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?
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.