Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #19-20

Once again, Jason Aaron delivers two tantalizing issues from his unbeatably entertaining title. Issue #19 featured a lot of character humor and drama inside the Jean Grey School as well as outside with Wolverine and Rachel Grey playing a cat-and-mouse game with the tween Hellfire Club. There are tons of amusing subplots sprinkled in the pages of this issue and yet the twenty-six pages never felt crowded at all. The pacing and writing were balanced delicately and the humor infused in the dialogue and even the most normal of interactions keep me as a reader thoroughly interested in the way the events unfold side by side together. It's freaking great, that's all I'm saying!

The issue focuses particularly on Kitty Pryde and Deathlok interviewing candidates for the teaching position that former faculty member Husk has left vacant when she quit her job, all because she didn't want to undergo psychological evaluation--and that should worry everyone, including her lover and school janitor Toad. He's certainly angry that his girlfriend had to leave him to go on a sabbatical journey for self-reflection. He expressed this by thrashing Wolverine's photo in the faculty gallery. I wonder if he will act out in a more villainuous way which I hope not because it's nice to see him being all reformed and cute, albeit having to clean up the aftermath of every bad-guy attack and disaster (or the daily Danger Room simulated battle sequences). Sooner or later he's bound to get fed up. As far as the job interviews go, Kitty is having the worst day sorting through all the eccentric and cringe-worthy applicants like vampire hunter Blade, Deadpool, etc. who are more than unfit to teach children. Even if some of the teachers who were already hired are not as well-adjusted themselves (I am looking at you, Warbird, who just started a new lesson in her art appreciation class about paintings of people being tortured and murdered), at least Kitty can vouch that these teachers won't put the students in harm's way...sort of...maybe at least not intentionally, right? Anyway...

Kitty, look no more. This is the guy you should hire!

Even after performing extensive surgery for weeks now, Beast is still trying to find a way to cure Broo who was previously shot by Kade Gilgore last issue in an old church where he almost bled to death that his heart stopped for several minutes before he was successfuly resusciated by first responders. Tragically, he's been in a coma ever since given his cranial injury. Beast would never give up, though, and I really, really, REALLY hope he doesn't die and will wake up! But Beast's knowledge on Broo physiology is close to non-existent and he debates within himself whether or not to ask for the help of someone he is adamant not to work with. I got a feeling it was that alien scientist who tried to murder Broo before because he believed Broo is an abomination to the status quo. I'm pretty sure about it, and I also don't want to see that asshole again but if Broo doesn't wake up soon...OH MY GOD I HADN'T EVEN REALIZED THAT I LOVE THIS CHARACTER SO DAMN MUCH UNTIL HE'S IN THE BRINK OF DEATH. If he dies, I will definitely cry myself to sleep!

Preferably with booze within reach

Meanwhile, students like Quentin Quire, Genesis and Idie were with their teacher Iceman inside a S.W.O.R.D facility that helps alien population who have been victimized by the Phoenix Force during its reckoning to recover by feeding, healing and taking care of them. Quentin doesn't look like he wants to be there and Idie contemplates about the cycle of suffering, especially after what happened to Broo whom she cared about since they have been very close friends. Iceman tries to reassure her that the Jean Grey School is the place to help children like her heal and define herself in the world and that he and the other teachers will be there to guide her whenever she needs it but Idie rudely brushes him off, claiming they are all doing a horrible job at that. Back on earth, Rachel and Logan try to work together even though Logan is obviously still peeved about the fact that Rachel worked with Scott and against him during the AVX debacle. He's ready to forgive though as long as she helps him track down the tween Hellfire Club. Unfortunately, Kilgore once again proved he is not to be underestimated and he had his team make sure not even Wolverine's infamous scent detector can track them. He instead had his team create a false trail so Wolverine can be led to a rather depressing customized grave site where several tombstones marked with his students' names are in place beside freshly dug empty graves ready to be filled. Logan is very pissed but will not sacrifice his integrity by murdering a child--even if said child is a twelve-year old diabolical cunt who will stop at nothing until he reduces the Jean Grey School into dust.

Even though Kade is really evil and snide and is clearly very fucked up, I can't help but find him endearing anyway. Maybe because he's a kid? And he dresses cool with that kickass orange vest? That he may be smarmy but he's also intelligent as fuck? I don't know. I can't bring myself to hate his guts completely and all I could say whenever he appears in the pages, doing something awful and nasty is:

Now can I please poke him? 

Back in Jean Grey School, Kitty's prayers have been answered when a certain Ororo Munroe a.k.a Storm finally drops by and doesn't even to open her mouth before Kitty welcomes her with open arms, assigning her as the newest member of the faculty. So, hooray!

Issue #20 is an Angel-centric standalone issue, and it was a really spectacular way of characterizing Warren Worthington who is a very different person by now, considering what happened to him when Apocalypse last laid waste (freaking dude tore up his angel wings!) and then Dark Beast implanted him with a celestial seed which essentially rewrote everything about him. He has no memories of his past except for what the people close to him told him. Eventually, he knew he wasn't that person anymore and must find some other way to define himself, and have a purpose. And that purpose is fully exemplified in this issue. After Angel gets back his billion-dollar company thanks to the help of Matt Murdock as his legal aid, he hired his brilliant classmates from Economics class to take over while he gets busy with his chosen calling. With the surge of new mutants being 'born' (that is, having triggered the X-gene after Hope relinquishes the Phoenix Force), Angel decided he wants to go around the world and help these mutants find their way into the Jean Grey School with the promise of guidance.

Beast warned him that if he uses too much of his powers, he will burn out. He will die. Angel doesn't care. Now true to his X-Men name and not just symbolically because he is pretty and has wings, Warren dashes off to save a Brazilian woman named Iara Dos Santos from almost killing someone when she turned out to have some shark DNA inside her as her mutation. That someone she almost bites to death is no other than Mystique who is there to recruit Brotherhood members alongside the new Silver Samurai. Angel was unable to convince Iara to enroll to the Jean Grey School at first because she thought he was some preachy hippie person who wants to put her in a solitary place where she won't ever be free to make her own choices. But after realizing she would have murdered someone because she is not in control of her powers, she decided to give it a try and was thankful in the end that Angel found her just in time and offered her with an opportunity to learn about who she is as a mutant and how she can use her gifts for good. So good for her, and for this new Angel.

Issues #19 and #20 both end on a very ominous note, however. The former has Frankenstein and his circus of freaks about to stop by Salem Center where the Jean Grey School is located; the latter featured the Kade Kilogore also going around recruiting new, naive mutants to his cause, specifically tarnishing the name of Wolverine's school in the process. I am so excited for the next installments!!!


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