By: Jason Aaron (writer), Nick Bradshaw (artist), Laura Martin (colorist)

The Story: The kids of the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning face their brainwashed teachers while the young Bishop of the Hellfire Club meets the Frankenstein creature.

The Review: I can remember when this title began, it was a beacon of silly fun with Jason Aaron advancing the status quo of the X-Men franchise in a wild new direction with fun concepts and interesting characters. A bunch of old-time X-Men acting as teachers with a bunch of old and new kid characters in a school setting that still felt important and good–that was what characterized this series when it started.

Now though, Aaron seems to have trouble channeling the same mad energy he once possessed on this title, as this circus arc does not seem to be moving along in an interesting way. Here, we get the kids facing against the teachers brainwashed by the Frankenstein circus. This could be an interesting arc in which we could get to know better some of the students, like Quentin Quire, or others.

There are some interesting characters in this issue, though, like Evans, who gets some very good moments, establishing his character even more in a particularly effective way. The scene when he looks at his reflections in the various mirror is very effective, to say the least. Idie gets some nice moments as well, with some good actions scenes and some small development that could make her a much better character if this continues. Sadly, her scenes are paired with Maximilian, making them much less effective.

What is effective is Nick Bradshaw as the artist of this issue. His cartoonish style fits some of the scenes and characters very nicely. His designs for some of the characters and altered teachers are quite nice, even though the Maximilian design is very bland. The way he draws the powers and use of them is well done, as you can see the thunder crackling around Storm or the fire and ice powers of Idie at their fullest. It is quite impressive to see.

What’s less impressive is Aaron’s use of thoughts balloon in various instances of this comic. Most of these are completely useless, as the various emotions could be portrayed much more effectively without them if only he had let Nick Bradshaw carry on those scenes without these intruding thought balloons. It shows some kind of laziness and a lack of pacing, as they are kind of annoying.  There is a reason why most comics don’t use these nowadays and this comic is a good example of that. What’s worse is that most of them belong to the Maximilian character, which does not help him be an attaching or original character in any way. Comics are a visual medium, which means you must show, not tell, how your characters feels.

The Conclusion
: A somewhat bad comic with scenes mostly starring an uninteresting character saved by some great art.

Grade: C

Hugo Robberts Larivière