REVIEW: Wolverine and the X-Men #13

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Gladiator and the Shi’ar Death Commandos battle the Phoenix Five as this Major Spoilers staff writer is left wondering what the heck is going on when one of his favorite Marvel titles gets absorbed by AvX.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #13
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Nick Bradshaw
Inkers: Walden Wong, Cam Smith and Nick Bradshaw
Colorist: Guru EFX
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artists: Nick Bradshaw and Justin Ponsor
Assistant Editor: Jordan D. White
Associate Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Editor: Nick Lovve
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Wolverine and the X-Men:  Wolverine turned over a new leaf, founding the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. This did not come without difficulties, as his students included the mischief maker Quentin Quire, Genesis–a clone of Apocalypse who is unaware of his origin and Kid Gladiator–the son of Gladiator who thrives on the glories of battle. However, with the knowledge that the Phoenix was coming to Earth, Gladiator decided it was time to disenroll his son, whether he wanted to leave or not.

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING

Wolverine and the X-Men is one of two Marvel titles I am currently reading on a monthly basis, and the reason it’s one of those is that, despite clearly being part of ongoing events in the X-Men universe, it stood really well on its own without requiring me to be following other titles. There were a couple references to events in Uncanny X-Force, but it was never jarring to the point of being unable to follow the story. In the last few issues of Wolverine and the X-Men however, the entire train of thought of this book has been derailed and readers have been forced to deal with AvX stories.

I understand that when an event of that size is occurring, it would be unrealistic to expect an X-title to be unaffected. However, it wouldn’t be that difficult to put a little box at the beginning of the issue saying something to the effect of “This takes place before the events of AvX” and just keep telling the fun sorts of stories that they had been.

I KNOW WHY THE WARBIRD SINGS

So, despite my quibbles with the fact that I have no idea what the heck is going on with the AvX tie-in elements of this issue, I did actually enjoy the story told. We get a much deeper look into the character of Warbird, arguably the least-developed character in this series (the other one I would put into contention is the grandson of the original Krakoa). We find that the bodyguard of Kid Gladiator has a nuanced, if somewhat cliché, background, and the scene where she came across the child was handled in a particularly touching fashion. The revelation of why she came to be assigned to Kid Gladiator makes all the cliches in her backstory worth it, and was a particularly clever touch that immediately leads to the big last page (complete with another cliché but fitting bit of internal monologue).

The art in the issue is nothing spectacular, but in that same vein it’s nothing to complain about. Over half the characters in this issue are either new characters or characters that aren’t regularly in this title and/or are not in their regular costumes, so most of the time I would spend about five seconds staring at a character thinking “Is that Rachel Summers in some sort of Phoenix-y costume?” or “Why does Nightwing have Cyclops’ visor on?” until realizing “Wait, I don’t care” and moving on.

BOTTOM LINE: I AM SO READY FOR AvX TO BE OvER

On the “Next Issue” preview it seems like things in Wolverine and the X-Men may be settling down, though I’m not really sure why it’s accompanied by a “Save the Date” advertisement for a date that’s about three weeks past. Of all the issues of Wolverine and the X-Men so far, this was one of them, and since that’s about all I can say about it the issue gets 2 stars. The story was well-written but quite cliché, and the art left no lasting impact on me at all. Overall a below-average issue, and if next month’s doesn’t impress me I’ll probably have to drop this title.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆