By: Jason Aaron (Writer), Ramon Pérez (Artist), Laura Martin, Matt Milla (Colorist)

The Story: As it turns out, the students of the Jean Grey School for higher learning are not so impressed with Dog and his class as Wolverine comes around to show them what kind of man he is.

The Review: Well, as it turns out, the conclusion here is much stronger than the actual story we got here. Could it be because of the fact that Jason Aaron used more character analysis here rather than mindless action? Could it also be because it delivers a somewhat satisfying conclusion to a storyline that had its share of small ups and crushing downs?

The answer for both these questions would be a resounding yes. Here, we get a higher focus on the real stars of this book: the students. As pretty much of the action in this arc had been focused on Wolverine, his brother and the students, it is much more interesting to see the students interact with each other in stressful situation, to see them evolve and adapt. Close to every students get a single moment, be it Broo that shows he still has some kind of intelligence under all that new savagery, or Eye-Boy who shows just what kind of stuff he can do with eye powers (even though that particular moment was almost ruined by the thought bubbles. No, I will never let that go.) By focusing on the way that the students become a bit more united, it makes the ending a little bit stronger as a result.

Speaking of the conclusion, we get to see Wolverine reacts in pretty much the same way as the readers do, as he does not give credit to his brother for his actions at all. With the way Wolverine deals with him, we get to see in a small meta-fictional way that not even Wolverine believes in the fact that Dog is such a tough and mean one after all. After all the big fuss about this character, it seems like a somewhat appropriate conclusion to the conflict between the students, Wolverine and Dog for them to show pity on him discovering his whole facade and bruised ego through all his actions. With such a smart way to just close the deal on this rather unbelievable character, we get the result that most were waiting for, albeit in a much smarter way.

As strong the characterizations and the conclusion were, there were still weaknesses here and there though, with some of them being rather big. The biggest and most obvious one, to me, was the lack of focus on a lot of key members of the cast, as Wolverine got quite a lot, as did Dog, yet most of the students got perhaps a small scene and some even less than that in the whole arc, making some of their development coming a tad out of nowhere or a bit irrelevant. We didn’t see much with Shark Girl, or Genesis or even Sprite for that matter, as they were almost relegated to background or secondary character status during the arc, which was most visible during this issue. The dynamics of the group were pretty good, yet it’s the single moments with some of the characters that comes as too little. As good as the conclusion was the buildup to it was pretty average stuff unfortunately.

What is anything but average here, though, would be Ramon Pérez and his expressive and stylized art. With his elongated and exaggerated traits, he is able to bring the quirks of every character quite easily, be it the monstrosity of Shark-Girl, the weirdness of Eye-Boy or the static expression of some of the robots they fight. Pérez here does have a good sense of composition, as shown in his panel layouts and his group shots, as he is able to give the story a good pacing, not using too many panels, yet enough to convey everything that need to be said.

As for the colorization, it is a thing of beauty. In absence of background, both Laura Martin and Matt Milla have placed nuanced degradation of colors, as if the sunlight was directly behind the characters in question creating a great effect of warmth that makes a rather big difference in most of the panels of cold acts and violence these backgrounds are shown in. As for the characters and the other elements, they are also colorized with the same sundown effect that is shown everywhere in this issue, giving us some lovely effects pretty much everywhere in the book.

The Conclusion: While this arc had its shares of problem, Aaron manages to give us some good character work for the most part as well as a fitting conclusion while Pérez and the duo of colorists gives us a great book to look at. While this may be a bit stronger than the last issues of this book, I have no more desire to read a series that cannot maintain a certain modicum of consistent quality. Dropped.

Grade: B-

Hugo Robberts Larivière