|This will also be the cover for the trade.|
This obviously throws a monkey wrench into the teenage lovers' relationship, but before they can cope with it, a covert Shi'ar strike force attacks the X-Men and whisks Jean away. The Guardians show up soon after the kidnapping, in response to the alien force messing with Earth affairs.
|Uncanny timing, guys.|
The issue also marks the departure of Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) from the story line, as he sends the Guardians a message from Earth thanking them for allowing him to be a part of the team. Thus, Brian Michael Bendis ties up what could have been a confusing loose end.
The Guardians are alarmed and move to action when an alien ship enters Earth's atmosphere, and from there their story ties into the X-Men's. They team up to track down Jean and her kidnappers, during which they meet up with the Starjammers—a group of space pirates led by Cyclops' long lost father. You can imagine the interaction between young Cylcops and his father, who had already reconnected with his son years before.
While the three teams are on their quest, Jean is made ready for her tribunal, but the tribunal is interrupted by King J'son of Spartax when he tries to reason with Gladiator about the trial's absurdity. The X-Men, Guardians, and Starjammers eventually make it to the Shi'ar throne world where Jean is being held, and a huge battle erupts between the heroes and the Shi'ar Royal Guards. Young Jean discovers and uses a new power—one never exhibited by the deceased Jean—to bring the battle to a stalemate. She ends up leaving with her friends after Cyclops threatens to bring the Earth's entire population of superpowered beings down on Gladiator and the Shi'ar if they ever come to Earth again. The teams part ways at the end of the story arc, with Cyclops joining his father and the Starjammers, and Kitty hooking up with Peter Quill for a long-distance relationship.
The biggest hurdle this story presented for me was making me care about an X-Men story. I'm not a huge X-Men fan; I've never read a single X-Men title, and I've never cared about any of the characters. I know the gist of the Dark Phoenix Saga, however—you kind of pick up on these things as a comic book geek—and I've watched every X-Men film Fox has produced, so I'm not completely unaware of these characters. Once again, though, Bendis successfully pulled me into a property I had very little interest in, albeit temporarily and for this story arc only.
|Holy crap, that's a lot of characters.|
As strong as Jean and Cyclops' in-your-face young romance was, it was Angela and Gamora's developing, quasi-romantic warrior's relationship that really took the cake for me. (Sorry, Peter and Kitty.) Drax suffered the most in this crossover, in my opinion, as his development took a back seat to that of the characters at the center of the story. He may have had one moment with X-23, but it wasn't enough for me to regard him as an integral member of the Guardians.
|If Deadpool gets to marry someone, why can't Angela and Gamora marry, too?|
Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey gets 5 stars out of 5 for both the story and the art, making this the second Guardians of the Galaxy volume to receive a perfect rating from yours truly, despite all odds. Seriously, if you plan on reading Guardians of the Galaxy from trade to trade, don't pass up on this one just because of the crossover stigma most geeks suffer from. Pick this book up!
If you're both an X-Men and a Guardians fan, what did you think of this volume? Let me know in the comments section below. I'm definitely looking forward to writing my next Guardians of the Galaxy review in a few months, because that's when Captain Marvel and Agent Venom join the team! Yay!