TITLE: Gen¹³ Vol. 1, Issue #1
YEAR: February 1994
COMPANY: Image Comics
Story: Jim Lee & Brandon Choi
Pencils: J. Scott Campbell
Inks: Alex Garner
Colors: Joe Chiodo
Color Separators: Ben Fernandez, Joe Dunn, Jessica Ruffner
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Ink Assists: Sandra HopeColor Assists: Wendy Fouts, Monica Bennett, Paige ApfelbaumEditors: Deborah Marvin/Bill Kaplan
If there was one Image Comics title that really stood out for me in the mid-90’s, aside from the flagship titles that launched on Image Comic’s debut, it would be Jim Lee and Brandon Choi’s “Gen¹³”.
Jim Lee was famous for his work on “X-Men” (the first issue being the best-selling comic book of all time according to “Guinness World Records”) which he penciled and co-wrote and also had a popular Image Comics series, “WildC.A.T.s”.
While Brandon Choi who worked on titles for Wildstorm Comics, an independent company established by Jim Lee until it became a publishing imprint of DC Comics in 1999.
And then you had another teammate known for his artwork and that was illustrator J. Scott Campbell, who helped co-found “Gen¹³” and became a writer for the series.
A five-issue mini-series was released in 1994 followed by a a second volume which lasted through issue #76 (the second volume ran from 1995-2002), and a new third volume written by Chris Claremont and pencils by Ale Garza would be created.
The series would be rebooted in 2006 with writer Gail Simone and art from Talent Caldwell. And Wildstorm titles would be incorporated into the DC Universe and member, Caitlin Fairchild would be featured in a new series titled “The Ravagers” as part of DC’s The New 52 and lasted for 12 issues (2012-2013).
Since I haven’t followed the adventures of “Gen¹³” since the Image Comics years and prior to 2000, I have no idea of how the characters were treated (especially with DC) but I do know that when the mini-series and the regular series debuted, this series was a must-buy for me.
The series begins in 1979 with a husband and wife (Stephen and Rachel) with their two children Matthew and Nicole as they are running away from some group with high tech outfits.
Rachel is gunned down and while Stephen is able to use his powers in defense, it’s enough for his children to escape. Stephen tells his children to run but then we see Stephen being shot and killed in front of his son.
Fastforward to 1994 and the story is set in Princeton, New Jersey and Caitlin Fairchild is attending college and has a 4.0 grade average and hoping to graduate with her Advanced Degree in Computer Science the following year.
Immediately, she is awaken in her dorm by men in suits telling her that she has been accepted to the Gen-13 program and they need to leave immediately to process her into the new program.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., I.O. Sci-Tech Bureau Office, we find out that The Genesis Project has been reactivated and learn that something bad happened in the past with the Gen-12 Project and Team 7 and their test subjects have been included. And they are looking for tests that are Gen-Positive. The test subjects have been isolated at a Death Valley Compound.
We are then introduced to the Matthew and Nicole, now grown up and they are now processing the new test subjects and they are now responsible for finding the Gen-Positives that are active.
As Caitlin is undergoing rigorous training, she starts to suspect something is wrong and not sure why she is undergoing so much physical training for a college stipend.
At what she thinks is a training school, she meets Bobby “Burnout” Lane, Roxanne “Freefall” Spaulding and Percival Edmund “Grunge” Chang.
But what happens when these four go out for a late stroll around the premises?
“Gen¹³” is a series that features a lot of action, a lot of humor and wonderful artwork. I feel that when Jim Lee worked on “X-Men”, he had to work within the whole Marvel confines while trying to update and establish existing characters.
With “Gen¹³”, he and Brandon Choi were able to develop new characters with new abilities that are not sure why but also a dark government that is doing some really shady things behind-the-scenes and these kids are now considered trouble.
With many more awesome issues that came right after for the mini-series and a solid series that began not long after, the original Image Comics “Gen¹³” was surely one of the awesome new series to come out from the early-to-mid ’90s.