Generation Hope is over. The cast, or what remains of it, are to be whisked away for a supporting role in Avengers Vs X-Men, and Hope herself is looking into a dark abyss of a future, as the prophesies finally start to come to a head and bring everything crashing down or rising up. Like a Phoenix.
The series had so much going against it that it was perhaps doomed to failure. A main character who annoyed Jean Grey fans because she dared to have ginger hair and enigmatic powers, a cast of non-Americas, a then-indie writer called Kieron Gillen whose previous story was about blueberry muffins and interplanetary strife, in that order, and a focus on young mutant characters at a time when Generation X, the New X-Men, and the Young X-Men were all striving for attention elsewhere, anywhere. That the book was good didn’t come as much of a surprise. That is managed to last over a year was magnificent.
James Asmus brought the book to a close last week, in the process killing off Kenji and destroying the psychic thrall Hope had over the rest of her team. Sebastian Shaw joined, seemingly for the purpose of slowly closing shut a subplot Matt Fraction created years ago. The cast were largely developed into refreshing, different people whose reactions to becoming the newest wave of mutants were unusual and interesting. Idie became convinced that she was evil, therefore anything she did was simply part of God’s plan for her as a discarded, subhuman thing. Teon’s powers seemed to have him as a clichéd feral attacker, but subverted and proved him to be completely instinctual, and able to flip on the turn of a coin. Kenji was the point of view character, believe it or not, and his slip out of his own mind became the central story of the series.
Not everything worked. There was an issue halfway through which attempted to address the topic of gay suicide, a terrible thing which has become increasingly noticed and played into by the media. The motives of the issue were sound, the storytelling less enthralling. As three trades, the run will seem layered and intelligent. As seventeen single issues released monthly, the run sometimes seemed to plod, and beat a few ideas too often into the minds of readers. But overall, Generation Hope managed to move on from the gloom of New X-Men and energy of Young X-Men to create a new, invigorated take on young characters which kept the line buoyant. Generation Hope was aligned with Cyclops after Schism, and proved to be the only ‘blue side’ title to really have an idea of itself. While Uncanny was busy with the biggest-picture, and New Mutants/X-Men both seemed lost, Generation Hope strode on as the only X-Men book to deal with the idea of being a hero for a world that hates and fears you.
We got seventeen issues out of this. It may have been divisive, and clever, and subtextual, and difficult. But Generation Hope proved that Marvel can still go for the left-field when they want to, and take stories and characters into places nobody would’ve expected. Most importantly, it was entertaining, and silly, and funny. Nobody can tell what AvX will lead us to. But let’s hope it’s more stories like this one. The X-Men could do with some intricacy.