By: Jason Aaron (Writer), Ramon Pérez (Artist), Laura Martin, Matt Milla (Colorist)
The Story: The children of the Jean Grey School of higher learning have to survive against time-displaced cavemen, cowboys and robots.
The Review: Just when I thought the series could begin to get back on track, Jason Aaron goes and writes this issue. The craziness and the focus on the kids seemed to be back on track, but the kind of craziness he brings here is not particularly of the same quality as when this started.
Now, before going into the nasty stuff, there are actually some nice bits here and there, particularly the parts where we see some of the individual students partake in a conversation with Wolverine, where he show them just why he has chosen some of them for this class. Those are some of the better scenes of the book where we can actually see some characterization and some development that might make this book a bit more tolerable. However, there are still some major problems here.
To put it simply, quite a lot of things here are completely rushed, even unexplained which can lead to some frustration in many places. Most of the kids characters come quite easily into trouble, despairing at the situation they are in, only to be saved by Dog as they are all brought in for his own ‘’class’’. As far as that is concerned, that is some legitimate storytelling, but what happens next is very rushed, but also quite lazy. We get a scene where the very same thing occur to Genesis, where he is seen fighting alongside Dog who is teaching the children on how to defend themselves with various weaponry. Ever the boy scout, Genesis is dubious about the use of guns and other apparels against such threats (which is not very fair, how can Eye Boy even fight against futuristic robots anyway?) Naturally, Dog tries to convince him on the fact the he is right and that Wolverine is wrong, then in the very next scene, without us getting to know everything Dog says to him, Genesis has no qualm about using guns as we see him shooting cowboys and caveman without any remorse. This issue is shock-full of those kinds of things, as we see others things being rushed as well, like how the students suddenly trust Dog, then turn on him after a few pages.
Another thing that has been bugging me for a while on this title and that is now stronger than ever would be the use of thought bubbles. I don’t hate narration or self-narration and the various methods that can be used to delve further into the mind of a specific character, but here, most of these thought bubbles are absolutely useless, bringing close to nothing on the table that could not be deduced by simply looking at the very panel or at the expression the character has on his face. It shows a lack of confidence on the strength of the artist, which is not something that I find appealing in a book which is a collaboration of both writer and artist.
Thankfully, the artist part of the equation is fulfilled quite well thanks to the talent of Ramon Pérez, who manages to bring some style and energy into this title. While his style does not work necessarily with every characters (Sprite, for example), some of the other characters are quite nice looking, especially in the facial features, which are very expressive. He is greatly helped by the coloring of both Laura Martin and Matt Milla, who makes this book looks very vibrant and doubly more energetic. Their use of bright and contrasting colors for the action and characters alongside the more shifting colors in the background create a great contrast that makes this book look a lot better.
The Conclusion: This is a very rushed issue that has some good stuff, but too many flaws in the execution of its concepts and with its pacing. Even with the help of a good artistic team, this book is just not what it used to be and this issue proves it.
Some Musings: Am I the only one who was a bit disturbed about the fact that robots in the future wants to measure the genitals of young mutants that are barely in their fifteenth or sixteenth year? Talking about young people genitals isn’t funny, it’s disturbing.