Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men continues its heart-filled and action-fueled run in this month’s new installment. Headmaster Logan takes a troop of his most troubled students to the Savage Land for a survival field trip to toughen them up. The kids left to fend for themselves for 24-hours and Quentin Quire steps into the reluctant leadership role to make it out of the jungle alive.
But there are worse things in the Savage Land than hungry dinosaurs and teenage angst.
Aaron sets Wolverine and the X-Men apart from the other mutant titles by focusing more on the adolescent new members of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Quire has always been an interesting character and he gets to take center stage as the telepathic loudmouth class president. Readers complain about new characters when it comes to legacy titles like X-Men, but over the course of 25-issues I’ve come to love characters like Idie, Broo, Shark Girl, Genesis (young Apocalypse) and Quire. It’s no easy feat to make newer characters feel so rich, and putting them in a survival situation gives them a chance to interact in really fun ways on the page.
Ramón Pérez does the artwork for this issue and it’s fantastic. I’ve been a fan of his art style since Tale of Sand from Archaia, and that same energy is injected into Wolverine’s students as they battle prehistoric monsters (or, in many cases, each other). Pérez uses interesting layouts on double-page spreads to tell a big epic story. It makes the whole issue read like a movie or TV episode and really lets the reader feel the scope of the situation.
One of the great things that Marvel does with the X-Men is let the writers and artists put their own unique spin on the premise. No two X-Men series are exactly alike, and there are a lot of X-Books being published right now. What set this series apart are its humor, characters, school atmosphere, and lighter side of Wolverine. It does work in a similar what that Bendis’ X-Men stories do, where it takes classic elements and updates them for modern day audiences, but it still appeals to Marvel fanboys who have followed these characters forever.
Wolverine and the X-Men is always a fun read. This new issue continues that pattern and makes me excited to read more adventures of the young mutants in the Savage Land.