By Andy Frisk
December 28, 2011 - 19:56
First off, I’ve got to comment on the best monthly comic book cover I’ve seen in a long while. Nothing screams “Jason Aaron does X-Men” more loudly than then image of the wayward/punk-snear plastered, bad boy (with a heart of gold?) Quentin Quire seated on the floor of a restroom after spray painting the words “Remember when Wolverine was cool? Me neither…” on its walls. It’s classic Aaron snarkiness. Quentin Quire just might be the one mutant character that Aaron was born to write…even though he’s back to doing a fantastic job of writing a team of them after stumbling a bit last issue. Put Wolverine and The X-Men #3 down for Best Cover 2011.
“This could only be better if I’d thought of it myself. Oh man, does this thing have a record function? I bet Cyclops would pay good money to see this,” muses Quire as he watches Wolverine’s Jean Grey School for Higher Learning come down around his ears. The only thing that could possibly ruin his day is a gaggle of students who have the audacity to not know who he is. What! “How the Hell do you not know me? Come on my name was trending on Twitter not two weeks ago! I got a stern warning from Captain America himself! Idiots!” wails Quire when just this happens. Quire decides that he’s going to do something about this. What he ends up doing though is something that no one thought he was capable of, at least while failing to take one bit of the credit for: saving the day.
Jason Aaron cuts loose a little more this issue with the snark, sarcasm, and wittiness that are the hallmarks of his storytelling style. He even manages to give Iceman (a character who Aaron-as we saw last issue-is bound and determined to turn into a major player) the best witty-name-coining ability this issue. When Iceman called Wolverine “Professor Snikt,” I just about fell out of my chair laughing. It’s not the funniest thing I’ve ever heard, but as is par for the course with Aaron, his timing and delivery are just as good as the best stand up comedians in the business.
Something else Aaron is a master of is telling a self contained story while packing it with import AND keeping it short. Three issues into Wolverine and The X-Men and the first arc is wrapped up tidily while the future plot threads are set up nicely and concisely. The new Hellfire Club is here to stay, even though Wolvie and company manage to deal the kid Black King a substantial blow. In retaliation, they’re bringing in the heavy guns for the next round, as evidenced by the final page of this issue. Aaron not only gets this title back on track after it floundered a bit last issue, he’s going to be getting a whole new cast of characters to play with and integrate into the group next issue (didn’t you read Uncanny X-Force this month?). Right now, Wolverine and The X-Men is at the top of each month’s reading stack as far as I’m concerned. Now if Aaron gets Rachel Grey more involved on a monthly basis, it just might stay there…(that’s meant to be a hint Mr. Aaron).
Bachalo continues to deliver his straightforwardly strange, horrible, and beautiful (all at once) pencils this issue. He does have help from a small army of co-pencillers and inkers. Bachalo must have really be pressed for time this month or maybe he was holding tryouts for regular inker. Who knows? The result is the same. You either love Bachalo or you hate him…or you love him and hate him from panel to panel. Regardless of his at times indecipherable panel work, he does have the appropriate level of artistic quirkiness to fit Aaron’s good natured (and at times biting) satire and humor.
Yes, it appears that Aaron has the perfect combination of quirky X-characters, and one big X-Man that he’s been doing a great job with for a while now, to headline his first solo X-Team book. Here’s to a long and fun run.
Rating: 9 /10