Marvel was good enough to give Comic Vine an early look at the upcoming issue of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #19, so we decided to give you all an early review to help you determine whether it's worth picking up tomorrow.
Considering the events that transpired in issue #18 of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, I was a little bit hesitant to read issue #19 which is set to hit comic shops tomorrow, October 31st. By now, most of you have already read last month's issue and know what happened to a certain student. If you're wondering whether the future of that character is revealed in this issue, then I have some bad news for you. It seems we're going to be kept in the dark a bit longer waiting for answers. The good news is, there is still hope for the character in the story and writer Jason Aaron seems to be building on the events of the last issue.
One of the great things about issue #19 is the fact that although Jason Aaron references past events, this is absolutely a great jumping on point for new readers. This issue feels like a fresh start in the way that it opens and ends; it really feels like a new beginning for the young X-Men and the Jean Grey School.
We see a lot of things happen here. Beyond the reference to the events that happened last issue, we also see developments with characters like Angel and Worthington Industries, for example. It really feels like a clean slate and therefore a great place to start reading if you haven't already.
I think one of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the way it was organized. The Jean Grey School has not one, but two adversaries in this issue and multiple, ongoing storylines. Writer Jason Aaron keeps things tidy, however; organizing the issue really well, making it both entertaining and easy to understand even though there are a lot of things happening at once.
Artist Nick Bradshaw's organization of the panels and the way he depicts the characters in this comic book is really beautiful. The pencils, once again, are absolutely gorgeous and he proves he's a great compliment to Jason Aaron on this series.
I've mentioned before that I don't really find the new, younger Hellfire Club very interesting (or formidable enough opponents to the X-Men). Aside from the fact that I find the characters obnoxious (I understand they aren't supposed to be likeable characters), there are plenty of villains in comics that I "hate to love," per-se, and I can't even say I like reading Jason Aaron's HFC. These characters should be more than just bratty kids, in my opinion. To me, they're completely interchangeable. None of them really stand out. They don't really have personalities and their motives for being bad are simply because they have the money so they can.
One of the most important characteristics of any villain in a story are that individual's motives. Why do they do what they do? What has made them so angry that they feel it necessary to be evil? What, exactly, are they planning to achieve? The creative team on the series hasn't made an argument compelling enough for the villains. All we know is simply that the young HFC doesn't like the Jean Grey School, and that's it. Their appearance in this issue was relatively uninteresting and uneventful.
This is definitely one of my favorite series at Marvel, and for the most part I really enjoyed this issue. The only real exception for me was the appearance of the Hellfire Club in this issue. I am not a really big fan of Aaron's younger generation of HFC and don't feel he's presented an adequate motive for the group. Their appearance here did not strike me as altogether very interesting, either. Having said that, I think it's great to see Aaron present another adversary to the Jean Grey School as well as some new faces. I am definitely looking forward to the appearances of the Jean Grey School's newest instructor, and I am excited to see what happens to the development of these characters in the future. There is a lot of things happening at once here, but it's all really well organized and paired with some really lovely art by Nick Bradshaw. A great jumping on point to the series if you have not yet picked up this book. I highly recommend it.