Gen13: World's End
by Scott Beatty, Mike Huddleston, Dan Hipp (WildStorm, 2009)

Time was, I used to mock the Gen13 series for its overuse of teenage cheesecake to make its sales. Truth is, it was always done with a bit of grudging admiration; what Gen13 did, it did well. The characters were shallow, yes, but also light-hearted and fun. The stories were usually entertaining, at least, and I often put a Gen13 book down with a smile on my face, if not a lot of respect.

Then Gen13 went through a series of ill-planned revisions, and the latest version attempts to be darker, grittier and less sexy-fun. The creative teams have had a little time now to work out the kinks, but frankly, they still haven't gotten it right.

World's End, written by Scott Beatty, gives us a super team that is held in stasis in a transporter beam for six months; when they finally come out of it, the world has largely been destroyed and superheroes, who apparently caused the devastation somehow, are hunted and killed. (This apparently makes more sense if you read other titles in the WildStorm universe. I don't.) There is, in fact, another Gen team that is used precisely for training for that purpose; daily, it seems, they are freed, hunted and killed or captured, then brought back to go through it again.

What does that mean for our heroes? Yawns, mostly. There's a cliffhanger ending here, and I can't even summon up enough interest to want to know what happens next.

Oh, the art is passable, if not phenomenal, for most of the book, but when Mike Hiddleston passes the pencil to Dan Hipp for the final chapter, it becomes dreadfully bad. That's not a good sign for our heroes.

review by
Tom Knapp

9 October 2010

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