Review by Ian Keogh
The opening volume of Wolverine and the X-Men introduced us to Kade Kilgore, twelve year old genius determined to destroy Wolverine and the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Arrogant, but far-sighted, he’s been behind several attacks on the school, and has siphoned away several pupils, gathered with his own trainees taught by some of the X-Men’s most dangerous foes. As Quentin Quire points out, it’s hardly ambitious for someone of his capabilities.
Jason Aaron has been featuring Kilgore throughout the series, always making threats, yet with diminishing returns as no real action followed. The transfer of his charges has finally prompted Wolverine to action, and what follows finally completes the plot. It’s disappointing, relying on too many of those featured either switching sides or acting out of character, and there’s never any credible disclosure as to what Kilgore’s ultimate motivation is. He’s a prime example of a personality being modified to serve the plot. Aaron gathers pretty well everyone who’s had a role to play in the series to date, villain or hero, and there are some intriguing aspects, his use of the Bamfs for one, and the powering up of a Hellfire student with a ridiculous power for another, but this finale fails to live up to the protracted build-up. There is, though, a satisfactory ending.
The greatest redeeming feature is that Nick Bradshaw’s art has progressed still further, into something quite spectacular. He raises the overall quality considerably. Look hard and you can still see the influence of Art Adadms, but he’s synthesised that into his own style, decluttered that and delivers some amazing superhero pages. Some characters have been underused since their introduction, Krakoa for one, and Bradshaw’s version of it is stunning. He doesn’t draw much of the opening chapter, which Salva Espin, and primarily Pasqual Ferry illustrate. These pages are competent enough, but lack the liveliness and ornate appeal of Bradshaw’s contributions.
All eight volumes of Wolverine and the X-Men can also be found in the hardcover Omnibus edition.