It seems as if before he died, Wolverine suspected some treachery taking place in his school. So, he asked Spider-Man, via a letter, to be the school’s new Guidance Counselor and help to find the mole. Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself why didn’t Logan just have some intense mind scanning done since the Jean Grey School is home to some powerful telepaths? Or, of all people, why choose Spider-Man at all? As far as the first question goes, it’s still a bit confusing even if Logan wasn’t too trusting and the latter question will probably only make sense to those fans who have followed the adventures of Logan and Spider-Man over the years. But to put it quite plainly, he trusts Spider-Man in a way that’s usually reserved for the likes of Kitty Pryde or Jubilee.
This first issue is as awkward and confusing as a first day of school usually is. If you’re not reading Marvel’s Axis event you might be a little thrown off by Storm’s attitude towards a character she’s fought beside in the past. She and several of the senior X-Men aren’t quite welcoming to their new faculty member and Rachel even suggests reading his mind to prove he’s not working for S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers. However if these are the inverted versions due to the events currently happening in Axis then why would she even ask and just not read his mind? Apparently Toad and Glob Herman are also back at the school even though when we last saw them they turned on everyone during the Hellfire Club attack.
What does help ease some of the bumps in this issue is Kalan’s light approach to the story and the focus on the younger X-Men students that helped make this title stand out when ‘Wolverine’ was in the title. His Spider-Man is very nervous and it takes him a while to get comfortable in his role as teacher. Kalan also writes some humorous hazing scenes as the students (or the Bamfs) make their new teacher’s first day anything but an easy one. A lot of this dialogue and set up gives a new reader a better sense of the characters like Hellion, Rockslide, Ernst, Eye Boy, Shark Girl, Glob Herman, and No-Girl. Also it shows what the students think of themselves when compared to the others at the school. They’re the “bad” kids and the “outcasts” which is actually rough when you’re already a mutant and the world hates you. These interpersonal relationships and interactions between the kids is where the book shines. Much like when the villains, Sauron and Stegron, show up and complicate a field trip.
Marco Failla’s art helps carry the story almost perfectly as it keeps that lighthearted and humorous tone of the issue. Though his interpretation of Beast is more ape/wolf-like than anything we’re used to seeing. However, since his latest mutation, it seems as if there aren’t too many artists who can agree on a consistent look for the guy. There’s a sequence in the Danger Room that really has some awkward action beats and doesn’t flow quite well. But when we get to see the fight in the museum it’s a totally different story. As Spidey and his class battle Sauron and Stegron the scenes are intense, fun, and dynamic from start to finish! Hopefully we get more of that as the series continues on.
The great thing about the Wolverine and the X-Men series was the focus on the often overlooked students who are the next generation of X-Men. Hopefully we get more character development on them instead of another showcase title for a character like Spider-Man who already has quite the established legacy. Once you get past the confusion there’s something here for someone just looking for a fun read that doesn’t focus on the senior team at the school and Spidey fans. So, if you’re so inclined then give it a chance and if not you can always hang out with Spidey in his own title!