In 2008, Marvel Comics decided to do something a little bit different with the X-men. They conceived a timeline where the X-men aged in real time, and in the year 2006 the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters was made up of the children and grandchildren of the original X-men (and Fantastic Four). The series was entitled GeNext. The series follows continuity up through X-Men Vol. 2 #3, completely skipping over the Dark Age. That’s right, folks–according to Chris Claremont, this is a series where the 90’s never happened.
Issue two of the series finds a mysterious girl called No-Name, the Grandson of Colossus, a girl from the Savage Land, the grandson of Reed and Susan Richards, and the son of Rogue and Gambit dealing with teenage angst–X-men style. The comic begins with No-Name and Colossus’s Grandson, Pavel, sharing a few romantic moments, before No-Name receives an odd phone call and unexpectedly leaves the campus. Her friends go after her and fight a gang of mutants known as the Shockwave Riders, who use technology to enhance their natural abilities and who apparently know No-Name.
The story of the GeNexters is very short, and the rest of the comic is taken up by a comic about the original x-men and a surprise party for their lone female member, Jean Grey. I wasn’t expecting the actual cover story to be so short, and I was a little bit disappointed. There wasn’t much to the story of Jean Grey’s happy birthday either, and it ends with Jean Grey getting drooled at by her male teammates in a brand new costume. I was way more invested in the teenagers.
The art is gorgeous. I particularly liked the cover, by artist Doug Alexander Gregory. My favorite, favorite part of the comic was these little black and white sketches done around the panels, done as a sort of introduction to the characters and as a “where are they now” of the X-men. I loved this. I thought it was so clever to have this done, instead of straight-up telling the readers these details.
When I read the synopsis, I expected the story to have a fanfiction-esque quality to it. The story did and it didn’t read like fanfiction. The comic, in true X-men style, is an entertaining mixture of teenage drama and high-stakes action. Despite starting at Issue Two, I knew exactly what was going on. Some of the parentage wasn’t obvious, but the reader didn’t need that to understand the story. However, the characterization left a little bit to be desired. After the “look! It’s Rogue’s child! Look! It’s Colossus the third!” factor there wasn’t a lot to the characters.. The only characters who really got any development were Pavel and No-Name. I was willing to forgive this, because I know this is only one part of a series, but it still would have been nice to see a bit more of the characters other than their fighting ability. That being said, Pavel is well developed and is given a nice little exchange with No-Name.
No-Name was one of my main problems with this comic. She isn’t a bad character, per say, but she reads a little too much like a Mary Sue. A Mary Sue, for those of you who are fortunate enough to never have encountered one, is a character who is perfect, who all the other characters like, and who often has a tragic backstory. This character is often an author self-insert, though I really doubt that this is the case with No-Name. She’s just really perfect. Everyone likes her for no apparent reason–not that she’s a bad person, you just never see any of the characters other than Pavel interact meaningfully with her. The story revolves around her, and she seems just a little bit too “mysterious” and has a mysterious secret past and her telepathic scan was inconclusive and ugh. I’m not really sure what her character’s role in the story is other than someone to get everyone else riled up about saving her, and I don’t like that. I think it could have been done better.
That being said, I would read more of this series. I enjoyed the action and the artwork and, while I feel that the characterization has room for improvement, the rest of the story works on its own merits.
Artist: Norman Lee (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Doug Alexander Gregory (cover art)
Writer: Ed Dukeshire (letterer), Mark Paniccia (editor), Jordan D. White (assistant editor)
Other such things: Joe Quesada (editor in chief) Dan Buckley (publisher)