Wolverine and the X-Men #1 CoverJason Aaron wrote two of Marvel’s big first issues this week, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ #1 and this book, ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ #1.  The two books couldn’t be more different!  Hulk was brooding and intense.  This book was almost a comedy!

Wolverine is reopening Xavier’s old school, renamed the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, and serving as the school’s Headmaster.  The fact that Wolverine of all people is utterly unfit for the role does not go unnoticed, with even Professor X pointing it out.  He wishes Logan well, however before departing.  With Kitty Pryde in place as the Headmistress and other X-Men like Ice Man and Beast on the faculty, the first day of school begins.  Logan and Kitty must contend with two inspectors from the New York board of education, who are attempting to prove that the school is actually a threat to the community.  And unfortunately, everything that can go wrong during the inspection does, culminating with an attack by the Hellfire Club’s new Black King, 12 year-old Kade Kilgore.

Much has been played up about the return to the school, but things look hopeless by this issue’s end!  Wolverine is played with appropriate awkwardness and discomfort, to humorous results.  Even the usually unflappable Kitty Pryde is struggling to hold it together as malfunction after malfunction seems to sink the schools odds of survival.  There are also nice character bits for others in the massive cast, such as Husk (now teaching Mutant Literature), Toad (the janitor, played like Milton from ‘Office Space’) and Beast (a complete mess, trying to keep the now super-sophisticated mansion from self-destructing).  A few students get the spotlight as well.  Hellion and Glob come across as bullies.  Quentin Quire is given detention to make sure he doesn’t cause a scene.  And the son of Shi’ar’s king Gladiator, Kid Gladiator, arrives at the institute, along with his bodyguard, Warbird.  Idie Okonkwo is struggling with her mutation and would “rather not have to kill anyone again if I don’t have to,” she said… to the inspectors.

This issue lacks in super fisticuffs, but nicely sets up the new environment for the cast.  There is no longer a Danger Room at the school.  Instead, Beast has set up the hard light hologram projection for every room in the complex.  It’s all one big Danger Room!  But, it’s malfunctioning.  This results in, among other things, lava flowing into certain characters’ rooms.  It’s a fun first issue.  I’m ready for some classic heroics, though and it looks like those are coming right up, thanks to Kilgore.

Chris Bachalo returns to illustrating X-students like he did years ago in ‘Generation X.’  But those kids have grown up, with some of them, like Husk and Chamber on the faculty this time around!  His art is a lot of fun, super stylized and in this case, funny!  I will say, every so often, I have trouble understanding what is happening, because his work gets overly stylized, but overall, I really enjoy it.  He juggles a massive cast with expertise!

If you’re looking to get into the X-Men, I wouldn’t hold off on getting this.  It introduces the new school, showcases many characters… there’s even a handy chart in back, listing all the faculty and students in this series and even a funny Class List!

Verdict: Buy

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #1
Writer – Jason Aaron
Pencils & Colors – Chris Bachalo
Cover – Bachalo and Tim Townsend