Wolverine and the X-Men #6
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Nick Bradshaw, Walden Wong, Jay Leisten, Norman Lee, Cam Smith, Justin Ponsor and Matthew Wilson
Lettering by Rob Steen
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
When you enroll in the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, you can go anywhere — like an interstellar casino. Or in the microscopic corridors of the human body. Or maybe a lethal, holographic Danger Room that is in fact more like a Danger Campus.
Hell, after reading Wolverine and the X-Men #6, I just have one question: Where do I sign up?
While my dreams of getting a B.A. in Mutant Studies might be on hold for the time being, Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw are still creating the most fun book Marvel is printing today. Frenetic yet full of character, the main strength of this comic is that it has so much room to break the rules, resulting in an unpredictable, wild ride.
After two issues of setup, Aaron lets the fireworks go in this issue, as the X-Men battle back an alien invasion on not one, but two very unlikely fronts. You can see how much fun Aaron is having here, from Kid Gladiator shouting how he is "Lord of the Heart!" (battle cries: not his forte) to Kid Omega trying to pick up two alien hotties while counting cards with Wolverine himself. Considering so many X-titles go back to that Claremontian well in terms of theme and tone, it's kind of nice to see Aaron go his own way, using just a handful of Claremont's standard alien species to build something lighthearted, something optimistic, something new.
Unfortunately, the frenetic pacing of this book has taken a slight toll on the artwork. Penciller Nick Bradshaw's angular, cartoony work has been softened a bit, now that he has not one, but three separate inkers on board. Walden Wong kept much of Bradshaw's geometric shapes last issue, but adding Jay Leisten and Cam Smith has rounded out that sharpness, making Bradshaw's work occasionally look like Tom Grummett, particularly with the alien creatures involved. But when Bradshaw's sense of design shines through, the book looks great, particularly in the sequences of Wolverine and Kid Omega in the space casino. I also love the imaginative ways Bradshaw moves the "camera" when the students are fighting in a rotating environment.
Also, Aaron doesn't deliver quite the flawless script, or at least, not compared to his previous outings. By juggling three separate subplots, some of the fun character work gets lost, with Iceman and Marvel Girl (and even the Beast, to some extent) getting lost in the shuffle. Like I said last month, part of me wonders if cutting and combining this issue with the last might have provided a more focused, stronger result — but I'll also be the first to admit that the sense of humor and enthusiasm involved makes that pacing a slight misstep at worst.
If all schools were like the Jean Grey School, I think kids would be spending a lot more time on their studies. There are so many different angles that this premise can take, and it's really refreshing to see Aaron and Bradshaw's ambition for this series. While it's not always the most focused series in the world, it goes places that many other books would never think to tread. And this issue is no different.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!