WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #1
I can understand using the title “Wolverine and The X-Men,” it's got double the brand recognition in its name than most other comics, but it just doesn't fit this new Marvel series. Let's break it down. Is Wolverine present? He's in the comic yes, but he's not with the X-Men. Are the X-Men in it? Some of them are, but again, they're not really present either. I realize that “The X-Men” in question in the title seemingly refers to the new students at the Jean Grey School that has become a new staple of the Marvel continuity, but with such new and untrained characters, can we really call them X-Men? Wolverine and the X-Students doesn't have the same ring to it, so I digress, but Wolverine and The X-Men #1 leaves more questions than answers, and not in the good way.
Written by Jason Latour, picking up from where Jason Aaron left the title, Wolverine and The X-Men is an ensemble story that certainly has interesting characters, but separates them so far apart that they hardly get to work off one another. With a plot that's as dull as it is routine, Wolverine and the X-Men does nothing to set itself apart from the countless other titles except feature a younger cast of characters that aren't as recognizable. This in and of itself is not a bad thing, it's in fact welcome when you realize so many of their characters have been around over fifty years, but nothing is being done in the first issue to make you care about these characters.
A curious development for Wolverine and the X-Men is how it tries its best to stick to the continuity laid out in the other Marvel series. Characters such as Wolverine and Storm appear as they do in other series, in terms of looks and weaknesses, but the series throws out the continuity for others. Though it's hard to fault creators for not lining up with the other stories, if an effort is made to stick to the threads from other comics and not others it certainly becomes noticeable.
Mahmud Asrar's art is the real saving grace of the series, bringing life to the otherwise uninteresting story in a way that keeps your attention on the images. The effort is present throughout the title, even though some characters do look less than stellar at some moments, it is consistent in its quality. Sequentially the art is nearly flawless. Though the pacing might be off, the beats within the panels never feel tired or out of place. Colorist Israel Silva elevates the material even more so, setting the tone of the individual scenes with ease.
There's not much going on in Wolverine and the X-Men. It's got very good art and interesting characters, but for the time being it's doing nothing to make itself stand out as a titan among Marvel's other comics. Old readers will find it a step down from the previous volume, and new readers might not find anything to grasp onto.