Wolverine and the X-Men #17

Story by
Art by
Michael Allred
Colors by
Laura Allred
Letters by
Clayton Cowles
Cover by
Marvel Comics

"Avengers vs. X-Men" is due to wrap up shortly and the tie-ins are finally dropping off. That's the case with "Wolverine & the X-Men" #17, allowing Jason Aaron and Michael Allred to tell an off-beat and silly little story about Doop and his role on the school staff. Not only is it a welcome break from the doom and gloom of "AvX," it's a fun story that would have been welcome no matter when it was published in the series.

Writer and co-creator Peter Milligan is normally associated with the character of Doop, so it was a relief to see that Aaron is able to tackle the character with just the right level of irreverence and ridiculousness that Doop has given us ever since his "X-Force" and "X-Statix" days. Opening with a sequence where Deathlok has finished a study of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning's staff, we quickly launch into a two-part story about Doop. The first half shows us the hoops that Wolverine had to jump through to bring Doop on board, the second half gives us examples of Doop in action and finally explains just what the heck the alien is doing at the school.

The first part of the book is amusing if slightly predictable. With each scenario getting more and more outlandish, it feels as much of an excuse for Aaron to give Allred strange things to draw as it does to advance the story. But it's that madcap, anything-goes attitude that ultimately punctuates "Wolverine & the X-Men" and puts it in good form. The number of strange things that Doop has to take care of in the second half of the book is where Aaron's script truly shines -- and it's hard to not just grin and go along for the ride.

Of course, having Doop co-creator Allred drawing the book doesn't hurt things. Allred's art style is one that can handle clean, crisp lines and well-proportioned characters with the greatest of ease; he's able to tackle how real people look with no problem. This style is all the more valuable when he begins to toss in the crazier, larger-than-life elements from Aaron's script alongside the normal looking people. It makes the visual clash between the two that much more noticeable and deliberate, and it lends itself to the humor of this issue of "Wolverine & the X-Men" that much more. Allred brings each bizarre moment to life.

Aaron and Allred are clearly having a ball here and I'd love to see the duo collaborate again in the future. "Wolverine & the X-Men" #17 is silly, it's crazy and it's exactly what readers needed. You wouldn't want this every month, but that's the beauty of this comic. When the various X-Men titles are at their peak, it's when they've managed to balance the drama with the comedy; with this issue, Aaron and Allred demonstrate they definitely know how to bring the comedy side of that equation.

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