Today marks the second to last issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, a series I hold very near and dear to my heart. This issue gets personal with Toad, a vastly underdeveloped character throughout mutant history who has become a strong presence in this run. Is it good?
Wolverine and the X-Men #41 (Marvel Comics)
Jason Aaron is approaching the end of his run with a very character-driven finale. This issue could have been a standalone one-shot featuring Toad or even the beginning of his own solo series but it’s probably wiser that this story was housed under the Wolverine and the X-Men title for obvious reasons. The story is almost exclusively focused on Toad and his being discharged from the Jean Grey School. It’s a touching issue with many great character moments going deep into Toad’s demeanor and his relationship with Husk.
The issue was clearly written with the intention of making people a little weepy, and for the most part, it succeeded. Sentimental and emotional is hard to do in comics but Jason Aaron touches all the right keys to make you really feel for Toad. For instance, as Toad departs from the JGS, facing harsh criticism from his former coworkers, he really appears innocent and almost victimized. He’s always just had Husk in his heart when he did whatever he did and is just so defeated by the fact of her not remembering falling in love with him. I’m not sure how it will work out but the idea of them rekindling their romance was very much like the Charlie/Claire situation in Lost and seemed quite beautiful a notion.
Although one might expect a big period of reminiscence between all of the students and faculty for the last couple of issues, deciding to focus on a character who will likely not make an appearance in the closer was a great decision. By shifting around Toad’s place in the X-Verse Jason Aaron has started a thread that will (most likely) continue in the WaTX reboot and gives us a great story overall to boot. This is the right way to wind down a run, a talent which very few other authors possess.
A couple things I noticed about this issue that I think will pass by for the most part unnoticed. 1) Jason Aaron gave a tip to his Thor series with a Roxxon reference. 2) The run is ending with the same group of kids it started with: the Hellfire Club. 3) I still don’t know what the hell is going on with Wolverine’s hair.
Although I doubt they’ll be illustrating the final issue, Todd Nuack and Pepe Larraz do this comic justice with their comical yet tender styles. The switch between artists isn’t at all jarring and each artist brings a nice spirit to the book. The framework was incredibly easy to follow and each facial expression was perfect and really enhanced the feelings in this comic.
Is It Good?
It’s funny and ironic that Wolverine and the X-Men is reaching its quality peak as it draws towards its end. Now we’re doubly sad it’s not going to be here. Anyways, another extremely well done issue on all fronts.