Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Hey Marvelites and non-Marvelites! For the next few weeks, we’re putting a spotlight on some of our favorite lesser known Marvel comic books and letting you know why you should be reading them! This week’s pick is GENERATION X by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, and Felipe Sobreiro. Part of the charm of the original X-MEN comics came when the stories treated their high school protagonists like, well, high schoolers. Yes, they control fantastical powers, but they’re still children through and through. It is in this vein that GENERATION X finds its footing. Like the NEW MUTANTS, GENERATION X perfectly illustrates the anxieties that younger mutants face. Some of them want to eventually run a superhero team, but others only want to live normal lives. When facing off in a world that hates and fears them, it’s good to know your classmates will always have your back. High School Drama but with Super Powers Personally, I’ve always loved the trope of high school students having to learn how to control powers. As if the terrors of AP biology weren’t enough, some students live in constant fear that their mutant abilities shall consume them. Just what high school students need. Fortunately, that’s where the esteemed faculty of the Xavier Institute comes in. The institution no longer runs under the guidance from Professor X. Instead, Kitty Pryde, now a full-fledged adult, heads the school. She and other alumni of the institution, like Jubilee and Dani Moonstar, all help keep Xavier’s vision alive. These moments where the X-Men of old work together to raise up a new crop of mutants connects the previous X-MEN comics to the ones of today. The new iterations of super heroes normally replace the older ones with little acknowledgment that their predecessors existed in the first place. However, this comic allows these other characters to actually grow with the times. This fact not only keeps with the continuity of the comic books but also shows that the creators care enough about the previous iterations to at least acknowledge them. Image Courtesy of Marvel Comics The Kids of GENERATION X A mutant may only seem as good as their powers. Yet for these mutants, their powers don’t always appear inherently useful. For example, there is a student named Eye-Boy who’s got eyes all over his body… even on his tongue! Fortunately, kids like Eye-Boy learn how to manage powers like these in constructive and useful ways. Something that at the very least might allow him to live normally in civilization rather than feel like an outcast for having so many eyes. READ: Curious to see how this new GENERATION X meshes with the old? Check out the history of these misfits here! Overall, the younger students work well off one another. There are some tropes, for sure. Quentin Quire appears as a pseudo “bad boy” since he never wants to play nice with the other students. Nature Girl might at first seem like a nice, quiet girl, yet that proves false when it’s revealed that she just can’t be bothered to deal with other humans. Animals make for better company, after all. Then there are students like Roxy who want nothing more than to use their abilities for good. Each of these students wants something different from the Institute. Some want to survive, others want to live. How the kids manage to settle their differences and actually come together as a team makes stories like the X-MEN enjoyable. Image Courtesy of Marvel Comics READ: Ready to read GENERATION X? Check out our review of GENERATION X #3 first!The students in GENERATION X feel like real kids. They, rightfully so, act insecure about their position within the academy. This most prominently finds itself in the character of Roxy but all of them act like this from time to time. Even when they act out, it’s in a relatable way that makes me want to root for their success. They’re not action heroes or freaks; they’re kids trying to find their place in a world that can’t accept them. They don’t act like they’re infallible. They make mistakes. Yet again, it makes sense given how inexperienced they are. The students of GENERATION X have a long way to go, but I’ll be rooting for their success every step of the way. The Look of a Teenage Wasteland GENERATION X doesn’t seem to stray too far from classic comic book convention in terms of art style. Personally, that never bothered me since it reminds me of comics of yore. It seems to deliberately lean into thick lines and detailed character designs, if only to help legitimize the book as its own thing. Yet that was something I actually enjoyed. In fact, if you wanted, you could define each character by a specific color pallet: Nature Girl going for more earthy, dark tones and Quentin Quire a vibrant pink. Sometimes, the characters might appear a bit plastic-y, the artist choosing weird angles that make their features semi-disfigured, but overall it’s a perfectly beautiful comic that warrants more readers than it currently has. In Summation Stories like GENERATION X deserve telling. They harken back to older X-MEN stories that used to excite the imagination like NEW MUTANTS and the original UNCANNY X-MEN. The X-books have inherently geared towards a younger audience for choosing to take place within a school setting. GENERATION X embraces that concept entirely with new, imaginative characters and reshaping of old ones. Instead of feeling like a revamp of an older series it feels like a completely new thing; something the comic book industry desperately needs. If you haven’t picked up this story, definitely don’t sit this one out.