It’s the final issue of this title, and whilst it’s not really farewell (Aaron is still writing an X-Book, and the Latour relaunch is out only next week), it’s still sad to see this iteration of Wolverine & The X-Men go. I have enjoyed every issue of this title, and here, Jason Aaron caps things off perfectly, summing up just how important the Jean Grey School is, and how much the characters he’s written have actually changed during these last few years.
This issue is split between 2 different timelines, the first is the present day, as the JGS wraps up it’s school year with a Graduation Ceremony, and the second is in the future, as the Old Wolverine from #29 (and I guess Battle Of The Atom, they are the same future right?) prepares to shut down the school, as he has no more students. The fact that the school is still going is a sign by itself that this book has had an impact, but it was still a lot of fun to see a bit more about this world, as the glimpses we had before weren’t really enough. Logan wanders around the school with a grown-up Idie, reminiscing about the past, and we also see what Shark Girl (she’s probably Shark Woman by now) is like in the future, and also the glorious return of Eye Man, as they contact Idie for help in fighting the new leader of The Brotherhood… Snot. Wolverine is left on his own again, only to be joined by Quentin Quire, who, as we’ve seen before, in this future is The Phoenix. Quentin is there to see for himself that his old school is actually shutting down, and also, in a great moment, to give Logan some new students, transfers from the Fantastic Four’s school in the Negative Zone. So basically, the story is that the Jean Grey School will never die.
Quentin is the main focus of the present-day story, as he struggles with how much he himself has changed over the course of this series. He started out as a wanted Mutant terrorist outcast who was imprisoned there. Now he’s the class president, with loads of friends, and is pretty much a hero, which doesn’t sit right by him. He wants to be bad, but deep down, he’s actually a good person. This has been a very good writing job by Aaron, he’s managed to make Quentin change, but it all makes sense, and at no point has he really been out of character. It might have been a bit much to have Captain America act as his parent/guardian at the Graduation Ceremony, but other than that, Quentin is now a fascinating character. As he says at the end, what does he do now? I’m very intrigued as to how Latour uses him.
Of course, Quentin isn’t the only character who’s changed over the course of the series, Wolverine himself has also grown. He started this school to try and move mutant kids away from violence, and in the process, he himself has evolved past his violent nature somewhat. Fans scoff at the mass-murderer running a school, an whilst Aaron always acknowledges it shouldn’t work, it has, and we see that here, as Logan manages to go the entire graduation day without popping his claws once, and Storm even tells him that ‘Weapon X is dead, long live Professor Logan’. Of course, events in his solo ongoing, where he’s undercover as a criminal, show that’s not true, but on the whole, this series really has changed Wolverine.
Given that this issue focuses so much on just Wolverine and Quentin, a lot of the other various students get a bit of short shrift with only funny cameos, but there are some nice moments, like Idie reuniting with Hope, Pixie finally becoming a main roster X-Man and, best of all, a 2 page sequence starring Doop, where he singlehandedly defeats Swarm and Master Pandemonium with the power of funk. I really will miss Aaron’s sense of humour in this book.
There are a lot of artists on this issue, with pretty much everyone who drew a previous issue returns. It was great to see Nick Bradshaw and Chris Bachalo return, as they defined this book really, and Ramon Perez and Steve Sanders’ pages were also very strong. It was a bit of a mish-mash, but it worked, this was a finale, so bringing back old faces is perfect. This was a great capper to one of my favourite X-Men runs of all time, I’m excited to see what Latour and Asrar have up their sleeves. To paraphrase Storm, Wolverine & The X-Men Volume 1 is dead, long live Wolverine & The X-Men Volume 2!