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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

X-amining Generation X #15

"Death in the Family"
May 1996

In a Nutshell
Generation X travels to St. Louis to stop an Emplate-possessed Synch from harming his family. 

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Todd Dezago
Penciler: Tom Grummett
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Under the influence of Emplate, Synch breaks into his childhood home and almost feeds on his infant foster sister, but is scared off by his parents. The next day, the police are investigating the incident when Generation X arrives. Emma uses her telepathy to freeze the cops in place, while Banshee speaks to Synch's parents, taking full responsibility for what's happened to their son. Outside, Jubilee, Paige and and Monet, the members of the class who can pass for normal most easily, are waiting for their teachers, when Monet suddenly flies off, prompting the other two girls to follow. Back at the school, Chamber talks to Skin about his encounter with Onslaught. In St. Louis, Synch has returned to his old high school, where he encounters the janitor with whom he used to be friends. Jubilee, Paige, and Monet arrive shortly thereafter and attempt to stop Synch from feeding on the janitor, but Monet realizes their mistake too late: they've gotten too close to Synch, and as he copies their powers, he tells them somebody is going to die, and it won't be him! 

Firsts and Other Notables
Chamber realizes that he can’t remember Onslaught’s face, but does remember that he saw it, which means Onslaught must be someone he expected Chamber to recognize (and while Chamber’s brief capture by Onsalught never really gets explained, the point here does fit with the later revelation.

Synch's parents make their first appearance in this issue, for what that's worth (they don't ever really become notable characters in any way). 

A Work in Progress
In telling the story of Synch’s foster sister, an eight month old girl born blind in the issue’s opening captions, Lobdell and Dezago do that thing Claremont was always good at, quickly making readers emotionally invested in brief, one-off characters.

Banshee at one point remarks that Synch is generally so easy going and laid back it’s easy to forget about him, which almost reads like a tacit acknowledgement of the same from the creators.

It's in the Mail
The letters page clarifies that Emplate’s goons in the previous story were considered his Hellions, something not actually mentioned in the story itself.

Austin's Analysis
While not a bad issue - amongst other things, it's one of the first issues since his departure that doesn't feel like it was written with Chris Bachalo in mind and, therefore, doesn't feel to be lacking something due to his absence - there's also not a ton to say about it. The most notable thing is, arguably, the somewhat fourth-wall breaking observation from Banshee about how unassuming Synch is, and thus, how easy it is to overlook him. Because, after all, this is really the first time Synch has been in the spotlight since his first appearance in X-Men #36. He hasn't really even been involved in a subplot or significant character pairing: Monet & Penance have received plenty of attention, Chamber & Paige have started a will though/won't they romantic subplot, combined with Paige's overachieving nature and the recent Chamber/Onslaught stuff, Jubilee is perpetually front-and-center thanks to her status as a former member of the X-Men, and even Skin has had a couple bits of characterization (hanging back against Penance in issue #3) and a simmering subplot (involving his past in L.A.). But through all of that, Synch has just sort of...been there, contributing to the action when needed, but not really driving any stories, subplots, or character interactions. Which makes it something of a shame that when he finally does get centered in a story, he does so while under Emplate's influence (which means he's still not really at the center of his own story), but at least it gets him closer to the spotlight than ever before. 

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Captain Britain joins the Hellfire Club in Excalibur #97. Friday, X-Man and Holocaust reunite in X-Man #15. Next week, Marvel takes on DC in Marvel vs. DC #1-4! 

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  1. Synch's nature is probably what lead to his death much later in the series. Given his powers he's mostly redundant in that area and he lacks a strong personality. I'm actually surprised he lasted as long as he did.

  2. Y'know, it's kind of funny -- I always considered Synch my favorite GEN X character, though I'm not sure exactly why, considering how little of a spotlight he had. I must've just liked his personality.

    I had forgotten how long this arc ran! I mean, yeah -- it's basically two arcs joined together, but if you consider that the Emplate three-parter led into this storyline, in which the characters are still dealing with Emplate's power, then we're talking basically a five-part storyline!

    Also, I had forgotten that Joe Madureira drew a couple covers for this series (this issue and the next). This one's kind of meh, but I really like his cover to #16.


  3. Synch got into zero trouble on the way as his conscience drew him from Massachusetts to Missouri — or had he absorbed someone’s powers of flight and/or super-speed that got him there right quick? Apologies in advance to Anonymous for questioning this… 8^)


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