Gen V’s Finale Echoes An Incendiary X-Men Comic

Grant Morrison wrote “New X-Men” for about 40 issues from 2001 to 2004, alongside a rotation of different artists (including Frank Quitely, who drew “Riot at Xavier’s”). They came to the title with a mission to revitalize the X-Men, hence the costume redesigns to be more like the movies, a legion of new supporting characters, and emphasis on being “hip.” Morrison’s comics widened the scope of the setting — if there were millions of mutants, then they should have the culture to show for it. That leads to “Riot At Xavier’s.” 

The story (unfolding from issues 134 to 138) kicks off with mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation seemingly being murdered by humans outside a nightclub. The hate crime radicalizes some students at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, pushing them away from Professor X’s dream of human-mutant coexistence.

The ringleader is the telepathic Quentin Quire, or Kid Omega. He digs up a Daily Bugle article from the day he was born, with the headline “Mutant Menace” and an artist’s rendition of a future where mutants enslave humans. This newspaper image first appeared in “X-Men” issue #14, published way back in 1965. This issue was the first appearance of mutant-hunting robots the Sentinels and the first “X-Men” comic to seriously tackle human prejudice. Morrison is a fan of the Silver Age of Comics (the 1960s, give or take), and they delight in turning insignificant moments from those comics into major plot points in their own. Quentin takes a look at the future evil mutant in the drawing (pointed ears, striped shirt, carrying a whip, etc.) and models himself and his followers after it; they start wearing striped red-and-black shirts while cropping their hair like little skinheads.

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