Generation Hope #1

Issue Date: 
January 2011
Story Title: 
“The Future is a Four-Letter-Word” – part one

Kieron Gillen (writer), Salvador Espin (art), Jim Charalampidis (color), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Olivier Coipel, Danny Miki and Laura Martin (cover), Marko Djudjevic (X-Men montage variant cover), Greg Land and Frank Martin (transonic variant cover art),Dan Remollino (production), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (assoc. editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

While Wolverine and Cyclops are keeping watch on the Fifth Light, Kenji Uedo, Rogue is bringing Hope and the other four new mutants to Tokyo, so Hope can stabilize Kenji as she did the others. However, Kenji is a worse case. The nihilistic artist who can shape his body in monstrous ways kills his agent and then threatens the area around his apartment house. Cyclops wants the kids to stay away, but Hope disobeys his and Rogue’s orders, intent on fulfilling the mission to help Kenji. She has the Lights distract the X-Men while she confronts Kenji, who takes her captive and seemingly blows up a part of Tokyo.

Full Summary: 

Tokyo, Japan, the apartment of Kenji Uedo, the fifth new mutant activation since M-Day. Kenji sits crouched in a dark room full of monstrous art objects, drawings wildly strewn about. I am becoming art, he mutters. Art is ideas. Ideas aren’t real, therefore… he keeps repeating this.

A middle-aged, overweight man carefully enters. He holds a handkerchief to his nose, clearly bothered by the stench. Politely he addresses Kenj and apologizes for having disturbed him. He is equally sorry-- Is he stepping into his latest masterwork? He walks closer to Kenji. “Black Noxious Goo” certainly is a new direction, he remarks. Everyone is going to be thrilled. What is it actually? Don’t tell him! He doesn’t need to know what taboo the enfant terrible of the Tokyo art scene is violating. But he does need to know when it’ll be ready. “The future is a four-letter word” has been booked for months. Kenj promised new work. Major work…

Almost done, Kenji mutters without turning to face the man. Almost finished. Everything finished… Becoming art. Art, ideas, ideas not real. Becoming art. Ideas aren’t real. Therefore are you real? Is anything real?

Is he all right? the man asks. He is becoming art! Kenji announces and faces him with a wild grin. Want… a preview? Flesh tentacles emit from his body and impale the man.

In the meantime, the X-Men’s Blackbird is approaching Tokyo to rendezvous with Cyclops’ team and find the Fifth Light. Aboard are the pilot Rogue, Hope Summers, the mutant messiah, and the four “Lights” Hope and the X-Men have rescued so far.

One of them, Idie, is awed and confused. She’s never been away more than twenty miles from her village. She’s never seen a city outside of a picture or a screen and now she is going to Tokyo. She is ashamed both of her ignorance and what she considers her monstrosity. She creates fire with her one hand and cold with the other.

Hope addresses her, warning Idie she’ll set off the alarms. Idie extinguishes her powers, addressing Hope as “Ma’am.” Hope asks her not to do that, but Idie is too much in awe of her, who brought a monster hope. Hope that perhaps she is not a monster. She brought all of them hope. Before she touched them they were crazed, frenzied, dangerous. Afterwards: peace.

She looks at the others. Gabriel: two days ago he was just a couple of years older than she. Now he looks older than her savior. She fears for him in every way.

Teon crouches at Hope’s feet like an animal Laurie, covered by blue crystal, reads and looks uncomfortable in her blue new skin. Idie feels jealous. She wishes she could look like her. Look like she feels. Make her sin obvious!

Excited, Hope tells Idie to look outside. All of them look to see the Tokyo skyline by night. And for the first time since Hope touched her Idie sees a future.

The moment is interrupted when Laurie shouts that Teon just urinated on her feet and swears. Rogue is talking to Cyclops and shouts back to calm down. Or they’ll end up in detention with Emma Frost, and none of them wants that! Quiet, everyone! Hope laughs, and instantly all of the kids obey.

Rogue gets back to talking with Scott, asking about the probe. Unsure she is told. He orders her to keep the Lights safe. But get there, they may need support. They have a possible situation, he ends, which they are investigating now.

With Cyclops in the streets of Tokyo is Wolverine. They look up at the building where Kenji lives. There’s blood up there, Logan warns him. Blood and a whole lot of something else. Doesn’t smell like anything he recognizes. This is looking all kinds of bad, Slim.

As they walk over to the building, Kenji peeks out from behind bare windows. The next moment, a mass of flesh – mixed with metal and cable – tentacles emits from the building and goes for the two X-Men. Wolverine slices one tentacle while Cyclops shoots another Udate on that, he tells Rogue. Definite situation!

Aboard the plane, Laurie muses on her state as a light. People always said she was bright. But she was never sure if she was bright because she was bright or because she burned so hard. She wrote a sociology paper on this. Extra credit on her extra credit. “The effect of post human conflict on the teenager’s world view”.

The jet nears the battle and Rogue orders everyone back to their seat (of course nobody obeys).

The idea of Laurie’s paper was that constant exposure to the marvelous left the kids desensitized from all wonder.

Rogue tells them she is going to put the bird away from the zone. Their new best friend is… riled. They’ll have to be careful. And they say they aren’t monsters, Idie mutters.

Laurie’s skin is shifting crystal. She was saved from committing suicide by a girl from the future. Now she’s hanging with the X-Men and three other equally freaky mutant kids. So, theoretically, she should be inured to what’s happening down there. She got an A+ on that paper. But it’s safe to say its premise is flawed.

Kenji looks up and one of the tentacles reaches out to attack the X-jet. Things turn hazy and, the next moment, Laurie finds they are all standing on the roof of the jet which is drawn down into the tentacled mass. He is oh-so-very-quick, their savior Gabriel announces satisfied. Rogue admits she is impressed and tells them to help each other. She touches Laurie’s skin and absorbs her powers.

Does that make her an X-Man? Laurie wonders. Her parents will be disappointed. If she was going to be a superhero they’d want her to be an Avenger. Second choice would be Alpha Flight (At least she could commute from home). Do they have superhero exams? She doesn’t know, but she needs to pass.

Ignoring Hope’s order, Teon jumps down to attack the tentacle mass. For him life fits into simple categories: Fight, flight or mate. He sees a captured Japanese schoolgirl and is tempted but fighting takes precedence, so he tears and claws at the tentacled mass, managing to free the girl who runs away.

In the meantime, the others have gotten to the ground. Rogue suggests Hope whistle for Teon which seems to work as he shortly rejoins them. Rogue tells the kids to keep it low and get out of here. What does she mean? Hope asks disgusted. Retreat? They have things to do! Yeah, Gabriel agrees. No way he’s going. He’s in Tokyo! Let’s go shopping! Not the time! Hope snarls at his attempt to keep things light.

Rogue insists this is a war zone and too risky. This is kindergarten compared to where she grew up, Hope scoffs. And she trained every day with the best soldier on Earth. He trained her for everything and she knows exactly what to do. The mission: stabilize the mutant. She’ll touch him and he’ll be normal!

Rogue tries to hold her back. She can do that after Cyclops has put a lid on this. She can handle herself, sure, but they can’t. This is a risk she doesn’t need to take.

Hope orders Teon to stop Rogue. The feral mutant immediately obeys. Hope steps toward Kenji’s building and orders Gabriel to cover her until she touches tumor boy.

Gabriel thinks to himself that while he is sixteen and looked it two days ago now he looks eighteen, he is burning so bright. There was a saying about that, wasn’t there? Something about flames, brightness and relative length of… burnitude? Yeah, he knows, he thinks sarcastically. He is in denial, he highly recommends it. He’s an X-Man now; he doesn’t have to worry about anything like, say, how the people in that building have been torn apart. Because if he starts thinking about things like that now, it doesn’t stay light. Because they could be torn apart too. She could be.

He and Hope have reached the outer limit of the body mass. Hope reaches out but the flesh withdraws back into the building. Avoids her, Hope realizes.

Cyclops strictly orders Hope to get out of the zone of hostilities. Shopping? Gabriel suggests hopefully to her, to be ignored, just like Cyclops. She needs time to reach Kenji, she tells Gabriel. Slow them down. Wolverine suggests Gabriel get out of the zone of hostilities, instead he runs into the building, possibly to run interference.

Weapon drawn, Hope gingerly walks up the steps until she reaches the apartment where a cloaked figure cowers on a chair.

He is a light, Kenji thinks. Illumination. Truth, revealed to him. What does the light reveal? Himself, light spilled across him. He warps like a mind changing. Ideas, he is da Vinci in his workshop, his workshop is flesh. Meat is too slow. The flesh is too weak. Can they be nothing else? How can anything sustain what is eternal? He is not a master of the medium. The medium is his master. He is made of light, he is made if ideas!

Hope assures him it is going to be ok. They are here to help him. She introduces herself as Hope. Kenji scoffs. His throat slid out of his head and danced like an eel before him. He gulped like a fish left on dry land until he swallowed it back in. That was how it started, and now she tells him it’s going to be okay? It’s not going to be okay. He takes of his hood and faces her.

A mass of flesh and metal tentacles shoots out from his arm toward Hope. Let him show her. Hope fires at them. She thinks there’s light? he asks. She thinks there’s hope? There is only one light. One light which make all else darkness. The final light. Let him show her. He is the final light. Tentacles attach themselves to her face.

And the shockwave of a detonation levels a huge part of Tokyo.

Characters Involved: 

Hope Summers II
Gabriel Cohuelo, Idie Okonkwo, Laurie Tromette, Teon Macik (four of the Five Lights)

Cyclops, Rogue, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Kenji Uedo (the fifth light)

Kenji’s agent

Story Notes: 

There are 8 additional pages in the issue telling Hope’s complicated backstory.

The new mutants appeared at the end of “Second Coming.”

The previous four Lights were gathered in Uncanny X-Men #526 –529.

The use of Kenji’s powers is an homage to the character Tetsuo from the classic manga “Akira” by Katsuhiro Otomo.
According to the variant cover information Laurie's codename will be Transonic.

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