When I picked up the first issue of Jason Aaron’s run on “Wolverine and the X-Men,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Wolverine running a school? Maybe, I thought, this would be just an attempt to cash-in on the popularity of the short-lived “Wolverine and the X-Men” cartoon. As soon as I started to read it, I realized this was a comic I’d be buying for a long time to come.
Everything about it was brilliant – the characters, the dialogue, the pacing was all perfect, and over the course of its run, it became a comic with humor, heart, and plenty of excitement. We’ve had Wolverine and Quentin Quire scam a space casino, we’ve had attacks from the new, young Hellfire Club, and its subsequent Hellfire Academy, we’ve seen the school deal with the Battle of the Atom, and a field trip to the savage lands – each one a thrill and a joy to read.
But what made “Wolverine and the X-Men” stand above the rest of the many, many X-books out there was its characters. Wolverine brought over a variety of young mutants when he started his school, particularly of the young and troubled variety. He took the pyro/cryomancer Idie under his wing to teach her not only to control her powers, but to love and accept herself; the young telepathic terrorist Quentin Quire started off as a student against his will, but somehow grew to like the school and his classmates more than he even wanted to admit. When Apocalypse was cloned and brought back as a child in the pages of “Uncanny X-Force,” the school took him in and made him a recurring character. The school even taught some extraterrestrial students, such as Kid Gladiator and Broo. Every one of them had their own character arcs, and were absolutely fantastic.
When new mutants started popping up post “Avengers vs X-Men,” Wolverine’s school was ready to welcome them with open arms, introducing
us to new characters like Eye-Boy, Shark Girl, and the new Sprite. They kept the cast fresh, and brought in their own unique flavor and personality to the events. Seeing these new mutants, some with very peculiar powers, grow into full-fledged X-Men was a pleasure.
Of course, the faculty was great as well. With Wolverine as headmaster (as well as Kitty for a good deal of the run), you know things are going to be interesting. Even Toad, one-time antagonist/lackey and current janitor, had a great deal of character development. A personal favorite is the floating green thing known as Doop, who got an issue dedicated to what exactly he does for the school. Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.
But all good things must come to an end, and for “Wolverine and the X-Men,” that end comes at issue 42. It’s graduation day for many of the mutants, which leads to a heartfelt issue, where many say goodbye to not only the Jean Grey School, but to the friends they made and the readers who have followed them.
At the same time, we get a look into the future of the school. It may seem dark at first, but we get glimpses of how all the students we’ve seen over its run have grown up, and how the X-Men of the future are. It all ties together in the end, tying up loose ends and concluding Aaron’s run in the best way imaginable.
I won’t give away too many details, but all the heart and wit that made this comic’s run so great are present and in full force. So while I bid a fond farewell to my favorite comic in ages, I highly encourage all fans of X-Men to give “Wolverine and the X-Men” a read, and I’m remaining hopeful for its new run under Latour’s pen in March.