Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GENERATION X #35-#36, February-March 1998

Pool of Tears

Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Jason Johnson (penciler), Edwin Rosell w/Parsons & Russell (inks), Comicraft (letters), Chris Sotomayor (colors)

Summary: Gen X obeys Tracy’s demand and takes her to the school. When Husk realizes her teammates are inside fighting M-Plate, the new entity formed out of M and Emplate, she locks Tracy in the Biosphere for protection. The conflicted M-Plate decides to go along with Chimera, and teleports away with Synch. Before leaving, M-Plate psi-blasts Jubilee, which forces her to hallucinate. The team regroups and checks on Tracy in the Biosphere, but she’s gone. Emma declares the Pooka has returned.

Continuity Notes: Emma says “Pooka,” but her dialogue is probably supposed to reference the Token, the mysterious creature from the Wolverine issue Hama wrote that guest-starred Generation X.

Review: The craziness of this run starts to unfold, as more science fiction/fantasy characters and concepts begin to emerge. Personally, I’d rather see more of Gen X’s run-ins with the local hooligans, since the action in this issue mostly consists of some light shows and cryptic dialogue exchanges. Jubilee’s hallucination sequence is apparently supposed to hint at M’s origin, but nothing new is revealed and the artist doesn’t seem able to convey the Alice in Wonderland scenery Hama was going for. Jubilee does point out, when talking to the St. Croix twins during her hallucination, that one of them should be autistic, which at least shows that one of the earlier mysteries hasn’t been forgotten. M’s autism hadn’t been mentioned in over a year by this point, even though Scott Lobdell’s hinted that this was supposed to be a major aspect of her character.

Strange Doings

Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Andy Smith (penciler), Walden Wong (inker), Comicraft (letters), Mike Rockwitz (colors)

Summary: Gen X splits up and searches for Tracy inside the Biosphere. Jubilee and Chamber encounter a Pooka named Elwood, who claims he can find Synch. He takes them to the Landau, Luckman, and Lake offices in Manhattan, where they enter a dimensional warp. Meanwhile, Chief Authier arrives with Dorian and Weasel, looking for his daughter Tracy. While Authier looks around, Dirtnap hands Banshee a Lepton Imploder, which he claims will take them to Synch. In a strange dimension, M-Plate explains his/her plans for the Universal Amalgamator to Synch.

Continuity Notes: Emma’s line in the previous issue is a mistake; Elwood confirms Pookas and Tokens are two different species (aren’t you relieved?). Elwood says he “bent the rules” and planted hints that will help the team find the Token. Where Dirtnap disappeared to in-between issues, and why he’s suddenly altruistic, isn’t explained. Dorian and Weasel witness Banshee and the others disappear in a flash of light after they use the Lepton Imploder. Tracy, along with Artie and Leech, are imprisoned with energy-chains inside the Biosphere’s tree house. Some mystery force is apparently preventing Chief Authier from noticing them. As established in the Venom vs. Wolverine miniseries, Landau, Luckman, and Lake have an office at 387 Park Avenue South, the building that housed Marvel’s offices in the ‘90s.

I Love the ‘90s: Chief Authier wonders if the imploder device is a digital pet. Dirtnap brags that he can do the Macarena.

Review: Another issue, more fill-in art, more zany characters, and a few wacky contraptions. This really isn’t any more ridiculous than the Lobdell issues, but Lobdell was lucky enough to have Chris Bachalo as the regular artist and Tom Grummett as the fill-in guy. At this point, the series has gone six months without a regular artist, and the caliber of fill-in penciler assigned to the book is pretty weak. I’m not pretending that Hama’s telling the greatest story in comics history here, but having the characters and settings appear consistent from issue-to-issue would’ve at least helped. Elwood the Pooka just looks goofy and out of place under Andy Smith’s pencils; the character doesn’t seem like a particularly great idea, but if Bachalo had a shot at designing him, I’m sure he would’ve had an interesting visual at the very least. Overlooking the art, you’re left with a group of characters running around and dealing with wacky plot devices that lead them into the next issue. Not particularly exciting. Hama apparently wants to do something fanciful and fun, but it’s not really coming together.


The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

As you say, it's kind of interesting in hindsight to see that Hama was trying very hard to work outside what you might describe as his "comfort zone" by writing such a purposefully lighthearted, fantasy-based series of stories. Maybe the art was a large factor, but for whatever reason I remember these issues as not so much bad as just aimless and meandering - he tried something new and it didn't fit for whatever reason.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

Hama has often said in interviews that what he really wanted to write in comics was Scrooge McDuck. So perhaps this is him trying to indulge in something similarly lighthearted.

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