Gen¹³ (vol.3) #0 (September, 2002)
“Try to Remember”
Writer – Chris Claremont
Penciller – Ale Garza
Inker – Sandra Hope
Colors – UDON
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy
Assistant Editor – Kristy Quinn
Editor – Bob Harras
Cover Price: $0.13
So… yesterday we concluded our #Action100 Endeavor. I was so looking forward to having that done… but, now I’m left asking “what’s next?”. It feels like with every milestone we lose a little bit.
I mean, this humble blog has had the same tag-line for over two-years at this point, “Random DC Comics Discussion and Review”… but sometimes your humbler host needs a little direction. Things like the Action Comics project… or even the obsessive search for Lady Cop kept me focused, motivated, and driven to keep plugging along.
I guess we’re going to have to find a new “project” to keep us all coming back… and I might have just the thing. I think we’ll wait until May 1 to unveil that though.
In the interim, however, let’s just discuss any old thing that falls into our lap… just like today’s Gen¹³ #0! Some of you won’t remember that weird time in the early-2000’s where the companies would try and out-do one another by shipping “gimmes”. There was that issue of Fantastic Four that shipped with a 9-cent cover price… the Superman and Batman 10 and 12 cent adventures, respectively… hell, for a little while, Marvel had one book a month with a $0.25 cover to entice new readers to “jump on”! There’s a trend I wouldn’t mind seeing make a comeback! The only thing we’re scaling back these days are the issue numbers!
This issue of the relaunched Gen¹³ is another one of those “gimmes”… and we’re about to learn whether or not it’s worth those thirteen cents.
We open at San Diego Comicon, where Captain Michael Kirby York of the NYFD has taken his growing family to the “promise land”. It’s funny to read Claremont’s description of the place… as sort of a comics’ nirvana or something. He writes that comics publishers “dominate the halls”… welp, couldn’t write that line today… it’s either movie studios or freaking Funko Pops all-day long. Do they even let publishers attend Comicon anymore? Worth mentioning that the Captain’s family doesn’t seem all that impressed.
Michael catches a glimpse of Megan Ford, publisher of Victory Comics… and gets star-struck. The rest of the family doesn’t get it. Suddenly a young lady streaks onto the scene… well, not that kind of “streak”, she just runs really fast. She’s being chased by some “Guys in Suits”ᵀᴹ, and bumps right into Michael’s son Ethan.
They dust themselves off… and the girl vanishes into the crowd. The twins Ethan and Dylan notice that in the commotion she dropped her wallet. Michael heads over to Ms. Ford to fan-gush… and the boys head off to track down the mystery girl.
The find her outside… in plain daylight, being wrestled down by those three “Guys in Suits”ᵀᴹ. I mean, that’s definitely going to attract some attention, right? Ethan and Dylan, without knowing any of the context of the situation, tackle the suits… leading to the mystery girl taking Ethan’s hand… and whisking them both away.
One minute later, they arrive in Big Sur. Ethan gushes about whatsherface being “a Supergirl”. She reveals that her real name is Maria Alcazar, and that her code-name is Quickstep. She continues… revealing that she’s sort of part of a group, and that the “Guys in Suits”ᵀᴹ that were following her work for an organization who would like to control superpowered teen-agers… I guess?
And so, our couple goes to grab a burger and get to know one another better. Seems it’s an instant love connection. Maria reveals that after she drops Ethan back with his family she’s going to meet up with a friend in La Jolla.
Later on, Ethan is dropped back at the hotel where his family is staying… and he’s surprised to find that they are not alone… there’s a… you know, man wearing a suit there as well. The man insists that by “saving” Maria, Ethan put her in “deadly danger”.
Meanwhile in La Jolla, Maria meets up with her friend… Caitlin Fairchild. Once inside, they both hear the voice of “Herod” who claims to have “judged” her… and, what the heck… he’s judged Fairchild too. Quickstep overloads, causing a “flare”… which more or less atomizes the safehouse.
As the dust settles, yet another… guy in a suit is at the scene of the safehouse situation where he sees Fairchild taken out on a stretcher. He reports in to a woman (maybe Megan Ford? It’s not entirely clear), who reveals that they will keep tabs on Ethan York.
I thought this was okay. Despite this having been in my collection for the better part of two decades, this is the first time I gave it a look. I’m pretty sure I just grabbed it for the 13-cent price tag, and never gave it a second thought. This really wasn’t bad though.
If you were to look at the cover, which is surprisingly by Jim Lee… doesn’t really look like his work… if you were to look at the cover, you’d assume this was going to be as tonally different than the previous volume of Gen¹³… which went from cheesecake to full-blown manga during it’s run. You’d perhaps expect a more realistic “street level” take… thankfully, that’s not the case. The art is just as bombastic as before… with more than a little bit of manga “influence”.
My only real quibble about the art is that I’m not sure if we were supposed to recognize the big-bad at the end as the owner of Victory Comics. I mean, with the amount of time we spent identifying her at the start it’s almost gotta be her, right? The art, however, doesn’t make that immediately clear… and for a reveal like that, it kinda has to be.
The opening here made me wistful for a time where Comicon actually meant something to me. The days where you’d get the fall-out in an Autumn issue of Wizard Magazine… or the “up to the minute coverage” on USENET. Where comics were the straw that stirred the drink… and movies were just “added flavor”. Now it’s just loading into a room to watch a scene of whoever played Harley Quinn licking her teeth, or Thanos making a fist while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. And don’t forget the Funkos! Comics be damned.
I think my main complaint about this issue… and the one thing that could’ve changed my opinion to completely positive if it were left out… is, the damned Guys in Suits. I think that’s why I was never able to go “all in” on WildStorm. Feels like all of their bad guys could star in a USA Network original series. It’s just nameless dudes in suits and shades. What is there to invest in? Also, this is comics… where you can do literally anything with a story… and our bad guys are just Guys in Suits? So tired. I get that the turn-of-the-century was a time where we were trying to make things “real”… probably so the books could more easily be translated to the big screen… but it’s just so lame.
I think Claremont did really well with the dialogue here… but some of the captions were a little “much”. I’ll give him this, his depiction of Michael’s bored family at Comicon was pretty spot on. So often I tell the wife about stuff going on in comics… and I basically get the blank stare in return. God forbid I utter the phrase “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. Unless she’s having trouble sleeping or needs to be knocked out for surgery, she hasn’t the slightest bit of interest.
Overall… for 13-cents, I’d say you could do far worse. There’s a certain amount of WildStorm dullness to it, with all the goofs in suits… but, I think it made me interested enough to (eventually) check out the next (first) issue.