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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Audio Book Review: The Dark Phoenix Saga

September 29, 2020
Author: Stuart Moore
Narrator: Nancy Wu
Publisher: Marvel
Listening Length 11 hours and 34 minutes
Piloting a shuttle through a deadly solar flare, Jean Grey saves the X-Men, but is possessed by one of the universe's most powerful forces - the Phoenix. As she adapts to her new powers, the mutant team launches an assault against the clandestine organization known as the Hellfire Club. Once inside, however, Jean is tricked by the villain Mastermind into betraying her teammates. She becomes first the Hellfire Club's Black Queen and then Dark Phoenix, as the power to destroy worlds bursts forth uncontrolled. 

Shooting into deep space, Jean destroys an entire star system, then encounters a cruiser piloted by the spacefaring race the Shi'ar. When the cruiser is obliterated, the Shi'ar queen decrees that the Phoenix must die. But only the X-Men can hope to stop Dark Phoenix and save Jean Grey.

I’ve been an X-Men fan since I was a kid. I watched the original animated series and practically every animated spin-off and reimagining that has come out. I’ve watched all the films, good or bad, and will always say Hugh Jackman is my Wolverine and Jean Grey is my favorite character.

But can you believe I’ve NEVER read The Dark Phoenix Saga? I’ve never had the chance until now! Before I continue, I have to state that the audiobook version that I am reviewing is the novel form (by Stuart Moore) of the original comics (story by Chris Claremont and art by John Byrne). It has been updated to reflect more modern times, most noticeably the use of cell phones and computers.

I enjoyed the story very much. Being a Jean Grey fan, I loved getting to know a character that has been pushed into the background for many years despite her having incredible powers. In fact, this “modern” version of the story has Jean acknowledging and becoming frustrated at being controlled by the people around her, especially Scott. Which I always thought was a reason he wasn’t a good match for her. Scott himself even has an “aha” moment where he realizes Jean is her own person with dreams and wishes he didn’t know about (Really Scott? It took you that long?). He does try to change his ways, but I feel that it wasn’t even a priority to “update” Scott. He has moments of reverting to his old behaviors and never really makes a true effort to be a better man.

I loved being able to take a more thorough walk, so to speak, with Jean as she becomes more assertive, more dangerous, and more accepting of her powers. I think that the story had more potential to delve into Jean’s psyche than it actually did. I also think that there were a tad too many X-Men and far too little for them to do. It took up time in the story that could have been used elsewhere.

Overall, though, I enjoyed finally getting to know the Phoenix Force’s story and a little more about Jean herself. I think there’s room for improvement, of course, and I’d love to read the original comics someday. Narrator Nancy Wu does a good job bringing the story and Jean herself to life and reminding me why I love the X-Men so much.

Sheep Rating: 3 ½








About the Author

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Stuart Moore is a writer, a book editor, and an award-winning comics editor who has worked with Marvel, DC Comics, and other notable publishing agencies. The recipient of the Will Eisner Award for Best Editor as well as the Don Thompson Award for Favorite Editor, he recently authored Deadpool the Duck.


About the Narrator
Nancy Wu is an award-winning narrator who has worked in animation, television, theater, and film. Having lived and recorded all over the world, she is known for her vivid action/fantasy characters, accents, and bringing literature and nonfiction equally to life. A graduate of Amherst College with her master's degree in human rights, she is an avid Ashtanga yoga practitioner and rock climber. Born and raised in West Virginia, she currently resides in Boulder, Colorado. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

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