A Purifier attack on a school filled with impressionable young mutants and few proper X-Men? At least this one turns out a lot better for the Generation Y Generation X team.
Writer: Christina Strain
Artist: Amilcar Pinna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As a fan of pretty much all of the secondary X-books that have focussed on young mutants learning to use their powers, I was pretty juiced for Generation X being a part of this whole Resurrexion initiative. This segment of the Marvel Universe has such a robust and diverse roster, and yet I feel like only a few get a chance to shine at any given moment. Though this series looks like it’s going to stick close to its central cast of seven (including favorites like the new Morph and Quentin Quire, as well as schmos like Nature Girl and Eye Boy), issue #2 manages to cram in some of my favorites from years gone by.
Still, as good as it is to see characters like Chamber and Graymalkin being (slightly) more than window dressing in the background, the focus of the book seems like it will mostly be with Bling, Quire and team leader Jubilee – each of whom gets their moment to shine in this issue. Quentin remains that slacker savant fans love, but while I liked his role in this book, it’s hard not to compare his appearance here with his great guest spot in Jason Aaron’s Thor. Sure, he’s snide and prickish here, but he just doesn’t seem as fun. That shouldn’t reflect too negatively on writer Christina Strain, though, as her character work in this book is exceptional. It’s just that Aaron made Quentin a star, and it’s hard to compete with that.
Strain’s work with Roxy is probably the high point of the issue’s character development, but Bling’s growth is a more subtle arc. Bling has always been a nuanced and unique character, from her design to her personality, to her status as one of the few X-characters to identify as non-binary when it comes to her own sexuality. Her strong will to do what she feels is right and the conflict that it creates when Jubilee tells her to get out of the fight to protect some humans is a sign of what we can anticipate from her and her potential to develop into the properly heroic character she’s rarely had the screen time to develop into. Again, I’m reading pretty heavily into things here, because any development in Bling’s character is slight and subtle, but I dig what I’m seeing thus far.
I’m less into the artwork of Amilcar Pinna, unfortunately. In his review of last month’s premiere issue, AiPT!’s own David Brooke compared the Brazilian artist’s pencils to that of Aeon Flux’s Peter Chung, and that analogy is on point. While this means Pinna has a great eye for posture and unique posing (particularly when it comes to the somewhat flamboyant mannerisms of Quentin Quire), it also means his exaggerated anatomy can sometimes straddle the lines of surreal and border on grotesque. His biggest issue is with close ups on faces. Every zoom on Quire’s face looks like the telepathic mutant has too many teeth in his mouth, and Jubilee at times looks like she’s about to unhinge her jaw and swallow the purifiers whole. (Side note, Pinna accentuates Jubes’ canines a lot, but is she actually still a vampire? Genuinely unsure of that and can’t find a conclusive answer one way or the other). Kudos due, however, for being one of the only artists I’ve seen to draw Jubilee as an Asian woman.
The plot all makes enough sense, with the characters with more aggressive powers dealing with the Purifier threat and the others protecting the fully un-powered human visitors. I also like the conceit that the goal of this “team” is to create a place in the X-Men mythos for those characters whose abilities mean they’ll never storm the hideout of the Dark Riders or battle Mr. Sinister in the Savage Lands. The end does sort of make it seem like the true purpose of this team is to inspire Quentin Quire not to be such a slacker, but here’s hoping that Strain and team manage to make readers care about some of these lesser known X-characters rather than making this a thinly veiled solo outing for Kid Omega.
Overall, this is a quick wrap up to the Purifier threat of the previous issue that isn’t dismissive of the menace those antagonists create. We get little in the way of significant character development, but see fun bits from Quentin and Roxy. The art has highs and lows, as does the story, but this is a decent outing for a tertiary X-book trying to establish its place in the world.