Land of the Rising Sons
Credits: Jay Faerber (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Rachel Dodson (inker), Kevin Tinsley (colors), Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters)
Summary: Paladin reveals that he was injured by the Rising Sons in Madripoor, while on a mission for Adrienne. Later, Gen X travels to Madripoor with Paladin to retrieve Adrienne’s missing sword from the mysterious Noy (M stays behind to bond with her sisters, Penance). As Jubilee and Paladin spy on Noy in a restaurant, Gen X tries to search his apartment, only to be ambushed by Nightwind of the Rising Sons. Nightwind retreats, but rejoins her teammates as Jubilee and Paladin are tricked into following Noy inside a bullet train.
Continuity Notes: The Rising Sons consist of Dragonwing (a human/dragon metamorph), Spoilsport (a girl with gravity-defying skates), The Sign (a magician with power-specific tattoos), Jet-Black (a human/motorcycle hybrid), Nightwind (girl with magic sword), and Tough Love (the resident strongman who’d rather read than fight).
Review: Paladin gets his own guest-starring arc, apparently just because Jay Faerber likes the guy. Nothing wrong with that, of course; creators should be working with characters that excite them, and it’s not too hard to fit Paladin into most action-oriented stories. The characterization hook for the issue is that Jubilee has a massive crush on Paladin, which she uses to justify the team’s jaunt to Madripoor. Adrienne apparently has no qualms about sending the team into danger, especially if it’s to help her retrieve a vague plot device that she wants back, so it’s off they go.
To counter the team, Faerber and Dodson have created the Rising Sons. I don’t think anyone else has ever done anything with these characters, and while on the surface they appear to have a similar genesis as Alpha Flight (“create a team that can fight the X-Men”), they’re perfectly suited as villains for a short arc. Each of the X-teams needs at least one opposing team to regularly fight, and Gen X really doesn’t have any. You might argue that some of the Rising Sons too closely resemble fighters from Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat, but Dodson makes them look credible as villains. Setting the story in Madripoor also allows Terry Dodson to show more of his design skills, and create the sense that the team really is sneaking out and getting into too much trouble this time (Banshee’s in San Francisco and Emma’s too busy to notice when Adrienne allows them to leave). It’s nice to see the characters out doing something, especially if it doesn’t involve another X-Man crossover.