It’s that time again. Time for issues to be pulled away from their own stories so that they can tie into the big event. Wolverine & the X-Men has been one of Marvel’s best books since it’s launch, so shoving it into Avengers vs X-Men could ruin it’s momentum. But leave it to Jason Aaron to keep the tone of the past eight issues while still tying into the overall narrative of Avengers vs X-Men. Not only that, it moves along it’s own plot as well. It’s a great example of a tie in comic.
Jason Aaron’s work on this book can be described as one thing, and that is witty. No matter how dark or ominous the situation, he has been able to slip in humor and not only cut the intention, but have the joke be hysterical. #9 details with what happened before Avengers vs X-Men #1, and ties into it in two scenes. Aaron writes a great Captain America, finding the great balance of pride and leadership without falling into the preachy category that some writers put him in. Some of the issue deals with getting readers caught up, but Aaron does it in a clever way. Having one of the students talk about it in class, followed by a great line by Brood, keeps the situation fresh and out of boring exposition land. And that land is one fairly visited by writers of tie in comics. In this reviewer’s opinion, it’s good to see that this book won’t be spending the entire event tied in. Tell the story and get it over with. Yeah, it messes up with continuity, but Aaron is telling a great tale here and needs it’s own time.
The best part of the issue though is the small character moments. All the main characters get one great witty line that perfectly captures who they are. Captain America gets the best line of the book, with Brood’s coming in at a close second. But having all these character moments in a tie-in book shows how much Aaron really cares for this group of mutants. Maybe it’s the jaded comic reviewer in me, but we as an audience don’t get to read books like this often. When events come around, it’s a sad time to be a tie in book. Usually the plot that has been building for some time is thrown away for the plot at hand. But nope. Wolverine & the X-Men is going to use the event to the best of it’s abilities.
Chris Bachalo‘s artwork is great here. As always with his pencils, occasionally they get to hectic for their own good, but considering this issue is mostly talking, this doesn’t happen much. One panel has a problem of issues with perspective, and that is Cap being attacked by the danger….school? Do we call it the danger school? The rest of the issue is a great showcase of Bachalo’s work. Characters are expressive, and bursting with energy. It’s clear that Wolverine is feeling a lot of pain and confusion with what is going on with the Avengers and X-Men. Wolverine & the X-Men has been arguable one of the best books art wise (with Daredevil taking the #1 spot), and #9 is another great example. I miss Nick Bradshaw’s art, but who cares when Bachalo is this on his game. With next issue looking to feature more fighting, hopefully Bachalo will be able to convey the chaotic nature of the battles without sacrificing the reader’s ability to understand what is going on. Or make it work in his favor. During the Brand New Day era of Amazing Spider-Man, Bachalo penciled a Hammerhead arc by Joe Kelly, and his panels were very cramped. But the reader was able to figure out what was going on in the panel. So it’s possible, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Wolverine & the X-Men #9 gets 4/5.