Sunday, March 25, 2018

Generation X Vol. 2: Survival of the Fittest Review - Marvel Monday

Talkin 'bout my Generation

Written by: Christina Strain
Art by: Eric Koda (7)/Amilcar Pinna (8-9,85-87)
Color Artist: Felipe Sobreiro
Letters: VC's Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

It is funny how as a comic fan you can at times be completely wrong about things. Or to be more accurate how you can surprise yourself by growing to appreciate something you didn't like at first. This has been my experience with the new incarnation of Generation X. I was a fan of the original 1990s Generation X and came to this book expecting to find a lot of similarities. That was my other lesson, maintain an open mind and don't go in with expectations. If you take that approach you might find that you get pleasantly surprised.

My biggest hang-up with this series at first was with Amilcar Pinna's art. It was just so different in style and at first I found it very off-putting. By the end of this second volume I had grown to love it. The style has slowly worked its magic on me to the extent that I didn't really welcome Eric Koda's appearance as artist on the opening installment of this volume (the sample art in this review is Koda's work).

The other thing I liked about this volume was the strength of the character development. On one hand you have the mentors for this generation who were the students back when I used to read the book. Jubilee, Jono and Paige, are shown struggling to deal with a problematic class, and an even more problematic infant. The characters' problems go beyond the classroom though and the mutant angle is woven into real social issues in the work.

The book uses this to scratch the surface and we get a range of interesting characters whether that's because they are defensive personalities that have been hurt before (Nathaniel), characters who need help despite their bravado (Quentin), character's struggles with shyness (Benji) and love (Jubilee and Jono, and Quentin and Benji). The book also gives us a realistic look at same-sex relationships without feeling the need to crowbar this in as a plotline in and of itself. Here we just see awkward teenagers and sometimes they just happen to be gay. The book handles these issue like any other awkward teenage romance.

There are laughs along the way too and, as with the first volume in this series, Quentin gets all the good gags. The standout moment for this volume though was the return of Jubilee's power set. She was never the same for me in vampire-mode and it really great to have her back adding a little colorful sparkle to this branch of an ever-growing mutant saga.

Bits and Pieces

At it's heart, this book does what X-Men titles all do at their best which is to use the mutant dimension to accentuate and add a splash of color to issues that we all have to face in life, and give us a bit of comfort that we aren't alone in having self-doubts or feeling different. The X-titles have always been about celebrating difference and unique individuals learning to live and work together. This book has that ethos in spades. It may not have been the book I wanted to begin with, but it was a book I was very happy to have read.


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