"Generation Hope #17" by James Asmus and Takeshi Miyazawa closes the latest attempt by Marvel at making a "mutants-in-training" book work. Despite solid foundations, "Generation Hope" never quite reversed its dropping fortunes, but at least this final issue allows it to go out with its dignity intact as its various plotlines are finally resolved.
Asmus' take on the team was always more obviously teen-oriented than Gillen's, so it's no surprise to see the conclusion to his arc play things a little more like a supernatural teen soap opera with a resolution befitting an episode of "Buffy" or "Smallville." Friendships are re-affirmed, the leader realizes her followers are what make her important and the deadliest villain, as ever, comes from within.
With the issue of Hope's subconscious control of the Gen Hope kids resolved, the only plot that feels like it lacks resolution is Shaw's. He now has access to his past, if not necessarily the interest in it, but more importantly Namor hasn't yet acknowledged that Emma lied to him about Shaw's death. It's a fairly major story and if the realization isn't happening in "Generation Hope," it needs to happen somewhere before long.
Miyazawa's art fits in with the more teen-focused angle, but he does well with the action scenes too. Kenji was always a more interesting visual than anything else and Miyazawa manages to have fun with it, proving his strengths go beyond emotion and storytelling. It looks amazing and where a weaker artist could have killed the story, Miyazawa manages to elevate it.
However, there's no escaping that this comic is what it is: a truncated ending to a series that never quite found its feet. Final issues are usually perfunctory affairs with resolutions that tend towards trite and this is no exception. A token death (or is it?) does little to raise the emotional stakes, because the character never acquired any wider significance.
In the end, it's serviceable. Neat, but uninspired. With any luck, we'll see the Gen Hope kids appear in a better context in the future, but right now, X-Men-in-training wasn't working for the audience. In more prosperous times this title would have had a strong run, but it's no surprise to see it limping home under the current market conditions. A good try, but one that ultimately came at just the wrong time.