Gen¹³ (vol.2) #14 (1996)

Gen¹³ (vol.2) #14 (November, 1996)
“Higher Learning”
Story – Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell & Jim Lee
Penciller – Luke Ross
Inker – Sandra Hope
Colors – Joe Chiodo & Martin Jimenez
Computer Colors – WildStorm FX
Assistant Editor – Gigi Barbes
Editor – Sarah Becker
Cover Price: #$2.50

Another pick informed by a twitter exchange with Andrew.  Been a minute since we looked at Gen¹³… so why not?

Wake up in the morning, feeling shy and lonely, gee they gotta go to school.  It’s a new day in La Jolla, California… and it just so happens to be the first day… of school?!  C’mon, teams of superhero kids don’t go to school, do they?  Aren’t they all just taught at whatever institute they’re based out of?  Well, I guess that’s not exactly the way it works for our Gen-Actives.  And so, while Caitlin’s father Alex Fairchild does his… tai chi, or whatever… the kids all get ready for their big day.

Elsewhere, Burnout has done a rather poor job of shaving himself… having nicked himself several times over.  Unfortunately, Rainmaker saunters by in her unmentionables… which causes our man to, uh… flare up… thereby cauterizing his wounds?  Man, hope that doesn’t scar.

Elsewhere again, Roxy does one of those in-room fashion shows, like we see on television.  I’ve never been a teen-aged girl, so for all I know, these might happen in real life?

We then shift to Lynch’s underground bunker… office… monitoring room… place.  He’s got a smattering of screens up, including a shot of Bobby’s blistery face.  Gotta wonder where else this creep’s got cameras posted?!  Also worth noting, that one newscaster from Spawn is on one of the screens.  As he hears of a string of student abductions he checks in with Anna, the robo-maid about breakfast.

Turns out these finicky teen-agers don’t really appreciate all the hard work the bot puts into making breakfast… you know how deez kids be.  Grunge would rather have some cold pizza (brah!) and a Diet (?) Coke… Roxy’s into fad dieting… Bobby’s got his Powerbars… and Sarah’s, well, Sarah’s just annoying.  Caitlin, however, does eat up… and even goes so far as to thank Anna!

Then… finally, it’s off to school.  No sooner do they step out of Anna’s van than the cliche “As Seen on TV” school experience begins!

Roxy bumps into a dude and drops her books all over the place.  Then… an artsy gentleman stops to help her pick them up.  Wouldn’tcha know it… he’s headed to the same Film Appreciation Class that she is!

Caitlin is targeted by a pair of… uh, is “mean girls” still a saying?  Whatever we’re calling them, they are a pair of Sorority girls, who are looking for a new pledge.  Who betta than this six-foot redhead?  Perhaps worth noting, they’re from the Kappa Lambda Tau sorority… and I hope those letters don’t mean anything.  Considering another “creatively” named house we’re going to meet, I can’t help but imagine that they do.

Speaking of that other house… Grunge decides to pledge for Delta Iota Kappa.  Yeah, DIK, see what I mean?  He and another dude head inside… where they’re threatened with… um, some bad touching?

We slide over to the Campus Kafeehaus (are there even classes today?) where Bobby is called over by a rocker chick.  She calls him “Mr. Weiland”… which, yeah… I guess I can totally see that.  They chat, flirt, the whole shebang.

We head over to the Quad where there’s already a demonstration going on.  The kids have organized to put a stop to inhumane treatment of animals by the Biology department.  Of course, Rainmaker is right in the middle of all of this.  Grunge strolls by to lend some “moral support”… which is to say, he stops long enough to razz her a bit.

Finally… a class!  It’s Neurology 301… which, I mean for Freshmen, that might be a bit advanced.  Gotta wonder what the pre-reqs were if Grunge is here.  Anyhoo… it’s Grunge and Fairchild… and it’s here that we learn that ol’ Percival has himself some’a that photographic memory.

For something completely different, we pop over to the Isle of Gamorra… where some nogoodniks are trying to track down Alex Fairchild.  They beat up some Rodney Dangerfield looking fool… and leave.

Back at school, the day is winding to a close.  The gang all heads back to where they were set to be picked up in the Anna-Van, and they have a few new additions.  It’s also here that the art starts to go a bit “ca-ca”… or is that “cock-eyed”.

Some friendly razzing between partners changes into heated debate… which, I’d imagine makes their new pals wonder just what the hell they’ve gotten themselves into.  Before push turns to shove, however, the Anna-Van arrives to take the Gen-Actives home.

We rejoin the gang at the dinner table… where Anna has decided she’s had enough of their crap.  She forces them to eat the meal she’s prepared… and since she’s a robot, I’m sure she actually could just jam it down their throats.  The “animals are people too” debate heats up again… with all sides actually making cogent points.  Lynch basically tells them that this level of discourse is what becoming educated is all about… they don’t have to agree… but all opinions ought to be heard and respected.  Grunge punctuates the sentiment with a belch.

That night, the kids unwind in front of the television set… and it’s not long before the razzing begins again.  At least it’s friendly this time around.  Lynch tries to break it up by suggesting they all do their homework… to which, Grunge informs the gang that his is done, thanks in no small part to his photographic memory.  Wonk wonk.

We close out with… another student being abducted from the college.  Thought for a moment, it was the Anna-bot… but it turns out they just have the same hairstylist.  She wakes up to find herself strapped to a table… and being approached by some odd Kokopelli looking individual.

Well… as silly and cliche as this was, I can’t say I didn’t have fun reading it.

This is like… every TV show “first day of school”.  Being a dude whose had a bunch’a “first days of school” himself… I gotta just assume I was missing out, because I never had one like I saw on television.

This issue served as a pretty neat diversion from the usual fighty-fight superhero fare… and allowed us to explore these characters outside of the Gen-Active dynamic.  Of course, it’s still kiiinda cliche… Roxy and the Artsy dude… Bobby and the slacker/rocker chick.  Grunge, despite being a goofball actually being a super-secret genius… all sorta contrived deals.  Fun, but contrived.

The art here is… uneven?  There are panels that look as though they could’ve been J. Scott Campbell… and then others that look like they’re straight outta OEL manga.  Who knows, maybe there was a time-crunch toward the end… it wouldn’t be out of character for a book of this vintage.  The cover is quite striking, and would likely jump off the shelf atcha… which kinda does leave the inside a bit more disappointing.

Overall… I think there’s a lot of fun to have here.  It might be worth your time to check it out.

Letters Page… kinda?

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