Wolverine and the X-Men #1
Wolverine and the X-Men #1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

Who would have suspected that such a fun comic could come from the man responsible for the good time, smile fests that are Scalped and the Logan Goes To Hell arc of Wolverine? The X-Men have returned to the mansion in Westchester, and reopened the school with Wolverine taking on the traditional role of Professor Xavier. If it sounds like the ol' canuckle head is out of his comfort zone just from that description, wait until you see the actual execution.

I, like many, was excited but skeptical when I first heard about the premise of this series. The X-Men returning to the school sounded like a return to status quo too quickly after only a couple years exploring the dynamic of the X-Men building a mutant nation, and I was unable to picture Wolverine in the Professor X role without neutering the character of his tough love trial by fire approach to mentoring.

Aaron not only assuaged both of these fears in the inaugural issue of this new co-flagship title, but he surpassed my expectations with a non-traditional enemy, a brisk plot that introduces a staggering number of characters and sub plots, and a better balance of humor than the writer showcased in X-Men Schism. Aaron has made the school concept feel fresh again with glimpses into the veteran X-Men feeling their way into new roles as an offbeat faculty, surprising new additions to the student body, a curriculum geared towards young X-Men, and the problems arising from a school constructed at break neck speed with highly advanced alien technology.

The new Jean Grey Academy may draw more than a few comparisons to another famous school (this one for witches and wizards), and in my opinion that is a great thing as similar to Hogwarts, the JG Academy has almost become a character in the new book (and the crossover potential for legions of Potter fans isn't anything to sneer at either). Aaron also shows that Wolverine's well intentioned struggle to fit into a role he is ill suited for will be a central plot point of the book without taking away from the team dynamic.

Chris Bachalo's style isn't every fan's cup of tea. However I think he is a great fit for this series as his busy panels really mesh with the chaotic vibe of the just reopened school. His exaggerated figure work also compliments the outlandish appearances of the mutant students, and he captures some of Aaron's humorous touches in a way that some more traditional artists may have struggled with.

Lest I seem to enamored with this issue, I will say that Bachalo's art was a bit confusing in some scenes, particularly in the exchange in Beast's lab, and the huge cast introduced in this issue prevented Aaron from focusing on all but a few of his protagonists this time around. Also the scene where Wolverine is confronted by what appears to be one of the book's first major antagonist felt really exposition heavy, and made the antagonist come off as a classic moustache twirling villain.

The future is bright for the Wolverine and the X-Men. Get your hands on this issue now because this is the book that will have fans and critics alike talking for the next year.

Grade: A-
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