It's almost hard to remember what a character-focused story looks like for Marvel. Looking over recent posts, it's clear to me the extent to which cross-over events have warped almost every series that I read. "Original Sin." "Avengers & X-Men: Axis." "Spider-Verse." "The Black Vortex." "Convergence." "Secret Wars." Then, you're got the high-concept events within series, like "Endgame" in "Batman" or the original X-Men's adventures in the Ultimate universe that we just had in this title. It's almost like the one-and-done character study is a relic of the past.
But, I'm glad to say that Bendis revives it here to great success. The relationship between Emma and young Jean is definitely the most interesting development coming from the original X-Men switching sides, and Bendis takes the time to explore it fully here. Emma decides that Jean needs to develop her telekinesis (as opposed to her telepathy), a skill that she thinks that Xavier purposefully dampened in Jean (for reasons that she doesn't make clear). As such, she takes her to Madripoor, strips her of her telepathy, and sends her after the Blob for selling MGH.
Jean Grey versus the Blob isn't really a battle that I would say that fans demanded, but Del Mundo makes me realize that we should have. It's one of the most kinetic battle sequences that I've ever read. It goes exactly as Emma planned, with Jean forced to push her telekinesis beyond its limits. With the Blob successfully defeated, Emma encourages Jean to stop holding back her powers for fear of a darkness inside her that Emma doesn't believe exists. Then, the walk into the sunset together, taking the long way home.
If only comics could be like this one more often...
(Also, this issue is also a great example of pet peeve #2, since it's all about Emma and Jean, but it has Bobby and Hank on the cover.)
***** (five of five stars)