By Andy Frisk
July 24, 2011 - 13:24
Hope and her team, once again, rush to aid an emerging mutant whose power is out of control. This time the emerging mutant is a college student at the University of Sheffield in the UK, which makes it hard for Hope and her team of X-Men to get there quickly. This leads to disastrous effects that, while not as widespread as the type that they encountered when they met Kenji in Tokyo, are as heart wrenching nonetheless.
My favorite television show of all time, Law and Order (1990), (I so wanted to be Jack McCoy after going to law school one day), with its “ripped from the headlines” plots and themes, was my favorite show partly for that reason alone. The show often put an interesting and intelligent twist on the plot though, veering it far enough away from the original inspirational story just enough to allow it to remain fresh and endearing to the audience, while reinforcing the original theme or message that the real life story inspired. In Generation Hope #9, Gillen takes a cue from one of the greatest television shows of all times, and nobly attempts to weave another cautionary allegorical tale about the dangers of bullying, bigotry, and the abuse of modern social media. The problem is that the story is too thinly disguised and interpreted. There’s no twist to the story and its outcome is predictable throughout. Teaching a lesson on the evils of bigotry, etc. is more effective when it’s a little more subtle or original. Kieron gets an A for effort and ideal, but an F for execution this time out.
Basically, without giving too much away, a group of college students are sitting around playing “Truth or Dare,” When one of the students admits that his truth is to have sex with a mutant, another student gently lectures him on how the plight of being a mutant is most likely very difficult life to live because of all the intolerance they must face day in and day out, etc. etc. When the student doing the lecturing begins his sudden transformation into a mutant right before his friends’ eyes, and his flippant friend decides to post pictures of his horrifying transformation all over the internet via social media, the young mutant decides that life as a mutant might just be too difficult for him to handle…
Hope and her team arrive too late, and the “ripped from the headlines” story ends with Kenji about to take the ultimate revenge upon the pic poster, when none other than Wolverine himself talks him out of it. Herein the real interesting part of the story occurs as it foreshadows Wolverine’s possible (and hopeful-to me at least) future position as a headmaster or at least mentor of young mutants at a new school for mutants in the post SCHISM X-world. This is pure speculation, but hopefully this might end up being the case. Who wouldn’t love to see Wolverine graduate from being the feral beast man he was when he joined the X-Men to a headmaster following in Xavier’s own shoes? Now that’s dynamism of characterization to the max.
McKelvie’s steady as ever artwork, with its sharp lines and spot on proportion, is as solid as ever. What he lacks in attention to detail, he makes up for with his highly emotional and kinetic body and face language. He manages to draw several panels that effectively, and quite emotionally, advance the story with little or no dialogue. It’s effective and powerful work, if not very detailed or striking in any unique way.
Overall, Generation Hope #9 is a good read, and the series itself remains one of the best X-titles being published right now. Gillen is a good storyteller, and is doing some really great things with his massive cast of characters, both here and over in Uncanny X-Men. While Generation Hope #9 might feel like a bit of a rushed, and allegorically trite, filler issue, it isn’t a bad issue by any means.
Rating: 6 /10