This story kicks off the Wolverine And The X-Men series. It’s a three issue arc. James “Logan” Howlett, Headmaster as it now says on his new business cards, is facing the first day at his new school. The story opens up with him giving Professor Xavier a tour. Then the next day the New York State board of education inspectors make a visit to 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, New York (that’s in Westchester county ya know) to inspect the school and finalize its accreditation. To say thinks didn’t go smoothly would be an understatement.
If no issue is noted after their credit they deserve credit for all three issues: Jason Aaron, Writer; Chris Bachalo, Pencils & Colors Issues 1 & 2; Chris Bachalo, Duncan Rouleau & Matteo Saleara, Pencils Issue 3; Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza & Al Vey, Inks Issue 1; Tim Townsend & Jaime Mendoza, Inks Issue 2; Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, Mark Irwin, Victor Olazaba, Duncan Rouleau, & Matteo Scalera, Inkers Issue 3; Chris Bachalo & Jason Keith, Colors Issue 2; Rob Steen, Letters’ Chris Bachalo, Cover Issue 1 shown here; Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend, Cover Issue 2 & 3; Irene Y Lee, Production, Jordan D. White, Assistant Editor; Daniel Ketchum, Associate Editor Issue 2 & 3; Nick Lowe, Editor; Axel Alonso, Editor In Cheif; Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer, Dan Cuckley Publisher, Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
If I was to sum up this arc for me it would be stellar writing and detestable art. I know there are people out there who like this art. I am NOT one of them. I find it overly stylized and way too busy. There is no realistic anatomy in any of the figures. If not told by the dialogue I’d not recognize some of the main X-Men characters by their appearance. The proportions of the figures morph constantly in relation to each other and heck on body part to another. There are times I can’t tell what the heck is going on visually! I had to rely on the writing to tell me. Thank goodness that was good.
I cringed at the art when reading but kept reading because the writing was wonderful. The dialogue was snappy, the characters were true to themselves but were obviously out of their comfort zones. That makes a good story, stories move forward by character change/growth. It could be for the better or for the worse but we watch/read to see how characters change. This was doing it so well as far as the writing goes.
There were some fun extras tied to this launch of a continuing series. First off was the flyer for the school. Look James teaches three classes! Witness to history, the art of fighting without fighting and the art of fighting with fighting. He’s also scheduled a field trip to his favorite sushi restaurant. The guy is trying.
He’s not the only one that steps up to the plate and matures here. Bobby Drake, Iceman, finally gets a chance to mature. He was one of the original X-Men but has perpetually been treated as a teenager/junior member. Here he’s a full fledged professor and told by James to use his full potential. He remembers this and taps into aspects of his abilities he’s not used before to help save the day.
Oh and we learn who is James “Logan” Howlett’s lawyer. It’s Matt Murdock, Daredevil! That was good.
There are things I don’t like in the story. I don’t like the aliens there. I sing la-la-la-la in my head and they are just other mutants. I don’t like a children’s Hellfire Club. Do your research on the REAL Hellfire Club is – it’s a sex club, a club for rakes like Ben Franklin. Today it’s an S&M club. That’s why all the corsets, whips, and such in the original Marvel villains Hellfire Club. It was inspired by real life. To have rich brats doing it was just so not right.
Also why didn’t they tell the staff, Hank especially, that TODAY IS INSPECTION DAY? Hmm? Look Hank is the known political animal on the team (pun intended). He’s always been good at working through the system. So why in the world is he taken by surprise if James knows enough to but on the weird tie. (more about that after the jump)
Still with all its faults I loved the series. Why? Because it’s something we’ve not seen before. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s different, it’s hideous art! As a Wolverine fan I’m so starved for good well written new stuff that goes to different places than where we’ve been that I lapped this up.
Next is a stand alone story entitled Just Another Day in Westchester County which is Issue 4 of Wolverine and the X-Men. Stay tuned for the spoilery bits.
Kitty and James are leading the tour for the inspectors. Things aren’t going well. James is getting frustrated, he likes to stab people when he’s frustrated. I get that. But look that’s Kitty Pride – the woman with straight hair and dark skin that looks like Melita. Kitty is a beautiful curly haired fair complexion girl. I didn’t know her.
What is up with his tie? In several panels it’s over his shoulder and curling up. I get it when he’s running that it might blow back like that. But here he’s standing and talking, not running. Also the curl, what is up with the curl? Rappy’s tail does that when she has to poop. I am to assume his tie does that when he has to poop? It’s like a proto-tail poop indicator. Really WTF is up with the damn tie?
I like the Danger Room changes. It’s funny when some bullies go into the bathroom and James activates it in there to teach them a lesson. It’s funny. It’s well written. I like the inspector’s response to it. All goes together.
I used to lead inspectors through our processing facility and coordinate their inspections with the various departments they wanted. So I understand the feeling of being on a sinking ship when everything that can go wrong does go wrong in front of the inspectors. Except I was never attacked while under inspection. I was never attacked any time for that matter.
I think this is just stupid. There is no way they wouldn’t tell Hank and have him upfront and center at the inspection. He’s the best at this stuff. They even say it during the tour. So why not have him lead the tour? Instead he’s in his lab working away drinking coffee through a straw to his head gear there. Oh and he let the Bamfs loose. (Bamfs are little imp like creatures that look like Nightcrawler and do mischievous things like gremlins fed after midnight.)
This is included just to whine about the art. What the heck happened here? Some how Headmaster Logan dislocated his jaw while cursing. It’s also funny to see him driving a golf cart angry but would have been better if I’d liked the image as well as the concept. I can’t take this well.
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!? That’s what I thought when I looked at this page. Usually from the images on the page you know what’s going on in the story – it’s a fight, it’s a love scene, it’s a contemplative moment, it’s down time. Here I wasn’t sure what the heck was happening. I read the panel and thought that the inspectors were attacked right there in front of that girl (who I learned is Kitty though she doesn’t look like herself). It was the next panel that informed me that the inspectors weren’t being attacked but transforming into a windigo and a sauron (an abominable snowman and a pterodactyl like human mutant). It’s bad when the art distracts so much from the story the reader is wholly dependent on the words to explain the panels.
Included this page for two reasons. One it’s where Bobby comes into his own. He taps his potential and defeats the wave of bots attacking the school. Very cool, and his internal dialogue here is grand.
Also I included it because it’s an example of overly busy page that I was talking about. There’s just too much stuff drawn here that does nothing. It doesn’t add to the story. It doesn’t hint at what he’s about to do. It doesn’t do anything but over load my senses. Maybe I’m getting too old but I want my comic art not to be that busy.
I include this to show how Quentin Quire came to be a student at James’s school. It’s a bail out of the mutant jail for him. James is giving the kid a chance. James is taking on a very powerful but troubled kid as his own personal responsibility. That’s a change in character from say the Wolverine Underneath arc eh?
Also I like Capt. America’s response right there. It’s pretty much everyone’s response to James assuming Xavier’s job. It’s not what you think of when you think about Wolverine being the best at what he does. Education isn’t what pops to mind.
Also here the panels aren’t as busy. It’s the same style but not taken to the extreme. Looking at the credits on issue three I see there were many pencilers. I have to wonder if this someone copying the style of the arc but not Bachalo himself doing it. It’s much more tolerable but still I don’t like it.
Mark this one down as another growth for James. Instead of going on his usual vengeance march he does something that will help the school. He get the money to fund the repairs caused by the attack of the children’s Hellfire Club. Of course he hired Matt Murdock, Daredevil, to his lawyer. I love how Matt delivers the personal message of his client.
One of the running themes in this series is the struggle for money to fund the school. James is tapped out. Bobby manages the finances. All are always looking ways to fund the school. Here suing the rich brats does the trick but other time – more measures have to be taken.
All’s well that ends in the school’s certification, right? I don’t usually spoil the ending but seeing as the school continued you knew that he got his certs. Here’s what really needed to happen to begin with – Hank deals with the inspectors turning on his kitty-kat like charm and brilliant wit.
That bottom panel there bugs me. I don’t like hoe the Kitty walks away. Her foot looks freakishly long compared to the rest of her body. Well she wasn’t herself for this arc and apparently her alternate self has long long long feet.
That’s it until next time when I comment on issue 4, a typical day at the school.