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Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #1

Wolverine and the X-Men #1
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend 

The dust from the climactic showdown between Wolverine and Cyclops during Schism has settled.  Feeling that the young mutants among the X-Men needed a chance to be children and not warriors, Logan has returned to Westchester with Beast, Iceman, Kittie Pryde, Gambit, Rogue and Rachel Grey to start a new school in the place of the destroyed Xavier School.

Of course, he named it the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.  Who else would he name it after?

The first issue of the all-new, all-exciting Wolverine and the X-Men opens with Professor Xavier touring the newly rebuilt school, giving Logan his advice on being a headmaster and offering warnings on the ups and downs of being in charge of a school for teenage mutants.  Is that Doop in the background at the school’s front desk?  I know a few people who will be overjoyed that writer Jason Aaron found a way to bring him back.

The rest of the issue revolves around Logan and headmistress Kitty Pryde giving inspectors from the New York State Department of Education a tour of the facility, essentially serving as a primer on the book’s cast.  Various panels show Idie Okonkwo, Rockslide, and Anole in a psychic self-defense class with Rachel Grey, and Husk teaching “Introduction to Mutant Literature.”

Toad is shown as the school’s janitor, trying to tell Logan of some, ahem, structural issues with the school that Beast built.  Of course, it’s not a good time to point these things out considering the inspectors are there.

The inspection continues to spiral down until Iceman finally tells Logan that there’s a kid at the gate who wants to see him.  That kid turns out to be Kade Kilgore, the 12-year-old Black King of the new Hellfire Club who masterminded the events leading to the falling out between Scott and Logan.  Aaron establishes Kilgore and the Hellfire Club as this book’s first major villains in the following panels, as the pint-sized profligate promises to destroy all that Logan has built.

I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with Bachalo’s work over the years, primarily about proportion and being able to discern what’s going on in some panels.  Why is the 12-year-old Kilgore the same height as Logan?  I know Logan’s supposed to be somewhat on the short side, but the same height as a 12-year-old?  Aside from that and not being quite sure what was going on in the last page of the issue, however, I really enjoyed the art.  It was up there with his “Shed” story arc from Amazing Spider-Man last year.

As a first issue, this issue covers all the bases a series début needs to.  Aaron plants a lot of seeds for future plotlines and introduces readers to the book’s major players in the least confusing manner possible (which is especially important in the character heavy X-books).  The diagram in the back-breaking down the Jean Grey School’s faculty and students is a nice touch, as well as the mock-up of a class list brochure.  Choir with Professor Doop?  Sign me up.

Story:  9/10
Art:  7/10 

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