Generation Gun #2

Writer – John Farman

Artist – Will Pickering

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Some stories might be seen as intentionally provocative, but often they need to be told. US school shootings are so prevalent that much of the world reacts to them with a sigh of resignation rather than shocked outrage, and that Generation Gun could be a dramatisation of any one of them highlights how familiar are the pieces that make them up.

The first issue introduced us to a quintet of students who, for various reasons, had fallen from academic favour and were holed up in the school office just as the chaos commenced. The individual personalities of each of them begin to come through in addition to their prejudices, in particular those against Christopher, raised as part of a neo-Nazi militia and as a result someone best placed to react to hostile situations. However, the reaction is not one of fighting back against the shooters, but instead simply looking towards escape, making the story feel a far more authentic tale of survival than one of overblown action.

Too often in mass killings all the focus is on the perpetrators, while the victims are merely referred to as part of a death toll, reducing their lives and everything they could have been to a single collective statistic. In defiance of such a trend, each death is marked with a caption identifying them, acknowledging them as individual people whose lives have been pointlessly snuffed out, marking each of them as someone whose passing needs to be acknowledged when the dust settles. The graphic nature of each act of violence is not skimped on, with dark pools of blood forming under the bodies of the recently deceased and horrific injuries of those clinging to life portrayed in heavy black and white gore.

Despite the fear of the Other than has been fostered upon the American populace since that infamous day in September, almost all instances of domestic terrorism have been perpetrated by white people, and it’s telling that these shooters form part of that demographic. A partial backstory for one of them is revealed , and while it doesn’t elucidate her motivations, it does go some way towards making the point that regardless of how unique many such criminals might see themselves, they are completely devoid of anything that makes them special.

Although the full brunt of the tragedy Generation Gun will portray is yet to be unleashed, the swift acceleration of this issue gives us some idea of what we’re about to be in for.