In the hours before Jean Grey’s trial, a lot of history is explored.
Scott Summers reunites with his thought-to-be-deceased father Christopher Summers, aka Corsair leader of the Starjammers. The exchange is awkward as Scott learns about the fate of his mother and the relationship between Corsair and his present children.
Interestingly enough, Vulcan’s never mentioned.
It’s a lot for Scott to handle, and he retreats to his quarters where he’s comforted by Laura Kinney.
Meanwhile, members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard discuss their theories about the missing ship which was actually destroyed last issue by the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Gladiator remains confident the ship will turn up, though other members believe it’s no coincidence that it’s disappeared. Oracle expresses heavy concern — she believes Gladiator’s kidnapping of Jean Grey is a declaration of war against Earth’s mutants.
“They would come for her.”
It seems the Shi’ar have a healthy respect for the X-Men, and there’s foreshadowing — or at least a hope — of action to come.
As for Jean Grey, the day of her trial is an emotional roller coaster that starts with Oracle acting as Grey’s counsel. Gladiator begins the trial with an opening statement and video of the Phoenix’s destruction of an inhabited planet.
With only two more issues left — we’re four in, and the trial has just begun — I’m not sure how this will play out. Guardians of the Galaxy #12 has a lot of drama that looks like set up for the remaining two chapters, but it’s a slow sort of burn. We get a potential romance between Kitty Pryde and Peter Quill, more relationship building between Scott and Laura, and King J’Son announcing he can’t stand by now that his son is involved.
I’m hoping the next two chapters aren’t a rush to the finish as the last few crossovers have been. Brian Michael Bendis was involved on both AvX and Battle of the Atom, and both of those began with a great premise only to lose steam and disappoint. I wouldn’t count Bendis out — he is still a great storyteller who’s shown an intimate knowledge of these characters, and it ain’t over until the Groot sings.
Sara Pichelli’s pencils are amazing, and she is soldifying herself as one of the best artists in the business. There’s only a spot of action this issue which means there’s an emphasis on body language and expression because of all the dialogue. It’s pretty much pitch perfect except for the very last panel of Jean Grey which, compared to the rest of the art, is a little underwhelming as the last image readers will see as they wait for All-New X-Men #24 to release.
Stuart Immonen pencils Jean Grey’s meeting with Oracle before the trial, and his art is rendered beautifully in his own style. Immonen captures the scope of the trial with a double-page spread showing one perspective of the audience, and he gets a lot of mileage from the few pages he’s given.
That there are two different versions of Jean Grey in the same issue delivered by two different artists is a little jarring, but if it had to be done, it’s acceptable because we get to see Immonen and Pichelli at work here.
Pichelli’s inks on her pages are crisp and clean and possibly the reason she didn’t draw the entire issue. There’s a certain polish to Pichelli’s artwork and part of that is due to Justin Ponsor’s textured colors that add cheekbones and dimension through shading. The colors are intense yet subtle, and they’re well worth a closer look for potential colorists looking for work to emulate.
Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks on Immonen’s pages are not to be outdone, and he’s got plenty of work cut out for him thanks to the amount of detail and lighting. Ponsor’s colors here take a much darker turn, and they add some heavy atmosphere.
Guardians of the Galaxy #12 looks great and builds anticipation for the next chapter, though it seems more like the calm before the storm compared to the other chapters. There’s drama and conflict, but it feels more like a plateau than a peak, and one hopes the next issue runs full steam ahead with the ideas planted here in this issue.
The trial has begun, but with the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy nearby, there’s a possibility this trial of the galaxy could lead to more than a hung jury — if you know what I mean.
Guardians of the Galaxy #12 (2013)
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Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Sara Pichelli and Stuart Immonen
Inks: Sara Pichelli and Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Cory Petit
Previous Issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #11 Review