Gen 13 (vol 4) #30 review

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Gen 13 #30
Written by Scott Beatty
Art by Mike Huddleston
DC Comics/Wildstorm Entertainment

So, the new Gen 13 series is interesting.

I was a big fan of the original Gen 13. Five super-powered teenagers trying to escape the government and deal with all of the 90s angst that was going on. It was very much a product of its time, and the visionary minds of J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, and Jim Lee really caught on with what was happening at the time.

And when Adam Warren took over for the last couple years of the series’ run, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had so much FUN reading comics. Ed Benes was just getting his start, and was putting out some incredible artwork, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Image Comics “X-odus.” The stories were fun and light-hearted, but still had that sense of angst that the 90s were so filled with.

And then the book got cancelled and everybody died.

About a year later, Chris Claremont and Alé Garza resurrected the title, but with an entirely different cast, and it bore very little resemblance to what had come before.

So, the new series is born out of Wildstorm’s “Worldstorm” event from 2006, where everything got reset. So, while they’ve gone back to the original team (Fairchild, Freefall, Rainmaker, Burnout, and Grunge), it’s not a continuation. It’s a complete reboot.

And, y’know, it was going pretty well for a while. And then Wildstorm: Armageddon happened.

Now, these lighthearted, spunky teenagers aren’t living in 2009 with the rest of us. They’re living in an alternate, post-apocalyptic world where society has been reduced into mini-societies. It’s almost tribal. And the kids are just out for survival.

Which, I suppose would be all well and good, if there was ever a chance that they’d be able to come back to the regular 2009. But since the entire Wildstorm universe is in this post-apocalyptic land, I don’t see that happening any time soon. At least, not unless the Gen 13 kids are shoehorned out of the Wildstorm universe and brought into the DC Universe proper. But I don’t see that happening…

The book itself is okay. Mike Huddleston’s art is always interesting (though also a great departure from the hyperrealism and gratuitous T&A of the original series – which may be a plus to a lot of readers, actually). It’s very stylized, and he doesn’t really draw like anybody else. And Scott Beatty’s writing is about as interesting as it can be, given the setup he was left with. Although, it’s possible that he just doesn’t “get” what made Gen 13 so popular to begin with, and he’s doing his best to keep it going.

Or, maybe because the kids have been updated into ’00s teens, from ’90s teens, my inner teenager just can’t connect with these kids. Whoever would’ve thought I’d be “too old” at 26, huh?

At this point, I’m still collecting Gen 13 out of a sense of duty, really. I’ve got every issue of Gen 13 published, so far (and most of the variant covers, to boot!), and it would be a shame to break up the collection, especially after 11 years of reading the series. But if it doesn’t get better, I might need to consider dropping this one…

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