The Comic Stop: Andy Burns On Wolverine and the X-Men #1

Is there a harder world to try and make sense of in comics than that of the X-Men? Keeping track of the comings and goings of Marvel’s merry band of mutants is ridiculously dificult, and to be honest, I haven’t tried too hard. There have been some fun reads in the last few years (Messiah Complex, the parts of Messiah War that I read), but I didn’t really follow the mutants to San Francisco, where they’d been located over the last few years. Now have I been following Schism, the most recent X-Men Event that resulted in a massive breakdown between Cyclops and Wolverine that leads Wolverine to become…respectable?

Wolverine and the X-Men #1
Written by: Jason Aaron
Illustrated by: Chris Bachalo
Marvel Comics 

That’s how it appears in the premiere issue of Wolverine & The X-Men. On the hallowed grounds where Professor Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters a new school has been erected – The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning. In the role of headmaster? You guessed it – Wolverine. Alongside him as headmistress is everybody’s favourite X-Men, Kitty Pryde (who, last I heard was floating through space in a giant missile that was supposed to destroy the planet – I don’t know how she’s back and I’m electing to not ask), along with familiar faces such as Bobby Drake/Iceman and Hank McCoy/Beast.

For a universe that’s often so impenetrable, it was wonderful to discover just how accessible Wolverine and the X-Men was to get into. In the hands of writer Jason Aaron, the story is immediately understandable; sure, having some knowledge of history both recent and past is a bonus, but it isn’t absolutely necessary to enjoy the story. Blanks are filled in pretty quickly, motivations are clear and by the end of the issue we’re introduced to a villain that looks be a handful for Wolverine and his new team.

Remember the name Kade Kilgore.

As for the art, Chris Bachalo has his own unique style that I’m not totally enamoured with – I’m used to less cartoony X-stylings (keep in mind, I come from the John Romita Jr/Jim Lee/Marc Silvestri era); it’s not bad at all, just an adjustment for me.

One of the hardest thing about reading stories in the contemporary X-world is the feeling that you’ve seen these stories before (the death/rebirth/death of Phoenix, Professor X can/can’t use his limbs, etc). What I instantly loved about Wolverine and the X-Men is that I felt like I hadn’t read this story before. Check it out today and see if you feel the same way.

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4 Replies to “The Comic Stop: Andy Burns On Wolverine and the X-Men #1”

  1. I’m happy to hear that there are others who are just as lost as I am when it comes to the X-Men. I haven’t picked this new one up but you’re certainly making an argument for it. Probably the most convincing aspect is when you say you feel like you HAVEN’T read this before. That’s a bold statement and a pretty big rarity I think, but you’ve got me a bit excited to hop on this new X-Men train, at least for a look around. Your explanations help me centre my expectations a bit. Thanks and nice post!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Patrick. You should check out the issue for yourself. I think you might really enjoy it. I just hope they can keep it clutter free and fun.

  3. Just picked it up, and that conversation between Professor Wolverine and Professor Emeritus X is charming and affecting. Aaron is just at the top of his game right now, isn’t he?

  4. More quick thoughts:

    I thought Bachalo’s looser style nicely suited the madcap tone of the conceit (what’s the worst that could happen on the first day), and I liked Aaron’s conviction that Wolverine’s sharp edges *not* be sanded down – he’s ready to mix it up as necessary.

    Kitty was great. The stories that started with her introduction and “Days of Future Past” are coming back around, as she takes an active hand in keeping the world from becoming that dark future.

    And I particularly liked Beast’s involvement in this issue: technology, architecture, and coffee. And the reveal of the design of the whole school was a pure comics moment for me.

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