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    Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #39

    By | December 13th, 2013
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Jason Aaron and Pepe Larraz continue to explore the fallout of “Battle of the Atom” with “Wolverine and the X-Men” #39! Plus, new students at the Jean Grey School try to fit in, secrets about the student body are uncovered, and Wolverine and Cyclops can’t keep their hands off each other. Read our review below!

    Written by Jason Aaron
    Illustrated by Pepe Larraz

    • The effects of BATTLE OF THE ATOM continue to be felt!
    • What does this have to do with SHIELD?

    Though we here at Multiversity may have been disappointed by the recent “Battle of the Atom” crossover (I had fun with it but even I can recognize the entire thing as having little to no consequence.) Now, in the pages of “Wolverine and the X-Men,” Jason Aaron and Pepe Larraz are following up on the most interesting aspect of that story, the Sentinels accidentally launched by SHIELD in an effort to diffuse the titular brawl. It didn’t really work, but now Logan’s attacking a SHIELD facility to destroy the drones. While that might be a good enough premise for any other issue, Aaron spices things up by throwing in Cyclops, who Wolverine is still upset at for killing Professor X and everything. No idea what that guy’s mad about. He just got Nightcrawler back and Chuck is more than an even trade.

    Still, the conflict between Logan and Summers is still interesting even as we’re beginning to enter the third year of the Schism that Aaron kicked off a few years ago. Even now, there’s still some new territory to be mined in this rivalry, as this is the first time they’ve really teamed up together since splitting off into different camps. Dealing with the recent fluctuations in each other powers, exploding robots (the explosion filled panels expertly illustrated by Larraz) and the debate of why Logan would even become a headmaster are all shown in new lights. Seriously, in spite of the fact that people questioning Logan’s motivation for opening his own school has been a part in practically every other issue, it’s a debate that’s always given a fresh coat of paint, especially here. The final scene featuring Scott and Logan perfectly encapsulates what the relationship Wolverine has had with his new school perfectly.

    In truth though, this issue actually focuses a lot more on the school itself; specifically the newest students who are (spoilers spoilers spoilers). Again, like like the Scott/Logan clash, the Jean Grey School continues to be an continually refreshing element of the X-Mythos that never really grows stale. Every time they do a “tour” of the school there’s always something new and fantastic about the school from the jetpack homework assignments to the underground ski slope. “WatXM” has gotten a lot of credit in the past for being a fun comic, an homage to the baseball-game-issue days of the classic Claremont run, but beyond that it really is the most hopeful book of the bunch.  Arguably the biggest strength behind “WatXM” has been the younger generation of students and that’s why the recent debut of “Amazing X-Men” to give a separate space for the faculty is such good news. While other X-books focus on how mutantkind is doomed, the kids at the Grey school prove that the future will be a brighter one, even if Beast did sort of bring back the first class to complain about everything. The depiction of the students here, in the face of characters who deem them dangerous, is a refreshing take on the future of mutantkind, and truly cements the idea of Wolverine fighting for the future, specifically the future of these bright, lovable kids.

    Pepe Larraz is responsible for a huge part of that energy. His version of the Jean Grey school is breathtaking and the imagery within its imaginative locations is stunning. Like I said before, this is definitely one of the “fun” books of the X-Men line right now Larraz’s lines (in addition to Matt Milla and Pete Pantazis’s stunning colors) really captures the tone of the story. Of course, Larraz isn’t all happy happy joy joy. The fight scenes between Logan, Scott, and an army of SHIELD Sentinels are incredibly dynamic with very fulfilling explosions and scraps of metal being thrown about.

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    Even though I said Larraz is huge on capturing the hope of the Grey school, that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of portraying a serious side too. There are plenty of spaces when Larraz’s use of shadows really delivers the mood. The final page alone is quite possibly my favorite group photo of the main student body. Though there is one panel, a shadowy dark one that completely changes the game for one character. If you have ever been invested in “Wolverine and the X-Men” this panel might shake you up quite a bit.

    And that’s what makes “Wolverine and the X-Men” so great. Even though Aaron’s run is winding down, he’s still throwing out all these crazy new ideas beautifully illustrated by Larraz. This isn’t just the “fun” X-Men book. “Wolverine and the X-Men” continues to prove itself as the leader of the entire line.

    Final Verdict: 8.5 – Buy!

    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.