Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciller: Jorge Molina
Inker: Norman Lee
Colourist: Morry Hollowell
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Previously, in Wolverine and the X-Men: The Phoenix Five have taken control of the planet Earth and declared the Avengers outlaws. Wolverine goes on the run with the Avengers, whilst the Jean Grey School continues as usual, with the teachers that had allied with the Five returning to their posts. Among them is Kitty Pryde, who was until recently the girlfriend of Colossus, one of the now cosmically powered Five.
After a drawn out battle with Shi’ar forces, including Emperor Gladiator himself, the Five were able to subdue their opponents. Warbird retrieved both Kid Gladiator and Gladiator’s unconscious body from Utopia, and returned them to the Jean Grey School for medical attention.
Last issue was a knockout, earning a full five star rating from me. I was sceptical that this next issue could do the same, and whilst it didn’t, it was still miles ahead most of the preceding issues. It seems that Wolverine and the X-Men has taken a correct turn somewhere and seems to be back on the road to recovery from event syndrome. This issue felt more like those that started the run than what we’ve been getting recently, and I’m very grateful for that.
I think one of the main reasons for this is that the issue focuses on the Jean Grey School and its teaching staff, as opposed to the conflict appearing in the pages of other comics. This is the first time we get a glimpse of how the fighting has affected the school, and it can all be summed up in one word: badly. With most of the teaching staff off helping the Phoenix Five take down the Avengers, the school is running on a skeleton crew, and things are only made worse by the arrival of Colossus, who would like a date with Kitty Pryde.
This plays out as you’d expect—also badly. This is another comic that has showcased the fractures that are appearing in the Phoenix Five and their methodology, and nearly levels the Jean Grey School as a result. We also get to see the return of some of our teachers, who have been through their own crises of faith both in this issue and the few before, so that it seems everything has come back together and we can move forward from the dismal state of affairs that the school is currently in.
This is compounded with the fact that the humour that this title had become famous for has returned. From Kitty Pryde berating Quentin Quire to some cameo appearances from Doop and Toad, there’s a little to chuckle about here too, which is a contrast with the doom and gloom going on elsewhere.
Popping in for a two issue fill-in starting here is Jorge Molina, whose work I saw most recently on an issue of Avengers Academy which was…less than stellar, to put it nicely. Some of Molina’s problems from that issue persist, such as his odd concept of facial expressions and how a face works (Not like Kitty Pryde’s does, as a hint), but his work feels closer to Nick Bradshaw’s than Chris Bachalo’s does, so at least we have a vague sense of unity going on. There isn’t really much else to mention about the art other than this: Molina is competent, but I wouldn’t want him around more often than usual.
In a complete reversal of fortune, Wolverine and the X-Men has now gone from the least anticipated Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in comic on my stack to my most anticipated. Having gotten back to the heart of the series, the Jean Grey School, it seems that everything is on the uptick once again, except the artwork.
GO Rating: 3.5/5