Monday, December 28, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Volume 8

In the aftermath of the Battle of the Atom (crossover issues of this title are #36-37), both factions of the X-Men (Cyclops' revolutionary team under the New Xavier School for the Gifted, and Wolverine's more lenient team for the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning) may have endured the crisis it brought, but they didn't accomplish this together at all. After Hank McCoy brought back the very first five X-Men from the sixties who then decided to stay in the current timeline (Bendis' All-New X-Men), so many events have been escalating left and right, and certain relationships between each other and with human government agencies, such as S.H.I.E.L.D, have reached a breaking point that trust is hardly something both parties have earned. 

While Scott tries to maintain his recruits' faith in their revolution cause (Bendis' The Uncanny X-Men), Logan, on the other hand, as headmaster of JGS, butts heads with head of S.H.I.E.L.D Special Agent Maria Hill who happened to hire a liaison, the mutant previously known as Dazzler, much to the discomfort of her peers. 

Of course, the real Dazzler has been abducted midway and was actually replaced by shape-shifter and long-time villainess Mystique who infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D herself to gather intel and steal finances from corporations to fund her place of conquest in Madripoor which she acquired from Hydra. This is where she opened an asylum for all mutants who refuse to integrate to human society and live according to their rules. This story mostly plays out on Bendis' The Uncanny X-Men, so you can follow that plotline in said title instead. 

For the eighth and final volume of Jason Aaron's run of Wolverine and the X-Men, issue #38 opens with JGS and S.H.I.E.L.D meeting on school grounds to discuss about boundaries unresolved issues, and Maria Hill expresses her sentiments as a public servant and human being who has to deal with the bad publicity and growing infamy of mutantkind, particularly towards the X-Men. Her exchange with Logan is very important at this point in the game, arguing well-founded criticisms, reservations and fears:

Meanwhile, issues #39-40 gave us more amazing scenes and plot concerning the new students who just enrolled in JGS; the Brickmore twins known as Tri-Joey and Squidface. After their initiation to the school where Tri-Joey (Joseph) actually enjoyed becoming friends with a lot of the students, the twins were revealed to be moles for S.H.I.E.L.D., and Squidface (Josephine) was adamant in having JGS closed for good. The siblings were actually normal humans who just took mutant growth serum so they can masquerade inside JGS. As they plan their uprising, it turned out that they have been discovered from the start and everyone was simply trying to give them a chance to change their mind about JGS. Quentin, Broo, Idie, Eyeboy, Genesis, Kid Gladiator, Shark Girl and Sprite all agree that they are all strange and weird and odd and although their school has a sentient lawn and a murdering bathroom, and a lot of people are trying to kill them on a weekly if not daily basis...

It's the one place they are free to be themselves and be accepted no matter what!

The following exchanges are some of my favorities:

As the kids take control of the situation, Wolverine and Cyclops manage to run onto each other when they both decided to kill some Sentinels by their lonesome. It's funny how these so-called opposites often manage to decide on doing the same thing. It didn't go so well and they almost died (especially when Wolverine has been losing his healing factor), but by the end of the day, these two are friends. And they have a lot to talk about. It's gonna get brutal but eventually for the best.

Wolverine finds a medical kit (and some booze) so the two of them decided to hang out a bit as they rest. 

Everyone knows alcohol is the best social lubricant!
This was great because, in return, they had their most honest and hurtful but also cathartic exchange:

I would like to thank Jason Aaron for writing down the insecurities that these two have about each other and how he managed to get them out in the open during a grueling discussion. The highlights there have to be the Professor X-Magneto analogy which was something a lot of people started using after Wolverine and Cyclops had a grand falling-out; and the mentions of Jean Grey and the fact that they ended their conversation with a meaningful nod to her memory because even though they have different views and methods of doing things, what will forever bind Logan and Scott is that they love (and were loved) by the same amazing woman who has inspired them to be who they are and commit to the principles they believe in no matter what. Reading about this dialogue gives me hope for reconciliation between these two!

The issues #41-42 and Annual were all character-centric. #41 has Mortimer a.k.a Toad who had been working as the janitor for JGS since this title started. However, he also sided with the Hellfire Club all because of his girlfriend Husk who unfortunately suffered a nervous breakdown and henceforth turned rotten for a while. He eventually did change his mind and assisted Quentin and the others to bring down Hellfire Academy from within, but this just wasn't enough to absolve him of his earlier crimes. Wolverine and the rest of the faculty had to let him go, much to Krakoa's sadness. Husk (Paige) wasn't crazy anymore but she also doesn't remember her relationship with Toad. She was willing to find out why she loved him in the first place, though, and asked to get some coffee with him. Tragically, Toad helped Enrique and Max, former Hellfire Club members, to escape although he did beat up Enrique and left him back in JGS. He and Max then went together, probably to form their own new evil team. AND IT'S HEARTBREAKING! Toad has been reformed villain for a while so it makes me a little angry that he decided that being a villain is all he could ever be so instead of dating Paige again, he returned to his former life of crime. So disheartening, guys!

Meanwhile, #42 is all about graduation and Quentin Quire wasn't happy about this. There are also flash-forward scenes with an old Logan and a grown-up Idie Okonkwo as they discuss about closing down JGS for good. Back in present day, Quentin bemoans how he is officially turned into the good guy while proudly wearing his Dark Phoenix-at-Training shirt around campus where everyone is happy and celebratory. He had a nice conversation with Captain America who was proud of him for changing, and then Wolverine handed him a diploma, much to his depression and shame. Try as he might to deny that he has earned his place as an X-Man, Quentin is actually more afraid of growing up and actually making the right choices as well as being surrounded by friends who deeply care about him and believe in him. It's all nice and fluffy and sweet and Q keeps complaining in his typical fashion how this makes him sick! 

Meanwhile, Logan and Ororo are still a couple and she cheers him up by saying this:

I think Wolverine and Quentin Quire have a lot of things in common which was why it was natural for Logan to take him under his wing. Both were considered outsiders who challenged authority and are eager to prove to the world that they must be feared and will never be loved or belong anywhere. Ultimately, both are proven wrong and find themselves on the same side, both grown-up and ready to take on more tomorrows. This is also the last issue of Jason Aaron's run for Wolverine and the X-Men and I love it so much! Logan is finally happy and content, and Quentin has found his place in an unlikely home and with the best people he can be surrounded with!

Lastly, the Annual issue focused on Kubark a.k.a Kid Gladiator who may like to punch his way through galaxies but is a real softie underneath it all. He was sent back to Shi'ar in his old academy during the Phoenix Force crossover event, but he quickly realized that he misses JGS and Earth after all, but is too proud to admit it to himself, especially in front of his classmates and father.

Fortunately for him, Majestor Gladiator, his old dad, is very supportive and understands that his son finally found a place where he can thrive and be exceptional so he agrees to let Kubark return to Earth--but after he punched his way through multiple fights again and earned the respect of his peers. He even got to fight alongside the Avengers! These experiences had been enjoyable for him but he much rather come back to JGS where he is warmly welcomed in, of course. I really found this Annual issue so adorable and unexpectedly touching!

This was a really amazing finale volume! I'm glad everyone got their happy endings!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #33-35

Okay, look here. See? This review will cover three issues but I'm going to be a cheapskate concerning the length since this isn't going to feature some long-ass discussion about every little thing that happened. About a good 70% of these combined three installments can be summarized easily and it won't even compose a paragraph. Also, I'd like to inform everyone that the next issues after these ones (#36-37) are crossovers with Battle of the Atom and I simply don't want to review that because I already have an official review of that story arc found HERE so check out that one instead. I don't want to relive BotA. It's a good story, that I can guarantee, but at this point I need some distance from it. So here in issues #33-35, we have the last three installments of The Hellfire Saga and it wasn't a bad way to end the confrontation between the main players; the good guys of the Jean Grey School and the bad guys of the Hellfire Academy. 

Here are the brief summaries of what happened for each issue:
  • Issue #33 had Idie Okonkwo, the young mutant student named Ova who can control temperatures and wield them as a weapon, monologuing about the education she has experienced so far about the Hellfire Academy. Her mindset about "kill or be killed", as well as her insistence towards the fact that she was basically raised and taught to be an unfeeling bitch is somewhat reminiscent of Warbird's own soliloquy Aaron wrote at least ten issues ago. Here she was invited by Kade Kilgore to become the Black Queen. She puts on the costume and demands that if she was ever going to be his girlfriend, she needs someone to kill Broo who has grown attached to her. This was all a ploy to know who shot Broo before, and silly Kade immediately cops to it, and now enraged, Idie was determined to kill him. Luckily (and I stress that because I ADORE KADE KILGORE AND Y'ALL NEED TO DEAL WITH IT), she was distracted when surveillance footage of the fights happening in the premises which is a live-feed in Kilgore's office showed Toad trying to appease his crazy girlfriend Husk who is literally choking him to death. He keeps saying that he loves her over and over. And Idie sees and hears this and sheds a tear. She leaves Kade unconscious and goes to Quentin to help him, having reached the grand epiphany that she wants to know how to love and be loved before she dies--and she's pretty sure she'll die young anyway so she might as well. It was a nice moment for the guilt-ridden, self-hating young lady. I'm proud of her.
  • Issue #34 is where most of the action sequences are. The JGS teachers finally found the Hellfire Academy (god, it took them awhile, didn't it?) and we readers were graced with images of Krakoa vs. another pile of Krakoas, plus Iceman as a frost giant that resembled a robot fighter from a Japanese anime. Kitty phases through the school grounds, determined to find the kids and bring them home. Storm, Rachel Grey, Beast and Wolverine handle most of the heavy work. Idie and Quentin share their second kiss during the battle. Broo attacks Kade and bites his shoulder and wouldn't let go and the rest of tween HC just looked on, completely devoid of any concern for their leader. Kade is delusional about his success and rule now at this point. His hubris is so beautiful and painful to watch for me. He asked for the Philistine to bring the Siege of Perilous (this mirror thing) and then he looked at the chaos surrounding him and declared victory because he had the X-Men right where he wanted them. His white king Manuel and black bishop Max don't share his vision and the issue ends with the two of them aiming guns at Kade's back, ready to kill him. 
  • Issue #35 concludes the saga. The turncloaks didn't get to kill Kade because their firearms are designed by Kilgore industries after all and Kade hunts these two down with the same weapons, shooting his way across the premises until he reached Quentin and Idie and had the Philistine capture them. Meanwhile, Toad still tries to get Husk to listen to him as he proceeded to tear through layers and layers of her facial skin. Ewww. Starblood also tried to escape with Broo so he can take him to outer space where said Broodling can eat other aliens. What a fucking jerk. Next, a surprising turn occurs when white queen Wilhemina (a crazy former beauty queen pageant who has the hots for Kade from the beginning) orders the Philistine to kill them all and not bother submitting them to the Siege of Perilous. The Philistine obliged and then pushed Wilhemina inside the mirror and she walked inside it willingly. Before she went, she iterates that Kade should have told her that she was pretty more often. The girl does look like a mini Emma Frost and a lot crazier. Kade was horrified to see the one girl who actually had feelings for him leave him there with his enemies. He was near tears and he wanted someone to hug him before he dies. He doesn't get that, of course, because he's a bad guy. Q punches him instead. Oh, my sweet baby boy, come to mommy and lemme pet you!
Shhhh...s'okay, Kade my babe, you're safe. Mommy's here...

On other more pleasant news, Broo tried to bite a Bamf while Starblood was about to take him away, and then he saw a vision of some caped dude, telling him to wake up. And he does! FUCKING ADORABLE BROO IS BACK AND EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE OKAY NOW!

Rebel-at-heart Quentin Quire also realized he can be a good guy and still enjoy himself. He's got a girlfriend now so he can't complain. Meanwhile, when Wolverine tried to get his brother to stop being a bitch, Dog Logan instead jumped inside the siege, taking Kade with him. So my baby is trapped inside a magic mirror but I am not worried. That stupid Siege thing transforms people and gives them powers. I can only hope for the best! I bet Wilhemina, Kade and Dog Logan will be back one of these days. Kade my babe is broken now but he's a resourceful fucker and I know this wouldn't be the last time we will see him! He's meant for greatness, okay?! On other more exciting news:

That mysterious caped stranger surrounded by Bamfs is no other than KURT WAGNER A.K.A NIGHTCRAWLER, RIGHT?! It has to be! I know my sweet elf can't stay dead any longer! He's too much of a fan-favorite! PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS TRUE! I WANT HIM BACK! You took Kade away so this is the least you could do, Aaron! PLEEEEEASE!
Genki anime girl concurs!~


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #31-32

Most important thing first: Kade Kilgore looks uber cool with his sexy-styled black hair, blue shades and that tight red shirt. Look, it's been a while since I've been smitten and rather actively attracted to an X-Men villain so I do think this is a special occasion that deserves to be mentioned. And it's not my fault he's only twelve years old, okay? I don't have strong impure thoughts of ravaging him (NO WAY) but I would settle for cuddling him and ruffling his hair. He's my Justin Bieber, all right? He's also an entitled, over-privileged and self-indulgent massive prick who wants to destroy the mutant race while also being able to profit on the fear of the human masses concerning said mutants. He set his sights on the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning since it opened its doors, and after thirty issues, his slow and gradual schemes have finally paid off. He managed to steal away four students from JGS; Glob Herman was not-so-shockingly enticed to join; Broo was just taken because he's back to his feral state, all thanks to a cranium injury via gunshot, whilst Idie enrolled to Hellfire Academy to avenge Broo, and Quentin is there to ensure she is okay, and to unravel the inner workings of Kilgore's plans. 

The first two installments of The Hellfire Saga as featured here in issues #31-32 are off to a good start. Here are the highlights:
  • The Hellfire Academy, much like the JGS, has the most enchanting classes, focusing on how to be a villain, and how to do it right. Issue #31 takes us into their wonderful educational itinerary where Mystique teaches Introduction to Evil; Dog Logan has an extensive physical education program which is more or less like what he had before in Savage Island; Husk is both the head librarian and lunch lady who screams terror nonsense at the students while tearing the skin from her face, and a collective bunch of second-rate villains teach the ins and outs of hell itself, public relations that guarantees your demands during hostage situations are met, and one-on-one fights with fellow students during midnight. It's much like JGS, only you are given tools to be the bad guy instead of good, and where detention could literally mean your death sentence as Quentin Quire quickly found out.
  • Sauron and Dr. Xanto Starblood, professor in lectures of chemical warfare and surgeon for biological terrorism respectively, teach the fascinating and gruesome arts of SCIENCE! This is so very Hogwarts with way more evil stuff in the lesson plan!
  • Also, Toad is once again the school janitor. That was a really cruel twist of fate that I should have seen coming. Poor Mortimer. He betrayed JGS because of his obviously psychologically unstable girlfriend Husk, and who is now being a bitch to him, stating that he's embarrassing her in front of her colleagues or that he's smothering her with his love and devotion or something.
  • No wonder that by the end of the next issue, he began to see the error in his ways (ergo, realized he was in love with a very mentally disturbed woman), and might even try to save Quentin from getting killed prematurely (more on that later).
  • Meanwhile, the JGS faculty scour the earth in futile attempt to locate the hidden Hellfire Academy. Rachel Grey goes nuts, reading billions of minds globally and assigning statistics on who is sleeping, fucking, plotting a murder, screaming--look, Ray-ray, girl-friend, you better catch some break to recuperate from being you. Srsly, you're starting to scare me a bit when you get this freaking telepathic in a global scale of invasion. Even Storm agrees, but she is much more stressed about the fact that Wolverine announced that once they locate and save the runaway kids, he is shutting down the Jean Grey School for good. Yikes. But it takes a big man to admit that they all fucked up in helping these kids so in a way I'm proud of him for doing this.
  • Quentin Quire continues to rebel against authority (much to Kade's disappointment, he was hoping he would be the star pupil). But unlike in JGS where he essentially gets a slap in the wrist and isolation from his peers for a while, Issue #32 reveals that in Hellfire Academy, detention means he gets multiple punches to the face and was even thrown inside the Siege of Perilous, whatever the fuck that was (which apparently created Philistine who is not a mutant at all but someone with dark magic much like Ilyana), but it completely rejected Q. Philistine just took this as a challenge and proceeded to subject Q to more torture. Yay.
  • Idie is really convincing as she effectively blends in, able to guard her thoughts of murder spree once she finds whoever was responsible for shooting Broo in the head. It was odd because Quentin was unable to defend his mind from this and yet Idie was obviously getting away. Unless that's what Kade Kilgore and Philistine wants her to believe. Oh no. At the end of issue #32, she officially becomes a member of the Hellion battalion or something. Very Nazi.
  • Wolverine baits the Bamfs using whiskey so he can put collars in them and  they can teleport him to places until he stumbled upon one of the Hellfire henchmen who is also working for Sabretooth, the academy's headmaster. Wolverine is getting close to finding out where HA is hidden so by the next installment, he's probably going to lay waste to it with some reinforcements. Exciting stuff ahead. These first two installments already had Mystique in sexy teacher outfit and, as an assignment, had students from her class try to get Quentin's teeth bashed out because each of his tooth equals a hundred points for her class that would guarantee them passing. What more amazing feats of education can we expect next time? I'm riveted. 
  • While we look forward to that beguiling clusterfuck, here's a great class picture of the Hellions, and the infographic of the faculty and student body, and their curriculum of the Hellfire Academy:


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #29-30

In issue #29 of Wolverine and the X-Men, our titular hero comes to terms that he had failed his students. A natural progression, I must say, given his sporadic decision-making lately, risking the lives of his students when he delivered them to Savage Land, only to be confronted by his estranged brother Dog Logan who grabbed the opportunity of tormenting him and the kids he's supposed to look after. Sure, he had a nice conversation with each of these eight kids, imparting enough insight and lesson to get them through that grueling field trip at prehistoric killing grounds, but there is more to being an X-Man than being prepared for battle and expecting the worst. And these mutant kids are still socially awkward and insecure teenagers who need more hands-on guidance, and giving them such an overwhelming baptism of fire is simply NOT RIGHT, Wolvie. Luckily, the kids survived the entire ordeal even when they all got separated midway, long enough so they could band together to stand up to your brother in the last minute but what if they didn't? Would you hold that against them? You probably would have. In a way, they were successful in vindicating themselves in the situation that forced them to grow up and be fighters--but what about you, Wolverine? What of your failings now? Oh, James Howlett, where is your duty of care? Where is your Twelfth Doctor?

Granted, Capaldi Doctor is not the most heroic of the Doctors but he's the closest you got, Logan

The issue opens with Wolverine in a podium during a time capsule ceremony, giving a speech. It was a great one where he admits all his wrongdoings and how he was never truly fit to be a teacher but he tries anyway. He expresses to keep the dream of Charles Xavier alive and thriving. He acknowledges his students' strength and uniqueness. He tells them that he is proud of them. The sentimentality is earnest that it's hard to make fun of it (not like I wanted to). I've been so disappointed with the adults of this series, to be honest. If they were Scott, Emma and Ilyana, I would've understood because those three people are the most closed-off AND YET somehow they were actually the BETTER TEACHERS with their own recruits as they train them in their secret school located inside the Weapon X facility. Seriously, it truly boggles the mind that these radical revolutionists have a firmer grasp on what they are fighting for and they are adamant about this that their recruits are readily inspired and eager to prove they want to learn and adapt so they can stand next to them in their revolution. The same thing cannot be said for the Jean Grey School. The teachers and students don't communicate. The students themselves are restless or suffering in silence; while others have betrayed the school itself, and resorted to forming alliances with the enemy. Glob has officially enrolled in the Hellfire Academy and Idie Okonkwo, as revealed in the last pages of this issue, ran away to do the same.

Can you honestly claim that this is still the case, Logan? 

The issue then jumped forward at least thirty years into the future where we see an old man stumbling upon the buried time capsule. This is Headmaster Wolverine himself and it looked as if JGS did manage to survive all the onslaughts of the current timeline we are reading right now. However, Wolverine Sr. claimed that he doesn't remember ever burying a time capsule before. He consulted Eye-Man about this (who is such a freaking badass, btw, acting as a satellite surveillance above Earth's atmosphere and fighting space entities) and he also said he doesn't remember any time capsule. This was strange. I wonder if this holds some meaning for the upcoming events regarding the Hellfire Club's nefarious schemes that are by now slowly but surely coming into fruition. Wolverine Sr. tried to acquire some sort of time machine located in the headquarters Eye-Man is protecting, and his former student warned him not to use it because we all know how that fucks up everything. Wolverine Sr. claimed he wanted to warn himself from the past about the dangers and battles to come but in the end Eye-Man convinced him not to do it. Instead, he puts in a note inside the time capsule, wishing his younger self the best of luck and taping a key in it.

That key in question turned out to be the very one that unlocks the box that Wolverine has been trying to open ever since this issue started. It belonged to his brother Dog whom he had been searching for after he transported himself out of Savage Land in the previous issue. He opened the box and saw remnants of a happy time in their childhood, and probably the only time. Meanwhile, Kade Kilgore, accompanied by Sabretooth, just recruited said brother Dog to become a teacher at his Hellfire Academy. And the clusterfuck of shit has just hit the fan. 

There is no escaping what is about to unfold next!

Issue #30 is the prelude to the Hellfire Club Saga that's going to be covered by the seventh volume of Wolverine and the X-Men. After this prologue, we got five installments for that story arc and given the material I had read in this prelude, I am very much looking forward to see how the Wolverine's X-Men and Kade Kilgore with his lackeys will battle it out. This issue sets up the stage for the upcoming fight. Beast was in space with the still-feral Broo, accompanied by his girlfriend, S.W.O.R.D Special Agent Abigail Brand. As I have predicted issues ago, Beast finally consulted the help of Dr. Starblood, the alien zoologist who tried to kill Broo before because he believed that a civil, intellectual and kind-hearted Brood creature is an abomination to the status quo. Naturally, he refused to help. He was glad to see that Broo has reverted back to his real form. So I don't know why Beast even bothered. Back on earth, Storm, Kitty and Iceman view surveillance footage of Idie running off and FINALLY WE HAVE THEM ADMITTING WHAT CRAPPY TEACHERS THEY HAVE BEEN! And then Kitty reveals that there may be a traitor in their midst who gave up information to the Hellfire Academy. They all thought it's Quentin. Spoiler Alert: It's not.

And of course, Glob Herman live-tweets the clusterfuck as it's about to go down. Thank god for the social media.

After sharing their first kiss during a dance, Quentin and Idie have been at odds since. Idie has blamed herself for what happened to Broo and also regretted kissing Quentin because if only she danced with Broo instead, he never would have left the school that night and gotten himself almost killed. Obviously, Quentin still cares for her and it shows with his concern over her plight, and even though he realized Idie might actually be in love with Broo, he still wishes to save her from making a big mistake and joining the bad guys. But after seeing a memory from a Bamf about last night, he realized Idie was going to join the Hellfire Academy just so she can kill everyone, all so she can savenge Broo. Q is not going to let Idie fall from grace that fast, and rushes to confront the real traitor in JGS who is no other than Toad!

I knew this was going to happen. I think we all did. After all, it really wasn't the humiliation of being the school janitor and always having to clean up after people's messes--it's the fact that his girlfriend Husk, former JGS teacher, has quit the school for good and, as it turns out, also joined Kilgore's side off-page. She wants to see JGS burn down and Toad is going to assist her in accomplishing this. She appeared with Dr. Starblood and Broo and also a mutant called Philistine. He was the one who teleported Starblood and Broo from space to take them to Hellfire Academy and now Quentin has no choice but to come with them as well.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #27-28

Previously in Wolverine and the X-Men: I stated in my review of issues #25-26 how I was a little bit angry toward the faculty of JGS because I honestly feel they are not good role models or exemplary teachers who are always helping their students especially when it came to each of these kids' emotional welfare that they should all be personally responsible for. Issues #27-28 has somewhat made me reconsider that perspective even though I still believe it to be true--but there is a need for a more nuanced context and I can readily accept the fact that the education that these mutant kids are being put through had to be unconventional and often dangerous. It still doesn't excuse the adults for being neglectful and often cavalier when it comes to dealing with their most troubled bunch of students. These students turned out to be Quentin Quire, Idie, Broo, Genesis, Sprite, Eye-Boy, Glob, and Shark Girl.

The eight of them were taken by Wolverine to Savage Land for some misguided lesson plan on Survival 101. Things go haywire when Dog Logan, Wolverine's estranged brother from a hundred years ago, came back and decided to take over the field trip. Using a diamond time traveling device, he transported cavemen, cowboys and robots from different timelines to battle these vulnerable kids. It's...a disaster of magnitude that made me face-palm several times as I read on. Issue #27 opens with the teachers (Beast, Kitty, Storm, Iceman and Warbird) chatting in the lounge about how everything in school has been at peace ever since those eight were sent off to prehistoric danger times. They mostly addressed that it's Quentin whom they are relieved to see gone from the school but it's implied that the other seven are a handful as well and that JGS would be better without them. They also expressed how confident they are that Wolverine would do just fine with the kids out there on their own in Savage Land. Meanwhile, Rachel Grey follows up on leads about Hellfire Club, and Angel continues to recruit newly awakened mutants post-Phoenix Force with the hopes of enrolling them to JGS. 

You know what, as much as I disapprove of the teaching styles of everyone in this goddamn school, I'm really in no position to judge. Mutant kids are vastly different than normal kids, although we all have to agree that their basic needs are just the same. Teenagers need guidance, mentorship and a firm hand. For me, Wolverine is the only one who actually bothers to educate them even though his methods are flawed. Still, I can commend him for his insights because issue #27 also revealed that he did approach each and one of these eight students before they landed Savage Land hours later. Last issue we saw him talk to Quentin, urging him to become a leader. In this issue, we see him in flashbacks with Genesis and Shark Girl. Genesis (Evan) bemoans the fact that he's a clone from Apocalypse's DNA which sucks because all he wants is to be good. He says, "It was easier to see myself as a hero before I knew I was grown from the blood of a madman." Wolverine tried to console him by telling him the story about his father who is a bad man and how Wolverine chose not to follow his steps. And Genesis can do the same. He can forge a better path.

On the other hand, Wolverine tried to get through yet another surly mutant loner, Iara Dos Santos (Shark Girl) by saying this:

It was a nice moment. Wolverine also had some face time with Idie who gave her Kurt's copy of the Bible which was great because I just mentioned in my previous review that I wish Nightcrawler was still alive because he might be the only person who can talk to Idie about her crisis of faith. Wolverine left the location of the Blackbird to a feral Broo, hoping beyond hope that there's still a small part of Broo that's conscious. Lastly, he teaches Eye Boy some card tricks to hone his all-seeing abilities, and then expels Glob for good because he had the worst suspicion that Glob has been a lost cause from the start. And he is right, by the way.

Issue #27 ends with Dog Logan helping out the kids by equipping them with guns as they shoot their way through cowboys and robots. Things looked like they are coming up for Dog but then Quentin started getting through his head, verbally shaming him about his brother complex and jealousy over Wolverine. Blah, blah. He violently retaliated at Q and hit him. Look, I'm all for punching Quentin Quire in the face, but Dog is not helping himself by becoming abusive like his dead father had been to him. It's a pretty sad affair. You can tell he wants to prove he's a better man than his brother and father, that he can be a hero, but his actions just don't cut it. Too bad. Anyway, moving on to issue #28, Eye Boy had a shocking brilliant moment of awesome here:

Afterwards, the kids banded together to stand their guard (except for that backstabber Glob) against Dog Logan just in time as Wolverine, Idie and Broo arrive on scene. Wolverine expressed how proud he was to see these teenagers finally working together as a team, and I was a bit misty-eyed myself when I read these panels below:

It's been show issues ago that Glob had joined the Hellfire Club (excuse me, Hellfire Academy) already so him running off like a dickhead was no surprise to me. Dog Logan transported himself outta there after Q mind-probed him to show his younger, maltreated self, and Wolverine thankfully ends this fiasco of a survival field trip. They all go home sullenly, unable to talk to Wolverine, much less look at him in the eye. They had every right to be mad at him, and Wolverine knows it. He's actually glad to be the bad guy for them because at least they might get along from now on, banded by their mutual disregard and hatred of him. Heavy stuff, bros. I'm legitimately sad about this. But it can't be helped. The life of a mutant and that of an X-Man is always going to be a sad affair.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #25-26

Being a young mutant (especially if you're an up-and-coming X-Man) is a stressful life, more so when you're a part of the MARVEL NOW! roster. You ain't catching a damn break. Everyone is out to get you, whether it's a bunch of rich, murderous tweens, a former golden boy/leading man who killed everyone's father surrogate, or the garden-variety crises about time warp, alien invasions, and, in this case, the latest survival lesson Headmaster/Professor Wolverine requires you to pass in his class. It's a real marvel that not everyone is trying to rebel against the system like one Quentin Quire. Issues #25-26 takes select students (Q, now-feral Broo, Idie, Shark Girl, Eye Boy, Glob Herman, Genesis, and Sprite) into the unavoidable rite of passage for every apsiring X-Man: Savage Land. With the chaos perpetuating their lives already, the headmaster found this a necessary thing to do because, as stressed by Wolverine after Beast cautioned him not to do it, "nothing brings together a family like a bunch of dinosaurs trying to eat them"

Well, it's gonna go well when that is the kind of mindset a teacher has during a field trip! What do you think, genki anime girl?

"Bring on the innocent giant reptiles and let's rock this field trip killing spree, teamwork style!"

Right on, genki anime girl. The Field Trip Killing Spree Brigade (or the FiTriKilSpriBri, yes, it rolls in the tongue, doesn't it? Get used to it because that's how I'm shortening it) is now left all alone by their headmaster to fend for themselves in the wilderness of dinosaurs and they are not working well together as a team AT ALL. Meanwhile, said ass-crack of a headmaster is watching them from a distance on top of trees, making serious contemplations about his teaching prowess as he observed the select eight students--I'm sorry--the FiTriKilSpriBri flounder around for a bit until Quentin Quire trying to get them to work together (WHAT?) finally drove everyone apart and they all went their separate ways. An earlier conversation at Blackbird revealed that Wolverine had just assigned Q the leadership role for their team-building exercise since, after all, the late Professor X has publicly nominated the rebel kid mutant for the position of Student Council President. Wolverine smugly brings the actual ballot with him and cast the final vote that officially made Q president and so during the onslaught of their killing spree as the field trip brigade--or the FilTriKilSpriBri--he decided to step up to the plate and fulfill his potentials. Only so his comrades can abandon him, seeing him being the golden boy as a sickening joke. Yeah, next time just mind-control them, Quentin. That should work.
On the other hand, Glob Herman bullies Genesis about his future as a supervillain since he is Kid Apocalypse, and Gen actually starts to cry a bit and flies off, determined to prove he is going to be a hero not a villain. Sprite comes along, urging him to slow down and cool his head. I get the sense that Sprite has a thing for him. Why not? They are going to be X-Men and X-Men randomly hook up left and right, yo! And then we have the continuing saga of Catholic guilt and crisis of faith with Idie Okonkwo as she blamed herself YET AGAIN for what happened to Broo and was more than welcome to the idea that she should stay in Savage Land as penance because she's a freak of nature and she is ashamed of being a mutant. FUCKING DAMMIT GIRL GET OVER YOURSELF, JESUS FUCK ON A POGO STICK!

Idie on torturing herself with guilt and being an overall self-defeatist concerning her mutation

Look, I am in no way belittling her crisis of faith because Loki knows I have been there and it's a horrible, crippling feeling of loss and grief. I just get so angry that none of the adults who are supposedly taking care of her are trying to actually help her with this. Kitty is too busy with young Jean Grey. I don't think we have seen Ororo interact with her. And Wolverine--not the type to talk about feelings anyway--just threw her in the middle of a dinosaur kill-fest with the rest of her classmates who have different set of problems than her and definitely fundamentally incomparable. Hey, okay, so bad stuff keep happening around them both within and outside of school and sure you have to prepare them physically and mentally for the dangers ahead, but what about someone who is spiritually starving like Idie? Moments like this, I wish Nightcrawler is alive. He's also a Christian and he could have helped Idie cope because he speaks her language, but instead she runs off to meet some priest who turned out to be a cyborg being controlled by the Hellfire Club. And the fucking teachers know about this! They know HC is targeting their students for recruitment but it's like they don't even try to genuinely express their concern over the welfare of each individual student and wuld rather just squeeze them as one collective they can just drop off in the middle of nowhere with prehistoric beasts and expect to fight for survival. NICE TEACHING MOMENT, JEAN GREY SCHOOL FACULTY. You're all jerks!

Anyway, the next issue is about Dog Logan, Wolverine's long-lost brother from a hundred years ago. He's another jerk who decided to take over the field trip as he captured Wolverine so he can watch n horror as Dog picks off his students one by one, adding more to the shit-pile of what these children have to go through already. Yeah, you know what, fuck it. I'm gonna be rooting for the tween Hellfire Club now because at least they're honest enough about their agenda (which is to turn young, impressionable mutants into an army of bad choices) unlike these so-called teachers of Jean Grey School who don't know a damn thing about nurturing and raising troubled kids that they end up only screwing said kids in the long run. If it's a choice between going full-on evil mutants or passive-aggressive, unhelpful good guys trying to set you straight but obviously don't know shit, then my money from now on is on the former. Go get 'em, Kade Kilgore! Yup, you know the heroes are badly written when a reader like me is now beginning to root for the bad guys!

Also, I think Scott's recruits in his title The Uncanny X-Men are actually doing better than Wolverine's students. They're actually working together and they trust one another and their teachers Emma, Ilyana and Scott even if their relationships are always put to the test by non-believers of their revolution cause. So that's the bar I'm setting for Quentin and the gang from now on. They all need to get their shit together!

Anyway, here is the updated infographic of the faculty and student body of the JGS.

And here is the amusing curriculum of JGS. I chuckled a bit on some parts until I remember that these assholes should do A BETTER JOB honing these kids and STOP FUCKING AROUND because they need to be the adults who set good examples on the future generation of X-Men, especially now with the fluctuations of new mutants enrolling. Jesus fuck, if this lackadaisical system of doing things keeps up then it's a good thing Marvel is completely wiping out mutants in their universe and starting anew. Going by what I've seen here alone in Jason Aaron's characterization of the JGS teachers and their relationships with students, I am actually thankful about that change.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #23-24

Previously in Wolverine and the X-Men...The faculty of the Jean Grey School has been captured by Frankenstein's Monster who employed the help of a witch (whose name I tried to memorize before writing this review but I forgot again but let's just call her Cal) to secure them and then she turned them into performers to participate in his deranged  murder circus that also lures adults so the witch can steal their souls. The teachers did come back to their senses but not after they beat up some of their students in the process. Meanwhile, Idie meets Max, the bishop of the tween Hellfire Club, and they team up briefly to put a stop to the nefarious plans of FM and the witch Cal. Max turned out to be the last descendant of Victor Frankenstein himself, and so FM was more than eager to kill him, but settles for Idie in the meantime, determined to choke the life out of her. That's how the previous issue ends with. 

Now in issue #23, we see a rather stirring flashback concerning young Max's life where he created his very first monster four years ago just so he can have a best friend. Said undead best friend had to be sacrificed to the raving mob who wanted to kill Max. Back in the present, Max contemplates about saving Idie but didn't bother and chose to go self-preservation mode. Nothing particularly of note really happens in this issue except the inevitable wrap of what was a very confusing and uninteresting arc. The only things worth looking forward to is Idie's slow progress towards the dark side (she almost did kill the witch Cal, and Q expresses understanding but also anxiety over her changing personality), and the fact that Max finally chose to embrace his lineage, and challenging Kade Kilgore's authority as well. There's that bit about Cal the witch summoning Azazel (the mutant or the demon or both?) but meh, let's cross that bridge one Aaron brings it back issues from now.

Let's talk about issue #24 instead because that issue was the one I really enjoyed. First, it's now in the timeline where Beast--suffering the pains of his mutation evolution--time-travels back in time to recruit the Original Core Five (young Scott, Jean, Hank, Bobby and Warren) to put a stop to Cyclops' revolution. This is a storyline featured in Brian Michael Bendis' title All-New X-Men which I reviewed back in September for this year. So, we have young Jean Grey living in the school that was named after her, and then meeting Quentin Quire. Understandably, Q's first instinct is to try and sleep with her. She cockblocks him immensely though, much to his embarrassment, finding out she already has her telepathic powers early in the game. Meanwhile, Ororo (Storm) talks to her ex-husband Black Panther (whom she had just annulled her marriage with) and he forbids her rather specifically not to hook up with Wolverine. So...OF COURSE SHE HOOKS UP WITH WOLVERINE. DID ANYBODY SEE THE COVER OF THIS ISSUE?! Speaking of X-Men randomly hooking up: Bobby and Kitty go out on their first date where they try to be normal folks and of course it backfired. Kitty bemoans Xavier's death, and how THEY of all people have to be the grown-ups now and take care of kids. It depresses her. She could hardly focus on having a good time with a guy she likes. Bobby, surprisingly very sage-like, gives us this really impressive insight about their lives as superheroes and teachers:

Kitty decided to take their date for something more their speed. Ergo, using their mutant powers to go around places and have a helluva fun time. It was nice. Too bad that Bobby and her will break up, and she will get married to someone from space, and he turns out to be gay. WHATEVER. For now, they're jiving together, and they share their first kiss outside the school which was all kinds of romantic, much to Toad's disapproval as he looks on because he would rather they would all kill each other like the old times. Inside the school, Ororo and Logan get their freak on BECAUSE WHY NOT? Srsly, I can't think of a reason. I think Storm and Wolverine would be pretty great together. I'm already so pissed they broke up Scott and Emma so I am in bad need for a major power couple, dammit.

On the other hand, Beast tries to find a way to operate on the comatose Broo again when he should be focused on dating his girlfriend, the S.W.O.R.D agent Abigail Brand, but she lets him do his work anyway because she understands. Back in school, Idie visits Broo again and often regularly, trying to get him to wake up, having dinner with him and telling him about her day and experiences like a dutiful wife or something. It's actually pretty disheartening. Quentin would also watch her do this, and the jealousy mixed with pity on his face is priceless. The issue ends with Broo eventually waking up, much to Idie's joy, but that joy will turn into shock and fear because the first thing Broo did upon waking up is going rabid and attacking her! You just can't have it all, can you, Idie? Not only did she discover that the priest who has been consoling her is a cyborg in disguise, now her best friend has reverted back to his true Brood form.

But hey, at least we get some romance in here before yet another tidal wave of clusterfuck hit the shorelines. Oh, and Sabretooth is trying to get Kade Kilgore a girlfriend. This is an important question to Jason Aaron: Can I be his girlfriend? At least once he turns legal.