Monday, September 15, 2008

GeNext #5

"Call Us GeNext!"

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Patrick Scherberger
Inker: Norman Lee
Colourist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Mark Paniccia

This is the final part of the Chris Claremont miniseries with the enormously convoluted premise. It was originally announced as a comic set in a world where the Marvel Universe had advanced in real time since 1963, so that a new team of second-generation X-Men were in training. Then Claremont connected it to his X-Men: The End miniseries for good measure.

All of which makes it seem a lot more complicated than it is. At the end of the day, it's an out-of-continuity series about a bunch of second-generation X-Men who make up the latest team of trainees. And apparently Marvel are more than satisfied with its performance, because the final page promises a GeNext II series by Claremont and Jonboy Meyers.

I have mixed feelings about this series. I quite like the premise - or at least, the characters. I can see a team book about these five being quite engaging. And I like Patrick Scherberger's art, which is somewhat in the vein of Humberto Ramos without pushing the distortion quite so far. So far, it's got all the qualities for a fun little book.

Unfortunately, it's also got a rather confused (and confusing) story. It starts off well enough, with one of the group running away and the rest of the team going after her. They find her with a bunch of very obscure nineties villains whom she claims are her family. All fine so far. And then, for some reason, the plot swerves off in another direction and drags in Shadow-X, the X-Men's evil counterparts from another dimension. (They were in New Excalibur. They weren't very interesting.)

The climax of the series turns out to be a bunch of villains showing up to try and capture No-Name, for no particular reason other than that she's really powerful, and the heroes fighting her. Oh, and that fight happens in Genosha, again for no apparent reason other than to allow Claremont to use Wicked, a largely forgotten character from his Genosha Excalibur run.

So, despite having all the ingredients for success, GeNext somehow contrives to meander off into a rather unsatisfying quagmire. It reads somewhat like a miniseries which has been belatedly adapted into the opening arc of an ongoing title. But even by that standard, it would be lacking some closure.

Still, I have some hope for this property. I can't help feeling there's enough promise in these characters that there should be some decent stories to tell with them; and despite my misgivings about the first miniseries, I'm actually quite glad that Claremont's being allowed to run with it a little further.

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