A Déjà Vu of an Unfortunate Reunion (Generation X vol. 2 issue 04 Comic Review)

Generation X #4

Writer: Christina Strain

Penciler: Amilcar Pinna & Martin Morazzo

Inkers: Roberto Poggi & Martin Morazzo

Color Artists: Felipe Sobreiro

Publisher: Marvel Comics

 

Jubilee’s class of Misfits have decided to deal with the unknown threat that has attacked their fellow schoolmate, Face. They do so by sneaking out Kitty’s imposed curfew. They were able to trace the attacker but also found out its identity in a very shocking way, not only to them but also to their teachers/mentors, the Gen X alumni Jubilee and Chamber!

 

Previously: Nature Girl, Hindsight and Eye-boy found their schoolmate, Face attacked and unconscious somewhere in Central Park. Headmistress Kitty decided to impose a curfew and had Chamber and Dani Moonstar investigate the incident. Before leaving Kitty’s office, Chamber suggested Jubilee needed to have a talk with Roxy (Bling!), who is currently having a hard time adjusting with the idea of her being part of Jubilee’s Class. Meanwhile, Hindsight used his powers to get clues of Face’s attacker’s location. He alongside Nature Girl, Morph, Kid Omega, Eye-Boy and Bling! decided to act and hunt down the perpetrator.

 

What You’ll Find Out: The Kids successfully finds the underground hideout of the mysterious attacker. Back at the Institute, Jubilee shares with Dani her ups and downs of juggling her responsibilities being both a single parent and mentoring her class of young misfits. She had the impression that she is getting along with her class, even highlighting her amazement that the kids didn’t complain about Kitty’s imposed curfew. Thinking that if it was her younger self she would have snuck out. This then made her and Dani realize that the kids might have done so and confirmed it when they had checked each of their rooms. Dani offered to babysit Shogo, and encouraged Jubilee to go find her students. With the help Phoebe Cuckoo, they were able to telepathically contact Hindsight, who informed them that they were safe. Roxy implied to Quentin to block Phoebe from contacting them to delay Jubilee’s goal of locating their whereabouts. Benjamin (Morph) and Hindsight disagrees with their decision and argues with Roxy and Quentin when all of a sudden Eye-Boy warns them of an appearing shadow behind Roxy. To their surprise, the perpetrator was former X-Man and another Generation X alumni, M (Monet St. Crox). Who the kids also found out was actually Emplate, M’s mutant vampire brother merged with her (This happened back in Cullen’s Bunn Uncanny X-Men around the Inhumans vs X-Men era, 2016.) Emplate attacks Roxy and starts to absorb her powers even telling her how he/she missed tasting her Bone Marrow since they’ve last met (that was during X-Men Legacy Annual # 1 back in 2009.)

The rest of the kids tried to save Roxy, which failed miserably. Emplate was able to absorb Roxy’s powers and countered every attack the kids inflicted to him/her. Luckily Jubilee & Chamber arrives on time with the help of Pixie. This then became a reunion the three former Gen X teammates did not expect. A remorseful looking Monet/Emplate retreats the scene leaving Jubilee and Chamber rescuing the the Kids and an unconscious Roxy. Later in the infirmary at the institute, Jubilee tries her best to talk with Roxy as she did not expect this kind of rebellious act from her. Chamber then inserts and tells Jubilee that he’ll talk to Roxy alone. This is when Jono, revealed that he gets why Roxy had to do what she did with the kids, and why suddenly, she desperately wanted to become an X-Men. It was because she feared going back living with normal humans, that no one can understand what she felt about that idea and questioned her purpose of being in the institute if they were just going to throw her back with the rest of the world. Meanwhile outside the infirmary Jubilee tells her class how disappointed she was, but in a way proud of them especially Hindsight who was able to use his powers to locate Emplate. She tells the kids that she clearly understands what they are going through by trying to fit in, but encourages them to be smarter since what would be the point of fitting in if they just end up being dead. This issue then ends with Jubilee and Chamber discussing the unexpected reunion they had with their former teammate and how pissed Jubilee is now that M-Plate (the merged entity of M and Emplate) is back harming their students, after all these years of believing they were already done with the St. Croix family drama.

What just happened: They finally revealed M-Plate’s comeback! Marvel has been teasing this since Cullen Bunn’s amazing run with Uncanny X-Men last year and also from cover art done by Terry Dodson on issue 3. First of all, whenever I write my review, I always start by asking myself how is this story making me feel? How did the characters and their development in that issue make me feel? Why is this making me feel that way? What were the impacts of the characters to me? And which of them can I relate, empathize, sympathize and or see their point of view? Now, you guys may seem to find it a strange way of basis for writing a review. However I will explain to you why I mentioned those in a bit, and why I scored this booked the way I think it deserved. I think I now know what Strain is trying to do with her writing style for this book.

My opinion and observation is that she is trying to balance things out for both new and original fans of Generation X. Issue 1 – 3 were mostly focused on re-introducing the kids with their power set, personalities, while also introducing the new kid, Hindsight for newer readers to jump in easily. She also tried to add in many references and Easter eggs from the original books for the original fans. Issue 4 however is where she could finally culminate both. By the end of this book we have now a greater appreciation of each kids’ powers and skill, especially Hindsight, Nature Girl and even Eye-Boy who has been constantly reacting to all happenings around them and warning the gang ahead of time (Thanks to his Superpowered senses). We also get to see how Jubilee is struggling her responsibilities as a mentor and being Shogo’s full-time mom. Only few writers could make Jubilee feel like she grew up since her loudmouth fire crackling days, not a lot were able to capture it. But Strain was able to. Jubilee was even able mention how hard it must have been for Emma Frost and Banshee to mentor her back when she was a young student. That statement was her way of acknowledging (and I guess now appreciating) her former mentors’ efforts back in the days.

The reunion between Jubilee, Chamber and Monet was also somewhat bittersweet for the 3 of them. Seeing how M-Plate sort of reverted to Monet for a short while, looking guilty before escaping. That scene looked like she never wanted her old friends to see what she has allowed herself to become. Especially when she was formerly known for being the “Miss Perfect” and not a freak/misfit like her former classmates in Gen X. I think the best part of this was the conversation between Roxy and Jono. You could see the sadness Roxy felt and her struggles of trying to fit-in and the fear of being rejected by the very peers who thought she would get acceptance. In a way, Roxy was displaying her coping mechanism with her mutation/physical appearance. We could see her go through the different stages Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief. She went through Denial, then Anger in the first 2 issues, then issue 3 we saw her bargain with Jono to join his class and here in issue 4 she is now going through depression. These are one of the moments that make you consider a character and the crisis they are facing.

Strain has now added depth and complexity to Roxy’s as a character. Of course, who’d be the best support system who went through the same struggle? Jono was the perfect man for the job, going through the same crisis he had back in the original series. After that great character development and reveal, the only downside in my opinion for this issue were the art by Pinna & Morazzo. Pinna’s art on previous issues were something most people needed to adjust and in time appreciate. But for this issue it felt like it was so rushed that I can no longer make an excuse for the awkward art style. Morazzo’s art, despite not looking as rushed compared to Pinna’s were somewhat not helping as well. He was responsible for most of the fight scenes which ended up looking awkward. I’m not saying it’s bad but it does affect how the story is being told in a way. However, Morazzo’s job on the scene between Roxy and Jono’s conversation was kind of redeeming as it looked good in my opinion, in which I’ll give him credit.

 

Pros:

  • A good balance between action and character development & Plot progression.
  • Nostalgia factor is strong with M-Plate’s comeback and her unexpected reunion with Chamber and Jubilee.
  • Christina Strain is definitely doing her research, with references of event from Roxy’s encounter with Emplate during X-Men Legacy to subtle Easter eggs she has been teasing us since the 1st
  • The conversation between Jono and Roxy is one of those heart felt moments that makes you realize why X-Books are great and very relatable. It’s because you see the human weakness in these superheroes/mutants, the insecurities and anxieties that they feel. Strain was able to deliver another memorable scene and it was good to see Jono comfort someone who is going through the same insecurities he has been struggling for the longest time.
  • This issue marked Jubilee’s maturity as an X-Man. Proving readers and fans that she has finally grown up. She may seem to struggle from time to time, but you can still see her do her best balancing mom duties to Shogo and protective mentor for her students as well. I appreciate that she even acknowledges the effort her former mentors had to go through during her time being the hard-headed, wise cracking student.

 

Cons:

  • The art was a bit weak in this issue. Pinna’s scenes looked rushed, while Morazzo’s fight scenes looked awkward.

Rating: 9/10

Final Thought:

A surprisingly good issue! I am now curious as to how these kids will react with their failed encounter with M-Plate. Especially the overly confident Quentin Quire whose attacks were easily countered and was beaten up by M-Plate. Strain has successfully delivered a good character development for these lovable losers. I originally feared that the story might drag a bit more in this issue but I was surprised that she was able to handle the plot very well. Aside from that, with her skills adding more depth and complexities to the younger characters, she also made me care for them all over again.  Hoping she maintains this and hoping that the art would improve in the next coming issues.

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