Friday, January 15, 2010

GENERATION X ‘96 - 1996

Everyday People

Credits: Michael Golden (writer), Jeff Johnson (penciler), Dan Panosian (inker), Cabrea/Lazellari & GCW (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary: On a trip to New York City, Banshee leaves Skin and Synch to park the van while the team escapes a traffic jam. In the parking garage, Skin and Synch run across Fenris stealing a mutagen wave generator. Meanwhile, a depressed man runs into a chronically late woman. He agrees to go to work with her to explain why she’s late. The woman’s boss leaves that day with money embezzled from the company. As Generation X fights Fenris, the villains turn on the generator, which causes their powers to go haywire. Synch is able to destroy the device, inadvertently creating havoc in the nearby area. Jubilee accidentally generates a fire in the garage, allowing Fenris to escape. The embezzler is forced to flee traffic, and runs into the police. His employee learns that her office is being closed and the company is transferring her to a better job.

Review: Michael Golden drew the covers to the ’95 and ’96 annuals, which I guess somehow lead to him writing this issue. I’ve never read a comic written by Golden before, and while this isn’t perfect, I enjoyed it. Golden has a nice grasp on the characters, and is able to make a multi-page “stuck in traffic” sequence feel like it isn’t dragging. The dialogue is occasionally clunky, and he definitely overuses Skin’s Spanish exclamations, but most of the script is strong. The unnamed “everyday people” feel real, which is essential for the story to work. It’s obvious that at some point their lives will intersect with the superhero action, but Golden doesn’t go the obvious route of having the characters meet the heroes, get caught in an explosion, or get taken hostage. The late woman learns she worried about nothing because her office was closed during the confusion, and her boss gets caught in a related traffic jam and just so happens to run into the police when he leaves his car. (The first normal person, the depressed guy dealing with a breakup, doesn’t receive a lot of attention at the end, which is odd since the story seemed to mainly focus on him in the beginning. I guess his happy ending is meeting the late girl, but that would’ve happened with or without Gen X’s fight.) I’ve always liked stories that ground superhero action in the real world, and I think Golden’s devised a clever way to make a one-shot annual story stand out.


Matt said...

I didn't know Michael Golden ever wrote anything!

Was this during the time Larry Hama was on the title? The costumes look about right for that period. I ask because I'm pretty sure he and Golden are pals, so maybe Larry got Golden the job writing this annual.

rob said...

I think this is from the fall of '96, so about a year before Hama came on.

I recently bought this one for cheap (after having bought it when it originally came out and trading it away because I think I found it boring). Anyways, I too was pleasantly surprised. The normal people in the story go a little beyond the typical cliches they usually can be in these roles and there's some fun to be had along the way in this one.

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