Wolverine and the X-Men continues to impress, as it delivers solidly on the premise of Wolverine re-opening the school in Westchester, yet doesn’t focus primarily on Wolverine. When the title was first announced, I was afraid it would end up being yet another Wolverine ongoing, but Aaroan has allayed my concerns with a solid ensemble comic. There’s really only been one other time in recent history when the setting of the school was used to its full effect, to actually develop and characterize the new mutants who attend there, yet Aaron’s work here blows it away. Grant Morrison’s run on the X-Men reinvigorated the concept of the school as an actual functioning school. Jason Aaron is taking the concept one step further, imbuing the book with a variety of new characters, and ensuring that no one character gets that much more focus than the next character. We’re only five issues in and already Broo is one of my favourites in this cast. Aaron has taken the traditional concept of the Brood and turned it on its head, by developing a character who is different than anything we’ve ever seen before, and far different from how the Brood are traditionally written and portrayed. Broo is extremely intelligent, and has an individual personality, separating him from the Brood of the past.
Aaron is setting a lot of pieces into motion, by establishing actual frameworks for the school that is featured in the book. It may at times be overlooked, but it’s evidence that Aaron is in this for the long-haul, and is putting in the time and effort to ensure that the school isn’t just a backdrop for the X-Men’s headquarters, as it was for many years, but instead an evolving organism itself.
The focus in this particular issue is primarily devoted to Kitty Pryde’s mysterious and sudden pregnancy, which was the cliffhanger from last issue, as well as the financial problems which the school suffers as a result of Angel’s personality being overwritten and erased due to the Dark Angel Saga over in Uncanny X-Force. The way in which Aaron writes Wolverine is perhaps one of my favourite depictions of the character, because of how honest it is. Over the past few years, since Logan got his memory back, he’s definitely matured and evolved as a character, and this book is a great showcase for that, showing him thinking with his head instead of with his fists or his claws. Although I downright detested Kid Omega during Morrison’s run on New X-Men, Aaron is developing him in such a way that although he’s overly sardonic and sarcastic, there’s something within him that makes him almost a roguish charmer. It’s hard to describe, but he’s definitely more palatable, especially after last issue, when readers got a glimpse of him in the future.
The artwork in this issue is by the fantastic Nick Bradshaw, who has done such an incredible job on this book. I hope that we get more of him on this title in the future, because he has an excellent sense of storytelling, with very clean linework, which gives just the right amount of form and detail, without going overboard with too many detail lines. At times his work on the book evokes an Art Adams feel, particularly in how he details the characters’ faces.
The X-Men franchise has been a frustrating one over the course of the past few years, because although they’ve had some stellar crossover events, such as Messiah Complex and Second Coming, oftentimes the issues that come between these events have been substandard. That being said, this book is one of the most enjoyable X-related books I’ve read in quite some time, with a surprisingly fresh and enjoyable take on the characters and the concept, which continues to impress. Not only that, but amidst everything else, the book has also managed to create new characters and add them to the X-mythos, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Highly Recommended!