This is a story that I know very well. The Phoenix has always been my favourite superhero character, so I have been familiar with her life and death for a long time. When I saw this graphic novel, I knew that it would make a good addition to my collection.
Jean Grey had an awesome power from the moment of her birth, but she was never completely sure of it until her later years. Once she was able to harness her power and use it to save the X-Men and the man that she loved, she was given the greatest gift of all - being the power of the entity known as The Phoenix. The force become a replica of Jean in every way, including the emotional and human aspects of her own personality. It is the presence of this humanity that leads to the collapse into insanity, the destruction of a world and ultimately, the sacrifice of her life to save the universe. This force destroys itself as a result of Jean's emotions that were replicated, giving it no choice but to disallow the destruction of the universe at its hand.
But this collection does not follow the obtaining of the Phoenix power. Instead it follows the story of Jean's resurrection. The real Jean.
This collection is split into three titles: Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Factor. Through the story lines of these different groups, the intertwined story of Jean's resurrection and rebirth is told. All groups connect with each other to discover the mystery of the life at the bottom of Jamaica Bay - a life that was thought to be extinguished many years prior in a brilliant fit of selflessness. The teams soon realize the truth of Jean and her immense power, as well as the realization that she was never really dead. This realization is also clouded by the understanding that this force that embodied her - the Phoenix force - is something that can never really die, as a result of its lack of a physical body. It is an entity stronger then the X-Men, the Avengers or the Fantastic Four. And this entity has found a home in the body, spirit and mind of Jean Grey. Although it does not erupt forth from her, or return to its home in her being, the presence of the Phoenix is something that is understood by all of the teams within this collection.
I think that the thing I loved most about this collection was the different perspectives of the story of Jean's resurrection. Her story moves seamlessly through three separate perspectives, and it is through this that the reader becomes aware of her awesome influence over the mutant world, and the universe as a whole. Her life is not relevant to just the X-Men, but instead she becomes important to more superhero teams in the world. Her power is emphasized in a story that is only meant to tell of her resurrection and the ensuing confusion she feels from the coma she nested in for many years. Instead, even in her weakest form, Jean is able to embody a power greater than any of the other mutants on Earth and beyond.
It wouldn't make sense for me to give this collection anything less than a 5/5. I love the Phoenix story, and there is no way that I can expect anything less than incredible from her. The artwork detailed and the dialogue is typical for graphic novels, making it an enjoyable and easy read. If this collection is found to be as brilliant for you as it is for me, I recommend tracking down the Dark Phoenix Saga. Both are powerful collections that tell the tale of the strongest Marvel character.