“Do Vampires Sparkle Under the Sun?” (Generation X # 86 Review)

The original Generation X versus M-Plate! An epic showdown you should not miss! Plus a most awaited comeback of an original Gen X’er! Are you all prepared for what is in store for us in this penultimate chapter of the series!?

Generation X (2017-) 086-000

GENERATION X # 86
Writer: Christina Strain
Penciler: Almicar Pinna
Color Artists: Felipe Sobreiro
Cover Artists: Terry & Rachel Dodson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

*WARNING! Major Spoilers Ahead!!*

Previously:

M-Plate initiated her plan to ambush The Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach. Unknown to the students she infiltrated the school without them noticing (except Eye-Boy who doubted his sight.) After discussing with Husk about their plan to rescue Monet, Jubilee got a report from Hindsight and Nature Girl regarding the whereabouts of Kid Omega. Chamber reassured he’ll take good care of her students at the same time the students will do the same to her son, Shogo. Shogo, on the other hand, was still having tantrums toward his mom, Jubilee who he witnessed feed on Chamber a while back. Chamber comforted Jubilee who was frustrated with her current situation and ended up revealing their feelings towards each other. Hindsight witnessed the awkward moment but it  was cut short when he told Jubilee he needed to talk to her alone before she left to go after Kid Omega.

Elsewhere, Husk had another therapy with Bling! who finally accepted the real reason why she wanted to become an X-Men badly, revealing that it was actually the opposite and that she was really afraid of becoming one because of the risks. Nearby, Morph got upset when he discovered that Hindsight had told Jubilee the whereabouts of Kid Omega. He told him that if he was also informed about it he would have went with Jubilee to help her find their classmate. As soon as he stepped off the school the gang was surrounded by ghosts. They then found out that they were not seeing ghosts but the whole school, including themselves, were transported to an alternate reality. They then heard an explosion inside the school and checked it out. Husk and Bling! heard the same explosion and came out of the room and found Chamber who was also checking out what was going on. They then discovered that M-Plate was behind the explosion, attacked the students and fed off them. Chamber prepared to fight back but Husk stopped him, telling him they needed to bring Bling! in a safe place first, since she was having a panic attack. As soon as they were about to leave, they heard Shogo cry. M-Plate also heard the cry of the infant and followed it into the school’s laboratory where Morph, Hindsight, Nature Girl and Eye-Boy with Shogo were hiding.

What You’ll Find Out:

Quentin Quire enjoyed his time alone on Krakoa in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, when he saw the Blackbird arriving. Jubilee was able to land the jet despite Quentin’s prank to let Krakoa move everytime the jet was about to land. Jubilee asked Quentin to come back home with her. However, Quentin would rebelliously answer back, refused the invitation and mocked her. Jubilee reminded herself how it must have been hard for Quentin to go through what he had been through, especially that she remembers how he was abandoned by his adop[tive parents. She also remembered what Hindsight told her about Quentin’s personality being a cover-up and that he truly cared for his X-Men family. Jubilee then maturely asked Quentin one more time to come home with her, and that she’ll help him fit in as long as he was willing to help her help himself and welcome them as his family.
26982234_10156971198304428_865340314_oQuentin thought about it but lashed out again, and told her how he was able to help Thor, save the Shi’ar race and impressed the Phoenix Force which gave him a shard of it’s power. Jubilee calmly listened to Quentin’s tantrums and reminded him to be careful with the Phoenix flame potentially burning his hut. Their conversation was then interrupted when Jubilee got a report from her smart-watch that the school and everybody in it disappeared, which also made Quentin Quire alarmed and worried.

At the Xavier Institute, inside the laboratory Morph, Hindsight, Eye-Boy and Nature Girl were trying to calm down a crying Shogo. Morph tried to copy Eye-Boy’s appearance since the infant was fond of him. It slightly calmed him down, however, Nature Girl told the gang that it was too late since M-Plate already found them. They suddenly heard Chambers voice in their heads, who told them to run when he gave them the signal. As soon as M-Plate stepped into the lab, Chamber gave the go signal to the children. When the students escaped the laboratory, Chamber valiantly fought M-Plate.

The children ran into another room where they found one of their mentor Husk, and their fellow classmate Bling!, who was having a panic attack after discovering that M-Plate was behind the attack. Eye-Boy informed the two that M-Plate had unsynced the school and everyone in it from the rest of the world. They also found a couple of unconscious schoolmates, Surge, and Hellion. The group then heard a another loud explosive sound which indicated that fight between Chamber and M-Plate intensified.

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Outside the room, M-Plate was able to capture Chamber using telekinesis she absorbed from Hellion. Just when she was about to harm Chamber, Husk interrupted by attacking her and joining in the battle. Both Chamber and Husk teamed-up against an overly powered M-Plate.
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Back inside the room, the fight between the original Gen X’ers outside caused damages on the surrounding. The ceiling started to collapse and fall endangering the students and Shogo. Some falling debris were about to hit Hindsight, but Morph sacrificed himself by using his back to protect him. The rest of the gang were shocked at what Morph did. Hindsight who was so surprised asked Morph why he had done that. Morph replied that Hindsight already knew the answer to that question. Eye-Boy then used his x-ray vision to see what was going on with the battle between their mentors and M-Plate. He said that fight was not looking very good. Bling! also pointed out that with the number of powers that M-Plate had absorbed, they’ll be dead if they don’t find a way to stop their enemy. Hindsight then thought about their current situation and had a plan in mind. But before Hindsight told everyone, he had a small talk/moment with Morph. He admitted that it was stupid of him to have had “friendzoned” Morph the other day. He then covered the lower half of Morph’s face with a cloth and kissed him.

Hindsight then told the gang he had a plan how to find a way to resync their school back to their reality. They were then interrupted when Chamber was thrown through the walls by M-Plate knocking Chamber out. Husk and M-Plate then came after, grappling each other. Husk tried to convince Monet that she was not herself, but M-Plate continued beating her opponent eventually knocking out Husk. Hindsight sneaked up behind M-Plate who anticipated the attack and captured him. M-Plate tried to feed off Hindsight and absorb his powers. Doing so, caused Hindsight to have skin contact with M-Plate which activated his mutant power, seeing M-Plates (Particularly Monet’s) past, from her quarrel with Jubilee back when they were Gen X students, to her fall-out between Sabertooth after merging with her brother Emplate to her plan instructing D.O.A. to become the anchor when they un-sync the Xavier Insitute for their attack.
26971823_10156971201174428_888303510_oM-Plate who copied Hindsight powers also had a taste of this when he/she saw Hindsight’s past from Nathaniel’s abusive mother, the careless father and an unhealthy relationship with his ex-boyfriend who had feelings for another person. M-Plate threw him away from him/her, which gave Hindsight the chance to tell his friends that they had to find D.O.A. M-Plate used his/her telekinesis again to throw off Hindsight knocking him out in the process. Morph rushed after Hindsight and Bling! told Eye-Boy and Nature Girl to find D.O.A while she held off and faced M-Plate.
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Outside, Eye-Boy was able to use his powers to find D.O.A hiding inside the cellar. Nature Girl then asked helped from the rats to harm and expose D.O.A. Eye-Boy was surprised that Nature Girl asked helped from rats since she told him that rats always wanted something in return for a favor. Nature Girl then told him that it was alright because she thought that her friends, including Eye-Boy, were worth the bargain. The rats were able to expose D.O.A. out of the cellar. Nature Girl then told Eye-Boy to bring Shogo to a pine tree to look at a Robin’s nest and distract the infant while she prepared to beat up D.O.A.

Inside the school, M-Plate was able to weaken Bling!. He/She was about to feed off Bling! when Jubilee and Kid Omega arrived on time. M-Plate was surprised how Jubilee was now able to find the school. Jubilee then told her that the school was now resynced to their reality. Jubilee then told M-Plate to leave her students alone and told Monet that they had to settle this between each other, vampire against vampire.

M-Plate then mocked Jubilee’s vampirism, reminding her that she (Monet) used to be a good vampire slayer. He/she then used telekinesis to remove Jubilee’s amulet (which was protecting her from dying/burning under the sunlight.) Using the same power, M-Plate then threw Jubilee out of the window exposing her to sunlight which are deadly for vampires.
27017098_10156971204734428_2114384533_oEye-Boy and Nature girl saw Jubilee exposed under the sun, screaming and burning to death. They tried to distract Shogo so that the infant would not witness the death of his adoptive mother. This angered Kid Omega and had him attack M-Plate using the Phoenix force. M-Plate blocked the flames of the Phoenix Force by using the power he/she absorbed and copied from Armor. Kid Omega then made a decision and used the Phoenix Force on the dying Jubilee. It was then revealed that Jubilee, through the Phoenix Force, did not die and re-acquired her mutant powers to her surprise.
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What Just Happened:

This issue was EPIC! Christina Strain did not disappoint with the buildup she had been planning for this explosive showdown. Everything was so exciting to read and despite all of the chaos happening with the characters, she was still able to add some characters developments, backstory and smart dialogues.

First of all, the story revealed that this happened after Quentin got a share of the Phoenix Force during The Mighty Thor’s battle with Shi’ar Gods (back in the Mighty Thor issue 18 – 19.) So it was good to see how this would connect with recent X-Men stories and why he did not have the power of the Firebird during Jean Grey series and Phoenix Resurrection. Although some might ask the inconsistencies of the timeline, I didn’t pay it much attention because Christina also did not want to stray away from the main plot.

I love that Strain was able to utilize and add some depth to Quentin Quire’s personality and how his angsty self also complimented Jubilee’s maturity as his mentor. I know that every fan already knows that Quentin personality is just a cover-up and that he truly cared for his X-Men family, this had been implied since Jason Aaron’s and Jason Latour’s time during WatXM. But this time, Strain used it as a way to play around with Jubilee’s personality and development. From the beginning when Jubilee came after Quentin, we get to see how matured she handle and reacted to Quentin’s bratty defense mechanism. This clearly gives us a look at how Jubilee matured through-out her time with the X-Men. She is no longer the tactless loud-mouth mall-rat. We are now introduced to a more responsible and a much grown-up Jubilee. I really think she has grown a lot since the start of the series. I hope after the series ends new writers will be able to continue this development and give Jubilee a chance to shine instead of inhibiting her growth as an X-Men. Aside from Jubilee, Chamber and Husk were written pretty well too. Their witty banter between their opponent, M-Plate shows how much these characters have grown a lot and adds in the flavor of nostalgia with M-Plate pointing out defining moments of the characters throughout the years in the example would be M pointing out Husk’s mental health. This is the best example of Strain’s ability as a writer. She proved fans that she had done her research and knows what had happened to each character. I feel that I have to point this out because not all writers research the history of the characters they are writing about which sometimes create inconsistencies in the X-Men lore/canon.

But that’s not all, despite the epic fight scenes, Strain was still able to insert a lot of developments for the lovable losers. Special mention would be Morph stepping up by selflessly protecting Hindsight from the falling debris, Hindsight displaying his leadership skills by plotting a plan against M-plate and Bling! who had faced her fear and finally fought M-plate. All these happened in this issue and it didn’t even feel forced or rushed. The pacing felt natural and you can sense that Strain had already planned and envisioned this moment from the start.

I know some might not agree with me and that someone will point out and ask how can one villain defeat a school full of powerful mutants. Hear me out, Monet herself was already a powerful character, to begin with, and merging with her brother who had a power who could copy other abilities added up to how over-powered this foe is. Also remember that it was already mentioned in the previous books that most major X-Men were out on a field mission, leaving the school with mostly students and some mentors like Chamber and Husk. That’s why I found it cool as to how M-plate was able to use the different abilities he/she had acquired from her previous victims.

Can I point out the heartbreaking moment when M-plate threw Jubilee out, exposing her to the sun without her amulet? That moment gave me the goosebumps, and I really felt my heart ache watching Jubilee burn. To makes things worse, M-Plate even mocked her suffering by saying the last time she saw Jubilee light up like that was the time she had her mutant powers. I guess this is why Quentin Quire had to do what had done. It was a great way to finally revealone of the most anticipated moment in the X-Men (Jubilee) fandom and I really believe that it was a defining moment for the series.

The art at first was a bit wonky or awkward, especially when Jubilee paid Quentin a visit in the middle of nowhere. At one panel Jubilee looked like she had strabismus, while on another Quentin looked really thin. But nevertheless, Pinna’s art improved as the pages went by and I loved how he drew that epic Husk panel. The character’s faces were very expressive and it goes to show that Pinna wanted to make you feel what the characters were feeling during that moment. Remember the scene I mentioned regarding Jubilee burning under the sun? I would not have felt those emotions without Pinna effectively drawing that scene and seeing Jubilee in pain. To add to the expressive art, Felipe Sobreiro’s color splashes life to the pages of the book. I could really see the big improvements of the colors and how Sobreiro tried experimenting with mixing the colors to set a perfect mood and making sure that the colors of each character were spot on (trust me, I’ve seen some colorists miscolored some books.)

I can say that the creative team put all their love for this book. The dedication to deliver what the fans want and to make sure that they make a high-quality book. Especially when the book is already about to end. In my opinion (please take this with a grain of salt) It’s sad, and bittersweet to see a series grow to one of the best X-Men books and then end soon. Yes, Generation X was a late bloomer, but it was produced with much love and care for the characters. The focus on character studies/development was risky but paid off very well. With this kind of top quality storytelling, I am very much looking forward to the final issue and the future projects of the creators behind the book.

Again, I know most people will not agree with how I will rate this book, but by golly, I was very much entertained with the whole issue. From the awesome original Generation X fight to the new kids having great moments and finally to Jubilee’s epic comeback. At the end of the day, I loved every bit that this issue had to offer.

Pros:

  • Great balance between character development and action-packed fight scenes from Christina Strain
  • Original Generation X and second batch team up to battle M-Plate!
  • Felipe Sobreiro’s coloring was superb on this issue!
  • Hindsight’s mutant power was executed effectively to give us a glimpse of his past and also what happened between Monet and Sabertooth
  • After more than a decade, MUTANT JUBILEE IS BACK!

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Cons:

  • Almicar Pinna’s art looked awkward at the beginning but at least it improved in the middle of the book (which I admire from him doing his best)
  • The thought of the book ending soon, when things were just about to get really good!

Rating: 10/10

Final Thought:

Although it is heartbreaking to know that this will be the 2nd to the last issue, the penultimate chapter of the series definitely delivered an EPIC showdown that felt like you were on a rollercoaster ride. Christina Strain, Almicar Pinna, and Felipe Sobreiro undoubtedly put all their love and efforts for this book and it shows! They know what the fans want and they are making sure that they deliver. Before the curtain closes, the creative team are making sure that Generation X will end with a bang next month (and with lots of fireworks.) A definite must-read for every fan of the original series!

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