Age Of X-Man: NextGen #5 // Review
It’s been a long journey, but the students of the Sommers Institute for superhuman mutants finally have to confront the fact that the reality that they have been living is a total lie. It’s not going to be easy and they will have to sacrifice much for their freedom in the final issue of Age Of X-Man: NextGen written by Ed Brisson with art by Marcus To. The journey to the end of the Age of X-Man multi-mini-series event might have something of a satisfying end to it, but like everything else about the end of the project, it would have been FAR more satisfying to see an end like this if the rest of the issues in the series had been more compelling.
There’s been an explosion at the Hope Summers Memorial Library. It’s a simple terrorist act that could erase a whole bunch of history in a very violent way. The only question is...will it help erase the fabricated history or something more real? And who will get hurt? The terrorist act leaves a group of students on the run trying to figure out what their next move might be in the final chapter in the story of a group of young superhumans looking to find some sense of truth in a world that is painfully false.
Brisson ends this mini-series on a particularly dark note, but it’s not like the darkness hasn’t been foreshadowed. The desperate search for the truth finds a group of students scrambling to run away from the X-Men. The legendary heroes of the establishment are evaded at first, but they’ve got a totalitarian government on their side. Brisson shows an interesting side of heroism in the steady defiance of Glob Herman...the one student who has known that the world has been a lie all along. Glob’s fate is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. Were this the end of the Age of X-Man, it would be a very powerful note. Instead, the series’ biggest ending rests just on the horizon.
Marcus To is given a strange bit of momentum to bring to the page. The issue opens with an explosion that launches an action sequence before slowing down into a moody drama that dominates the page for the rest of the issue. The action feels powerful but static. A slower chase follows as fugitive mutants are on the run from the authorities. There isn’t much time to deliver the powerful drama of that as weighed against the search for the truth. To still manages some strikingly somber moments with Glob as the series draws to an end. Throughout the series, the moments with Glob have been the most powerful. To has done an admirable job with a character who carries the weight of his tension deep within him.
NextGen would have worked quite a bit better on its own outside of the confines of a rigid multi-title event. There are a lot of subtle moments in and within the student body of a totalitarian state run by superhumans that could have carried tremendous impact with this particular group of characters. Too bad it wasn’t given a longer timeline.