A review of the latest AvX tie-in!
Credits & Solicit Info:
WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #10
JASON AARON (w) • CHRIS BACHALO (a/c)
• AVX TIE-IN!
• Cyclops comes to the Jean Grey School!
• Will Wolverine's X-Men join Cyclops against the Avengers?
• ICEMAN vs RED HULK!
I've never really been sold on the hype surrounding Wolverine and the X-Men. Perhaps it's because I never really enjoyed the zany, old school stories that Jason Aaron is trying so hard to ape, or perhaps it's because of my increased disillusionment with the X-line in general. Either way, I haven't drank the kool-aid as far as the book is concerned, despite its generally strong characterization. Admittedly, the title is one of the stronger X-Books, but that's pretty faint praise considering its competition. After all, if Marvel decided to cancel every X-Book not named Uncanny X-Force or X-Factor, would anyone really complain? In my humble opinion, the entire line has been rather broken since last winter's mediocre Schism event, which forcibly split up the team into two groups.
With the rather tepid state of the X-Books right now, it's no surprise that they're largely being portrayed as the villains in Marvel's Avengers vs. X-Men event. Between Cyclops' descent into pseudo-religious fanaticism and Wolverine's penchant for stabbing teenagers, it's no surprise that they're the bad guys, especially when lined up against Marvel's one billion dollar franchise. The X-Men are in desperate need of some rehabilition, one that portrays mutants as something other than trigger happy fanatics itching for a fight.
And that's exactly what readers got in Wolverine and the X-Men #10. Set shortly before Wolverine gets thrown out in a plane in Avengers vs. X-Men #3, the issue features Cyclops arriving at Wolverine's school to talk with the rugged headmaster. While the book may have Wolverine's name in the title, this issue is all about Cyclops. Aaron does an excellent job of spelling out both Cyclops and Wolverine's thoughts on the brewing battle against the X-Men and surprisingly does not make Cyclops look like a frothing fanatic, the first writer to accomplish this feat since Avengers vs. X-Men began last month.
Aaron also gives the X-Men's Schism a little bit of nuance, as a good portion of Wolverine's staff sympathizes with Cyclops, despite the split between the two sides. Considering how "deep" the split was portrayed in X-Men: Regenesis (Cyclops and Wolverine dressed up cavemens, for gosh sakes!), it was nice to see that these characters haven't abandoned all reason and history with their former comrades. All in all, Aaron's writing is commendable and really gives the X-Men a fair shake, painting them more than the villains they've been generally portrayed as thus far.
As for Chris Bachalo, the penciller this issue, readers either love or hate him. Personally, I thought his layouts and panels were brilliant and a great treat compared to Nick Bradshaw's flat and listless art in past issues. Bachalo is a real master of his craft, blending the craziness of Wolverine's school with the seriousness of Cyclops' visit. While not everyone may appreciate his cartoony and dynamic style, I personally can't get enough of it.
Not only is this the best issue of Wolverine and the X-Men to date, it's also the strongest issue related to the Avengers vs. X-Men event thus far. Instead of mindless fighting predicated by irrational declarations and ultimatums, there's actual depth in the issue, something we've seen remarkably little of thus far. It's a shame that Marvel couldn't fit in more of this sort of writing into the main Avengers vs. X-Men series, but that'd mean less mindless fighting and more plot and characterization.
Review by: ThanosCopter