by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The best idea in Dennis Hopeless and Harvey Tolibao’s Jean Grey 4 is that the Odinson teaches via stories — quite often rambling, drunken ones. It’s an ingenius use of the character, exploiting both his greatest strengths and weaknesses, but unfortunately for an issue about teaching lessons, the moral never fully comes together.
The Odinson delivers Jean a lesson on strategy near the end of the issue that’s actually quite sound.
I hope Jean walks away from the issue with this information tucked away in the back of her mind, but it’s far from the issue’s focus — Odinson even imparts this wisdom via monologue instead of an illustrated story, of which there are several throughout the issue. Instead, both Hopeless and Jean herself seem more concerned by Jean’s newfound ability to create a psychic hammer.
This power doesn’t come out of nowhere — it recalls Psylocke’s use of her psychic abilities, as well as this incarnation of Jean’s own ability to combine her telekinesis and telepathy into a pink energy as seen in Bendis’ All-New X-Men run — but it doesn’t seem anywhere near as significant as Jean and Hopeless make it out to be. Why would a psychic hammer be useful against the Phoenix? Hell, why would it even be all that useful against the orcs Jean battles in this issue — surely her telekinesis would be more effective? It’s not exactly like Jean’s a trained melee combatant.
Plus, for all the fuss this issue makes about Odinson teaching via stories, his tales don’t actually seem to impart any real lessons. His first — a tale of his and Loki’s foolish youthful lust for battle — could be warning Jean about tangling with the Phoenix at all, but that’s not a lesson Odinson or Hopeless ever expound upon, and the second tale — Thor’s battle against a Frost Giant — seems to have no moral other than “magic hammers win battles.” That’s a strange moral even keeping Jean’s psychic hammer in mind — it certainly doesn’t have the power Mjolnir does — plus I have to wonder how the Odinson would even know that Jean is capable of such a feat in the first place. Yet, if he wasn’t, why was he even telling the tale in the first place?
Jean’s hammer does not at all feel like the logical endpoint of Odinson’s tales and lessons, and that muddles an otherwise fun issue.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?