Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciller: Jorge Molina
Inker: Norman Lee
Colourist: Morry Hollowell
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris Eliopoulos
Previously, in Wolverine and the X-Men: The Phoenix Five have been reduced to the Phoenix Two, as only Emma Frost and Cyclops remain hosts to the cosmic power. The Avengers and most of Wolverine’s X-Men have teamed up in order to try and end the Phoenix’s menace for good, and are preparing for the final battle.
Meanwhile, the Jean Grey School continues to run despite the crises around them. Teachers such as Iceman and Rachel Grey have returned, and there are new students in the form of the refugee X-Kids from Utopia to acclimatize. Plus, Gladiator remains in the school sickbay, after his brutal beating by the Phoenix Five.
A few issues ago, I was getting ready to drop Wolverine and the X-Men. The Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-ins were doing horrible things to the pacing and execution of the series, and it just wasn’t moving in a direction I was enjoying. Then, everything changed and the title became the book I most looked forward to reviewing every week instead of the one I dreaded. Continuing in this vein, this week’s issue continued to impress and move everyone’s story in a worthwhile direction.
The issues before this series became part of the line-wide crossover really impressed me, giving a good overview of the Jean Grey School and the workings that go into running it, as well as focusing nicely on both the teaching staff and the students, with a healthy dose of action and adventure to go along with the ride. This issue gets back to the heart of the series by returning to this kind of approach; the staff that left Wolverine to join the Phoenix Five have returned, the X-Kids from Utopia have joined the school, at least for now, and everyone is trying to go about their business before the final battle between the Avengers, X-Men, Cyclops, and Emma Frost takes place.
This leads to a set of scenes that make up the issue, checking in with everyone and anyone across a typical school day. Each scene moves everyone’s plots along nicely, and even manages to tie into the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover in one instance, making the tie-in banner on the front of the issue make sense, as well as being hilarious as it goes through. The scene with Professor Xavier, Rachel Grey, and Quentin Quire made me put the issue down in case I wrinkled it whilst laughing, and almost any scene with Broo in is guaranteed a chuckle. Whilst nothing of too much importance happens throughout the issue and it could be construed as filler, it is very well done and enjoyable to read regardless, making it another in a line of superb issues.
Jorge Molina continues his few fill-in issues here, with the same strengths and weaknesses that he has already shown on the title. His facial expressions in general need a bit of work, more for the fact that his faces look strange than the expressions themselves need to be altered, but his grasp of comic timing is top notch, and his monstrous depictions of Krakoa and Broo are almost adorable. His style is clean and bright however, which makes this little interlude issue even more cheerful than it already was, especially given the gloom and doom happening all around it.
Wolverine and the X-Men has managed to morph back into the series it set out to be, shrugging off the chains of the crossover to return to its roots as an amusing series set at the heart of the Jean Grey School. This issue won’t win any awards for overall plot developments, but it is a solid issue that reminds us just what the book can be when given the chance.
GO Rating: 3.5/5