Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #1-2

Here is the basic premise of this tantalizing ongoing series: James "Logan" Howlett, more popularly known as badass fan-fave Wolverine, builds a new educational facility for mutant children and adolescents, and names it after his late lost love. Now the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning is a renovated space of the previous infrastructure located in Westchester, New York. Wolverine and Cyclops have severed ties with one another before this, and so Scott stays in Utopia with a handful other X-Men (a secluded island somewhere) while Logan and some others go back to the old school so to they can teach and mold minds. It's a daunting task unlike anything a self-proclaimed loner like Wolverine has ever faced, but with the loss of his healing factor, he also began to ponder on the legacy that he will be leaving behind in case (and inevitably so) he bites the dust. With the approval and support of the retired Charles Xavier, Logan and co-headmistress Kitty Pryde nervously but enthusiastically proceeded to open the doors to their school of learning with the help of the appointed vice-president Dr. Hank McCoy who designed the buildings. This transition will prove to be a challenging endeavor and I can't wait to keep reading more!!

The first issue of Jason Aaron's Wolverine and the X-Men has been an amusing piece that beguilingly invites newbie and veteran readers alike with its laidback narrative and humorous tonality. The mundane plot concerning Logan and Kitty's confrontation with officials from the New York Inspection for schools could have been bland in the hands of a lesser writer but Aaron rose up to the challenge and delivered something genuinely funny and engrossing from the first page of this issue down to the very next installment.

Even with Charles Xavier's confidence and vote of approval, you can tell Logan is unsure and a little insecure of his new career in education, but it's a good thing Kitty is there to work with him because they simply have one of the most interesting friendships in X-Men comics and it's great to see that she's all grown up and is now on equal ground with a man who was sort of a big brother/mentor to her back when she was just starting. All throughout the sneer and derivative comments of the NY school inspectors, Kitty brazenly endures it all, never losing her charm and optimism in trying to convince them to give Jean Grey School of Learning a chance. This is no easy task, of course, not when students, whether intentionally or not, manage to convince the inspectors even more that this school had to be shut down. Of everyone, Hank had to be the worst, untimely in his complaints regarding the shaky foundations of the building he designed which only earned more disapproval from the inspectors. Kitty was still determined to make the most of this as Logan was called to receive a stranger who happened to have the most malicious intent regarding the newfound school...

...and that is no other than the new leader of the notorious Hellfire Club--a twelve-year old billionaire named Kade Kilgore (subtle surname, asshole) who has far too much time in his hands and a personal vendetta against the X-Men that must have been nurtured since privileged birth. Logan was understandably shocked about a twerp like him but as the brat kept talking about the destructive plans he has for the school, Logan was convinced and was ready to beat the shit out of the damn kid but managed to keep himself in check as he went back to Kitty's rescue since she is solely trying to appease the growing doubts and paranoia of the inspectors who actually raise critical points concerning the child welfare of the students, regardless whether or not they have superpowers. And to think Kitty and Logan tried to hard to pull this off, even grounding their most troublesome student Quentin Quire for an extended detention somewhere inside the school. All of that goes to hell and worse when Kilgore along with his other teen henchmen unceremoniously commits the first attempt in destroying the X-Men--as well as revoking any kind of legal permit from the board of educators in New York. 
Kade Kilgore: Could be just as comparably worse as Game of Thrones' Joffrey Baratheon...with a cunning mind.

The second issue reveals that this is the story of how the sentient mutant island Krakoa hence basically became the school's lawn. At least now Hank was able to solve why their are seismic waves and lava underneath the school's foundation. Kilgore also poisoned the two inspectors and they transformed into monsters. Luckily, Bobby Drake, a.k.a Iceman has embraced the fullest potentials of his powers and made multiple copies of his ice self to fight off these Frankenstein zombies courtesy of, yes, Kilgore again. Even if he was a little piece of shit, Kilgore actually delivers with his nefarious plans so I guess I have no problem reading what else he has under his sleeve. Not only does Iceman singlehandedly defeat the damn things (albeit with the help of other X-Men plus the Shi'ar prince Kid Gladiator who is having far too much of a good time killing, much to his bodyguard Warbird's chagrin), Bobby was also able to snog Kitty Pryde which was nice and totally smooth. He had that painful story of self-discovery in the last arc of The Astonishing X-Men written by Marjorie Liu so I'm relieved to see him taking control of his powers again, and the rekindling of his relationship with Kitty.
However, even if they did defeat these Frankenstein demons, there is still the issue about Krakoa and the only mutant who may be able to defeat him is no other than rebel teen Quentin whose problems with authority have been his character flaw since the introduction of his character, and now he's currently still chilling in a room somewhere, basically not giving a fuck. Yes, Quentin is a dick. And I love it!

Chris Bachalo's visual work for the issues was consistently striking and enjoyable as usual. So far with two issues of the shamelessly entitled Welcome to the X-Men...NOW DIE! story arc, this was a quirky opener filled with action and insight, able to have fun but still take things seriously along the way. Also, I'm glad we got an illustration of the faculty and student body of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning since this is an ensemble cast, and I'd like to keep track of everyone and be familiar with them at least in face value. But hey, we have forty-two more of Aaron's issues to go so I'm confident that I'll get to know all of these characters as the story progresses.


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