Rachel Grey aka Marvel Girl and daughter of deceased X-Man Jean Grey has finally been accepted by the family of her late mother. She prepares to meet all of her relatives during a family reunion. While Rachel spends time with the family, the X-Men are still dealing with the after effects of the Scarlet Witch depowering more than 90% of the mutant population. -summary
Uncanny X-Men: The New Age Volume 4 - End of Greys continues the legendary Chris Claremonts run on the title. Many people will have you believe that Claremont is the undisputed king when it comes down to penning the X-Men (especially those who last touched a comic some time back in the early 90's, but pretend they know such much about today's comics thanks to the almighty wiki!). Well back in the 80's you wouldn't get any argument from me at all. Unfortunately, in the 2000's I wouldn't hesitate to say his fans are just living off his past accomplishments. End of Greys is probably the best story during this run but that's not really saying anything, and on its own, well it isn't all that great either. It begins with a bang and then begins to fizzle out due to some bad story elements and artwork. It's also said this story is necessary before going into Uncanny X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire. That's possible if you're a hardcore X-Men fan, other than that you can skip this story in favor of X-Men: Deadly Genesis, since I would say that book is really essential towards Rise and Fall. This TPB collects Uncanny X-Men 466 - 471.
The plot begins when the Shi'ar Empire target the Grey family for extinction to rid the universe of the Grey/Dark Phoenix genome, due to Jean Grey being linked to the Dark Phoenix at one point. During the Dark Phoenix Sagawhich took place in the 80's, the Phoenix wreaked some serious havoc, thus becoming an inter-galactic threat as the being to "End All There Is". This takes place in the first three stories.
Claremont as I mentioned many times before isn't what he use to be, his stories seem to have too much of a familiar feel reminiscent of the 80's. Some people actually like that, but at times his dialog feels so outdated and plots way too predictable. This isn't exactly the case here though, because he kicks things off very well when he keeps the focus on Rachel. She's the showstealer here, and the reader will understand her struggle trying to get to know family members she knew were killed in her timeline. Plus the fact she feels so alien to them since the X-Men are the only family she ever knew. While Claremont handles this well for the most part, the book would have been so much better had it dropped many of the current story-related elements and focused on Rachel forming a bond with her family. Once tragedy begins to strike, it just feels like things are happening only to move the story along. Many people are going to feel the situation is horrible, but I doubt they will feel much of an emotional connection.
Another thing I must point out, is that Claremont constantly reminds the reader Rachel's situation, as well as a small recap of her origin; with her being from one of the X-Men's possible futures, and a survivor of the Sentinel death camps. It may seem quite repetitive when reading it as a collection, but when you look at the fact these issues were done monthly it actually works out. This is something many writers forget because these days they assume people are going to pick up the TPB's at all times. So many of these issues hold up well on their own.
The second story follows Rachel as she deals with the aftermath of the attack on her family by the Shi'ar, as well as being branded with a tattoo they can use to locate her at any time. In addition to building future storylines with one taking place with Storm and Wolverine in Africa, as they attempt to deal with a mutant-hating group leaving a trail of death behind them. This portion is more character driven which really isn't a bad thing, as you're kind of left to wonder the emotional state Rachel is left in; you're not sure if she's going to become more blood thirsty towards the Shi'ar or not, and when looking at her upbringing from the world she came from plus being raised again by the X-Men, and with all the recent stress, the suspense is kind of there. The only problem I really have with the storytelling is the mindless fan service. There really are just too many "teases" in regards to Psylocke barely wearing anything to the point where I wish the character stayed dead. It's as if she's not good for anything else other than eye candy, and the fan service clashes with the depressing atmosphere Claremont wants to set.
My biggest pet peeve with this book though is Chris Bacholo's artwork during the first half. There are moments when the artwork doesn't exactly reflect the inner monologue at all and you'll find yourself searching for character deaths that aren't even there. To include the artwork is just too dark some times making the action hard to see, and again, the tasteless fanservice I just find so annoying. Billy Tan does a better job with sharper designs beginning with issue 469. I like a great amount of the facial designs, the only problem I can think of is the less than average action.
In closing, End of Greysis another storyline considered essential during the 2004 - 2010 Modern Marvel run. Personally, I think you can skip this one altogether, and since it's out of print and being price gouged like crazy, well, that's just another reason to go for something else because it's not worth more than cover price. Unless you're a die hard X-Men fan don't even bother.
Pros: -Some interesting elements
Cons: -Some bad artwork and bad story elements
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