When event crossovers are happening, there are really two main ways to fit in: do stories that are off at the side (as in “Secret Avengers” and “New Avengers”) or stories that fit in-between the panels of the “main” event series. “Wolverine and the X-Men” #11 sees Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw taking the latter route, telling a tale that helps to explain Wolverine’s apparent about-face in the most recent “Avengers Vs. X-Men” issue.
The style Aaron has assumed for this title — hyper-dense, action-centric storytelling — works particularly well for an issue like this, which mainly comprises subplots and disparate scenes set on both sides of the crossover. There’s a strange lack of unity to the narrative, as the “teaching staff” X-Men fight the Avengers over Hope while Wolverine helps her against some Shi’ar death commandoes. It just about works, but only because the narrative doesn’t make a big thing of Wolverine and his staff’s actual goals.
More convincing is Aaron’s rationalisation of why Wolverine delivered Hope to the Avengers, even though the character’s initial plan was to kill her. It satisfies a lot of the questions readers felt justified in asking about events in “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” such as why Wolverine would suddenly want to kill a child after splitting from Cyclops specifically to protect them, and why he might suddenly change his mind for no given reason. In that sense, this is the kind of story that enriches the crossover.
The other half of the book is mainly a round-robin look at the major supporting characters so that they can give their opinions on what’s going on, or suggest match-ups that’ll be realised in “AVX: VS”. The action scenes are great and Iceman in particular gets a moment that his fans can’t help but smile at, complete with a self-referential nod from Aaron. There’s no doubt that it’s a fun book, but it veers towards being a bit too disjointed. Ultimately, the issue would have been better if it had just been about Hope and Wolverine.
Bradshaw’s art is the strongest it’s ever been, though, and his clear, detailed lines make easy-looking work of a book with a sprawling cast of regulars and guest-stars. It’s as fun and light as Aaron’s writing is, and it’s a credit to the penciller that he can fit so many characters onto one page, keep it comprehensible and leave enough room for Aaron’s rather wordy script.
Technically, it’s an excellent comic with top quality art and scripting with a clear set of ideas to deliver. The only way it could have been improved is with a narrower focus, but that’s not a mistake on Aaron’s part, just the way he’s choosing to execute. Still, all things considered this is probably the best tie-in yet and definitely worth a look.