There are times when I find it hard to believe this series is allowed to exist. Despite having Wolverine in the book, this feels as far from an X-Men book as we've had in a long while. And that's a good thing. While there are so many different X-titles on the stands, this is a breath of fresh air. It's great to see Aaron acknowledge Wolverine's other activities in UNCANNY X-FORCE and the fact that he has to juggle that time with his time at the school. There actually is quite a bit of crossover or follow up from X-FORCE. We don't often see this much continuity these days.
The issue begins with an administrative meeting with the senior members of the X-Men and again, this is great to see. Too many times when the school was the focus of a title, you never really got the feel that it was a school. It can't just be the young mutants sitting in a classroom once in a while. Getting to see the 'adults' plan and discuss everything is something we need to see once in a while. Plus the way Aaron presents it, it's entertaining and pretty funny.
As for the classroom scenes, it's good to see that the kids aren't just learning how to use their powers. Wolverine mentions he actually teaches English Literature. In order for the idea of the school to work, we need to see the kids interacting with each other. Surprisingly I'm finding myself becoming more and more interested in these kids when I've often been annoyed by young 'kids' in comics.
At first I wasn't quite sure how I felt about Bradshaw's art here. Wolverine's face and head looked a little weird but you'll soon see the style fits in perfectly with the tone of the book. The kids look like kids and not just short version of adult characters. This is crucial in teen books. The amount of detail is refreshing as well. You'll notice a lot of stuff going on in the background with the other 'students' and it makes the book that much more enjoyable.
It was a fun book. No major supervillain battles but they aren't needed as this book is on a different level than the other X-titles. It's great to have some variety with them.
How often can you read a comic and actually have fun? Many superhero comics these days are full of gloom and doom. The X-titles have made life for mutants dark and dreary. That is far from the case with WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. Jason Aaron is taking the absurd idea of Wolverine running a school and making it work completely. WIth an X-Men book, you expect big battles, heavy drama and lots of evil mutants. All that is not necessary here. We already saw a big battle at the school (on the school's first day) so it's great to see an actual normal day. The behind the scenes detail of the 'teachers' talking is a great touch and the classroom scenes feel like my days as a high school teacher (only without the mutant powers present). Nick Bradshaw adds a nice touch to the mood of the story and the kids actually look like kids rather than miniature adults. It's not all fun and games and the story is progressing and the crossover element with UNCANNY X-FORCE is a great touch. If this comic were to be given an actual school grade, it would clearly be an A+.