Comic Book Review 08 – Wolverine and The X-Men #1

Wolverine And The X-Men #1 is a $3.99 Marvel Comic, originally released on October 26, 2011. This issue was written by Jason Aaron and features pencils and colors by Chris Bachalo, inks by Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, and Al Vey, while Rob Steen provides the lettering. There are three variant covers for Wolverine And The X-Men #1; a blank cardstock cover, one by Frank Cho, and another by Nick Bradshaw.

Professor Xavier's wisdom

The issue opens with Logan/Wolverine and Professor Xavier talking as they walk about the newly built Jean Grey School Of Higher Learning, discussing the school and Logan’s new job as headmaster as he prepares for inspectors from the New York State Department of Education to arrive the next day. It’s a great little conversation where the Professor gives Logan his blessing as he goes forward with the new school. It really shows the friendship and respect that the two have developed for each other over the years. Both the Professor and Logan himself, express their surprise that is was Logan, of all people, to reopen the school for young mutants.

Logan & Kitty

The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning

Next up, is the big day! The inspectors from the state are expected to arrive to tour the school, and it is also the first day of classes. As Logan and Kitty Pryde, the new school’s headmistress, watch the inspectors pull up the driveway, they chat about some of the oddness of the night before, such as a strange rumbling shaking the building and a fire spewing toilet. Once the inspectors, Mrs. Marigold and Mr. Clud, arrive, Logan and Kitty do all they can to put their best face forward and to impress the most stuffed shirt, stuck up, and pompous pair of state inspectors you’d ever want to meet. Needless to say, things don’t get off to a roaring success, as Mr. Chud and Mrs. Marigold proceed to make one condescending, snide, rude, insulting and racist tinged remark after another to their hosts, and expose themselves as clearly being your typical bigoted mutant fearing humans. I don’t know if I have ever hated two non-villains in an X-Men story this much before. They insult Kitty’s intelligence and educational background, brush off Logan’s service on the Avengers—the most respected super-team in the world and his qualifications to be headmaster, ridicule the Psychic Self-Defense class, and, of course, there was the always charmingly loathsome and racist comment “you people”. Logan uses the Danger Room, which is now incorporated through the entire school, to reprimand Hellion/Julian Keller and Glob Herman, for a bit of hazing, which is pretty funny. The inspectors are then introduced to Idie Okonkwo, one of the handful of new mutants to manifest since M-Day and a former member of Hope Summers’ rescue team, Generation Hope. Idie impresses them initially, until her good ol’ Godzilla sized self-loathing streak makes its inevitable appearance; I still hate how much she hates herself for being a mutant, but I love how real and organically she’s been developed. Many of us know people in real life who are broken and choose to try cope with self-loathing, and Idie represents that perfectly.

So far, the tour and inspection are going about as well as an Andy Reid coached football game, which, if you’ve seen the Eagles play this season, is NOT good! Logan and Kitty are hoping that Beast/Hank McCoy will be able to save the day and charm the pants off the pair of inspectors, so they don’t shut down the school, but Beast is so immersed in his work of getting and keeping the school and all of its cutting edge, futuristic and alien Shi’ar technologies operational, that he hardly notices the inspectors when they enter his lab, and nearly kills Mrs. Marigold with a coffee pot. As Kitty fusses with Hank for “not helping” the situation, Bobby Drake/Iceman tells Logan he has a visitor out front. Logan goes out to meet the mystery visitor, and who does he find waiting… Kade Kilgore, the evil little 12 year old genius responsible for all of the events of X-Men: Schism and the new Black King of the Hellfire Club. Kilgore goes on to admit to Logan his role in orchestrating all the events that led to the renewed global hatred and fear of mutants, the near destruction of Utopia, at the hands of a new super Sentinel he built and designed, and the breakup of the X-Men. Kilgore than threatens to destroy everything that the new school stands for, as well. The issue closes with Logan losing his cool, as we see just what was causing the inexplicable rumbling the night before.

Now let’s discuss the art! Let me start by saying that Chris Bachalo’s art style, much like Humberto Ramos’s, is a bit of an acquired taste, since it happens to have such a cartoony feel to it, rather than a more traditional comic book style. He proportions his characters a bit awkwardly and unorthodoxly and tends to use exaggerated facial expressions to convey the characters’ emotions, like you often find in cartoon animation. It’s all part of the charm of his art, for those who are fans of his style, and it’s also probably a big part of why you dislike his art, if you are not a fan. Style preferences aside, Bachalo does handle motion and action well, and despite their somewhat exaggerated nature, the facial expressions and emotions of his characters is correct and fitting. His color work in this issue is also good. The palette is somewhat muted, and he uses many shades of purple, throughout.

Jean Grey School brochure

I loved Jason Aaron’s writing on this issue, and the direction set out for this new flagship X-book! Right from the gate, Aaron writes one of the best takes on Wolverine, in the character’s history, in my opinion. His time spent working on some of Wolverine’s solo titles has served him well, and he get’s this books lead character to a tee. For the characters involved in this issue, I felt he really found their voice and everyone talks and acts like the characters we’ve come to know and love over the years. Maybe my favorite thing about Wolverine And The X-Men #1 was how it not only brought the X-Men full circle by bringing them back to West Chester and reopening the school for mutants, but it simultaneously seemed to make the X-Men FUN again for the first time in a while. The X-Men’s branch of the marvel Universe has been full to the brim with great stories recently, but with mutants battling extinction in recent years, the gravity of their situation hasn’t really led to many fun X-Men stories. Things have been so serious and dire for the X-Men and mutants as a whole, at least, with its first issue, Wolverine And The X-Men seems to want to take a page from some of the older eras of the franchise, by putting some fun back into their adventures, and I, for one, am on board one hundred percent.

All in all, I absolutely LOVED Wolverine And The X-Men #1! If you want to check out the newest chapter in the X-Men’s storied history, while enjoying some of the same great elements that originally made the book a hit back in 1963, or if you’re a fan of the direction the now canceled cartoon of the same name had, with Logan as the team’s leader, then this is the book for you! Everything new feels old again and everything old feels new again, in a way. I already cannot wait for the first big crossover with the other faction of X-Men, still being led by Cyclops. That, folks, is going to be EPIC, with a capital “E”!

Utopia

West Chester, NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images are property of Marvel Entertainment.

STATUS (31 Posts)

James “STATUS” Eaddy is a freelance writer, who enjoys Readin’, Writin’, and Doin’ Stuff! Along with Joe’l Williams, he is also the co-creator and writer of, the upcoming comic book property and characters, “The StreetKeepers”.