Review by Frank Plowright
This third batch of Wolverine: First Class material is another four chapters of Wolverine and Kitty Pryde back in their early days with the X-Men. It follows the same successful formula, although this time Fred Van Lente has remembered the idea of Wolverine mentoring Kitty.
That’s when he dumps her in the middle of the woods as a training exercise, as seen in Francis Portela’s sample art. He illustrates two of the four chapters, and is fine when drawing the monsters that feature, but less comfortable with real people, who’re blocky and weightless. Hugo Petrus takes over to conclude this volume’s two chapter story, and his people also have a stiffness to them. Scott Koblish isn’t ideal either, drawing pinched faces and twisted bodies, and again far happier when the monsters come calling.
Even without taking the art into account, this doesn’t match To Russia, With Love. The opening chapter’s lessons from Shang Chi, former master of kung-fu at this point, are smartly considered and applied well, but the posturing of werewolves is all rather WWE even if it does lead to a neat way out of the situation. The final story ties more directly into old X-Men continuity than any other to date, set on Magneto’s abandoned island and Cyclops back with the X-Men. The character beats are well plotted, but the remainder is by the numbers.
While Wolverine: First Class is aimed at a slightly younger audience than the average Marvel title, it’s nowhere near an all-ages product, so a final story teaming Wolverine with with pre-teen family of superheroes Power Pack is a strange inclusion. It’s nicely produced, however, with some attractive art from Gurihiru and some interesting ideas about exclusivity in Marc Sumerak’s script. This brings Van Lente’s run on Wolverine: First Class to a close, and Peter David takes over for Ninjas, Gods and Divas.