”What We Said Then” is an ongoing feature at Comics Bulletin, displaying past reviews from Comics Bulletin and how they relate to the prevalent comics of the present.
With the release of the Spider-Man and the X-Men #1, let’s look at a review of Jason Aaron’s 1st issue of Wolverine and the X-Men. Read what we had to say about the comic way back when…
I’m torn by this book. That probably sounds odd, given that I’m awarding this four bullets, but I can explain.
I absolutely love the return of the school. I think this was a great decision on the part of Marvel editorial. With all the X-titles out there, it made no sense that at least one of them couldn’t take place at some kind of school for mutants. And this is a great book, probably deserving of a spin-off of its own from the students’ perspective.
So if I think it’s great, why am I torn?
I have had a long standing issue with the X-Men, because I love the concept. I love the “hated and feared” bit, I loved when Morrison turned them into an actual minority. The core concept of the X-Universe is just so rife with potential, so perfect for telling emotional stories.
My problem is that I don’t think it needs time travel and aliens to make it interesting, yet those two things have become a staple of these books. I would love to see an X-Book bereft of anything but the core concept so that the emotional moments carry more weight, because the death of Phoenix loses a little punch when she’s on the moon fighting aliens. How is this a book about fear and oppression when Bishop comes from the future to kill some mysterious traitor? It’s not, and I’ve always had a problem with that.
If you’ve read this comic, you can see how my problem would extend to what’s on these pages.
Jason Aaron actually makes me okay with it, more or less. Because Jason Aaron does the only thing that you can and should do with the ridiculous cornucopia of science fiction ideas that has engulfed the X-Men: you make it even more insane.
From the sci-fi design of the new school, to alien students and mysterious natural disasters, Aaron and artist Chris Bachalo embrace the larger than life aspects of the X-Universe. All of the weirdness serves to underscore the chaos of the first day for the new school.
This isn’t to day that character moments are pushed aside. Wolverine’s decision to open the school is a great step in the evolution of the character, and seeing how he adjusts to this move was interesting. His conversation with Prof. X was particularly entertaining. And it was nice to see someone remember that Iceman’s a CPA!
While I sometimes long for the less exaggerated style that Bachalo had back when he first floored everyone with his work on Death, he still has a wonderful kinetic feel to his art, so I’m willing to look past things like Kitty Pryde’s ridiculously long and thing legs that kind of make her look freakish.
The inspectors were also a bit much. Yes, they’re prejudiced, we get it. It was done over and over to the point where it was no longer funny.
And I’m still wondering how the students will fit into all of this. They’re obviously meant to play large roles, but I find the high school experience to be a storyline that’s easily overshadowed by all the science fiction elements we see here.
I enjoyed this issue enough to see where it goes, though, and that means it did exactly what it needed to do.