Comic Comment – WXM Alpha and Omega

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 1

Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega was a limited run five issue story. I will have to say I LOVED this story. It’s the kind of thing I come to a book about Logan running a school for mutant kids to find. KUDOS! I don’t know why this wonderful arc wasn’t part of the main title. I can only guess it would have interfered withe AvsX Interruptus and we gotta support the annual Big Event to sell dem comic books. Never mind great art and great story telling we need multi-title gimmicks. AT least we got this story!

I want to give credit to the creators of this arc. They are:  Brian Wood, Writer; Roland Boschi & Dan Brown, Art (Westchester); Mark Brooks with Andrew Currie, Jay Leisten, Norman Lee, & Ronda Pattison, Art (Construct) Issue 1; Mark Brooks with Andrew Currie, Walden Wong, Ronda Pattison & Andres Mossa, Art (Construct) Issue 2; Mark Brooks with Andrew Currie & Ronda Pattison, Art (Construct) Issues 3 & 4;  Mark Brooks with Andrew Currie, Cam Smith & Ronda Pattison, Art (Construct) Issue 5;  Mark Brooks, Cover Art issues 1 & 2; Joe Tyler Christopher, Cover Art Issue 3, 4, & 5; VX’S Joe Sabino, Letterer, Jared K. Fletcher, Designer; Sebastian Girner, Assistant Editor; Jeanine Schaefer, Editor; Nick Lowe, Group Editor; Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief; Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer, Dan Buckley, Publisher; and 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.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 2

I’ll start with the art.  I like the covers.  Though they aren’t always accurate for the story.  Like Beast doesn’t appear in any issue but on the cover of 5.  They all reflect the story well and represent what is going on in the books.  It’s not stock images stuck on to finish it off.  My favorite cover is 4.  I just like the composition of it and the idea of Quentin trying to force Logan into doing something and Logan fighting that control.  So the covers are cool and despite all the little Liefield pouches on Logan in the first one I like them.

The interior art is well conceived.  I like having two distinct styles for the two settings of the story.  One is the school – real life what’s going on here in reality.  The second is the construct – what’s going on in the mind game Quentin is running.  The art for Westchester is bright crisp and clean.  The art for the construct (images cobbled together by Quentin from his favorite video games, action movies, and books) is darker and grittier.  The concept works beautifully to quickly and clearly let you know where you are.  The characters are well done in both worlds.  Well except Rachel at times looks odd… in Westchester.  I had a few nit picky things because I am a nit picky person when it comes to my favorite character in comic books but over all I was happily reading and enjoying the experience of a good story told with words and art.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 3

The story is a simple one but profoundly reveals much about the two main characters and who they really are.  Logan proves he’s a changed man, even the berserker rage in him has changed. Quentin exposes the real kid under all the bravado he puts on most of the time.  The only problem is the whole school gets caught up in these two strong personalities coming to terms with each other and themselves.

Quentin is bored.  He’s rebellious and resents having to go to classes. He focuses most of his frustration on Logan as the headmaster.  Quentin feels he’s being held prisoner here by Logan given how he came to be a student (scroll down for black and white scan to see the deal Logan made). To prove he doesn’t need to go the psychwar 101 class he decides to take over the mind of the headmaster. Also there’s a bit of jealousy that Logan is “the coolest dude in the room.” So he captures Logan’s conscience into this mind construct he’s built. Immediately there are problems. First Logan was sparring with Hisako Ichiki, Armor, at the time and the mind capture caught her in the construct too. Second there’s the bodies of Logan and Hisako collapsing on the grass in front of the school.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 4

Quentin deals with these problems and goes about playing games with Logan in the construct. Only another problem surfaces, Quentin didn’t capture all of Logan’s mind. The berserker part is still in Logan’s body and now has control of it. Not good to have an angry Berserker running loose in the school screaming for Quire! The school goes into lockdown while Rachel tries to figure out where Hisako is and what’s happened to the headmaster.

Quentin is feeling the strain. Logan very experience in mind games realizes something is up in the construct. He’s fighting against it and trying to put it all together. Hisako is taking his lead. This ups the stress level on Quentin who realizes he has to shut this down and get Logan back in control of his body. After Logan tore up Quentin’s room looking for him.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 5

When in the construct a few things come to light. Quentin isn’t as confident as he seems he’s really a terrified young man with a magnificent power. He’s not totally sure how to use it or control it. He’s lonely and scared and truth be told admires Logan. Logan stays true to himself he’s willing to fight to keep Quentin and Hisako safe. Quentin realizes how important the school is for so many people like himself and Hisako. He knows if Logan doesn’t make it out of the construct then that’s over. Only problem is Quentin can’t get them out! It’s taken on running itself and he has no idea on how to shut it down.

In the end Quentin grows up some and makes a sacrifice of himself for all the others he knows needs Logan and the school. They finally make out of the construct but not damage free. However, both Quentin and Logan learned some important things from the debacle. They come to a new understanding between the two of them.

Like I said this is an awesome story for the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning. It’s what I want from the title. Logan is not Xavier as headmaster but it’s growing into the role and making it his own. His students aren’t being groomed to be a fighting team but they are being groomed to be responsible mutants in life. This story underlines that concept and reaffirms it not only for the title that is currently just supporting the AvsX arc but for Logan himself.

Next up we’ll be leaving Marvel for a look at my free preview issue of DC’s Batman Earth One. A funny fact – you can confirm this with my parents – my first word in life was Batman. No joke. I was DC fan way back but left it behind in the 70s and move to Marvel. Who knows maybe this issue convinces me to try DC again. Stay tuned.

You know what’s after the jump. Commentary on panels and pages.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 1

A man with metal bones isn’t an easy thing to take and hide somewhere. In Marvel wiki says he weighs 300 lbs with the metal 195 lbs without. So scrawny Quentin might want to attend a few of Headmaster Logan’s gym classes to beef up for pulling this unconscious body.  Here I’d say the Logan has Hugh Jackman like features, nose in some panels really did it for me.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 2

Uh you might think it’s working Quentin but you left one important dangerous part of Logan behind in that 300lb well-trained body – the Berserker. Oh and Quent – he’s calling for your blood.  I’m not sure where the barbed wire came from but it’s gone in later depictions of the Berserker.  I know it’s present when we see the character in Logan’s head.  So maybe it’s a visual cue to let us know just who this is in control of the body.  Still I’d say the bubbles, the drooling and snarling when breaking out of the shed and what he’s calling for… all clues us in on the fact it’s not Logan in control.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 2

Here you can see the difference in the art for inside the construct.  Logan quickly catches on that something isn’t right in this world because their background memories don’t fit.  Their powers don’t fit in this world either but Quentin didn’t get rid of them just dialed back Logan’s healing so he’d feel more pain.  Oh and the drone in panel 3 there reminds me of the  ‘alien’ drone hoax pictures that went around a few years ago. Also in this construct Logan’s eyes are the wrong color.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 3

Back in the real world things aren’t going so great for Quentin. He can’t sleep because he has to keep the construct going. Berserker is out for his blood and tore up his room. He gets what’s wrong here and wants to fix it. I enjoy Broo here wanting the good parts put back into Logan. Uh yeah that’s a really good idea.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 4

 Quentin is in the construct trying to explain what’s happening and that he can’t shut it down. Except it’s very hard to tell the headmaster you brain-napped him and another student into a mind game that you can’t control.  I find it interesting Quentin is dressed in a fascistic uniform.  I’m not sure if that was Quentin’s choice or the projection of Logan or Hisako’s impression of who’d be running the smuggling operation they’d been doing.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 4

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 5

Here are two panels that show how Quentin really feels. He’s just a scared kid that’s gotten in over his head. In the construct or out he’s in really big trouble.  Here  he’s got to watch his headmaster and another student die.  There he’s running from the Berserker in the headmaster’s body.  Not very good choices for Quentin and all brought on by his own fit about going to class.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 5

Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega Issue 5

They figure out how to get out of the construct but it took a sacrifice on the park of Quentin to do it. I won’t spoil how or how the Berserker wasn’t his usual self, but he wasn’t. So when Logan got control back he’s pissed and goes straight to Quentin.  He doesn’t do what the old Logan would have done but instead takes on the headmaster/samurai persona and deals with it like a mature adult.  He acknowledges a worthy opponent, looks to fix the weakness that allowed the events to happen, and makes a useful detention for the misbehaving student.  In the end all will be improved for having to endure the fiasco.

Until next when we visit Batman for change of pace.

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