Marvel’s mutant refresh, the ResurrXion initiative, hits the eight-week mark and, with it, our first look at a younger batch of X-Men hopefuls. Surprisingly, however, we’re not getting another New Mutants book, but a new volume of that other teenage mutant title. Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna debut Generation X #1 this week, and it’s more angst-riddled than ever. Jubilee is back, this time as a mentor, for a team of wonderfully goofy mutants, none of whom seem to have the slightest concern about one day saving the world, much less upholding Professor Xavier’s dream of mutant-human harmony.
Strain started her comic book career as a colorist, most notably on another Marvel book of young, powered misfits, Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways. She has since been honing her writing chops on a SyFy television series, and makes her return to comics by walking us into the new Xavier Institute, in classic welcome-hope-you-survive fashion.
This book has a lot more in common with Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men than Scott Lobdell’s original Gen X comic. In fact, a number of the quirky characters under Jubilee’s care first made their appearance in the Aaron series, including Kid Omega, Nature Girl, and Eye-Boy. They’re still learning to deal with their powers, and, more significantly, they’re still learning to deal with each other. Now imagine being the new kid on campus: harassed by a telepathic mean girl, asked to buddy up with “sad nerd” Benjamin Deeds, and told that your counselor is a de-powered mutant vampire. Oh, and your classmates seem to always be fighting.
In much the same way that FX’s Legion successfully allowed the audience to feel what it might be like to live in the head of an omega-level mutant, this book does a nice job approximating the sensations one might feel being newly enrolled Nathaniel Carver (soon to be codenamed Hindsight). Pinna’s art is far from the typical by-the-numbers superhero penciling, with constantly alternating angles, and almost distorted perspectives, some panels bordering on fisheye focus. But it works. It’s a little out of the ordinary, definitely off-balance, and altogether surprising. Obviously, not unlike your first day at Mutant High School.