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Wolverine & The X-Men #21 Review

Look at this craziness.

Wolverine & The X-Men #21

Written by Jason Aaron

Pencils by Nick Bradshaw

Inks by Walden Wong, Scott Hanna, Norman Lee, and Danny Miki

Colors by Laura Martin

Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Review by Joey Braccino

To put things into context, let me just point out that this issue kicks off a new storyarc entitled “The Greatest Freak Show on Earth.” How could this be anything but an absolute trip? Frankenstein’s Monster has brought a murderous, unhinged circus to Salem Center, and the X-Men have been taken prisoner and drafted into the entertainment service. It’s now up to the young X-Men, led by the wonderfully anarchic reluctant-anti-hero Quentin Quire, to save their teachers and defeat Frankenstein’s monster before his nefarious plan of harvesting the souls of million people comes true! There are also references to B-Movie horror movies, a “Cyclops Was Right” t-shirt (re: WANT), androids, and adorable wee lassies with oversized carnival stuffed animals.

Jason Aaron has regained his momentum after Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-ins significantly undercut any of the progress he had made prior to the mega-crossover. Issue #21 features some of the quickest banter, some of the most pop-culturally relevant jokes, and some of the most intensely high-brow and intentionally low-brow concepts for any comic on the stands. Aaron has his characterization down pat, especially for the younger generation of X-Men. Without a proper New X-Men or any other qualifying “Young” X-Men title, Wolverine & The X-Men has become the place to be for the teen antics of our adolescent mutant merrymakers. Quentin Quire, Idie, Mercury, Anole, Genesis (aka “Kid Apocalypse”), and new mutants “Eye Boy” and Shark-Girl all take the lead this issue as they struggle to unravel the mystery of the missing adult X-Men. It’s a refreshing perspective, and I hope that Aaron keeps the focus on this new generation of mutants for a while.

Nick Bradshaw and his Inking Corps return to the series this week, and the product is simply wonderful. Bradshaw has honed his artwork over the last year of the series, toning down the exaggerated cartooning aspects in favor of a slightly more naturalistic physiognomy. He still maintains the vibrant energy of his characters and panel layouts, but let’s just say that the heads of the characters are significantly less… ginormous. And his Storm and Beast designs are phenomenal. Laura “Best in the World” Martin is on colors, and her dynamic palette suits Bradshaw’s style perfectly.

Verdict

Read this book. If you’re not reading this book, jump on NOW. Wolverine & The X-Men has just entered its second year, so the current issue is the perfect jumping on point for new readers! Aaron and Company are writing an X-book that combines everything we loved about Yost & Kyle’s New X-Men series, Morrison’s New X-Men run, and Claremont’s mid-‘80s sci-fi-soap-opera era on Uncanny X-Men. Check it!

Joey Braccino took his BA in English and turned it into an Ed.M. in English Education. Currently, he brings comics back in a big way all day every day to the classroom. In addition to proselytizing the good word of comics to this nation’s under-aged…

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