Logan returns to Westchester in Wolverine and the X-Men #1. The ol’ canucklehead has been a soldier, a samurai, even an Avenger… but does he have what it takes to be a headmaster?
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils & Colors: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey
Letters: Rob Steen
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Assistant Editor: Jordan D. White
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Previously, in the world of the X-Men: Due to a disagreement with Cyclops in Schism, Wolverine has split from Utopia, bringing a sizable portion of mutantkind with him to Westchester to open the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. This is their story.
HEY COMICS CAN BE FUN!
I forgot how light-hearted and fun the old X-Men comics were that first started me down the path of comic fandom. Sure, Xavier’s charges were often risking life and limb to protect a world that hated and feared them, but there were happier moments too. Often involving baseball, for some reason. That fun-loving spirit hasn’t been seen recently in the world of Marvel’s merry mutants, what with only 198 (give or take) Homo superior left and extinction threatening at every turn, but Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo are looking to bring it back.
Wolverine and the X-Men #1 is a surprisingly jocular debut. It is clear from the start that Wolverine is overwhelmed as a headmaster, and while fellow faculty member Kitty is up to snuff, it’s not apparent that the rest of the faculty is. Beast is too busy doing super-science to prevent lava from flowing through the toilets, Doop is handling registration, there’s an infestation of Bamfs, a Brood wants to sign up for classes and the school is being inspected by a duo of mutant-haters from the Department of Education. It’s that kind of issue – there are no fireworks or fighting, but the energy is so high that you’d never notice.
Aaron’s script is funny and packs a lot of information in organically. Very rapidly, we’re introduced to many characters, from Husk to Hellion. Professor X even drops in to give his blessing, while Toad handles the mop-jockey duties and Quentin Quire gets his first detention. This issue is busy without being strained, and it sets a high bar for the rest of the series. Future conflict is foreshadowed by a brief encounter with erstwhile new Hellfire Black King Kade Kilgore. I’m not sold on the pint-sized tot as a legitimate antagonist, but it seems like the first throwdown will be with someone else anyways. This is a solid introduction that promises a fun, hectic run. Jason Aaron has outdone himself here, already outstripping anything he did on Schism.
A CRACKING GOOD TIME
Chris Bachalo’s style is on full display here. At times, it’s busy to the point of being somewhat incomprehensible, but Bachalo matches the energy of Aaron’s script in a way that more than makes up for any brief confusion. His characters are cartoony and vibrant while his backgrounds are packed with detail. The introduction to the new school grounds with all of Beast’s modifications and add-ons makes the X-Mansion look more utopian than Utopia ever did. And he finally gives Beast the beer (coffe, really) helmet that he’s always needed.
BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS GOOD STUFF FOLKS
Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo seem tailor-made to make this book succeed. They’ve set the bar high; now let’s see them clear it. People who are concerned with the doom and gloom that has been pervading the majority of the Marvel Universe for the past few years would be well advised to check out this issue. It’s a fresh new start for (some of) the X-Men. It even has something for the folks put off by a $3.99 price point – a listing of classes offered at the academy is comedy gold (sample: sex education from Remy LeBeau, an eyewitness account of world history from Logan), as well as a handy chart showing who is who amongst the faculty and student body. This issue exceeded expectations, and I hope the book continues to match this standard of quality. Also, Doop! Wolverine and the X-Men #1 earns five out of five stars. Check it out.