Writers: Roger Stern, John Byrne, Bob Layton
Artists: John Buscema, John Byrne, Jackson Guice
Collects: Avengers #263, Fantastic Four #286, X-Factor #1, Classic X-Men #8 and #43
Poor Jean Grey. Poor Marvel. They've never been able to live this one down.
Jean Grey is the queen of comic resurrections; when the subject is brought up, conversation is inevitably turned to her and someone, somewhere will say "geez, how many times has Jean Grey been resurrected" in such a discussion. The funny part is that the answer is once, in this very story. This is the only time she was brought back from the dead; and hilariously, she wasn't even resurrected here either. It was a retcon that made it so she never died*. It's kind of funny how fandoms memory can be warped so far from what actually saw print.
Anyways, there's no real reason to discuss the story much. It's essentially what it says on the tin. Jean Grey comes back using a loophole Chris Claremont made. Then the original X-Men reform as X Factor, because they can't go back to the X-Men, since Magneto is part of that team and Cyclops actually had brains enough to know that was a bad idea then. The story's not bad or anything, but it's mostly a means to an end, largely to set up the X Factor series.
So, you know how you sometimes hear that comics were better back in whatever decade because they explained everything in exposition and oh won't somebody think of the new readers? Yeah, those people are full of shit. This story is filled with overly explanatory thought bubbles and at times it makes the whole exercise crushingly boring. I don't care who this Captain Marvel is or what her intensely detailed thoughts about Namor are. I'm willing to accept there was a Captain Marvel I didn't know about off the bat.
Though, if you wanted to explain why the Avengers seem to take in anybody off the street, no matter how lame**, I might be interested.
Anyways, if you make it through two issues of "holy crap Jean Grey is alive", you get the first X Factor issue, which is pretty much standard "getting the band back together" fare. Then it stops. Three goddamn issues. I would have liked the first arc of X Factor, at least, since the X Factor issue seemed to be where things started to get fairly interesting to some degree. Nope.
Oh, one other thing this story is significant for. It's the beginning of Cyclops douchebaggification. Dude cold leaves his wife - who he already married mostly because she reminded him of Jean - and his son when he learns Jean Grey is back from the bottom of the bay. He is then more concerned with what Jean will think and how he will tell her about said wife and kids than he is about the family he just walked out on. They couldn't have made him look worse if they tried.
There are also small stories from some X-Men deal way back when that are fairly inconsequential; one of them likes to wax philosophical, but instead comes off as trying too hard.
The art's fine. Nobody puts in offensive or bad work. It's pretty standard stuff for the time. Why Sue Storm has a goddamn mullet, however, I can't figure out.
The Score: 6 out of 10
Nothing special. It's basically a means to an end and significant only in the fact that it's the small arc that brought Jean Grey back to the fold. It's remembered more for the supposed "resurrection" that doesn't happen, for good reason. Not much else of note happens. If you want to have this as a bookend to Jeans death and return, go ahead and pick it up, but you can pretty safely skip it without missing a damn thing.
Cyclops Douchebaggery Alert: Dude cold leaves his wife - who he already married mostly because she reminded him of Jean - and his son when he learns Jean Grey is back from the bottom of the bay. He is then more concerned with what Jean will think and how he will tell her about said wife and kids than he is about the family he just walked out on. He doesn't even call said wife either and she finds out about his betrayal by seeing both he and Jean Grey on the goddamn television. Nobody else really brings up any of these things.
* Essentially, the Phoenix entity gave itself a body patterned off Jean Grey. So intense was this conditioning that she actually thought she was Jean Grey. That cocoon at the bottom of the bay held the real Jean Greys half dead body from her attempted sacrifice, where it slowly healed. How this was confused with a resurrection, where she straight up came back from the grave, I haven't the foggiest; to date, this is the only time she ever really came back, though eventually I suspect they'll bring her back again.
** Despite the suckitude of the Avengers lineup whenever I seem to see them pop up, Hercules and Black Knight are pretty cool. The Black Knights costume is great, at the least. But seriously, does Cap just take whatever the hell he can get at any given time? Actually, given the existence of Starfox, I'm guessing yes.