Christmas Cheer Fear
Credits: Jay Faerber (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Rachel Dodson (inker), Kevin Tinsley (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Cordelia Frost is stalked in the woods outside the school. Eventually, she crashes through a window, leading Gen X to investigate outside. They’re soon ambushed by Mondo. Banshee’s sonic scream knocks him unconscious, but he’s shocked by the sudden arrival of Black Tom and Juggernaut. Meanwhile in the Alps, one of M’s classmates is attacked by a vampire.
- Numerous brief subplot scenes in this issue: Penance runs off, apparently in anger, after watching the team wrap Christmas presents. A mystery figure leaves a folder on Emma’s desk, detailing the members of the New Hellions. Banshee confides to Tom Corsi that he doesn’t understand Siryn’s behavior following her injury.
- Mondo (or more accurately, his clone) was apparently killed by Bastion in Generation X #25.
- Chamber implies that his rich, out-of-touch parents probably don’t even know it’s Christmas. I believe this is the first reference ever made to Chamber’s parents. Skin reminds the reader that his mother believes he’s dead, and reveals that his father vanished years earlier.
- Penance makes an ice sculpture of what appears to be Gateway, although Jubilee doesn’t recognize who it’s supposed to be.
Review: Jay Faerber begins his final arc on the book, and has apparently decided to use this time to placate the fans that kept asking for Mondo’s return. Mondo has a strange place in Generation X history. He debuted in the Generation X preview special along with the rest of the team, the implication being that he would join in the early issues of the book. The fans kept waiting, but would only receive sporadic subplot pages that had Mondo lounging on the beach with a brunette beauty. In the ensuing months, “Age of Apocalypse” consumed the X-line, bringing us an alternate reality that prominently featured Mondo as a member of the team. But no Mondo when everything returned to normal. He even showed up as a member in that FOX made-for-TV movie, but couldn’t be found in the comics.
Eventually, Mondo made his way into the books, in a storyline that revealed his brunette girlfriend was actually Emma Frost’s sister, making Mondo (or, wait, his clone) her accomplice in crime. And, somehow, the mysterious “Barrington” from Maverick’s early appearances got dragged in. Then, “Operation: Zero Tolerance” happened, things got confusing, and “Mondo” was killed. You would think this bizarre character arc would’ve been reason enough for fandom to forget Mondo, but instead, a segment of fans demanded his return. (Perhaps these are the same fans that couldn’t let Blink go?)
I suppose there’s nothing inherently wrong with using Mondo again. He was never truly fleshed out in the mainstream Marvel continuity, and his powers are more interesting than most of the energy blasters and telepaths that are usually pitted against the X-teams. Tying Mondo to Black Tom, who was present for his big moment in issue #25, uses past continuity well. (Faerber is definitely using continuity to his advantage on this book. Picking up on the New Hellions from X-Force and giving Emma time to respond to them is another smart move.) Unfortunately, Mondo’s visuals are unique to Chris Bachalo’s style, so the readers who wanted more of the Mondo they got in AoA’s Generation Next are likely to be disappointed. Also, the identity of Cordelia’s attacker is kept secret until the end of the issue, but of course it’s been horribly spoiled by the cover. As a setup for the next issue’s resolution, this is fine, although I think the pace is a little leisurely given that Faerber only has a few issues left to finish his run.