Thursday, March 5, 2009

GENERATION X #23 – #25 (January 1997 – March 1997)

#23 (Lobdell/Byrd/Martin/Story/Comicraft/Buccellato/GCW) – Shockingly enough, this is a quiet issue with no action that focuses on the characters. It’s unfortunate that the fill-in artist draws faces so inconsistently, since the entire issue consists of conversation scenes. I’m honestly surprised that at least half of these faces weren’t redrawn after the pages were sent in. Chamber goes home with Husk for Thanksgiving, which is the best thread in the issue. Chamber’s insecurities prevent him from getting close to her, and instead of Husk giving him an inspiring speech that convinces him that everything’s okay, she calls him a jerk and lets him walk away. There are also a few pages dedicated to M and Banshee, which set up a few ideas but don’t really go anywhere with them. Apparently, Banshee feels guilty about missing out on Siryn’s childhood and Emma believes that M is a potential threat to the team. The Daydreamers miniseries starring Franklin Richards, Artie, and Leech is teased for a few pages. Over the past few issues, they’ve discovered a “blue lady” named Tana Nile (who is colored green). Like the Banshee and M scenes, there’s not enough here to really invest in, but it manages to kill a few pages. The Husk/Chamber scenes are fine, but it feels like the rest of the issue is filler.

#24 (Lobdell/Leonardi/Byrd/LaRosa/Martin/Comicraft/Buccellato) – Husk, Jubilee, M, and Emma Frost spend Christmas in Monaco (the third holiday issue in a row), and proceed to talk for the entire issue. The issue has some plot significance, as each character recounts the day they discovered they were mutants. Jubilee accidentally blasted a pair of cops after getting caught shoplifting, Husk finally shed her skin after months of trying to prove that she was a mutant, and M tells a blatant lie about flying around her father’s estate like a storybook character. Frost claims that she was institutionalized by her wealthy parents, but eventually used her powers to escape (and then burn the building down). Some of the scenes are cute, and Rick Leonardi does a nice job with them. Emplate makes a brief cameo, making even more vague references to his origin. This wouldn’t be so bad, if so many of the preceding issues hadn’t been quiet character stories with vague hints about various mysteries.

#25 (Lobdell/Bachalo/Vey/Hanna/Comicraft/Vancata) – Chris Bachalo returns, as the series drastically departs from the slow pace of the earlier issues. This is the debut of the tree-monster version of Black Tom, who can send his consciousness across any plant life, and somehow mentally control people. Black Tom and his “version” of Mondo unite to attack the team. Everyone except Jubilee and Penance are kidnapped, as Bastion suddenly appears and takes Jubilee (and apparently kills Mondo), while Penance is presumably just forgotten. Black Tom hides the students in a secret location and taunts Banshee about becoming their new mentor. I like the idea that Tom is jealous of Banshee and wants to raise his students the same way he raised his daughter, but the idea isn’t fleshed out particularly well. Penance reemerges at the end of the issue and slices Black Tom in half, which ends the fight. After Penance rips him in two, the “bio-organic” transport he was controlling underneath the ocean falls apart. M, Skin, Synch, Husk, and Chamber emerge in the middle of nowhere. I like the cliffhanger, but the rest of the issue is a little too chaotic. Apparently, this Mondo isn’t the real one, which means we’ve been following a plant creation of Black Tom (even though “our” Mondo has his own consciousness, and was seen communicating with Tom as recently as the last issue). Ending the fight by having Penance rip Tom in two doesn’t work either, since it’s established just a few pages earlier that he can’t be hurt because he can shift his consciousness around. Bachalo’s redesign of Black Tom is impressive, but it veers so far away from the established character, you have to wonder why they didn’t just use the design on a new villain.


ray swift said...

I really enjoy this series, as I said before. It's the only X-product in these (mid 90's) days that actually feels like reading a story, and not some over the top action cluster party that mistakes explosion for plot devices.
The characters in this story actually feels like people. Like in the story of Jono and Page, they act like real people, without cliches. They aren't there to educate the reader and teach him some valubale truth about life and love and friendship. They are just two people with different personalities, wills and needs. You can see Jonothon is the jerk in this story, and is desereve to be called one, but you can also understand his point of view and lack of belief.
I also liked Emma different approach for M. Reading the story, you can easily fall for Banshee's point of view, but it can also be that M is truely a master of decieve and acted the whole crying scene out (which might be the case, seeing that it's so out of the character for her to act this way), and she and Emma kind of share a relationship where one understand the other as a mirror of herself. This, again, shows that this book doesn't has one defined truth to sell, but gives you a more complex storytelling, with different angels and a gray area.

ray swift said...

I agree with your comments on issue #25. It was too chaotic, both drawing and storytelling.
Black Tom didn't feel like Black Tom at all. I guess they only fleshed him out as the tree villian because of his connection to Banshee, but that's still isn't enough of excuse. This guy was way too much OP to be Black Tom cassidy, which was, till now, a third grade villian to say the least. And his powers were too vague and unconsistant. The Penance solution wasn't making sense. Judging by Black Tom's description of his own power, the only one who actually had a chance against him from the lot was Emma, but for some unexplained reason he was immune to mind control, since attacking him physicaly had no effect. His own abillity to mind control was too random, unless he makes his victims, like, trees from the inside. Zombie trees (I think I saw it once somewhere). I didn't like the direction of this character, and sadly, as I know marvel, I'm sure they are gonna use this chaotic character more...

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