Comic of the Week: Wolverine and the X-Men #5
While I have not been the most avid of X-Men readers in recent years, the title will always hold a special place in this fanboy’s heart. I own more comic books with X-Men in the name than any other and have always felt the characters and family of related books to be some of the best, most fun comics on the stands. And while I won’t buy the new Uncanny X-Men book as a protest to the recent, unnecessary renumbering (at least in my mind) that didn’t stop me from getting into the new Wolverine and the X-Men book that has been a blast to read since issue #1.
Part of what I love about it is the old school (pardon the pun) X-Men vibe it has running through it. By returning to the school setting and brining on board a number of younger mutants, the book feels like a fusion of the best of the Chris Claremont and Grant Morrison eras. The person who gets the most credit for making this work is writer Jason Aaron. Wolverine and the X-Men has some of the best dialogue I have read this side of a Brian Michael Bendis comic, combined with stories that would feel right at home during the height of the Chris Claremont period. Plus he has thrown in just enough of the absurd, widescreen feeling of the Morrison comics that the whole thing feels like comfort comics for the soul.
In issue #5 we are given the return of The Brood, a villain very familiar to longtime readers of the X-Men and the most original biology lesson you will ever see. And while the script and story work really well and hit all the right beats, it is the phenomenal art of Nick Bradshaw that really brings it all together. While I enjoyed Chris Bachalo’s work on the first three issues, it at times seemed frantic and a bit unfocused. With Bradshaw, you get page after page of detailed artwork with full backgrounds and solid line work. While his work does remind you a whole lot of Arthur Adams, he definitely has his own style and way of telling a story. I really hope him and Bachalo take alternating arcs on the book. I would hate to not be able to see his version of the X-Men on some kind of a regular basis.
With the coming of the monster Avengers vs. X-Men series this spring/summer, it will almost be impossible to avoid any book with Avengers or X-Men in the title. If they were all as good as Wolverine and the X-Men, I really wouldn’t mind nearly as much.