Tuesday, September 9, 2008

GENERATION X #8 - #11, October 1995- January 1996

I’ve mentioned earlier that none of my local stores carried Generation X when it was released (I wonder if they didn’t know that it was an X-book because the X was at the end of the title). Some nearby towns had comic shops, so I was able to pick up the first year’s worth of issues, but eventually I just gave up collecting it after missing so many issues. After purchasing many of the missing issues from the discount bins over the years, I now have a full run up to issue #25. I’ll do capsule reviews of the issues I bought as back issues, so that I can still give an overview of the entire line.

#8 (Lobdell/Cruz/Buckingham/Milgrom/Buccellato/Electric Crayon/Comicraft) – The Irish fantasy storyline begins, as the team investigates the disappearance of Banshee’s home, Cassidy Keep. The cast ends up separated in a fantasy world, which probably would’ve looked impressive under Bachalo’s pencils, but isn’t very remarkable as drawn by Cruz. Lobdell is obviously trying to do something whimsical and fun, but the art really gets in the way. I don’t know if it was in the plot or not, but a fight between some knights and Chamber and Synch ends with bloody decapitations, which doesn’t seem right. I’ll point out again that Cruz has his moments, but they’re undermined by mistakes like the drawing of a girl on page six who’s nine feet tall.



#9 (Lobdell/Grummett/Buckingham/Milgrom/Buccellato/Electric Crayon/Comicraft) – Tom Grummett debuts as fill-in artist, turning in a more consistent job. His work here is cartoonier than his normal look, but it still looks very traditional compared to the art in the earlier issues. This issue concludes the fantasy storyline, as Chamber uses his powers to energize the “Glamour Machine”, which somehow revives the fantasy world and returns Cassidy Keep to our dimension. There’s not a lot that stands out here, although Skin’s confrontation with a dragon is amusing. The dragon's response to Skin’s threats is to continually fall down laughing, which reminds me of something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. I think the art was supposed to carry a lot of this storyline, but the magical landscapes and mythical creatures are mostly lifeless.


#10 (Lobdell/Grummett/Buckingham/Milgrom/Buccellato/Pennington/Fern/Electric Crayon/Comicraft) –The mystery from Banshee’s dream in issue #7 begins to be resolved here, as Banshee is nearly killed in the present by an unknown foe. While Gen X tracks down his assailant, Emma Frost enters his mind to find answers. Lobdell introduces some strange continuity here, as it’s revealed that Magneto helped Banshee track down the mutant serial killer twenty years ago. Emma begins to wonder if Banshee had something to do with Eric Lehnsherr’s transformation into Magneto. I really have no idea why the X-books get so hung up on revealing that all of the established characters knew each other before their first appearances, but it’s always annoyed me. The end of the issue reveals that Omega Red was the attacker, which will tie another existing character to Banshee’s backstory. Like most of the previous issues, there’s not a lot of plot, but Lobdell does handle the characterization well by focusing on Jubilee’s concern for the now comatose Penance, and Emma’s newfound respect for Banshee.


#11 (Lobdell/Dezago/Semekis/Milgrom/Lanning/Buccellato/Electric Crayon/Comicraft) – Now, another fill-in artist shows up, while a second writer helps with the script. It really feels like the series is just marking time until Bachalo returns at this point. Emma continues to go through Banshee’s memories and returns to the moment he was dreaming about in issue #7. The shadowy serial killer is revealed to be Arkady, shortly before he was transformed into Omega Red. Oddly enough, Arkady’s taunt about Banshee killing him “again” is repeated in this issue, even though this is supposed to be their first meeting. This doesn’t do a lot to dispel the notion that Lobdell was making up his mysteries as he went along. The idea that Banshee knew Arkady "twenty years ago", before he became Omega Red, creates a continuity problem, since X-Men #7 refers to Wolverine's previous fight with Omega Red as happening thirty years ago (twice, even). I also have no idea what Emma was supposed to be doing inside Banshee’s mind in the first place, since she basically just observes some of his memories and then decides that he’s stable enough to return to his own body. Most of the action in this issue comes from Chamber facing down Omega Red, which doesn’t produce a very interesting fight scene. Like most of the issues of X-Man so far, the conflict in this issue ends when Chamber’s psionic powers explode and blast the bad guy away. It’s not much of a resolution for the mediocre storyline. It really seems like this series lost a lot of its momentum early on.

5 comments:

Chad said...

This doesn’t do a lot to dispel the notion that Lobdell was making up his mysteries as he went along.

I think in an interview (made after leaving Marvel, naturally) Lobdell bluntly admitted that early in his run he got into the habit of starting long-term storylines and using "foreshadowing" hints without planning how they'd play out at all.

I guess it just goes to show how lax the editorial regime at Marvel was even by the mid '90s.

Seangreyson said...

I remember really liking the Cassidy Keep story as a kid. The splash page with the dragon smoking a cigar (end of the first issue maybe) I remember as being very cool.

Reading the review its a little weird to me that Chris Bachalo wasn't doing the art on these issues, as I distinctly remember one of the opening pages of these issues (2nd or 3rd) had a huge page with Skin and Chamber that Bachalo later duplicated almost exactly in his Steampunk series. Weird.

rob said...

Reading these summaries doesn't bring back warm memories about these issues. I remember liking the Grumment art more than any of the other fill-in artists, but who knows how it's aged. The summaries just remind me that none of these issues are anything special; there's a wealth of cute bits and strong character interaction but these plots are pretty blah. I have to agree that the book was producing filler arcs while waiting for Bachalo to return. The next arc at least tries to do something important with one of the series' overall arcs (the St. Croix family).

wwk5d said...

Well, Onslaught is a great example of throwing out random ideas and forshadowing, and hoping a stroy will form out of them. Yeah, the plots of this series are somewhat meh, but the next few arcs, dealing with M and Synch's famililies, are somewhat better. They have a better mix of action and character moments...

ray swift said...

Although I agree there are quite a lot of holls in this plot (especialy in Banshee's background but also: From when did Omega Red was able to "suck" the soul out of a human being?! I thought that his virus only kills. and how does taking him down helps to redone the process?) I still found it quite enjoyable, mostly because of the way Lobdell handel the characters, and also - I did enjoy the art. The Chamber stand alone fight was also an interesting take, which gave me a hint of Chamber's true power.

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