GeNext #3

While the first two issues of "GeNext" threatened to promise that Claremont had made something of a return to his prime with their simple character-driven plots, this third issue re-introduces some of the familiar Claremont tropes that we've unfortunately come to expect -â€" disconnected plot logic, over-reliance on clunky, expository dialogue, and the idea of alternative versions of heroes who are evil.

The initial part of the issue focuses on the trainee X-Men of the future as they search for the missing No-Name -- a character who the audience know very little about compared to the other cast members. Unfortunately, it quickly sinks into generic scenes of stern lectures and faceless government stooges getting upset with the kids, before things take a turn for the confusing. There are some genuinely good moments in seeing how the older Beast and Cyclops approach training the X-kids, but then the plot suddenly lurches off in a different direction. It's almost as if, following a couple of issue of setup, someone felt like the story wasn't moving fast enough and kicked it well into high gear. Personally, I was enjoying the slower, character-centric pace.

Scherberger's artwork was remarkably strong in the first two issues, though some glitches do crop up in this one. Given how old Beast looks at this point, it's jarring that Cyclops appears barely a day older than he is in current continuity. Emma Frost, on the other hand, doesn't really even resemble her current self, much less an aged version of it, and it's certainly a concern when you have to rely on dialogue to confirm a character's identity. Scherberger's storytelling is energetic and youthful, and besides those complaints there's nothing wrong with the tone of the title at all. Certainly, he's one of Marvel's gems who could easily turn into the next Humberto Ramos, given time to work on his weaker areas.

The back-up story contained in this issue is a reprint of a Kurt Busiek-written story from Marvel's "humor" comic series, "What The--?!" Unfortunately, even those who worked on that title tend to admit that time has not been kind to it, and perhaps this story was best left in the past -- especially because the reprinted tale doesn't seem to bear any obvious relevance to the main story. Personally, I enjoy reprints of old, hard to find stories, especially if they can add them to a comic that's costing $3.99 without raising the cost -- but at least make them relevant or timely, rather than something seemingly pulled out of the archives for the sake of it.

"GeNext" is still, overall, a package worth purchasing. Three issues into a five-issue run, it's already more good than bad, but some cracks are showing and only the next two issues will let us see whether this is a minor hiccup or an indicator of how the series is going to end up.

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