Wednesday, January 8, 2014

GENERATION X/GEN 13 - February 1997


Harvest of Evil
Credits:  James Robinson (writer), Salvador Larroca (penciler), Troy Hubbs & Al Milgrom (inker), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary:  Dr. Pretorious creates a scheme to harvest the organs of young superhumans and then sell them to elderly patients.  He lures Generation X and Gen 13 to his “hotel” in Mexico.  Soon, they discover his creations and discern his true motives.  Burnout escapes to get help and is soon attacked by Pretorious’ genetic hybrids.  The teams combine their powers to escape and eventually rescue Burnout.  With the help of Lynch, Pretorious is arrested and placed into custody.

Not Approved By The Comics Code Authority:  Marvel published this chapter of the crossover, even though there’s no Code approval stamp on the cover.  I think it could’ve been approved, but it is a little racy for a Marvel book of the era.  There are two references to Rainmaker’s lesbianism, Fairchild is allowed to “poke” out in one panel, and in one scene Grunge tries to take Jubilee’s bathing suit off in the water.  (And Jubilee’s supposed to be around fourteen during these days!)

Review:  One day I’ll be free of these Marvel/Wildstorm crossovers.  I didn’t even know Marvel published its own Generation X/Gen 13 crossover until a few weeks ago.  At the time of its release, I was only vaguely aware of the original Image Gen 13/Generation X crossover comic, which had art by Arthur freakin’ Adams yet still managed to fly under the radar.  Marvel clearly didn’t have much of an interest in promoting these comics, perhaps because Gen 13 was already slipping in popularity a bit, or it could’ve been a simple case of a higher-up making the call not to promote the competition’s characters.  Regardless, regular Generation X writer James Robinson, who also did a decent amount of work for Wildstorm, is a good choice to script, and he’s devised a story that doesn’t seem out of place for either team.  It’s a bit Scooby-Doo, but that actually fits Gen 13 perfectly, and it’s not out of the realm of something Scott Lobdell would’ve done in the early Generation X issues.  The only real flaw of the story is Robinson’s assumption that a) you know who all of these characters are (most of the cast isn’t identified by code name or given a clear scene to show off their powers), and b) you know that the characters have already met in the Image crossover comic.  

A larger issue is Salvador Larroca’s art.  There are two inkers on the comic, which might explain why the art is fairly impressive in the opening pages and then grows shockingly inconsistent towards the end.  Even if the book ran into deadline trouble, someone should’ve done something to fix the panels that make some of the cast members look so unrecognizable.  If drawn properly, Jubilee really shouldn’t be confused for any member of Gen 13.  Looking at the various monsters used throughout the story, obviously inspired by old horror movies, also leads me to believe that Arthur Adams was handed the wrong version of the crossover to draw.  Adams could’ve done an incredible job on this comic, but instead he was given a cluttered mess that forced him to pencil one boring talking head after another.  This would’ve been a much better fit; so much so I almost wonder if Robinson heard that Adams was drawing the Generation X/Gen 13 crossover and just assumed he was writing Adams’ chapter.

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