The beginning of yet another X-Saga begins here in “Wolverine and the X-Men #30!”
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Pasqual Ferry
• PRELUDE TO THE HELLFIRE SAGA!
• Students are missing and Wolverine and Rachel Summers intensify their search for the Hellfire Club.
• Beast goes to the SWORD orbital HQ to ask an X-Villain for help with Broo’s sad state
There’s always that one point in a writer’s run when everything comes together. When every piece laid throughout all the preceding issues comes together for one huge story that will hopefully define the entire series. For “Wolverine and the X-Men”, that moment seems to be “The Hellfire Saga”: the seemingly final showdown between Wolverine’s Jean Grey Academy and the new school run by the tween Hellfire Club. The actual saga starts next month, a bit odd to start with issue 31 and not an anniversary issue like 30, but the story here, essentially a last minute throwing of the final pieces into place, is just as endearing as the rest of “Wolverine and the X-Men” has been since it got out of its “Avengers vs. X-Men” slump a while back.
Major props go to Jason Aaron in this issue for skillfully weaving all the seemingly unrelated events from the past twenty nine issues together to form a narrative web that will make the upcoming “Hellfire Saga” that much more stronger – and brutal. One story thread in this issue brings together two separate plot points so organically that it’s hard not to slap yourself on the head for not seeing it coming. Plus, one of this issue’s bad guys, previously seen a year or so ago in this same title, has such a beautiful name that it’s hard to get over it and their reintroduction is very welcome. Meanwhile, a lot of the other seemingly innocuous tidbits of the series get a little bit of the highlight; namely the Bamfs who, with a generous heaping of foreshadowing, are one of the more foreboding presences in the comic as of late. Yes, not all the explosions went off in this issue, though a few certainly did, but Aaron has set up his pieces so well that it’s sure to be a blast when he crashes them all together in the forthcoming issues.
Another thing Aaron is good at setting up? Just absolute tears. I don’t know if Christopher Yost knew he was creating a monster, well… genetically abnormal intellectual, when he created Broo in “Astonishing X-Men” a few years back, but damn if Jason Aaron doesn’t use the little mutant alien to great effect here. The relationship between Broo and Henry McCoy, especially since the rather unfortunate after-party for the school dance a couple issues back, is really something special here. It’s never explicitly said, but Hank’s motivation for going out of his way to help Broo is just so touching that it’s hard not to mist up a bit thinking about one of the premier bromances in this title. A bromance that will probably be further crushed by the upcoming storyline, as all good bromances are.
Pasqual Ferry, meanwhile, is doing a very stellar job on the art. It’s a style that’s a bit more cartoonish than typical superhero fare, but it works as “Wolverine and the X-Men” has always been one of the sillier X-Men titles, at least in contrast to its contemporaries. The only real gripe with the art would probably come from Ferry’s rendering of Quentin Quire as a more childish figure. In fact, it’s a critique on the series as a whole if every artist could finally decide whether or not Quire is 14 or 20. At the very least, the truly “Kid” Omega design fits in with Ferry’s overall aesthetic, so it’s not like it’s breaking the issue or anything. In fact, this is just a fanboy complaint more than anything else. In the end, Ferry does an excellent job with some solid work in this issue, though there’s nothing truly ground breaking.
“Wolverine and the X-Men” #30 does a very admirable job in setting up for the big story arc next issue. That’s not to say nothing really happens here; a lot of truths are revealed, some great foreshadowing is done, and there are plenty of character moments to go around. Not to mention the quality art being put out by Pasqual Ferry here. It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see what happens to the faculty and students of the Jean Grey academy in the upcoming months, but it certainly won’t be pretty. It will, however, be a little strange, a little funny, and a little tragic; just like this title has been throughout its run.Continued below
Final verdict: 8.1 – Buy and get ready for “The Hellfire Saga”!