Wednesday, August 27, 2008

GENERATION X #7 – September 1995

Nights and Bolts

Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Roger Cruz (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)


Summary

Banshee dreams about a past encounter with a mutant serial killer. Emma Frost enters his dream, forcing him to wake up. He confronts her about invading his privacy, but she explains that being forced to sleep in cramped quarters (while the girls’ dorm is being repaired) is dragging her into his dreams. He apologizes, as Emma intentionally drops her sheet and exposes herself before shutting her door. Outside, Husk thanks Chamber for not telling anyone about their kiss, which destroyed the girls’ dorm. Jubilee spies on them from her room, and is chastised by M. Jubilee responds by snatching the papers she’s reading, which turn out to be pages from a coloring book. Meanwhile, Skin and Synch build a tree house for Artie and Leech in the Bio-Sphere. Later, M asks Gateway how much longer does she have to stay at the school. Banshee watches as the two meditate over the lake. Emma approaches Banshee and confesses to kicking Leech while she was being held by Gene Nation. Banshee’s pleased that she’s showing signs of a conscious. Jubilee tells Banshee that he has a phone call. The caller is a Missus O’Brien from Ireland, who tells him that his family castle has disappeared.


Continuity Notes

M refers to Gateway as her “mentor”, and asks him why he can’t train her. He’s able to levitate in this issue, which I don’t remember him doing before this.


The mysterious serial killer Banshee dreams about asks him, “What are you going to do, Irishman? Kill me? Again?” Banshee claims that he resigned from Interpol in order to pursue the serial killer because no one believed him. Banshee also had a hideous ponytail in his past, apparently.


Review

This is the first post-Bachalo issue of the series, which automatically removes a lot of the charm. The story’s similar to the previous issues of the series, as it mainly focuses on character scenes and doesn’t really have a central plot, but Cruz’s artwork doesn’t live up to the standards that have already been set for the title. I can’t say that he totally botches the conversation scenes, since he is able to do basic acting for the characters (so a sad person looks sad, an angry person looks angry, etc.), but he often reverts to just generic faces for many of the characters. After so many issues of creative page designs, his straightforward panel layouts can’t help but to look boring, also. Plus, there’s the fact that he’s doing a brazen imitation of Joe Madureria’s style, which raises some ethical questions about using him in the first place. Even though you can see potential in a few panels, it’s strange that the X-office was so eager to give him jobs he wasn’t ready for. Without the impressive artwork, you’re left with a comic that mainly consists of a couple of people talking to each other. Some of the interactions work, like the pairing of Banshee and Emma Frost, and the unusual dynamic between Husk and Chamber. Other scenes feel like they drag on for too long, like the four pages spent on Skin and Synch building a tree house, which even average out to less than four panels per page. The same material could’ve easily been covered in half the space. It makes the book feel padded, leaving me to wonder why Lobdell didn’t just get on with the Banshee storyline he’s setting up.

3 comments:

Matt said...

As I recall, the Bullpen Bulletins (or whatever the X-office's equivalent was called at the time) blurb for this issue specifically said "This issue, Skin and Synch build a treehouse!" I think we're lucky that they didn't spend MORE than four pages on that!

Also, I may be in the minority, but I was so happy that Bachalo had left, I didn't care who took over! I never liked (and still don't like) his art-- It's so cluttered and confusing, and everyone he draws looks like a child! I was so happy to see Roger Cruz take over with this issue! He may have been imitating Joe Mad, but at least even with giant eyes, his characters still looked their proper ages.

Though if I'm remembering correctly, I think Tom Grummett comes aboard for the next couple of issues, and I really liked his work (still do!).

rob said...

I love what Tom Grummett did on the book, and he's always been greater drawing younger characters. I still missed Bachalo though. This isn't the best example of Lobdell's downtime issues ... it's pretty bland, but it still fits some interesting character bits in.

mattyoung said...

Long time fan, first time commenter:

I hate to say it, but I think the NYC/Gene Nation storyline was the peak of this comic, and that was carried heavily by Bachelo's art. He was in a perfect (in my opinion) mix of the detailed, more realistic work he'd done before (see "Death: The High Cost of Living") and the HEAVILY anime-influenced style he introduced when he came back to Gen X a while later and everyone gets huge round, shiny eyes and loses about a decade (even Emma). (Which I think is what Matt above is referring to.) Except Sean. He grows a second chin next to the first to form a huge lumpy roast of a face.

I don't remember anything about the castle story or the ones that follow until the X-Office tries to pull them back in the fold for the Zero Tolerance crossover. Even then, Lobdell didn't bring much to the table. I remember reading a Wizard-I think-interview where he was proud to have written entire X-Men issues where no costumes happen, no big fights. Apparently, he continued down this creative path until NOTHING much happened in his comics. I collected this comic for another year or three, until Lobdell left. It got by on charm, because there are great character scenes, but none of them ever seem to really come together with a plot and move together as a story.

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