The Birth of Generation Hope arrives after several years of the X-Men operating in a world where the mutant population was reduced to 198, several of whom subsequently died. The only mutant to be born since is Hope Summers, whose story is complicated. What’s relevant is her return from the future as a teenager and a harbinger of hope in Second Coming. After her arrival five new mutants registered on the X-Men’s tracking system. Much of The Birth of Generation Hope is their story.

Matt Fraction nods toward the X-Men’s 1975 rebirth, but takes it a step further by encompassing a far broader spectrum of humanity represented by the five newly transformed mutants. They’re international, and Fraction ensures they’re a very different bunch from the usual newly introduced group of mutants, with brash confidence in short supply. The method Fraction employs to add a level of control to their new abilities is novel, and the backgrounds of the new characters make them interesting, especially the conflicted Nigerian Idie Okonkwo. Their experiences are contrasted with some standard X-Men business, and the spot Emma Frost has put herself into. While continuing to present her desirable persona when associating with some of the world’s most powerful men, she has a deep and dirty secret eating away at her, one with a physical manifestation. At the same time her telepathy is the only means for the phased Kitty Pryde to communicate with the outside world, which leads to complications.

Whilce Portacio’s return to drawing the X-Men is relatively low key for a man whose popularity enabled him to be among Image Comics’ founding group. His storytelling is strong, but there’s little about the artwork that otherwise stands out, although it’s never poor. It’s as if he’s sacrificed being distinct for the pragmatism of meeting deadlines.

Overall, The Birth of Generation Hope has really good moments, but doesn’t spark into life as might be hoped.

Quarantine is the next X-Men outing, set up here and combined with this content and more in the third Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection by Matt Fraction. Anyone captivated by the new mutants introduced here can follow their journies in Generation Hope.