REVIEW: Generation X #1

I think that it’s safe to say that the X-Men Gold and Blue offerings, along with Weapon X were the strongest of Marvel’s X-Launch, we’re now firmly in the grips of getting second tier titles now. Jean Grey and Generation X are lacking the punch of the first wave of reboots, and the pair of titles that are slated to start next month, Cable and Iceman, are pointing to a downward trend in what Marvel has in store for their mutants. (Although Astonishing X-Men looks promising, but will not hit shelves until July, long after the rest of the initial books have wrapped their first story arcs)

I am old enough to remember the title that this comic gains its namesake from. I was a kid of the 90’s and Gen X was supposed to be the hipper, cooler version of the X-men at the time. It was loaded with a roster of brand new characters that had been introduced through a storyline that spanned the X-titles, and all of it was headed up by Banshee and the White Queen. (The idea of Emma Frost being on the side of the angels at that time was still novel)

The main idea of the series was to take a rag-tag group of teenaged mutants and get them to come together as a team and function like their own makeshift family. It’s the typical comic book approach to teen hero books. I followed that book for a few years, and eventually it became just another X-title. It lost its unique view of the mutant universe and just faded away into the history books.

Out of all the titles that Marvel announced with their re-launch, this was the one that I got excited about. As a fan there are loads of untapped potential of young unexplored characters in the X-universe right now. Titles like New X-men, New Mutants, (the 2000’s re-launch) Exiles… etc, missed older fans like me. Readers had just witnessed young mutants Armor and Rockslide getting promoted to the main roster in X-men Gold, and the thought of seeing a new crop of fresh recruits preparing to take on the mantle of Xavier seemed like a no-brainer.

That’s where I was wrong. Instead of giving fans young and old a new team to bond over we get instead a book that reads like a petty mutant teen drama. One issue in and I don’t like the main roster already. While it was nice to see characters like Jubilee and Chamber back in the pages of their old title, it quickly lost all that good will the moment the story started. Jubes comes off as a mixed-up and flustered mother, who can’t keep track of her own child; let alone lead a team. Writer Christina Strain goes so far as having Jubilee almost give her child a cup of blood by mistake. (For fans who haven’t followed along, Jubilee is now part vampire)

While the hair-brained professor may work in a comic like this, Jubilee is not that character. She has years of stories under her belt as a young woman who has been self-reliant, street smart, and always living on the edge of what is trendy; slang, music, tech and fashion included. To see her as a woman who can’t manage a small child is almost insulting. Jubilee isn’t a soccer mom in training; she’s the hot young mom that drives a hybrid to soccer practice wearing the latest duds, and Facetiming about the latest RPG she’s into. (Yes, I used the phrase duds, get over it)

Then there is the team of misfits who I could take or leave. The team is forgetful, I JUST READ THE COMIC and I can’t remember the names of anyone on the team; it had that much of an impact. While we get one of the Cuckoo sisters, and Quentin Quire making an appearance, both of these characters have been so poorly fleshed out over the years that their introduction in the series was the equivalent of a yawn.

The last title that Marvel produced that focused on a younger cast of X-Men that made me stop and take notice was the “Spider-Man and the X-Men” series that ran for all of six issues in 2014. That was the last time that a writer got the formula right. I understand what Strain was trying to achieve here; she wants to pen a mutant high drama, but you have to get the readers to invest in these characters first before you start having them hate each other.

That’s how the team meets FYI. A big fight between Quire and a mutant codenamed “Bling” are trying to beat each other up; all over the fact that someone accidentally scuffed Quentin’s expensive shoes. You see what I mean by petty teen drama? Remember how the Avengers formed over Cap’s stolen Starter jacket back in the day? No?—Wait! How about when the Justice League began with Batman’s iPhone getting scratched by Wonder Woman?

The chance to hook readers in with the first issue of this series has been blown. This is a terrible first offering for a new audience. While I would be very interested in a series that was the equivalent of a mutant Dawson’s Creek or a 90210 style teen drama, this book isn’t it. It lacks the main component that makes those franchises work; Heart, lots and lots of it. Strain has to get the readers to care about her characters before she starts playing with the pieces.

The rest of the title is decent. The art team puts together a solid offering. Pinna’s artwork is not my cup of tea. For some reason I flashed back to the animation that I’ve seen in segments in the Animatrix or Neon Flux cartoon. His faces and limbs are distorted and rendered at a strange angle that is not pleasant to the eye.

I came to this title with such high hopes. I left very disappointed. I don’t see this title lasting long and I won’t be surprised when it gets cancelled. There’s just not much here.

Final Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Generation X #1
Story: Christina Strain
Art: Amilcar Pinna
Colors: Felipe Sobreiro
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel

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