Review by Ian Keogh
The first problem Jason Aaron has to overcome is the premise of the series. We have Wolverine, surly slash you as soon as look at you Wolverine, snikt and slice Wolverine, in charge of The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, educating the next generation of X-Men. To prevent us investigating this lapse of logic too greatly we’re presented with the art of Chris Bachalo to ooh and aah at. The man knows how to supply a breathtaking spread, and he knows how to supply breathtaking action, and he knows how to supply breathtaking character designs. For starters the best looking Iceman in decades.
Aaron funnels through his pupils from preceding mutant-focussed series, creating eclectic combinations of the alien and the familiar, the hostile and the friendly, and the eccentric and those whose acquaintance with sanity is more tenuous. All of which adds up to a recipe for disaster when the school inspectors come visiting to open the series. To begin with Aaron plays this for laughs with Wolverine as Homer Simpson while the more refined Kitty Pryde attempts to smooth over the escalating catastrophes. The sit-com, however, gives way to a genuine threat from the X-Men’s past, imaginatively used and the ideal method of introducing just what individual members of this large ensemble cast are capable of.
Arrogance is hardly at a premium among the pupils, and a final chapter introduces even more wild cards to the mix. One assessment may be Aaron introducing the most combustible collection of personalities to undermine the series premise, another requires patience as it could be redemption is the key and he has some ideas as to how he’s going to process this, but that will only become apparent as the series continues.
That final chapter is drawn by Nick Bradshaw, who’s certainly capable of decorative detail, but is less persuasive when it comes to the characters themselves. Flat and squidged faces, and misproportioned bodies recur. This isn’t uniform, but compared with the dynamic consistency Bachalo brings to the bulk of the book, at times Bradshaw comes across as the beginner he is. Everyone has to start somewhere, though, and mistakes are now made in public that at one time would have been concealed. Two volumes later Bradshaw’s pages look very good indeed.
Titled Regenesis in the UK, this is a very good series launch promising much. All eight paperbacks are alternatively available as the Wolverine and the X-Men Omnibus. The series continues, naturally enough, with Vol. 2.