The first chapter of the newly relaunched Wolverine and the X-Men series puts Quentin Quire (aka Kid Omega) at the center of the story. After events in the previous, critically acclaimed Wolverine and the X-Men series, Quire finds himself walking in similar shoes to that of Evan (aka Kid Apocalypse) and pushing back against their history, biology, and what the world wants them to become.
Writer Jason Latour introduces a new student to the school, and deftly guides newcomers around the grounds and the important points of the book. Fans of the previous volume will find more to like here than they may have thought; I found myself enjoying the series far more with some time in between the end of Jason Aaron’s run and Latour’s new one. That said, if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Aaron’s run on the series, you may want to do that to get the scoop on the characters and to enjoy one of the best comic runs put out by Marvel last year.
For the most part, the first arc of the story is well paced and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Mahmud Asrar’s artwork is top notch and brings a lot of energy and emotiveness to the characters. Quentin’s look is unique and distinct and Asrar gives the same treatment to all the other characters as well. Latour does a great job of giving the main characters a voice that rings true – no easy feat considering how many characters the series is loaded with. That said, I often felt like Latour was trying to strike a balance between telling his own, serious story, and giving fans of the previous volume some of the humor and quirkiness that they fell in love with on Aaron’s run.
Cyclops also ends up playing a fairly important role in the story and I really felt that Latour didn’t know how to write for him – no simple task to begin with, but a gag about Charles Xavier, a man he thought of his own father and whom he struck down when wielding the Phoenix force, made me feel like Latour hasn’t read Cyclops in a very long time. There are also some inconsistencies with Wolverine and Storm and the way they talk, but the central roles and their voices were strong.
Thankfully, it is interesting to see Quire go through his struggle, and while another apocalyptic future is certainly not a novel idea in an X-Men book, the first arc of the volume is paced like an action movie, helped enormously by Asrar’s artwork which is pure eye-candy awesome.
Unfortunately, it’s sticking the landing that ends up being the problem at the end of the first volume. The final issue feels rushed and convoluted when it should have taken the time to let some of the ideas breathe and affect the main characters and the reader. There are some great moments with Fantomex and Evan, and Asrar’s artwork and gorgeous style makes up for a lot of it, but the rushed finish left me wanting.