RSS Feed
Dec 27

GeNext United #1-5

Posted on Sunday, December 27, 2009 by Paul in reviews, x-axis

“Passage to India”

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Jonboy Meyers
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Colourist: Jim Caralampidis
Editor: Jordan White

Since I get my comics by mail order, and since the Royal Mail doesn’t deliver on public holidays, I won’t be getting this week’s books until Monday at the earliest.  So instead, let’s make a start on my backlog of completed storylines.  And this one really is backlogged – the collected edition came out a couple of weeks ago.

GeNext United was Chris Claremont’s second GeNext miniseries, but in his mind it’s clearly issues #6-10 of a GeNext ongoing series, complete with slow-burning subplots.  The first series didn’t sell particularly well, but evidently did enough to justify a sequel – and it actually wasn’t bad, with likeable central characters.  The second series ended up at around the 10K mark on ICV2’s estimates, and despite evident good intentions, it doesn’t really work.  I suspect this will probably be it for GeNext.

On paper, the premise is outlandishly complicated.  This series is supposed to be about the next generation of X-Men in a world where the Marvel Universe advanced in real time.  On top of that, Claremont clearly views it as a sequel to X-Men: The End, which itself already took place in an alternate timeline.  Fortunately, most of these convolutions can be ignored happily enough; for practical purposes, it’s enough to know that this is a series about the X-Men’s teenage kids in an alternate future where the team have given up being superheroes and are just trying to run a school.  And part of the tension is about whether the kids should follow in their parents’ footsteps, or just learn from their mistakes and try to live a quiet life.  Now, obviously, we all know what the answer is, because it wouldn’t be much of a series if it consisted entirely of them studying for exams, but what matters is how you get there.

So far, so good… but then we get to this story.  Loosely, it keeps up the central theme by giving the kids another adventure and letting them angst again about whether they want to do this for a living.  But mainly, it’s about taking them to India and bringing on the local heroes and villains, including a goddess who’s into mind control (because heaven knows Claremont has yet to fully explore the thrilling possibilities of this underused plot device).  That aside, though, there’s nothing wrong with the Indian setting; aside from being generally an interesting sort of place, it also has the advantage of keeping the characters away from better-established areas of the Marvel Universe. 

The problems come when the story tries to make some sort of grand point about the diversity of India, and never really manages to connect it to either the characters or the plot.  The second half feels horrendously rushed, as an entire plot about the team being turned into typical Indian citizens and leading normal Indian lives is set up and then resolved in less than an issue.  Then everyone has to race back to fight the villain, who gets beaten not so much because of anything that happened along the way, but more because it’s time for the story to end.  And everyone gets turned back to normal, except for No-Name, who stays Indian for no apparent reason, presumably with a view to furthering a subplot about her ambivolence towards her as-yet-mysterious background.

There are other clumsy aspects.  Gambit and his daughter show up out of nowhere in issue #4 to reunite the team, with no explanation of how they actually found them in the first place (particularly odd since they then have to rely on Oli to track the rest of the group himself).  The daughter of Dr Doom is brought into the story for no obvious purpose, again perhaps with a subplot in mind.  Issue #5 opens by announcing, out of the blue, that Kalima has enchanted an entire city, and then does nothing with the idea.  And the story can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s being narrated by the Beast or by Claremont’s usual authorial voice (or how the Beast knows some of the things he’s supposed to be narrating).

Then there’s the art.  The first miniseries was drawn by Patrick Scherberger, who was rather good; this one is by Jonboy Meyers, who leaves a lot to be desired.  His characters do a lot of awkward posing, and struggle to convey emotion.  And for the most part, everyone looks alike.  This becomes particularly noticeable when the GeNext characters are supposed to be turned into Indians, so that you can no longer rely on hair colour and skin tone to tell them apart.  The women, in particular, are all but indistinguishable. 

It’s a choppy and unsatisfying read, with some half-formed themes that never quite get anywhere, and art that isn’t ready for prime time.  Since the first GeNext miniseries was promising, I had some hopes for this, but I’m afraid it doesn’t work.

Bring on the comments

  1. SC says:

    “because heaven knows Claremont has yet to fully explore the thrilling possibilities of this underused plot device”


  2. ZZZ says:

    When Claremont added the new East Indian Thunderbird for the cast of X-Treme X-Men, I thought it was a lame joke about how both Thunderbirds on the X-Men were Indians, but you know, different kinds of Indians, ba-dump-bump. Then the new Thunderbird started dropping random lines of dialogue about life in India and I thought “Oh, Claremont picked up on some India trivia he wants to show off.”

    Then in Exiles, Kitty Pryde got turned Indian and the first thing anyone she ran into commented on was how much more beautiful she was, and I thought “Uh oh.”

    Now I read this, and I think two things: 1) I’m glad I didn’t keep up with GeNext after the first mini, and 2) At least Claremont’s over Japan.

  3. I Grok Spock says:

    India (to Japan): Its my turn. What a concept!

    Japan: I got better.

    India: Devils take the man!

    Japan: Pray tell, am I at your beck and call?

    Narrator: Alas, a question never to be answered as India searches its soul for the right answer. The one answer it knows it can never tell its one true love.


    Banshee: Oi Moira, dunna ye know yuir me one true love?

    Moira MacTaggart: Sean me love, I dinna kan say it without me heart a’breakin’ in wee tiny pieces. Yuir all I ever wanted in a man.

    Sean: Aye, and as you but for me.

  4. Hallo! Guter Artikel, ich habe mir mal diesen Blog abonniert.

  5. There is noticeably a bundle to learn about this. I assume you made certain nice points in options too.

Leave a Reply