Gen13: 15 Minutes
by Simon Oliver, Carlo Barberi, etc. (WildStorm, 2008)

I've never really been onboard with this latest reboot of Gen13.

Our heroes have been recast as clones and are part of a secret plan to develop superhuman beings and to provide grist for a series of snuff films. Yeah, I've never understood that part, either. 15 Minutes is basically a book-length attempt by the team's evil creators to create a feature-length movie about their acclimation to New York City, their various successes and emotional connections there, and their violent deaths just when things are looking good.

Of course, WildStorm isn't going to kill off Gen13 -- not again, anyway -- even though a lot of fans probably wouldn't mind seeing this pale imitation of the original team wiped from existence so the publisher can start from scratch. But, while the overall "snuff film" subplot of the new Gen13 is a ridiculous notion, this stand-alone movie effort works fairly well.

Let's forget that Gen13 has been to New York before. For this new, lame team, this is their first trip to the big city, and it's actually fun to watch them go their separate ways and settle into new lifestyles. Roxy becomes a fashion model. Sarah falls in love with a socially conscious photographer. Grunge joins a gang of outlaw artists. Bobby gets serious about music and education.

Only Caitlin Fairchild, the team's leader, fails to succumb to the city's allure, so she of course begins to figure out just how hinky their new situation is. And pretty soon the team is back together and punching people, and all is right with the world.

Oh, did you know this new incarnation of Gen13 doesn't mind killing people? They do it all the time.

Kudos to writer Simon Oliver for making a silk purse from a sow's ear. Gen13 continues its downward slide, but 15 Minutes at least proves it's possible to tell good stories in the midst of bad material.

review by
Tom Knapp

17 July 2010

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