Filed under: Comic Reviews, Marvel Comics | Tags: Frank Quitely, Grant Morrison, jasonaaron, Joss Whedon, marvel, Wolverine, X-Men
In a post-Schism world, the X-men are now divided into two teams, Gold and Blue, and so are the comics with 4 issues for each team. Wolverine and the X-Men is one of the first that makes up the new Gold team, as Wolvie takes on the role of Xavier and starts a new school for higher learning.
I’ll be honest, although I’m a fan of the X-Men (it’s probably the only Marvel I really like to delve into) I do tend to only read them in graphic novel format, as this provides a safer self-contained environment for reading. I’ve always been afraid at reading individual issues of the X-Men because there is just so many different titles, I don’t know where to start. The only one I’ve made the exception to over the years is Astonishing X-Men, first in GN format during Joss Whedon’s run, then collected issue from then on in. I’ve always felt that the stories in Astonishing don’t come with much continuity to bog it down, I’ve been able to enjoy these without knowing what else was going on in the mutant world. So it was quite a leap I was making with W&XM – it wasn’t in my pre-order pile either (no doubt glossed over when skimming the X-Men section of previews) however due to the sheer praise it was getting last Wednesday, I figured it might be worthwhile picking up.
And it was totally worth it!
Ok so it’s not totally clear of any or all continuity, but like DC’s New 52, this is a number 1 that gently eases in the uninitiated while still giving the fans what they want. The story very cleverly uses the idea of education board inspectors coming to take a look round Logan’s new school, but simultaneously gives the reader a guided tour of what’s ahead of us. What’s strange is there’s no real “action” to talk about in this issue, which is unusual for an X-Men story, but this doesn’t detract from this first issue – think of it maybe as an issue #0, but not one of those crap ones that last a few pages and don’t really tell you anything new.
What’s interesting is the similarities between this book and Astonishing – I felt like there was a lot of aspects in this new book that where familiar to Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men. His book dealt a lot with the school and the events that occurred there, and W&XM goes so far to include characters that were prominent in Morrison’s stories – namely Glob and Kid Omega. This is no bad thing – Astonishing did a great job of continuing on from where Morrison left off, and I’m sure we won’t see a re-hash of old stories in this new book – if there’s one run you want to copy though, then his is one of the best.
If there is one negative, I wasn’t too keen on the artwork. It’s not badly done, just not really to my taste or what I’d expect from the X-Men. It’s all a little bit too catroony, with lots of round faces. I felt it got better as the book went on, and I do like the designs for Beast and the costumed Wolverine (who sadly only appears on the cover). There’s probably a part of me that yearns for Frank Quitely’s artwork when I see the X-Men at school from when he worked with Morrison, so it’s a tall order to live up to.
Issue #1 delivers exactly what it should….and more. It’s even got me going back to figure out what happened in Schism to end up with this regenesis. If you’re like me and have been afraid to delve into X-Men in the past, then this is probably a good time to start. I’ve since picked up Uncanny X-Men #1 which I’m hoping to be my regular Blue team book going forward – so look out for my thoughts on that soon.
What an incredibly fun book. Lets face it, that’s what we need in life, more fun comic books and Wolverine and the X-Men ticks all of the right boxes for me. After getting a bit bogged down in serious universe altering conversations and boring one shots its great to get my hands on a Marvel book that makes me laugh and smile as well as answering a few questions that we all had after the last ‘event’.
With a range of covers on offer, I opted for the cheaper, regular option and although a fan of its overal concept and layout I’m not mad over how Logan looks here. Its a bit too JRJR/ Enemy of the State for me and since JRJR ain’t drawing this book I’m not keen.
The art, design and layout of the rest of the book however, is absolutely stellar. Panel layout goes from sublime widescreen to dense three abreast, all of which moves in perfect time with both story and dialogue. Shot angles are equally inventive and executed with an artistic flair that has made me stand up and really take notice of Aaron’s work. After his success on Incredible Hulk #1 I am now rounding up my pennies so I can take a proper look at this guys back catalogue.
As Craig has said above, the plot of #1 centres around Logan setting up his new school, after the recent division amongst the mutant ranks. As a Generation Hope reader I have a working knowledge of the recent events but by no means am I ready to sit my Marvel Universe Diploma exam just yet. What makes this book so interesting is that Logan is the least likely of any character to be setting up a school for the young mutants. He is a complex character, without a touchy-feely side who doesn’t have a great track record with his own children never mind kids in general. Issue 1 being set during a council inspection of the school makes for great comedy. Logan is visibly uncomfortable and drinking to settle his nerves at the begining of the day and by the end is resigned to whatever decision the inspectors may give, as nothing as gone the way he intended.
There are great appearances from loads of other characters, some of which are new to me and some I’m getting to know from others titles. Paige Guthri (Husk) has a most hilarious page as she shows off her unique talent for getting her class to pay attention. Hank McCoy also adds to the laughs in a great slapstick fashion as his attempts to help with the inspection end in disaster.
Craig mentions in his review that he was not keen on the art, specifically Logan as he is drawn throughout the books interior. I think the difference between the way in which Logan and virtually everything and everyone else is drawn is crucial to understanding how Logan feels as he leads inspectors on a visit around a school which aims to prepare young, gifted mutants for the future that he is supposed to be in charge of. Its a lot of responsibility and puts Logan far outside his comfort zone.
I loved everything about this comic book except the cover.
Wolverine and the X-Men is written by Jason Arron (@jasonaaron) who also wrote this week’s Incredible Hulk #1
Chris Bachalo is on pencils & colours, with Tim Townsend, Jaime Menoza & Al Vey on inks
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