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Whew…2nd review this week.  But since I’m working tomorrow, I wanted to get this one out before Saturday so I can finally be caught up.  Besides…not much going on.

Ugh…that feeling when you’ve placed an order from an online retailer for comics and are waiting on them to arrive and you see they made it to the post office in your area but because it’s Friday and there’s no mail anymore on Saturday, you still have to wait until Monday to get them.  WHY CAN’T I GO PICK THEM UP?!

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 Generation X #18 (August 1996)

For the Sake of the Children
[Onslaught, Impact 1]

cover

Writer:  Scott Lobdell
Penciler:  Chris Bachalo
Inker:  Mark Buckingham

The entire Generation X team, kids and teachers, are on a private jet, heading home from their ordeal in St. Louis (I reviewed it briefly here).  Banshee quietly reflects on his team, from the quiet M, to the loud Jubilee, to the bookworm Husk.  But he recognizes something is wrong.  He reaches out to Emma Frost to discuss quietly that he recognizes their flight path and they aren’t heading home.  Instead, they’re heading to Canada.  Emma, without putting down her compact, still fixing her makeup, makes a suggestion that Banshee head outside and check it out.

Without any question, Banshee stands up, decides it’s a good time to stretch his legs, steps over to the door, and opens it…while they are thousands of feet above the ground.  He is immediately sucked out and all hell breaks loose in the cabin.  Even as Emma very casually continues her makeup, the rest of Generation X rush to close the door.  M finally succeeds but before she can leave to follow Banshee, Emma snaps her compact shut and advises them that Banshee is no doubt hundreds of miles away.Banshee

Speaking of which?  Banshee is flying through the air, singing “She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain”.  Seriously.  Emma’s horrible.  He does manage to snap out of the suggestion and vows to deal with “The White Queen”.

Once the plane lands, the kids realize something’s not right.  They’re not in New York, Massachusetts or even the USA.  Jubilee confronts Emma about it, but Emma is unwilling to even discuss her reasoning so Jubilee has had enough.  She and Synch both attack, but Emma easily turns their powers against each other.  Husk sheds her skin into something hopefully more useful…but finds that she can only husk into herself, no matter how hard she tries.  M moves against Emma, but Frost is able to create a “psychic lightning bolt” where she zaps M with all the ambient psychic energy.  With her students down, Emma directs her hired help to get the kids into the cars…gently.

Emma vs M

They arrive at a mansion and Emma announces that this will be their home for the time being.  The kids have stopped arguing (perhaps a gentle “suggestion” from her?) and seem excited, but when questioned, she gets lost in her own thoughts and we (the reader) are treated to her justification for ditching Banshee and kidnapping her students:  she may not know exactly what is going on in New York, but something is wrong and she knows she must protect them.

However, in the shadows, watching the students as they get settled in, is Toad.

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My advice?  Forget that this has anything to do with Onslaught.  Because honestly, if you can do that, this is a pretty solid issue.  Definitely one of my favorites of Generation X, and a must-read if you like Emma.  But it really has nothing to do with Onslaught other than him being a vague threat that is the driving force behind the decisions Emma makes in this issue.

Not a perfect issue, though…  the science-minded person in me wanted to yell at the scene where Banshee opens the airplane door IN FLIGHT.  Banshee has normal strength.  To open an airplane door in flight when the cabin is pressurized would take the ability to lift thousands of pounds, which Banshee cannot do.  And if the cabin were depressurized, then it wouldn’t have caused the bedlam that followed his opening of it.  I know, I know…it’s comics…but some things will just bug me.

Jubilee

But if I have to nitpick, that should tell you how much I enjoyed this issue.  Bachalo’s art is actually top notch here (and I’m not always his biggest fan).  Well defined characters, they don’t all have childish faces, and it’s not overly cluttered (which was one of his defining standards later on).  I also loved Banshee’s referral to Emma as The White Queen, alluding to her villainous days.  After all, she used her powers against him to force him to do something against his will.  We all know she wasn’t reverting to form, but he didn’t and he was pissed.

But really, this issue is all about Emma.  And I loved her in this.  I haven’t been her biggest fan of recent years (pretty much since Morrison) but she really did seem to be a human being under Lobdell and was generally a great character.  And here is Emma at her finest.  From the almost comical calm demeanor after Banshee opens the cabin door to her effortless take down of her students.  But most of all?  It’s the realization that she’s doing all this because she is protective of them.  Her admission that she is “not prepared to lose any others” which is a haunting reminder of the Hellions (who died in Uncanny X-Men #281 and 282) and a reminder that Emma Frost does actually care.  She puts on a front but beneath the hard exterior, she is human and will do whatever it takes to keep her charges safe.

So despite the title, she is not a witch (although at this moment, Banshee probably thinks she is).  She is simply decisive and will do what it takes.

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