Previously…in Generation X: The students found themselves in Skin’s old neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Jubilee was captured by Bastion. After getting separated during Black Tom’s attack, Banshee, Penance, and Emma Frost searched for the missing team.
Credits: James Robinson (writer), Chris Bachalo w/Pop Mhan (pencilers), Al Vey w/Eric Cannon, Tim Townsend, & Al Milgrom (inkers), Comicraft (letters), Marie Javins (colors)
Summary: In LA, Gen X heads to the home of Skin’s cousin, Gil. The next morning, they’re attacked by armed men led by Tores, Skin’s former gang rival. Bastion’s Prime Sentinels destroy the home, and target Tores when she chastises them for going too far. Skin grabs Tores and takes her along as the team escapes. Meanwhile, Banshee, Emma, and Penance hide out from the Zero Tolerance agents guarding Emma’s home. D.O.A. appears, offering to tell them where the students are if they hand Penance over to Emplate. Elsewhere, Jubilee helps Daria control her nanotech powers.
Continuity Notes: Tores is a mystery character from Skin’s past. She was contacted by Zero Tolerance and agreed to work with them when she learned Skin was alive. Gil is the only family member who knows Skin faked his death. After last issue, Banshee and Emma were supposed to be responding to the X-Men’s distress call (after Zero Tolerance shot them out of the sky). That’s briefly acknowledged, but the story has been dropped very quickly.
Review: James Robinson’s brief sojourn with the X-titles continues, as he follows up the Zero Tolerance subplots generated by Scott Lobdell before his departure. This probably isn’t the best storyline for Robinson to begin with (and the “Flashback” issues weren’t a great staring place, either) but he does a solid job. Actually, it’s hard to tell Lobdell is even gone at this point. While Robinson is writing the cast as younger and less cynical than Lobdell, he’s definitely following the template Lobdell established. Large sections of the book are dedicated to character interaction, Bachalo is given a lot of room to draw the random craziness he enjoys in the background, and the ongoing storylines continue unabated. We also see more of Bachalo’s multiple panels per page gimmick, which allows the various story threads to get at least a little room during the twenty-three pages.
Some Things Hurt More Than Cars and Girls
Credits: James Robinson (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Al Vey & Eric Cannon (inkers), Comicraft (letters), Marie Javins & Digital Chameleon (colors)
Summary: Gen X follows Tores to her uncle’s auto shop. They hide inside the shop as the Prime Sentinels search outside. M convinces Chamber to pursue his relationship with Husk, and later shares her first kiss with Synch when they both realize they could die soon. Soon, the Prime Sentinels invade. Elsewhere, Emma and Banshee argue over turning Penance over to Emplate. When Banshee refuses, Emma psi-blasts him and asks Emplate if they have a deal. Meanwhile, Daria helps Jubilee escape Bastion’s custody.
Miscellaneous Note: The title of this issue is a reference to a song I've never heard of, "Cars and Girls."
Review: If these covers didn’t give you enough of a clue, we’ve now reached the point where Chris Bachalo is in full-on kiddie mode. He was clearly headed in that direction in the previous issues, but #30 seems to be the tipping point. I like Bachalo’s art, especially his work in the early issues of this title, but I never understood this digression. Making the teenage characters more childlike might be defensible, but Emma Frost, their teacher, should not look like a member of Power Pack. As I’ve mentioned before, since Bachalo has always been a large part of this book’s appeal, the issues he doesn’t draw -- or he does draw, just in a radically different style -- don’t feel right.
I wonder if the kiddie redesigns influenced Robinson’s stories, since the cast now acts closer to thirteen than sixteen. Synch and M even share their first kiss, which seems like a pubescent right-of-passage that’s a little young for the characters Lobdell created. (At the same time, Peter David’s casual treatment of M’s sexual activity in the modern X-Factor book didn’t feel right, either). Even though the team might be acting too young, Robinson is still handling the book rather well. The crossover doesn’t feel like a pointless diversion, since he’s leaving room for character interactions and the ongoing storylines are allowed to continue. Like X-Force, the Sentinels are there to be the villains for a few issues, while the main titles are left to deal with Bastion and OZT. It’s not a big shock that Daria helps Jubilee and Emma attempts to fake-out Emplate, but the execution is fine.