Wolverine & The X-Men #33
Written by Jason Aaron
Pencils by Nick Bradshaw
Inks by Walden Wong
Colors by Laura Martin
Review by Joey Braccino
Well that escalated quickly.
The Hellfire Saga barrels on in Wolverine & The X-men #33. While Toad and Kid Omega attempt to battle their way out of the Hellfire Academy, the eponymous Wolverine and the X-Men turn to a certain anthropomorphic mound of earth for help in locating compound in the first place. Meanwhile, Idie Okonkwo takes center stage for much of the issue, providing narration and engaging in a battle of wits with the sinisterly prepubescent Kade “Black King” Kilgore.
Jason Aaron’s script chockfull of hilarious one-liners and intense character beats. Wolverine & The X-Men has become the back-wall, high-concept corner of the X-universe, and Aaron revels in each and every moment to twist and turn the narrative in unexpected directions. Look no further than the incredibly heroic, scene-stealing Toad in this issue for Aaron’s wonderful grasp of characterization.
Nick Bradshaw is the definitive Wolverine & The X-Men artist. Yes, Chris Bachalo illustrated the first few issues, but Bradshaw’s whimsical aesthetic—the perfect blend between naturalism and pulpy absurdism—reflects Aaron’s tone like no other. I shudder to think what Bachalo’s rendition of the new mutant, Snot, would look like, and yet Bradshaw’s panel featuring Snot spraying… snot at a Hellion test victim is both amusing and disgusting at the same time. Wonderful.
My only qualm with this issue is Bradshaw’s design for Idie Okonkwo. Jason Aaron’s script has Idie remind us through narration that she is just 14 years old. It’s an intensely emotional moment, especially considering her actions in this issue and in the series as a whole. And yet, Bradshaw illustrate the young Idie as… incredibly busty. This is complicated even further when Kilgore asks her to become his Black Queen. A powerful character moment, but made uncomfortable by the aforementioned… bustiness… of the 14-year old Idie donning what could otherwise be viewed as S&M wear… It’s an unfortunate hiccup in an otherwise amazing issue.
This series is a must read. Jason Aaron’s “Hellfire Saga” has refocused Wolverine & The X-Men after the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover and continually capitalized on long-running threads in the series. Nick Bradshaw’s artwork is generally incredible, aside from the one distracting choice to pencil Idie as anything but a 14-year old girl. Check it!