Gen¹³

Superteambox


imagesize=
caption = Gen¹³ vol. 4, #1 (2006) cover by Talent Caldwell
team_name=Gen¹³
publisher=Wildstorm
debut ="Deathmate Black" (1994)
creators =Jim Lee, Brandon Choi
base= La Jolla, California
members=Caitlin Fairchild
Grunge
Freefall
Sarah Rainmaker
Burnout John Lynch

memberlist=
subcat=Wildstorm Comics
hero=y
villain=
sortkey=PAGENAME|

"Gen¹³" is a fictional superhero team and comic book series originally written by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi and illustrated by J. Scott Campbell. It was published by Image Comics under the banner Wildstorm, which went on to become an imprint for DC Comics, who kept publishing the "Gen¹³" title.

The comic features a loosely-organized team of super-powered beings composed of five teens and their mentor.

Publication history

The series takes place in Jim Lee's Wildstorm Universe, and "Gen¹³"'s stories and history intertwine with those from his own works, such as "Wildcats" and "Team 7" (in fact, each of the main characters in "Gen¹³" was the child of a Team 7 member). The title featured flashy graphics and was noticeably more risque than other titles of the time, such as X-Men, so it quickly grabbed the attention of a loyal audience.

The teens were originally invited to take part in a government project, but when they learned that the project was actually a prison-like testing ground on "Gen-Active" teens, they made their escape, but not before they "manifested" superhuman powers, and they were labelled dangerous fugitives. Their only hope was to rely on each other to fight their foes and unveil the personal secrets that linked them to Team 7 and International Operations.

After a very successful run, co-creator and illustrator J. Scott Campbell handed the reins of "Gen¹³" over to other creative teams, and moved onto his own new series Danger Girl.

Following the run of Choi and Campbell were John Arcudi and Gary Frank. Their realistic style, both in writing and art, were too drastic of a change for most fans who had appreciated the title's more fantastical elements. Following their run, Scott Lobdell returned the title to its less serious, more sexual roots, but still fans did not receive the title well.

After Lobdell's run, Adam Warren was assigned to the title. He had previously proven himself writing two miniseries using Gen¹³ characters ("Grunge: The Movie" and "Magical Drama Queen Roxy") as well as a two issue fill-in piece featuring a pop idol who threatened to take over the world with a catchy song. Warren's run was well-received by fans and critics, but sales did not support the title.

Despite outrageous story arcs and many artist collaborations, the popularity of the book dwindled to the point where Wildstorm decided to blow up the entire team with a 6 megaton bomb (#76, July 2002). This served as the catalyst to revamp the series with a new number one issue written by Chris Claremont with pencils by Ale Garza. This title featured an all new team mentored by Caitlin Fairchild, and spawned a spin-off series "21 Down". However, this title was cancelled after barely a year. The final issue of the series revealed that the original team was, in fact, still alive, and that the new series had taken place in an alternate dimension which had in some fashion crossed over with the known continuity.

During the height of its popularity, Gen¹³ spawned two spinoff books, "DV8" and "Gen¹³ Bootleg" as well as a number of one-shots and mini-series. The team also starred in crossovers with other comic book characters such as Superman, Spider-Man, the Maxx, Monkeyman and O'Brien, two crossovers with the Marvel Comics teen hero team Generation X and a crossover with The Fantastic Four. At one point in the early years, Wildstorm and DC were planning a teamup between the team and Batman. However, due to creative differences between creator J Scott Campbell and DC, the crossover never happened, though Campbell did create artwork showing Fairchild, Grunge, Roxy, and Batman in a promotional image.

Rebooted in October 2006, the current publication of the title "Gen¹³" (vol. 4) written by Gail Simone with art from Talent Caldwell, bears no continuity ties to previous volumes or series.

The series was involved in the crossover event and then re-started again in 2008 with a new creative team, Scott Beatty and Mike Huddleston, as part of World's End. [http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=154293 NYCC '08: LIVING IN THE RUINS: WS Editor Ben Abernathy on 'Worlds End'] , Newsarama, April 19, 2008]

Character history

The Original Gen¹³

International Operations started "government internship" for gifted youths, taking place in an isolated training facility. Following the manifestation of Caitlin Fairchild's powers, she fled the complex with Roxy Spaulding, Grunge, and Threshold in disguise. They were later joined by Sarah Rainmaker and Burnout. The project was revealed to be a gathering of the gen-active progeny of Team 7.

Threshold tricked the group, sans Fairchild, to return to base to help free the other kids, but upon their return they were apprehended for further testing. With the help of Pitt and John Lynch, the kids finally escaped. The group retreated to La Jolla, California, and officially formed as the group Gen¹³. They opposed IO and their ultra violent counterpart DV8. (Gen¹³ loosely refers to the 13th generation of Americans. Team 7 had been part of a project called Gen 12.)

The team spent a lot of time delving into the past of Team 7 to learn more about themselves. Fairchild and Freefall learned they were half-sisters and Lynch was revealed to be Burnout's father. Also during this time, Freefall and Grunge began to date, while Rainmaker revealed herself to be bisexual.

The team was caught in an explosion of a 6 megaton bomb and believed to be dead. Fairchild was the only survivor and mentored a new Gen¹³ team, effectively taking Lynch's role. However, this team existed in what is later revealed to be an alternate reality which was similar to the mainstream Wildstorm universe except for its point of divergence, the last issue of Volume 1. At the end of volume 2, the rest of the original Gen¹³ team was revealed to be alive and, after a little time-travel to avoid the detonation that 'killed' them, the reunited group returned to the mainstream Wildstorm universe.

Worldstorm

In early 2006, Wildstorm brought all its in-continuity comics since "WildC.A.T.s" #1, to an end. The universe's finale came in the form of the crossover miniseries "Captain Atom: Armageddon". Following the conclusion of this limited series, the entire Wildstorm line was relaunched with "Worldstorm." A new Gen¹³ series began. The entire world has had a "soft reset", the surroundings are mostly familiar, but there are changes throughout.

In the first arc, the future Gen¹³ are taken away from their homelives. It is revealed that their parents have been assigned to raise the children to encourage the emergence of specific personality traits. In different areas of the country, Caitlin Fairchild, Roxy Spaulding, Grunge, Bobby Lane, and Sarah Rainmaker wake up, each wearing a uniform recognized by their parents. Strike teams immediately attempt to capture the kids; many of their foster parents are terminated.

In the course of the series, it is eventually revealed that (in contrast to the previous iterations) these Gen13's were manipulated and formulated from birth by an unscrupulous biogenetics firm from I.O. called Tabula Rasa. Furthermore, the 'souls' of the previous iterations of the Gen13s, previous collected by the Authority's Doctor have settled into these bodies and when they five of them are together, they cause people to forget their previous history, even those who knew them.

As a result of these new origins, the personalities, histories and abilities of each character have displayed mild to massive differences from previous canon. For instance, Burnout is now a former juvenile hall resident turned reggae loving pacifist and John Lynch is a young grunt in I.O's employ. Rainmaker is firmly established as a lesbian, Fairchild is suspicious and unhappy about her excessive beauty and Grunge is portrayed as being secretly more intelligent than even Caitlin. Outside of her newfound origins, the character of Freefall remains mostly consistent to previous iterations, save for a slightly greater level of confidence and self-reliance.

World's End

The series begins again following "Number of the Beast", as part of the World's End storyline with the group coming out of a teleportation system in which they had been held (due to power loss) into a devastated New York approximately 6 months following the events of "Number of the Beast". [ [http://www.dccomics.com/comics/?cm=9851 "Gen¹³" #21 details at DC] ]

Characters

The original line up of Gen¹³ was:
* Caitlin Fairchild: Once an ordinary girl, Caitlin's muscles spontaneously increased in density, granting her superhuman strength, agility, speed, and endurance. The manifestation of her "Gen-active" status caused her body mass to increase, shredding her clothing at the time. Fairchild is by far the most intelligent of the group. Freefall's half-sister.

* Bobby "Burnout" Lane: Son of John Lynch (Gen¹³'s mentor), Bobby manifested the ability to generate and manipulate high-energy coherent plasma, which ignites on exposure to oxygen. He later developed the ability to fly, as well as certain psionic abilities.

* Roxanne "Freefall" Spaulding: "Roxy" is the youngest Gen-active teen, with the ability to control the effects of gravity on herself and on others. She can nullify gravity (and float) or multiply it (making objects ultraheavy). It is also suggested by some other characters, that if she thought about it and used her powers to their fullest advantage she could manipulate space time as this is related to gravity. She has a crush on Grunge and is jealous of Fairchild's physique. Keeps Queelocke as a "pet". It was later revealed that Spaulding and Fairchild were half-sisters, both the daughters of Alex Fairchild from Team 7.

* Sarah Rainmaker: Rainmaker can influence local weather systems, manipulating air currents to grant herself flight and direct water with a gesture. Amplifier bands on her wrists augment her ability to project lightning. Rainmaker is Apache, and bisexual. She is Stephen Callahan's daughter, and Threshold and Bliss's half sister.

* Percival Edmund "Grunge" Chang: Able to mimic the molecular structure of any material he touches (and partially bestow this effect on others), Grunge is a surf rat who enjoys sleeping in. He possesses brown belts in five martial arts styles, and has few if any redeeming characteristics - though he does possess a photographic memory that allowed him to take the same classes as Fairchild does (much to her surprise) during the period that the team went to college. His father is Team 7 member Phillip Chang.

* John Lynch: The team's mentor and father of Robert "Burnout" Lane. Lynch was the leader of Team 7 and close friend of the children's parents. His eye has been replaced after he gouged it out as a result of a mental attack. Like all surviving members of Team 7, Lynch was granted powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities that are highly unstable and dangerous. Because of this he tries to avoid using his powers if at all possible.

* Anna: a heavily-armed covert-assassination android programmed to serve Gen¹³ as a maid, and to love them as her own children.

Controversy

"Gen¹³" was subjected to controversy early in its run mainly due to J. Scott Campbell’s depiction of the female form. Although comic books of the time were well known for exaggerating the feminine form to physically improbable standards, Campbell was particularly risqué in that stories often involved the main character, Caitlin Fairchild, a young college student, wearing as little clothing as possible, without causing the book to be forced to show a warning of its content. Sexual content was also depicted overtly in the script (usually written by Brandon Choi) including unintentional groping, intentional voyeurism, and drunken coupling.

In the second issue of the ongoing series, the character of Sarah Rainmaker was revealed as being a lesbian. Criticism came from all sides over this issue. Many suggested that this was entirely conceived to titillate male readers while the following issue’s letter pages were filled with letters protesting that lesbianism was not appropriate for comic books. Meanwhile, critics from the gay community criticized Rainmaker's portrayal as a flighty lesbian when, in the next few issues, she made out with her male teammate Burnout while drunk. Rainmaker was later revealed to be bisexual.

The series also received some controversy from the fans when it was made known that a panel showing Sarah Rainmaker sharing an open mouth kiss with another woman was replaced with one of a tepid kiss on the forehead. However, J. Scott Campbell has commented on several occasions that the editorial move was a suggestion, not overt censorship, and he agreed with the editor that the original version of the kiss did not suit the story.

Influences

"Gen¹³’"s most obvious influence is Marvel’s X-Men which originally featured five young friends who were trained in secret by an older man who tried to protect them from a dangerous world. Many of the more social aspects of the team were inspired by the second generation X-Men spin-off series: New Mutants.

The character of Rainmaker highly resembled the X-Men’s Storm in that both characters had weather controlling powers. Marvel comic's Spider-man notes this similarity in a crossover issue.

Also, the character of Freefall had her direct parallel in the character of Jubilee, both of whom had similar attitudes and physical attributes, including being the youngest in their respective teams. Freefall also had an unearthly pet, Qeelocke, which parallels the baby dragon Lockheed belonging to Kitty Pryde of the X-Men. Conceptual similarities among the pyrokinetic Burnout and the Fantastic Four´s Human Torch are also quite evident.

John Lynch was inspired by Clint Eastwood both in appearance and personality. Another influence is Marvel's character Nick Fury, who is also a one-eyed secret agent.

Many of the early "Gen¹³" adventures also paralleled the X-Men. In issue #2 of the ongoing series, the team fought Helmut, a practically unbeatable armored opponent with a vendetta against the team’s mentor, similar to the X-Men’s Juggernaut. In the next five issues, the team went on an inadvertent world tour, similar to early adventures of the “All-New, All Different” X-Men of the 1970s. After their mansion was destroyed (a recurring element of the X-Men comics), the team went to a prehistoric island (similar to the X-Men’s Savage Land), before going into outer space (X-Men’s Phoenix Saga), and returning to a dark future (X-Men’s Days of Future Past). Most of the X-Men parallels faded after this point when Brandon Choi was replaced by John Arcudi as writer on the series. However, it is worth noting that when WildStorm decided to revamp the series, they hired perennial X-Men writer Chris Claremont to do the job.

Another similar comic series that preceded "Gen¹³" is the Valiant Comics title Harbinger, written by Valiant Comics mastermind Jim Shooter. In the Harbinger series, a group of teenage superhumans rebel against the largest and most powerful organization of superhumans. The premise of the series resembles "Gen¹³" in both the age and temperament of the main characters, with villain Toyo Harada's Harbinger Institute taking the place of Wildstorm's I.O.

"Gen¹³" also highly embraced the MTV Generation and built its sense of style on what was the contemporary fashion at the time including the name Grunge (which was a quickly dated reference), references to popular bands such as Soundgarden, and a youthful drama inspired by MTV’s "The Real World". Not coincidentally, Gen¹³’s editor was Sarah Becker, a cast member on "".

Collections

There have been a number of trade paperbacks collecting the Gen¹³ comic books, spin-off series/limited series/specials.

Other media

Kevin Altieri ("") directed a "Gen¹³" animated feature for Buena Vista Pictures, a Disney company. It was shelved by Disney soon after Wildstorm was bought by DC Comics, a Time Warner company, and never released in the U.S., but has seen a limited video release in Europe and Australia. Grunge was voiced by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Lynch was voiced by John de Lancie.

Two Gen13 paperback novels were released:
*"Time and Chance" by Jeff Mariotte and Scott Ciencin features a criminal mastermind who enjoys gambling. He captures the formula for creating superpowered beings and plans to use it to increase his power.

*"Netherwar" is written by Jeff Marriote and Christopher Golden. It begins with an old ally of Lynch meeting with the group. International Operations has apparently made contact with the realm of Hell itself underneath a casino it secretly owns. Gen13 must infiltrate the already-affected building and close down the portal before all of humanity is doomed.

Gen¹³: The Video Game was under development to be published by Electronic Arts for release on the Sony PlayStation and PC. A preview of the canceled game can be found at The PlayStation Museum. [ [http://www.playstationmuseum.com/Games/BETA/BTA-075.htm Gen¹³: The Video Game] ]

Notes

References

*comicbookdb|type=team|id=491|title=Gen¹³
* [http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/g/gen13.htm Gen¹³] at the International Catalogue of Superheroes
*imdb title |id=0119185|title=Gen¹³

External links

* [http://www.wildstorm.com/ Wildstorm Productions]
* [http://www.mekulius.com/comics/Gen13/index.htm Gen¹³ Complete Cover Gallery]
* [http://www.playstationmuseum.com/Games/BETA/BTA-075.htm Gen13 The Video Game preview at The PlayStation Museum]


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