In a Nutshell
Generation X helps rescue Emma Frost from Gene Nation.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
In the tunnels beneath Manhattan, Marrow & Hemingway taunt a captive Emma, her powers held in check by an unwilling Leech, while Synch, Jubilee, & Skin try to locate their missing teacher. Back at the Xavier School, Chamber takes a drunk Paige back to her room, while in the tunnels, Synch manages to locate Emma. But before he and his friends can act, Emma distracts Marrow & Hemingway enough to kick Leech away, reactivating her powers, at which point she telepathically disables both of them. As her students rush into the chamber and Skin stops her from killing her captors, Dark Beast, monitoring from afar, triggers an explosion. Emma senses it moments before it occurs, enabling her to get most of the kids to safety, and Monet, come out of her catatonic stupor, arrives in time to save Jubilee & Leech from falling rubble. Later, Emma brings the kids to the X-Mansion in order to brief Xavier on Gene Nation. While they talk, Jubilee ventures onto the grounds and is reunited with Wolverine. Back the Xavier School, Banshee is walking with Penance when the girls' dormitory suddenly explodes.
Firsts and Other Notables
This is artist Chris Bachalo's final issue of the series (for awhile), as he leaves the book to return to DC in order to draw a new Death limited series. He will return with issue #17, and stick around (with some fill-ins) until issue #31.
Artie & Leech are transferred to the Xavier School; Skin derisively refers to them as mascots, and while they won’t be active members of Generation X (for as much as that means), they will remain a regular presence in the series for some time.
While checking in at the X-Mansion, Jubilee reunites with Wolverine, interacting with him for the first time since Wolverine #75, in a rather touching scene.
The issue ends with the girls’ dormitory exploding, something Banshee attributes to Chamber; we’ll learn his power flares out of control when Paige made a pass at him.
Marrow says that she is only keeping Emma alive as a favor to the First One (aka Dark Beast); the largely unnecessary retconned backstory between the two will be revealed in a future annual (well after its teased here).
Also, Marrow’s dialogue is decidedly more primitive & pidgin than it will become.
Dark Beast makes a brief appearance (alongside some bad 90s computer graphics), making it clear he’s not directly orchestrating Gene Nation’s actions even as they carry out the attacks in his name, and also further teasing his past with Emma.
A Work in Progress
Synch is able to use his aura to track Hemingway and Marrow.
Jubilee makes the first “Generation X is also the name for a cultural generation” joke, marveling at Synch’s gumption and the large number of overachievers on the team relative to the attributes of their namesake generation.
Chamber is stunned to discover Paige’s room is a mess despite her type A personality (as a fellow type A, I can attest it doesn’t automatically make you a neat freak).
Gene Nation is confirmed to be behind the nightclub massacre in Uncanny #322.
Leech is said to be the last of the Morlocks, earning him Gene Nation’s ire (though Caliban is still out there, as are Feral & Thornn).
They're Students, Not Superheroes
Off panel between issues, Skin, Synch & Jubilee agreed there wasn’t time to contact the X-Men before going after Emma & Leech, an acknowledgement at least that this kind of superheroing isn't what they're supposed to be doing.
We also see the Gen X kids in the more traditional blue/yellow school uniforms while they’re hanging out at the X-mansion.
Chris Bachalo on briefly leaving Generation X after issue #6
"When I left DC, I told Karen [Berger] that if they ever did another Death book, I'd make time to do it. I also told Marvel that right from the beginning. So basically I left Generation X to do Death: The Time of Your Life. It was a car wreck. Neil Gaiman was turning around about a page or two a week. Six months passed and I was only an issue-and-a-half into the series. I told DC I had to get back to Generation X. That's why I didn't finish the series."
DeFalco, Tom. Comic Creators on X-Men. London: Titan Books, 2006. p216
Chris Bachalo's last issue (for now) is pretty much the same as his previous ones (which is a good thing!): solid character-heavy, plot-light storytelling coupled with intricate but clear art. What this issue does that the others didn't is shine a spotlight on Emma Frost. While by no means absent from the previous five issues, this is really the first time the school's co-headmaster gets the spotlight, and Lobdell & Bachalo do a masterful job of depicting Emma's characterization as someone who is smart, ruthless, and who, despite her frosty exterior (sorry...), genuinely does care about her students. None of this is new ground (Lobdell covered similar territory in the Uncanny issues featuring her ahead of Generation X), but it's never a bad idea for a new series to establish the characterization of one its central cast members. This issue does that, while also packing in a character moment or two for the rest of the cast (including a touching encounter between Jubilee & Wolverine) and furthering the ongoing Gene Nation storyline. The first six issues of Generation X aren't the flashiest issues or packed with the most narrative incident, but this initial run of issues by Lobdell & Bachalo that ends here is nevertheless one of the all time great starts to a new series.
Tomorrow, Pete Wisdom is in the spotlight in Excalibur #88. Friday, Genosha comes to Cable in Cable #22. Next week, Wolverine: Knight of Terra (for real this time)!
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