Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GENERATION X #46 - Late December 1998

The Quality of Mercy

Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Aaron Lopresti (penciler), Walden Wong (inker), Felix Serrano (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Gen X is disappointed to learn that their “new uniforms” are actually prep school uniforms that have to be worn during the state’s inspection. During P. E., Jubilee defends Emma when M references her criminal past, Synch asks Banshee for relationship advice, and Skin and Chamber bond. When Ms. Pickwick arrives, she literally has a heart attack while criticizing the school. The team races her to the hospital, using their powers to expedite the car ride. Later, Ms. Pickwick returns, acknowledging that she knows the academy’s secret and will recommend the school for its high ethical standards.

Continuity Notes: Apparently, a reference to Penance being from Yugoslavia made its way into one of the published comics, because there’s a retcon explanation for it this issue. M (who was previously Penance, remember) explains that she was born in Sarajevo during her parents’ ski holiday, which explains her original passport. She also reveals that her full name is Monet Yvette Clarisse Maria Therese St. Croix.

Miscellaneous Note: The title of this issue is a Shakespeare reference from The Merchant of Venice.

Review: A year after Uncanny X-Men ran an aborted subplot featuring a nosey school inspector, Generation X uses the idea for a done-in-one story. Obviously, there isn’t a lot of plot here, and the presence of Ms. Pickwick isn’t really played for laughs either. I mean, it is funny when the woman has a heart attack on her debut page while angrily listing all of the school’s absurdities, but I don’t know if we’re supposed to be laughing at her. The threat of her arrival does introduce some genuinely amusing moments at the beginning of the issue, though. Emma wants the students to stop calling the staff by their first names, which goes about as well as you would expect, especially with M. When M later points out that Emma is the last person who should be lecturing them on the ethical uses of their powers, Jubilee’s earnest defense is great: “It’s gotta take a lot of guts to stand up here and lecture us kids about morality when we all know what a devious witch she used to be! I mean, she used to plunder retirement accounts and savings of old, crippled widows! You really gotta hand it to her!” The rest of the issue consists of low-key conversation scenes that just recap some ongoing subplots, followed by the “rush to the hospital” sequence. Nothing particularly interesting, which is disappointing since this title has been too sedate for months now.

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