Written by JASON AARON
Art by CHRIS BACHALO, DUNCAN ROULEAU, MATTEO SCALERA, TIM TOWNSEND, JAIME MENDOZA, AL VEY, MARK IRWIN & VICTOR OLAZABA
Colors by CHRIS BACHALO & JASON KEITH / Letters by ROB SHEEN
In all the hubbub over the lack of comics made for kids and the proclivity of most modicums of entertainment toward sex and violence, I think we lose sight of (and take for granted) art that truly is enjoyable for all ages. Let’s not forget that we live in a world where Pixar movies are routinely at the top of the box office, The Muppets have just made their triumphant return and our nostalgia is routinely mined in a effort to swindle us of our hard earned greenbacks.
Now I’m not arguing for my pockets being pilfered for the sake of a few fond memories and that warm, fuzzy feeling that rises from my toes to the top of my head when I’ve found a good vein and I’m hardlining waves of mostalgia directly into the bloodstream. I swear, I’m not.
But Jason Aaron’s Wolverine & the X-Men is just the junk I need to remind me that comics can be fun and that’s why I started reading them in the first place. Like a John Hughes movie, Harry Potter and classic Clarmont-era X-Men all rolled into one, this book could start giving Uncanny X-Force a run for its money as the best X-comic on the stands.
This issue sees the first arc come to a bombastic ending but not without allowing Aaron to continue to pile up the questions that I’m sure will be answered throughout the duration of his run. The first two issues marked the return of Iceman to true Omega level form, the budding romance of Broo and Idie, Bobby and Kitty kissing (!), the introduction of a slew of fun, young characters like Kid Gladiator and Hellion and the reestablishment of the Hellfire club as an organization that should not be trifled with even if the members’ combined ages don’t qualify them for social security. This issue has Aaron making a hero out of the one guy that most of the world would deem a sociopath and a terrorist: Kid Omega. Kid Omega’s flippant attitude and general disinterest in the school makes him almost the antithesis of Wolverine. Wolverine didn’t want to care about the X-Men but with time he did and he became a better man for it. Clearly, Logan sees a bit of himself in young Quentin Quire and if his conversation with Cap is any indication, he plans on making the boy his project similarly to how Professor X made Wolverine his
Now, it would have been really easy to have the characters in this book fall into the roles that we’re used to seeing when it comes to the X-Men, i.e. Wolverine becomes the new Xavier, Bobby and Kitty become the new Scott and Jean etc. But for now Aaron is trying to stay away from that. Wolverine might have Xavier’s old job but Professor X didn’t start the day with a shot of whiskey. And so the characters don’t change drastically from the ones we know and love which is why this book is perfect for new comic readers. It’s a dash of insanity mixed with fun and fresh ideas still steeeped in rich history but guided by the familiar knowledge that Iceman has ice powers, Wolverine has claws, Beast is smart and the school is predestined to blow up more than a few times. This was a great introductory arc and Aaron has built a solid foundation from which to build more an even more densely packed narrative for this team.
Chris Bachalo is an absolute beast (no pun intended). I never thought that a sentient mound of dirt on a murderous rampage might actually be kind of cute. Bachalo employs an almost American anime style to the book that suits the teenaged focus, off-the-wall action and hilarious character interactions perfectly. Imagine if Humberto Ramos’ style was less jagged and the faces he drew actually made sense and you’d have Bachalo on this book. I’m really big on body language in comics. Some artists have a unique appreciation and understanding for it and some ignore it in favor of stale poses. It’s clear from his work that Bachalo understands the way the characters move and why they move that way. It’s beautiful really. Bachalo is at the top of his game and for fans of a less gritty, more animation inspired style, there is currently no one better in mainstream superhero comics. There’s nothing more to say than that.
Wolverine & the X-Men has catapulted to the top of my pile whenever it comes out. I was sold with issue #1 and it’s the only comic besides Uncanny X-Force that has me routinely reading two and three times over just make sure I’ve caught everything. This is a book I’ll probably buy two and three times over. It’s that good. I’m just hoping we get to see more Doop!
WRITING: 4.5 / ART: 4.5 / OVERALL: 4.5