’m not a fan of Groot. His gimmick gets old very quickly and he is rarely helpful in a fight. Rocket’s always cool though as he constantly insults allies and enemies alike.

As for Jean Grey’s execution, it may be obvious by now, but I would naturally say that she is innocent.
You certainly can’t be found guilty of something that your future self did. Especially considering that you now know about it and can likely avoid it happening. (Moot point here thanks to the time travel element of course) It’s always an interesting debate of whether you should arrest or destroy someone if you know that they will eventually commit a large crime. I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of an arrest, but that’s a deeper talk than this review requires. Needless to say, the Shiar would essentially be murdering an innocent person in their mistaken quest for justice and that’s why they have never been considered as heroes.

There are certainly a lot of sub plots here that hint at things to come. Thanos is missing so naturally his next plan will be coming soon. Star Lord’s dad seems to want to stir up as much trouble as possible and the Badoon are also getting ready. Meanwhile, I wonder how the Supreme Intelligence will handle the situation. He was against the trial as he seems to be the most intelligent member of the group. Since the Shiar broke the truce not to go to Earth, I expect him to hopefully retaliate in some way. The Kree don’t simply back away when there is a fight!

The art is good for the comic. It’s at about the same level as the other All New X Men graphic novel. This means that the art typically looks good and it’s certainly very clear, but there will be moments when the characters just look off model. It’s not too distracting, but it still keeps me from calling the art very good. The important thing is that it will keep you engaged in the comic though.

As this is Bendis, the writing isn’t exactly spectacular. That being said, we’re certainly not at Dan Slott level and the comic maintains a fun atmosphere throughout. The slang and comic relief can get to be a bit much at times, but we do have to accept the fact that Bendis is working with two teams who are comprised of comedy characters. Iceman, Angel, Beast, Star Lord, Rocket, etc. Put them all in the same room and things are bound to get dicey!

The collection is slightly longer than the average one, but still makes for a short and sweet read. If I had to name a negative, it would be that the All New X Men are too easily impressed. I already went into it in my earlier All New X Men review, but they seem a little too naive, young, and easily impressed. They are still X Men so I expect them to cope with these kinds of situations a little easier. Is it really strange to see a talking tree and raccoon? I don’t think that they should really be shocked about this. When the Shiar attacked with their foot soldiers, I also think that the X Men should have won. How can you lose to foot soldiers?

Also, is it just me or did the comic have a lot of fun bashing Earth? Apparently, we have geniuses like Bruce Banner, The Wizard, Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Peter Parker, but we can’t make spaceships that can move nearly as fast as just about any other race. If not for the Guardians arriving, we apparently don’t have the tech necessary to reach their solar system in time. I find that a little hard to buy as our tech should certainly be able to stand up to theirs. Considering how many alien ships we’ve claimed after failed inventions, we could have reverse engineered all of the necessary parts to make an even better ship. Hopefully we’re just holding back!

Overall, This was a fun team up between the two teams. The heroes are lucky that Jean Grey is a powerhouse now because they definitely are lacking in strength. Ordinarily, I’d assume that Gladiator could essentially take on both teams by himself. We’ll see how long the cosmic interlopers can keep their hands off of Earth. Hopefully the Guardians can protect it, but I really don’t see how. They have sensors that warn them whenever someone attacks Earth, but it’s not like they can just outrace every space vehicle. They need better defenses or this is going to happen again. I recommend checking out this collection as it is a fun action story. There are quite a few references to Jean Grey’s original days as the Phoenix for old fans and you will get to decide if you think Jean Grey is innocent or guilty. Hint, she is innocent!

Overall 7/10