A newer class of teen angst.
One of the many 1990s spin-off books from X-Men
, Generation X
told the story of the Marvel Universe's
latest group of teenage mutant trainee superheroes. It went through various authors and artists, but was popular for most of its six-and-a-half-year run, before being fairly abruptly cancelled in a deck-clearing exercise at the end of the 1990s.
The book was set in Emma Frost
's Massachusetts Academy, which used to be the supervillainous equivalent of the Xavier School, before an incident with a time traveller, some giant killer robots, an accidental body-switch and an evil alien god turned Emma Frost into The Atoner
. Her formerly villainous past led to some friction with her students, and with her co-head teacher, reserve X-Man Banshee.
The series was also the basis for a made-for-TV movie (if you're curious, there's a full plot summary with screencaps here
Not to be confused with people born between the mid-1960s and the early '80s, overlap or not. or with Billy Idol
's first band.
Contained notable examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Monet St Croix.
- And I Must Scream: Johnston Coffin's "Special Children," who have been in such a state so long their bodies have started to rot.
- Art Evolution: Skin became increasingly attractive over the course of the book's run, going from downright ugly in his first appearances to basically becoming a grey-skinned Gambit with a goatee. This was probably just Depending on the Artist, but it's possible that learning to control his powers led to an increased self-image, subtly influencing his outer appearance over time.
- The Atoner: Emma Frost's character arc throughout the series.
- Ax-Crazy: Adrienne Frost once she drops any pretenses and becomes obsessed with murdering Generation X simply to stick it to Emma.
- Bad Ass: Banshee. He's the longest-standing veteran superhero on the team, and he spent years as an Interpol agent before joining the X-Men.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The girls were three different kinds of conventionally attractive, while two of the three boys were deformed by their powers.
- Penance wasn't conventionally attractive, although to be fair, it wasn't always easy to count her with the other students.
- Betty and Veronica: One of many things Jubilee (Betty) and Monet (Veronica)) clashed over was Synch's affections.
- Blessed with Suck: Chamber had telepathy, energy blasting, and no need to eat or breathe — which was handy, since he no longer had a mouth, or lungs, or a heart.
- Also Penance, who had diamond-hard skin that was also diamond-sharp.
- Also Skin, who had... six feet of extra skin. That's it. It did have some utility—actually a whole hell of a lot—but most of the time it just made him look like a melted candle.
- Captain Ethnic: Played straight with Banshee and Jubilee (who might not seem like a stereotypical Asian girl until you realize her power is to create fireworks), both of whom were created years before, but averted with all the characters new in this series. None of the other characters had stereotypical powers or personalities to match their ethnicities.
- Darker and Edgier: the arc closing out the series. It was part of a revamp and pruning of all the X-Books. The second-to-last story arc was a four-issue story after a Time Skip past some unspecified trauma in which the team dynamics had already been shaken up, and then the final four issues were a flashback to a Tonight Someone Dies situation.
- Evil Counterpart: Subverted. When a line of action figures of Generation X was made, the producers apperently thought Gene Nation, who had only shown up in 2 issues, would be this for the team and made figures of the two known members Marrow and Hemingway
- Five-Token Band: Two white kids (the Official Couple), plus a Chinese-American, a Moroccan, an African-American and a tough-yet-sensitive Latino.
- Monet has variously been described as from Morocco, Algeria, France, Bosnia, and even Monaco. This is partly due to a very wealthy, cosmopolitan family - one issue explained that her father is a French ambassador, her mother is Algerian and she was born on a badly-timed vacation in Bosnia - but some of the extra countries might just be examples of poor research or even Depending on the Writer.
- Morocco is definitely a mistake. She did live in Monaco, when she was younger... and yes her dad is French (dunno if he has double nationality), her mom is Algerian, and she was born in Bosnia.
- It's at least partially the result of an Author's Saving Throw when Word of God regarding Penance's nationality (Before they were retconned into being the same person) was applied in-universe to Monet. Also, the St. Croix who had previously shown as Monet's father was retconned into being one and the same as an extant character (although this was not a reveal, as the Penance issue was).
- The Generic Guy: Synch, who never had very much focus or indeed much of a personality and tended to fade into the background. Probably why he was killed near the end of the series.
- Genius Ditz (also Genre Savvy): To quote Jubilee...
They probably know we're coming, right? So we gotta do what they think we won't do.
They know we know where they are. We know they know we know that
. So since they know we know what they probably know, we know what to do.
Monet: Perfect. This is all we need. Mission briefings by a spastic on a sugar high.
Banshee: Care to try that again, Jubilee?
Jubilee: Look, obviously we're going to look for a sneaky way in, because we know they know we're coming.
We have to fool them. Do what they think we won't do.
They probably got all their guys spread out, covering every bathroom window and ventilation shaft in the place, waiting for us.
The one thing they aren't expecting us to do is walk right up to the front door and knock politely.
So that's what we do. Except maybe instead of knocking, we just kick the door down and rush 'em!
Something Logan said to me once, I think. Or maybe Cyclops.
One of 'em. I dunno.
Banshee: ... The front, aye?
- Glory Days: The kids quickly tire of Jubilee constantly reminding them that she was once with the X-Men.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Jono and Angelo, Blessed with Suck. Most of the other characters are glad to be mutants (see I Just Want to Be Special) or at least are since long used to it, but these two can't ignore the weaknesses that come with their powers.
- Mostly averted in Angelo's case. There are times where it gets to him but for the most part he realizes that there's no use moaning about it. Chamber, on the other hand, goves into full blown Wangst territory quite a bit.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Husk was revealed as this. Her brother was already the super-hero Cannonball, and she tried everything she could to get mutant powers to develop, almost killing herself a few times. Finally she just about gave up, crying and clenching herself... when her skin started flaking off like old wallpaper. She ripped and shredded and tore herself up, which for anyone else would have been scary as hell, but for her, it was the happiest moment of her life.
- Jerkass: Jono comes off as one of these at times, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. We loved him anyway, because just often enough, we got to see he was a...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Especially when it came to Penance, Artie, and Leech.
- On the other hand, Monet is more or less just a general rude, arrogant, and self-absorbed bitch.
- Long Bus Trip: Maggot is at the school for all of one issue before leaving to pursue an exotic big game hunter who had tried to take his two slugs. He promises that Generation X will see him again. They don't, mainly due to the series eventually getting cancelled and Maggot then showing up in a concentration camp where he's killed.
- Mama Bear: Emma Frost used to be evil. This tends to show whenever anyone threatens her children.
- Manipulative Bitch: Cordelia Frost, Emma's younger sister, which comes back to haunt her.
- Mood Whiplash: The Warren Ellis/Brian Wood co-written run is very much Darker and Edgier and comes directly after Jay Faerber's Lighter and Softer run.
- Power Copying: Synch's power.
- Puberty Superpower: Most of the cast, just like almost all mutants in the Marvel Universe.
- Put on a Bus: Gaia, who joined during Larry Hama's run, leaves the school shortly into Jay Faerber's to experience the world and hasn't been seen in a comic of any sort since.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: During the book's Darker and Edgier final year, Leech, Artie and Penance make precisely one appearance before being sent off panel to the home of Monet's father in Morocco.
- Signature Style: Scott Lobdell...? When he was writing Generation X...? Rhetorical questions...? In truth...? He did a lot of those.
- Superhero School: The entire premise.
- Super Power Lottery: Monet St. Croix had flight, superstrength, superspeed, nigh-invulnerability, telepathy and genius-level intellect. Autism too, but it was treated as a superpower more often than not. She could also merge with her siblings (or her siblings could merge to form her), and the siblings had powers of their own.
- Both Synch and Chamber approached this in some ways but ultimately averted it. Synch could copy anyone's mutant power and sometimes even use it better than them, as well as detecting other mutants, but he has to be close to them to use it. Chamber's biological processes had been replaced by a psychically-controlled nuclear furnace, which would make him ridiculously powerful if he would ever stop feeling sorry for himself and really try to learn to use his power, but he never did during the series.
- Tangled Family Tree: The St. Croix family. Not that bad, as tangled family trees go, but it was revealed slowly with multiple reveals and a few retcons.
- Monet St. Croix is her younger sisters. She had younger twin sisters, Claudette and Nicole, who among other things had the power to combine into one being that was indistinguishable from Monet. When Monet mysteriously disappeared and they thought she was dead, they took her place because she was their father's favorite. That all took place before the series and this character is the one identified as Monet until around issue 30.
- Their brother Marius is a villain. Specifically, Emplate, the mutant vampire who is the chief recurring villain of the series. It is eventually revealed that his freakish appearance is not the direct result of his mutation, but is caused by repeatedly feeding on one victim so much and for so long that he began to resemble her. That victim is...
- Penance, also part of the family. Penance is the original Monet, magically transformed into that mute, diamond-sharp form as a punishment for being rude to Emplate.
- The time-traveling X-Man Bishop also implied once that he was related to the St. Croix. Further development of his backstory made this very unlikely, but he was related to Gateway, the Aboriginal mutant with teleporting powers, and Gateway was a sort of mentor to the twins.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Oh Skin...
- As the series progresses, however, and he gains more control Skin's power winds up generally having the most utility.
- Synch as well. He was effectively powerless if no superpowered individual was around. At one point, he was unable to prevent a couple human bullies from beating him up. His aura's mutant-tracking ability went on to be much more useful and memorable than his ability to do whatever the guy next to him is doing. His mimic ablities got an upgrade when it was revealed that he could use grafted power to the best of its ability. Basically he used your power better then you in ways you never thought possible. Didn't help him regarding explosives however.
- Widget Series: Compared to the rest of the X-Men line, and really anything Marvel was putting out at the time, it's definitely a whole lot weirder to the point where it can sometimes be a little hard to follow. As an example this is a series where Howard the Duck spends a handful of issues as a supporting character.