“Wolverine and the X-Men” #42 wraps up Jason Aaron’s run on the series, and technically the series too. (But don’t worry, Marvel won’t let a good trademark wither and die; the book comes back shortly with a new creative team and a new #1.) And with the last couple of issues having wrapped up quite a few plot threads, Aaron provides an epilogue, saying goodbye to the students that he clearly enjoyed writing the most and clearing the deck for those to follow, if they so choose.
Because “Wolverine and the X-Men” #42 is that epilogue piece, it’s a much quieter story than one might expect from Aaron. It’s split between the present day, as many of the students graduate to becoming full-fledged X-Men, and the far future where Idie and Wolverine prepare to bid farewell to the now-empty school. It’s a fun little wrap-up, with some amusing jokes about the villainous pedigree of some of the graduates, and the idea that some of them will continue on to get a masters degree from the school.
The high point, though, is the narration from Quentin Quire. Quire’s the sort of character that could have easily stayed buried after Grant Morrison’s run, and it’s much to Aaron’s credit that Quire’s continued to be entertaining and ultimately a focal point of the series. His snide “I don’t want to be here” attitude managed to stay fun and fresh, and watching him struggle with the idea of a graduation ceremony is fun. And while Idie and Logan’s saying goodbye to the school in the future has a certain level of sweetness to it, it’s only once Quire shows up that the book gets that extra kick in the seat of the pants. It’s a great final moment for the empty school, and it fits perfectly with the themes of teaching, learning, and moving onto the next generation.
The idea of having Nick Bradshaw, Pepe Larraz, Ramon Perez, Shawn Crystal, Steve Sanders, Nuno Alves, Tim Townsend and Chris Bachalo all contribute art is nice. With a lot of artists on “Wolverine and the X-Men” over its previous 41 issues, it’s nice to see so many of them represented in this last issue. The only problem with this, though, is that there’s no real consistency from one scene to the next. None of the artists are bad, but few of them draw like one another. It ends up being a bit of a jumble, honestly, with even artists like Bradshaw failing to stand out here.
I can’t imagine a worse issue with which to try out “Wolverine and the X-Men,” but for those who have already been on board, it’s a good enough wrap-up. Whatever the next creative team wants to do with the book and the characters, Aaron’s left them in a position where it will be easy to do so. And more importantly, for everyone else who’s been enjoying Aaron’s time on the title, it contains a satisfying amount of closure. For an issue that figuratively and literally turns off the lights at the end of the day, it works.