State Of The X

I should probably be doing a Hawkeye update, as we’re well into The Year of Hawkeye, but there’s just no way I can keep up. There’s so much Hawkeye material out there now — with even more to come — that I actually didn’t buy a couple of titles featuring Clint. And one had sweet Alan Davis art.

It’s overwhelming. Is this how Wolverine fans feel all the time? If only this had happened back when comics were a quarter.

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about Clint Barton today. I’m here to promote my new favorite X-book, which means we’re going to have to go through a lot of catching up first.

As you know, Angel is my favorite X-Man. Warren Worthington III is to the X-Line what Hawkeye  is to The Avengers.  He also gets about as much respect as Hawkeye — or at least as much respect as Hawkeye used to get.

For the past couple years I have been touting the greatness of “Uncanny X-Force,” a title about a secret assassination squad run by Warren and Wolverine. The highlight was the reunion of my favorite X-Couple: Angel and  Psylocke.

Yes, it was a fine run — and then Warren went crazy evil and Betsy killed him and he was reborn without any memory. Sigh. Why can’t I have nice things?

Elsewhere in the X-Universe

A couple years ago, after the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters was reduced to rubble for the 37th time, Cyclops said “screw it” and moved the X-Men to San Francisco. Shortly after that, for reasons I can’t remember, he moved the X-Men to a mutant-made island off the West Coast and named it Utopia.

Recently, Cyclops and Wolverine had a tiff and Logan headed back to Westchester County and took several X-Men and X-Kids with him. He reopened the school, which he renamed the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. The adventures of Cyclops’ band are chronicled in “Uncanny X-Men” while the adventures of Headmaster Logan, the faculty and students of the Jean Grey School take place in the new title, “Wolverine and the X-Men.”

Headmaster Logan?

I was planning on taking a break from the X-Books after Warren was lobotomized; I figured I would need the money to buy all those new Hawkeye books. But then Logan pulled Angel out of X-Force and brought him to the school, so now he’s a cast member of “Wolverine and the X-Men.” The book has been getting decent notices so I went to the shop and picked up all the available issues (there’s 4 so far).

Huh. That was weirdly entertaining. Someone had the audacity to write a comedy X-Men title starring Wolverine. And it’s actually funny. And charming. And absurd. And witty. And surreal. I don’t know anything about writer Jason Aaron, but he’s very good.

If the idea of Wolverine as a school teacher/principal sounds crazy to you, well, that’s the point. It helps that he’s backed up by some of the better X-Men — like Iceman, Beast and Kitty Pryde (I’m not crazy about Rachel, but I can tolerate her; I do miss Psylocke, though). The student body is also a lot of fun. I usually hate X-Books where they split the attention between the X-Men and the students, but it works quite well here.

The art chores are currently split between Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw. Both have a cartoony style that suits the tone of the book. Bachalo’s work can be polarizing — some love it, some hate it. I like it a lot when it’s clear but at times it can be a chaotic mess.

Marvel is currently publishing about a dozen X-Men titles (not counting Wolverine books) and if you can only read one of them — or if you only want to read one — I recommend “Wolverine and the X-Men.”

At least until Angel gets his mind back and goes off to some other title.


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