The Xavier Institute: An Explosive Debut In ‘Generation’ X #1

by Tony Thornley

One of the X-Men’s most treasured traditions is the adventures of a new generation of mutants. In 1994, Marvel launched not just the next incarnation of the up and coming mutants, but one of the most celebrated X-Men runs ever.

After years of changes in the X-line, the time was right for Marvel to spin off another X-book. The line was at the height of popularity, and multiple characters had been established to form a basis for the title. With a massive crossover to firmly establish the series, in September 1994, readers got Generation X #1.

Scott Lobdell, Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Richard Starkings, and Steve Buccellato initially launched the series. It had all the gimmicks- chromium cover, embossed, wrap-around, double sized- but readers immediately latched on due to the engaging story, fascinating characters, and stunning art. Needless to say, it was a hit.

While the survivors of “Generation Next” adjust to their new reality following the Phalanx attack, the final student of the Massachusetts Academy arrives in Boston. However, Jono Starsmore finds more than his greeting party of Banshee, Jubilee and Synch. The young heroes immediately meet one of their newest- and deadliest- adversaries- the psychic vampire Emplate!

Lobdell really does craft an excellent and immersive new title here. The Academy is fascinating, a mixture of modern X-Men and the classic feel of Claremont and Simonson’s New Mutants. The characters are fully formed, appearing on the page almost like a genuine human being rather than a comic book character. The girls in particular are standouts in this issue with mild conflict that feels authentic, but distinct personalities that make them stand out. Outside of some purple prose and extremely outdated pop culture references, it’s a fantastic issue.

Most people associate Generation X with the mainstream debut of Bachalo after his Vertigo work, it’s impossible to discount Buckingham’s contributions. The art is the perfect synthesis of the two, with Bachalo’s creative storytelling and Buckingham’s incredible design work on display. Paired with Buccelatto’s inventive colors, this is a stunning issue. The issues that this team created together are some of the best of the 90’s, and we’ll definitely revisit them in this column later.

This is probably the single best series launch of the 1990’s, and the beginning of a run that every comic fan should check out.

Generation X #1 is collected in Generation X Classic V1 from Marvel Comics and is easily available from your local comic store.

We’d like to ask, on behalf of our friends and colleagues that own and are employed by comic shops, that you first try to get these books at your local shop. Though many shops have reopened, this remains a very uncertain time for owners, employees, and their families. Show some love for your community and friends by buying from your regular shop when possible and safe.

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