Friday, June 25, 2010

GENERATION X ‘97 - December 1997

The Wages of Despair

Credits: Elliot S! Maggin (writer), Dan Fraga (penciler), Lary Stucker (inker), Comicraft (letters), Don Skinner (colors). Based on a novel by Scott Lobdell & Elliot S! Maggin

Summary: Chamber notices that his Gen X teammates are behaving strangely. They’re cold, distant, and increasingly lifeless. Images of the Hellions, Emma Frost’s previous team, are also appearing around the campus. Chamber hallucinates that his body is back to normal and Emma is recruiting him at the London branch of the Hellfire Club. In reality, M and Husk are taking his body to the Biosphere, where D’Spayre is waiting. Chamber fights back, expelling D’Spayre in a nexus of psionic energy. Chamber appears lost in the nexus, but he forces his body to rematerialize. His body briefly returns to its pre-mutant state, but he’s unable to maintain his original form. Soon, his face and chest are again consumed with psionic energy.

Review: Marvel licensed a plethora of paperback novels in the ‘90s, but I didn’t know until now that one of them was adapted into an actual comic. I can’t speak for the quality of the original novel (which is never named in the issue), but the adaptation has major problems. Since Chamber is the narrator, the only one unaffected by D’Spayre, and ultimately the hero, it’s obvious this is a Chamber story. However, I have no idea what the story’s supposed to be saying about him. The idea is floated that the other characters are all acting as depressed as Chamber normally acts, but really, they’re acting like zombies. They don’t even have pupils after a certain point. If the story’s about Chamber’s feelings regarding his teammates, we’re never offered any deep insight into what he really thinks about them. If the story is about him yearning for a whole body again, the idea’s barely explored. An entire story about Chamber getting his body back and losing it again has potential, but the comic deals with this in literally one page.

Perhaps the novel had a clearer theme, along with an actual explanation for what D’Spayre wants, and a fleshed out arc for Skin and Sync (who leave the school when things get weird, eat lunch, and then go back only to be immediately captured). Dan Fraga, fresh from Extreme Studios, provides the art. It seems as if he’s moved on to a Jim Lee impersonation, and while he shows a little personality on a few pages, the characters usually end up with the same generic faces and bodies throughout the issue.

3 comments:

Matt said...

I read that novel! I don't remember anything about it now, except that I enjoyed it at the time. As I recall, it was co-written by Maggin and Lobdell.

I remember getting this annual and realizing slowly as I read it, that it was based on the novel. I felt a little cheated by that, since I had essentially already read the story once before, and it was (in my opinion back then) superior the first time!

P.S.: My brain could be totally making this up, but I think Skin and Synch did have a little side-story going on in the book. No idea what it was, though...

Matt said...

By the way, you may have deduced this on your own, but the book isn't named in the comic, because it was simply called Generation X:

http://www.amazon.com/Generation-X-Scott-Lobdell/dp/1572972238

wwk5d said...

Dan Fraga imitated Jim Lee? I always thought he was a Liefeld clone...

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