It’s always a shame when a good comic series ends, even if you can understand why it did. The newest volume of Generation X didn’t exactly have the best sales in the business. That’s unfortunately common with X-Men comics focused on teenagers, even if they’re often one of the better books on the market. The only recent exception I can think of is Brian Michael Bendis’s All-New X-Men run, and that’s because Bendis wrote it, and it had a teenaged Jean Grey. That was a huge boost when Jean Grey had been dead for around 10 years at that point.
Generation X 87, written by Christina Strain, ends her short, but fun Generation X run. Starring a group of teenaged X-Men, and led by original Generation X member, Jubilee, this issue opens up where the last left off. It ended off with a moment that we knew would come eventually, but it’s taken a lot longer than one would hope. Jubilee just got her mutant powers back after being a vampire since 2011 or so. And as much as there have been some decent stories written about it, the whole thing was just done to tie into the vampire craze at the time thanks to Twilight.
Anyway, this final issue starts off with Generation X’s fight against Monet, possessed by her power stealing, vampire-like brother Emplate. It’s a short but intense fight, where the mutants figure out a creative way to separate the two. The rest of the issue focuses on tying up loose ends and focusing on characters. Quentin Quire shows some actual character growth for once, hinting that he’s more than just a rebellious jerk. Bling decides to temporarily leave the X-Men to find out where she truly belongs and who she truly is, and it’s a nice conclusion to her emotional turmoil early in this series. Jubilee’s sudden excitement when she realizes she can eat food again is such a great moment. The other surviving members of the original Generation X squad all show up for a bit of reminiscing. There’s a lot to touch on and I don’t have the time to mention it all, but it’s all very well-written. Strain really has a knack for these characters.
The art by Amiclar Pinna isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. Pinna makes good use of body language, and Jubilee’s recently re-activated powers look spectacular. But the art is an overall simple style that doesn’t show too much detail. Body proportions occasionally look a bit off, and while some facial expressions are great, some others look a bit weird. It’s hard for me to describe in detail, but I feel like the merely ok art holds back this comic, and this series, from being great. I’ll grant it this much though – the memory montages are creatively organized and they tell their stories very effectively. The colouring by Felipe Sobreiro is great though. It brings Jubilee’s returned powers to light with a colourful light show, there’s good use of shading with the little detail there is to work with.
I’ll miss this series. The art held Generation X back from being great, but the writing is fantastic throughout and the series is consistently fun. It took a group of relative unknown characters and a couple jerks and made them all more compelling than they usually are. That takes talent. It’s just a shame that the series didn’t get a better artist. For all we know, it could have lasted longer or at least sold more. But as it often is with these short-lived comics that don’t sell that well, a lot of the character development for the teenagers in the series will likely be forgotten with time. With a franchise as overcrowded as the X-Men, it’s all but inevitable. That’s sad to think about.