Current Reviews


Gen 13 #1

Posted: Tuesday, September 17, 2002
By: Michael Deeley

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Ale Garza (p), Sandra Hope (i)

Publisher: DC/Wildstorm

Ethan York is taken up into a bright light, where a voice tells him, “Dylan Thomas York, you will be judged.” Dylan is Ethan’s twin brother. Ethan later learns he has the power to control fire, an undo the damage it’s done. Naturally, this only complicates their home life. Dylan and Ethan’s father died in the September 11 WTC collapse, leaving their mother to raise them and their two younger sisters alone. Fortunately, a new boarder has come in to share the load: Dylan and Ethan’s new Vice-Principal, Caitlin Fairchild.

Let make this clear: I hated ‘Gen13’. I thought it was a stupid, juvenile series that coasted on T&A and the same lame teen-age “antics” found in PG-13 sex comedies. I never saw the characters developed into anything more than broad caricatures, except for the brief runs of John Arcudi and Adam Warren. And even then, the humor content was too high. I don’t think comedy works without some drama to play off of.

So when I heard Chris Claremont was writing the new series, I thought, “Hey, this might not suck.” I love Claremont’s ‘X-Treme X-Men’, and know his talent for creating complex characters that evolve over time. And even though this is only the first issue, my hopes have not been diminished. The dialogue is natural, especially for teen-age boys. The plot is easy to follow, the exposition is natural, and the feelings are real. Ethan’s anger over the family’s inability to collect on their father’s insurance is honest and, at this time, heart-breaking.

Claremont’s habit of being “too wordy”, (not wholly unjustified), is kept in check. There are only two pages where dialogue and narration compete with the art for space. And even in these cases, they reveal relevant information and give accurate descriptions.

The art can be classified as manga-influenced. It’s similar to the work you find in comcs from Dreamwave Studios. But that’s too easy. The detail in expressions, the variety among characters, and the coloring all help to ground this story in the real world.

Finally, I’d like to thank Claremont for bringing back Caitlin Fairchild. I always thought she was a great character idea that never got developed. (Well not artistically, anyway.) Hers was the only death I mourned at the end of the last ‘Gen13’ series. And now she’s seems to play a major role in the lives of these new Gen-active teens. With Claremont’s record of strong, noble women characters, I think we’re going to see the best interpretation of Fairchild yet.

Upcoming issues will see other teens turned super by the mysterious “Herod”, Caitlin’s role in all this, and maybe more of that comic book publisher from ‘Gen13’ #0.

Final Word:
As a personal rule, I don’t give to a comic’s first issue. A lot could go wrong in a few short months. But I’m tempted to break that rule in this case. Hell, I’d subscribe to this book if they offered it. I really hope I don’t eat my words in a year.

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