Gen 13: A Christmas Caper
by Tom McWeeney
(WildStorm, 2000)

Just in time for the holidays, the gang from Gen 13 battle to save -- not the world, but Christmas.

But these aren't your usual Gen 13 teen idols. While most Gen 13 storylines feature innumerable cheesecake shots of the buff and often scantily clad team, Tom McWeeney offers something a little different: Li'l Gen 13. Yes, the heroes of this tale are tykes, in a story set long before they actually got their powers and teamed up to battle evil and modest wardrobing.

McWeeney sets the scene in faux "Night Before Christmas" style, as Li'l Grunge calculates the precise time that Santa Claus will drop down their chimney. Li'l Freefall doesn't seem to give a hoot for Santa, but she'll gladly pass a night spying on the fireplace if it means hiding in a box with Li'l Grunge.

But they didn't count on the Baron, an evil mastermind whose life has been tainted by 61 years of getting nothin' but coal in his stocking. Fed up at last, the Baron has vowed to capture Santa and take his revenge. His cunning plan might have worked, too, but when he rounded up his quarry, along with a couple of helpful elves, he also took along the only witnesses to his vile crime: Li'l Grunge and Freefall.

So it's Li'l Fairchild, Li'l Rainmaker and Li'l Burnout to the rescue! The battle that follows offers equal portions Christmas magic and snot humor. And, given the apparent age of the heroes, they keep their costumes intact for a change. It's good, clean, holiday fun, and it gives the Gen 13 team a chance to shine in a completely new form. Nice work, McWeeney!

by Tom Knapp
24 December 2005