Wednesday, August 28, 2013

GENERATION X #60 - February 2000

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.

Continuity Notes
  • 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.


Matt said...

I've always wondered what the deal was with Mondo in those early issues and promotional materials. I assume his story was not meant to play out as it ultimately did, probably due to editorial and/or crossover problems. The truth is probably out there on the internet someplace.

cyke68 said...

Hey, a Christmas issue?! I have this bizarre obsession with cataloging Marvel comics that are set at Christmastime, however tenuous the connection. (No, I don't use them as any kind of benchmarks for the relative passage of time in the MU. I'm not nearly that crazy and it's a fool's errand anyhow.) Forgot about this one.

Jay Faerber's continuity clean-up crusade continues. Good on him for fixing basically all of this book's niggling issues. The danglers and inane resolutions to so many long-running subplots had pretty much rendered it unreadable following the Hama run. Through Faerber, I think fans finally got the book they wanted in GenX. Probably too little, too late though, as I definitely didn't feel like the Counter X revamp was sacrificing anything special (an argument you could make for JFM's X-Force). The book had settled into a nice groove, but run its course.

Perhaps these are the same fans that couldn’t let Blink go?

I think these were the same fans that couldn't let ANYTHING go. Probably products of the Bob Harras "string 'em along" strategy (which I include myself as part of). Mysteries were one thing. You could expect and hold out hope for some kind of resolution (or convolution, as the case would be). But when you introduce a new, enigmatic character and then proceed to KILL HIM... why, it makes the prospects for any meaningful answers a lot less likely. Which is ridiculous, comic book deaths being what they are, but that cliche hasn't quite taken hold yet when you're a kid. It was too much finality when you'd been trained to think no one's story could ever truly end. The notion that a character could be created and fulfill her purpose -- in the course of four issues, no less -- was just unthinkable. I can't say I was ever that attached to Blink, but couldn't believe she was never brought back.

wwk5d said...

I think Blink was brought back, in Necrosha. And she did then hang around for a bit in the latest New Mutants series as well.

cyke68 said...

She sure was. I guess my surprise is that she didn't come back at some point in the '90s. By 2010 (or whenever Necrosha took place), the statute of limitations on caving to fan demand had surely expired.

cyke68 said...

And Matt, I think you're right about Mondo. In addition to appearances in the promotional materials, AoA, and Fox movie, I can recall trading cards depicting him as a member of the team. He even got an action figure in the extremely short-lived Generation X line.

Lobdell is (in)famous for figuring out the story while he's writing it, so I wouldn't be shocked if he decided to hold off on introducing Mondo until AoA. (Much as I love that crossover, it did kind of derail the new series). Then the plan was probably to bring him in shortly after things returned to normal. Maybe Lobdell got sidetracked dealing with Gene Nation, Onslaught, and other stories, so Mondo kept getting passed over. I think he formally joined the team in the '95 annual, which makes sense as the best opportunity to slot him in. It was still early in the chronology of the series, but probably more than a year of real time since the first issue. By then, plans may have drastically changed (i.e. he becomes a mole/traitor). The publishing calendar was so tightly packed with events that by not bringing Mondo in during the first couple of issues, Lobdell lost the window to use him much at all.

Teebore said...

I too remember being fascinated by Mondo (not that I was exactly clamoring for him, at any time), simply because of all the ancillary material he appeared in.

It created this impression that he was meant to be part of the team, yet the longer it went without him joining the more it felt like his absence must be a big deal.

Definitely seems like a thread Lobdell lost track of, then had to scramble to address.

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