Wolverine and the X-Men #38

Story by
Art by
Pepe Larraz
Colors by
Matt Milla
Letters by
Clayton Cowles
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Reading "Wolverine and the X-Men" #38 is a slightly frustrating experience. It's a good comic, one where Jason Aaron and Matt Milla quickly re-establish the new status quo for the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning by using two new students as viewpoint characters, while also touching on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s actions in "Battle of the Atom" and how the X-Men would deal with the organization. But with the book's end just a few issues away, it's a little frustrating to potentially see all of this going away.

I say that it's potentially going away, because if there's one thing that Marvel's prone to do these days, it's to cancel and promptly restart a series. (Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's "Daredevil" being replaced with Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's "Daredevil" is the most recent example.) It's also possible that this title will be folded into "Amazing X-Men," which is also written by Aaron. So while it's still anyone's guess on what will actually happen, for now I'm going to take Marvel at their word that this book is ending.

At any rate, this issue is enjoyable as ever. Broo acting as tour guide for the Bricklemoore twins is a riot -- his eradicate phrasing and knowing attitude is balanced out by his still-present sense of wonder for everything that the Jean Grey School offers -- and it also eases any potential new readers who came on board post-"Battle for the Atom" into the set-up. Seeing how Iceman's dealing with his break-up with Kitty Pryde is something that will certainly grab readers' attention, as is Wolverine's working with Quentin Quire. But there's a lot of other stuff going on here; the interactions with S.H.I.E.L.D. have an ominous overtone, as does the checking in with Cyclops's squad of X-Men. It's that balance of levity and seriousness that makes "Wolverine and the X-Men" #38 (and the series as a whole) work well, and Aaron isn't adverse to a nasty little cliffhanger on the last page that actually took me completely off-guard.

One thing I've appreciated about Aaron's take on the X-Men is that he's not afraid to include the more-mutated looking characters throughout the book. I like that there are a lot of non-Adonis characters here, to the point that a guy with three faces and six arms or a girl with a squid for a head are hardly the two strangest people in the room at any given moment. Larraz's art is good for that purpose -- it reminds me a bit of a slightly rougher Stuart Immonen -- and when it comes to the moments that should be a sense of wonder like the school atrium, he delivers. It's Eye Boy who Larraz's art really takes a shine to, though; his facial expressions when Kid Gladiator shows up, for instance, are a riot, and in general Eye Boy looks quite classy and snazzy in his suit.

"Wolverine and the X-Men" #38 is another dependable issue in a dependable series. Honestly, I feel like that's what Marvel needs more, not less, of. Hopefully there will be an announcement before long explaining what'll happen to most of the cast; they're just too good to be left out in the cold for long, especially when written by Aaron. What at first felt like a useless extra X-Men title quickly turned into one of my favorites in the line, and I'll be sorry to see it go.

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