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Wolverine and the X-Men #40 – Review

By: Jason Aaron (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist), Matt Milla (color artist)

The Story: I assure you that you’ve never toured a school like this.

The Review: When we last saw the Bricklemoore twins, they had been discovered by the students of the Jean Grey School. Perhaps the most interesting element of this story is the sense of foreboding that Jason Aaron writes it with. We’ve known and bonded with the J.G.S. students for forty issues plus now, we know what heroes they are, and yet the scene is written entirely from Tri-Joey’s perspective. As Eye Boy, Shark Girl, Broo, and Kid Gladiator step towards him in the dark, you realize why S.H.I.E.L.D. is afraid of them. It’s a very interesting idea that keeps the issue feeling fresh and highlights the dueling pressures that Tri-Joey is facing.

Unfortunately, most of Tri-Joey’s story is fairly circular. It’s interesting to compare the knowledge that Joey lacked last issue to the holes in Squidface’s reconnaissance, but ultimately their tour feels a little bit like its treading water until the page count allows the matter to be resolved.  Don’t get me wrong, it resolves wonderfully but, objectively, I see that there was some wonky plotting going on.
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Wolverine and the X-Men #28 – Review

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #28

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.
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Wolverine and the X-Men #27 – Review

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #27

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.
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Wolverine and the X-Men #25 – Review

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #25

By: Jason Aaron (Writer), Ramòn Pérez (Artists), Laura Martin (Colorist)

The Story: Wolverine decides to teach the students of the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning all about survival in one the harshest place of the Marvel universe: the Savage Lands.

The Review: I do believe this is a step in the right direction for this series. For something that started with full of energy, style and humor, it is a little bit painful to see just how it all faltered. The faults can be traced down to many things, like an overly long tie-in story with AvX focusing on other characters that were not part of the cast, the vast retooling of said cast among many others. Still, this issue is a step in the right direction for many reasons.

One of them would be the tighter focus on the actual cast of the book, with people like Idie, Quentin Quire, Wolverine, Genesis and Broo being brought back front and center. This works much better, since most of them have been there since the inception (Genesis being the exception), allowing us to see just how they have evolved and changed thanks to the many happenings at the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning. Much of their sass and personalities are shown fully, which makes for a much more interesting comics than the latest arc focusing on some smaller or rather boring characters.
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Wolverine and the X-Men #23 – Review

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #23

By: Jason Aaron (Writer), Nick Bradshaw (Artist), Laura Martin (Colorist)

The Story: Teachers and student team up to beat up some evil clown and Frankenstein himself.

The Review: The final issue of a story arc always has many things to achieve. First of all, it needs to gather all the characters together by following the themes approached in the arc in question. It needs to solve the conflict in a way that feels satisfactory.  And it should also set up some more conflict or events ahead to keep the series rolling. This issue, in a way, is a hit and miss, as it accomplishes two of these three things.

The first thing it does well is gather the characters together in a way that is entertaining. With all the teachers free of the brainwashing, the students are now joined with them to finally bring some pain to those who wished to do them harm. What makes this satisfying is that it gives us some of the great interaction between the cast of teachers and students that made this series so enjoyable during its debut. The Quentin Quire and Wolverine bits are always fun to read, even though in this issue they are sparse, but Quentin’s interaction with Idie is also genuinely good to read. The characters are back on track, which was something Jason Aaron did great in this series.
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