Written by Christina Strain
Art by Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 17, 2017

Anyone who was an X-Men fan in the nineties(arguably the golden age for the franchise) has a soft spot for Generation X, which ran for 75 issues between 1994 and 2001. Combining fresh characters, offbeat adventures, and unconventional art with the classic mutant school formula made it a series that later teen titles would try, and often fail, to emulate. The new Generation X book by Christina Strain follows a new “special class” at the Xavier Institute taught by none other than Generation X alumni, Jubilee. While these new kids certainly have big shoes to fill. the debut issue promises to live up to its predecessor with characters that act and talk like real modern teenagers, depicted with a genuine liveliness thanks to the contemporary art style of Amilcar Pinna.

Unlike the original Generation X kids, this new team mostly consists of established characters, some with rich histories like Quentin Quite and some relatively blank slates like Nature Girl. The only new character, Hindsight, serves as out entry point character, always appreciated when traversing the hectic world of X-Men. Putting us in the shoes of a character unfamiliar with the standard mutant chaos helps put everything in perspective and shapes Christina Strain’s version of mutantkind. The mutant experience presented here is an upbeat one set in a thriving school, a atmosphere that’s more than welcome after the past few years of dire, mutant extinction stories. The character of Hindsight is still an unknown after this first issue but his reaction to everything tells us enough to know he’s grounded and that’s a spin that carries over to the rest of the cast. Quentin Quire comes bursting through a wall, not ranting about the Phoenix Force or Sentinels on the lawn, but because his new pair of shoes were ruined. The other characters are introduced in similar ways, including Jubilee who, despite being a vampire, still embodies the struggles of being a single mom. This low-key approach along with snappy, realistic teen dialogue brings the X-Men franchise back to it’s roots of being an actual mutant school.

And thanks to artist Amilcar Pinna, the school has never felt more alive. The new Central Park campus is brimming with details and cameos, assisted by the glossy colors of Felipe Sobreiro. There’s an occasional awkward facial expression and a few odd panel angles but the peculiarities are what makes the art and book memorable. The original Generation X introduced many comic fans to comic book legend Chris Bachalo, who’s artwork at the time was considered bizarre. With her ability to depict a wide range of emotions on her characters, Pinna is the perfect artist to bring the book’s heavy dose of teenage angst and drama to the forefront.

While this debut issue does great with introductions, it has little time for anything else, making it feel more like a preview than an actual first issue. Strain’s initial motive was clearly to get readers to care about these characters and establish them as real young adults before throwing them into action and thanks to Pinna’s art, the character building moments are enough to give this issue a hook. While it still has a lot to show, this book will definitely share more in common with the treasured original series than just name.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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