By Ed Brisson, Marcus To, Jason Keith and Clayton Cowles
The Age of X-Man resembles the classic Age of Apocalypse in many ways. There are 5 different titles in Age of X-Man, which is less than the AoA, but one of the similarities is that there is a young X-Men title. Next Gen is the mini that focuses on the younger generation of mutants at the Summers school. This is a little bit of a play on words because the Age of Apocalypse stories were called Generation Next. One of the big differences though is the cast. While Generation Next featured characters like Chamber, Jubilee and Colossus, Next Gen features the likes of Glob Herman and Armor. The new characters are not as tantalizing as the older ones, but make no mistake, this series will surprise you with how good it is.
Ed Brisson is a pro at making you care about characters that you normally wouldn’t have much of an interest in. He’s done a great job with Glob Herman and Rockslide in this series. In this issue, Brisson continues to show us that Rockslide isn’t just some dumb brute. He’s been questioning why there is no information about the life seed after the resolution. After exhausting several options, he finally gets some answers from an unexpected source. Brisson also is setting up the finale here. As more people start to see the cracks in this ideal world, the more complicated things seem to get. Brisson also gives us what feels like a throwback on drug usage as Sunfire launches into a lecture on a drug called Unveil. If you don’t get the vibe that this speech felt like something we all experienced as kids growing up, you’re under 20. This issue sets us up for a good conclusion, and Ed Brisson doesn’t do disappointment.
The pencils this issue are handled by Marcus To with colors by Jason Keith and letters by Clayton Cowles. Marcus To’s work on the pencils this issue is phenomenal. All the characters look great, even at a distance. As Glob and Santo discuss the life seed, To draws them at a medium panel. The characters are still very detailed, the ridges on Rockslide and he ribs in Glob still look very good. One thing that also stands out from To’s work on this book is the range of emotions and expressions on Anole’s face. We go from seeing him looking down and frumpy to him having a huge smile on his face to hide the sadness, and To draws this perfectly. The colors by Jason Keith work very well here too. There is a ton of great shading in this issue, but none is better than when Sunfire is giving his drug talk. Keith has the panels dark and shaded just right as a light from a projector illuminates the room. The different greens in this issue matter too. As Santo and Glob sit on a bench and chat, the trees, grass, and everything else just seem to be the perfect shade.
Next Gen #3 is a good issue that is heading toward and interesting conclusion. Ed Brisson shows his love for these characters on every page he writes. The art is by all means fantastic and a driving force behind why this book is so good. Age of X-Man Next Gen is a fun book!