With their visit to The Ward over, the fledgling X-Men are forced to defend their “abduction” of one of their teammates, as Teon’s parents arrive hoping to regain custody of their errant son. Their argument? That he’s not in a fit mental state to choose a life with the X-Men.
Since he’s the centerpiece of the book, it makes sense that the scene where Teon’s powers are finally explained makes this issue worth buying alone. Without spoiling the moment (which ranks as the most unexpected yet in the book’s lifespan) we finally know why Teon isn’t just the latest rework of the standard Wolverine/Wildchild/Sabretooth cliché. His powers are suddenly far less derivative, even if the expression of them initially appeared so.
Indeed, although I’m not much of a fan of “adaptable” mutations, the psychological aspect of Teon’s mutant power does at least mean his holds a bit more water. Unlike Lifeguard and Darwin, whose powers had an involuntary component that never made much sense to me, Teon’s altered perspective doesn’t necessarily mean that his higher functions spontaneously appear in the right situation, merely that he’s largely uninterested in accessing them ay any other time.
As for the rest of the book, it’s largely a succession of character moments which help to further round out the team and help them gel as a unit while advancing the book’s larger arcs. This month: codenames. It’s fair to say that coming up with new codenames isn’t an easy prospect after 40 years of X-Men stories, and I find myself largely unenthusiastic about those that are settled on. Admittedly, they make sense from a character perspective, but that’s only half the battle. For all its international flavour, “Velocidad” is as dull a choice as its English-language counterpart over in “Young Avengers,” while “Transonic” is a name more befitting of a telecommunications company than a superhero. At least “Primal” can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the classics.
Beyond that, the book’s most major subplot – that of Hope’s power over her teammates – finally begins to bloom in its final pages. Naturally, the two smartest characters in the book figure out that sometime unusual is going on, and the suggestion of a rift in the team this early on positions Kenji as the bad influence we all assumed he’d be.
Between Espin’s always-enjoyable artwork (which works just as well with the more talky scenes in this issue as it did in the previous, more action-based, stories) and Gillen’s excellent handling of character, plot, and dialogue, “Generation Hope” has quickly become a title of dependably high quality, with engaging long-form character and story arcs working in sync. And when that’s not enough, issues like this remind us that there are still plenty of surprises hiding up its sleeves.