The All-New X-Men are feared, hated and despised – and that’s by some of their fellow mutants. After the events of X-Men: Battle of the Atom, the heroes of All-New X-Men – the original five X-Men, displaced in time from their humble beginnings – are pushed out on their own and are, from what we learned at New York Comic-Con, heading in space. But as it turns out, they’re going out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire as Marvel convenes “The Trial of Jean Grey.”
It all starts in January’s All-New X-Men #22 when the interstellar empire known as the Shi’ar abduct the teenage Jean Grey in order that she stand trial for the world-killing actions of the Phoenix Force, an extraterrestrial entity inextricably tied to Grey which in her future – our past – decimated numerous worlds across the universe. Adventures in space might be routine for most Marvel heroes, but these X-Men younglings are quite new to the job – plucked in time from their early days during Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s run onX-Men. Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe says their inexperience makes this venture into space even more gripping.
“Oh yes. This is going to be a wonderful mix of characters who have never even really dreamed of going into space being confronted with both space-travel and alien civilizations!” Lowe tells Newsarama. “This is nuts to the young original X-Men. They view space as a dark mysterious place that they never thought they’d go. Except for maybe Cyclops who probably hoped to be an astronaut one day.”
According to Lowe, this setting-change for All-New X-Men fits in will the recent attention Earth has been getting from alien empires -- and not just the Shi’ar.
“If you look at what’s been going on regarding Earth and the citizens of Earth in Guardians of the Galaxy then it shouldn’t be much of a stretch to know that this will be wide-ranging,” Lowe explains. “If there were any broccoli people left, they’d be the first to cast a stone.”
The “broccoli people” as Lowe refers to them, were an alien race whose planet was decimated by the Phoenix Force and whose murder led to the Shi’ar bringing Jean Grey to trial once before in an Uncanny X-Menarc titled “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” That trial led to the apparent death of Jean Grey, so seeing a younger Jean Grey back amongst the living is alarming for the Sh’iar – and alarming for Grey herself, as you can imagine. But despite the huge onus on Jean Grey given her connection to the Phoenix Force, it hasn’t quite sunk in for her fellow time-displaced teammates what her dark destiny holds for her.
“The rest of the kids don’t really know the ins and outs of what becomes of them,” Lowe says .”That will be spelled out pretty darned clearly as we move forward. But even Jean hasn’t really had to face what future-her did.”
But as it turns out, these young X-Men aren’t alone; the team will find themselves alongside Marvel’s resident space-faring team the Guardians of the Galaxy. This six-part “Trial of Jean Grey” crossover brings All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy in alignment as the two series, both written by Brian Michael Bendis, go back and forth three issues each to tell this story. And in addition to a Marvel-style team-up, the All-New X-Men have a new member – the female Wolverine clone, X-23, who paradoxically becomes the most experienced member of the team
“X-23 fits in the team really awkwardly which is the fun part!” Lowe exclaims. “She’s very different from the rest of them with a hugely different background and very sharp claws.”
“The Trial of Jean Grey” is part of a long-term plan Bendis and Marvel have for these time-displaced mutants. According to Lowe, it was in the plans officially as early as the second issue of All-New X-Men back in the summer of 2012 but “concrete” planning of the story began last spring.
And although Lowe was reticent to reveal who exactly would be doing the judging in the “Trial of Jean Grey,” he did reveal some of his own personal suggestions.
“I kept pushing Brian to use Judge Wapner and Judge Judy,” Lowe says jokingly,” but he’s set on using aliens.”