The faculty of the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning regroup after their disastrous opening. (See issues 1, 2 and 3.) (Note: The structures themselves have been magically repaired after nearly being demolished!) They are almost out of money however. Logan announces some new additions to the student body. (This all ties into ‘Uncanny X-Force’ which is one of the few X-titles I don’t read, so I was a bit behind on all these reveals.) The first is apparently Apocalypse! Well, a teenage clone, created using the DNA of Apocalypse, named Genesis. The second is Angel, one of the first X-Men, but something drastic has befallen him. He has no memory of his past and believes himself to be an actual angel from Heaven! And after a startling twist involving his abilities is revealed, he just might be right!
Shadowcat (does she even use that codename anymore?) has trouble getting the attention of her class, as she introduces a guest speaker, the cyborg from the future, Deathlok. He is there to tell the teenage students the most likely paths their lives will take. This proves greatly amusing to the class… until Deathlok spies Genesis and concludes his presentation. Genesis is unnerved and chases him down afterward and asks what he saw that made him cease. Genesis implores, “Please… just tell me… who am I?” Deathlok only responds, “That is what you are here to discover.” The reader, though, is presented with a futuristic scene, wherein Genesis has become Apocalypse and killed Krakoa and Deathlok and is now coming for the X-Men, grown up versions of Idie Okonkwo, Quentin Quire (sporting what looks like a phoenix logo on his chest), Broo and Kid Gladiator. (Grown Idie calls Quentin “My love” which surprised me because… uh, he’s not gay?)
Deathlok speaks to Logan who says he has purposefully not told Genesis who/what he is, because he wants the boy free to determine his own path. Logan acknowledges that it is a gamble, but one he feel needs to be taken. Ice Man then confronts Logan about Angel, but he stops him before he can go into extreme detail. He snaps, “I can see where this is going and I’d rather not be an accessory any more than I am.” Logan at least reveals that Warren’s memories were burned away in battle with Apocalypse. Ice Man tells him that Warren is no longer to be part of X-Force and that he has enrolled him as a student at the school.
The new students settle in but something is extremely wrong with Kitty Pryde!
This book is such a drastic extreme, compared to the Cyclops-led ‘Uncanny X-Men!’ ‘Uncanny’ reminds me of Grant Morrison’s take on ‘JLA’ from years ago; it’s the biggest, most powerful heroes, battling the biggest, most powerful threats. ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ reads almost like a sitcom! It’s not a bad thing and both books are strong and have their own perks. It’s just a very noticeably different book in terms of everything, art, tone, writing.
The artwork in this issue is by Nick Bradshaw and speaking of differences, it’s a dramatic shift from Chris Bachalo’s style on the first three issues. Bradshaw’s work is extremely clean and smooth. It’s very attractive, but entirely different from Bachalo’s over-the-top, extremely stylized work. Bradshaw’s work looks like the love child between Art Adams and Ed McGuinness. That’s a good thing! A great thing, even!
This issue addressed Logan’s dichotomy. By day, he is a teacher and headmaster at this school, but by night, he does what needs to be done with X-Force, the most lethal branch of the X-Men. Wolverine is a character of extremes, but it works as long as each facet of his personality is handled well and it is in this series.
The dialogue is great. Each character’s voice comes across very clearly. In one humorous exchange, Husk laments “I worry I may not be cut out for this. That the kids just aren’t listening to m…” before she is cut off by Beast, telling an anecdote about his espresso machine. There are also some little jokes in the artwork, like a picture of Cyclops on a dartboard and a score tally below. (Wolverine is winning 17 to Beast’s 4 points.)
I’m enjoying this lighter take on the X-Men and the attention given to the next generation of mutants. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next!
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #4
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Nick Bradshaw
Cover by Nick Bradshaw and Frank Martin