It’s a double-dose of W&XM goodness this week, as not only do we get the Annual, but there’s a regular issue too, and it is damn good, as Jason Aaron moves things on from Battle Of The Atom, as well as returning this title to focusing on the kids just as much as the X-Men themselves.
The issue kicks off with a bang, as the SHIELD heli-carrier descends on the School, just as Wolverine is about to give a guided tour to two new students. Whilst these new kids are shown around by Broo, Wolverine and the rest of the teachers confront Maria Hill and Dazzler: Agent Of SHIELD about what went on at the end of BOTA, when it was revealed that SHIELD have their own army of Sentinels. Everyone is pretty pissed at everyone else, and Maria Hill basically reiterates her point from Bendis’ titles, that she doesn’t really understand the X-Men and she can’t tell who’s good and who’s bad, which really, can you blame her? I lose track myself! What I find interesting here is that pretty much all of the X-Men hate Dazzler now, and view her as a traitor. Of course, Dazzler is actually Mystique, it’s certainly going to be fun when the real Dazzler comes back. Unless she’s dead, I’m not sure where the real Dazzler is. The SHIELD ladies fly off, and Wolverine decides that he needs to go and punch and stab some stuff, and in particular, some SHIELD stuff.
Meanwhile, inside the school, the new kids (they are twins, one has like, a Squid face, the other has 3 heads and multiple limbs) are being shown around by Broo. These scenes are a nice refresher on what a strange place the Jean Grey School is, as well as the weird characters who populate it, and Aaron gets to showcase all of the kids who dropped off the radar during the crossover and the Hellfire story. So we see Eye Boy, Kid Gladiator, Shark Girl, Pixie, Idie, Evan and more. I love these characters, so it was great to have them back in a prominent role, but their weirdness was pretty overwhelming for the new kids. Of course, Quentin Quire plays a prominent role, as he is brought to detention with Wolverine to use his psychic powers to sniff out info about SHIELD and their Sentinels.
I was surprised by what Aaron did with Iceman in this issue, ever since Kitty broke up with him, he is not the same jovial guy we all love, he’s become the most feared teacher in the school. I can’t decide whether I like this idea or whether I hate it.
So, Wolverine gets Quire to help him find out some SHIELD data, but it turns out this is all a trap by Dazzler/Mystique, she deliberately made this info easy to find in order to lure Wolverine to a warehouse, and to make things worse, she’s leaked the same information to Cyclops’ team. They work out it’s a trap, but even so, Cyclops is going to check it out alone. It looks like next issue is going to be a Cyclops/Wolverine confrontation and unwilling team-up, which should be fun.
The final page of this issue is another win for Dazzler, as it’s revealed that the seemingly wimpy new kids… are actually undercover SHIELD agents! It makes sense that Mystique would be good at being a spymaster, but she is even better than I would have thought. That said, she doesn’t win anything, as Quentin does manage to steal 2 million dollars from SHIELD (he uses the name ‘Carlos Danger’, I love this character), which is a great example of this book’s humour.
This was a great return to form for this title, as, even though the crossover issues were good, they weren’t really Wolverine & The X-Men. Here, Aaron is back doing what he does best, and when combined with Pepe Larraz’s strong art, it’s a winning combination. I’m very sad that there are only a few issues left of this book, but it’s going out just as strong as it came in.