Words by Jason Aaron
Art by Ramon Perez (vol 6), Pasqual Ferry and Nick Bradsaw (vol 7)
Marvel, $17.99 for volume 6 (5 issues), $19.99 for volume 7 (6 issues)
Late 2013/Early 2013 saw the launch/relaunch of several X-men books, leaving Wolverine and the X-men as the longest running X-title in the franchise. The series took a bit of a hit in quality when it was dragged into Avengers vs X-men last year, but since then it’s regained it’s footing and remains one of the quirkiest mainstream comics being published today. With Jason Aaron’s run wrapping up early next year, I’ve decided to recap/review the latest 2 volumes of the series. Also it is freezing outside and the cat’s passed out on my lap so my options are limited at best.
Volume 6 starts off with Wolverine taking a bunch of his students out on a field trip to the Savage Land. For those of you not in the know/ have never played the X-men Arcade Game, the Savage Land is home to dinosaurs, large insects and other various nasty things, because that is what makes for good comics. Dog Logan, Wolverine’s time traveling brother is also here and long story short, he ends up taking control of the class trip and Wolverine’s got to put a stop to that, because he’s kinda evil. There’s also a time-skip issue to end the trade that shows off the Jean Grey School 25 years in the future, which teases a number of things that may or may not come one day. Time traveling and the X-men is not always the most reliable thing.
Ramon Perez is a welcomed addition to the circle of artist’s Jason Aaron has worked with on this title. Some of his younger characters look a little off-model at times, but his environments are extremely well detailed, his incorporation of sound effect into his art is really neat, and there’s a nice level of detail in it as well. It’s kinetic, fluid and unique. It’s a nice fit to main series artist Nick Bradsaw, as it’s very Chris Samnee meets Stuart Immonen in a way. Perez was a great get for the series, and it will be nice to see him wrap up the book in a few months/
Volume 7 sees the teachers and student of the JGS throwdown with new Hellfire Club (introduced back in Aaron’s X-men: Schism mini-event) who employee some classic X-villains like Sabretooth and Mystique. Pasqual Ferry draws the prologue issue and it looks fantastic. It’s more reminiscent of a child’s story book than you’re traditional X-men book, but it totally works. There’s some fantastic use of bright colors on the characters that stand out against dark backgrounds.
Ferry draws a great intro to this trade, and is joined by the returning Nick Bradsaw, who really is the second coming of Art Adams. His pages are packed with an insane amount of detail, some truly odd and grotesque characters designs, and an amazing sense of scale for some blockbuster moments. Considering Bradsaw was once the B-side artist on this title, he’s gone above and beyond to make his mark on this book over the last 2 years, and his presence will be missed once he wraps up his current arc. It’s worth just studying each panel he draws just to see how much he crams in there without it looking messy. Also his Doop is 2nd only to Allred’s and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.
Jason Aaron‘s work on this title has definitely has been nothing short of enjoyable, making this book a ton of fun to read. He does a lot to flesh out the new characters in these issues, and he helps set up some truly awesome fight scenes. Given how many iconic X-men are in this book it’s nice to see the kids getting more screen time than the adults. His X-men-meets-Harry Potter world is a delight, and his use of usually terribly executed in the 90s concepts is odd, but unlike those X-crossovers off old, he pulls it off here. Aaron remains that amongst the drama and violence the X-men are known for, there’s a certain amount of heart is involved in their appeal.
While volume 6 was a certainly a fun and enjoyably romp, volume 7 was probably the best X-saga of the year. It’s fun, exciting and just comics done right. More comics could stand to be less grim and gritty, and Wolverine and the X-men continues to be proof of that.