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Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #8 – Sabretooth joins the Hellfire Club

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Wolverine and the X-Men #8
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo [Pencils & Colors], Tim Townsend [Inker]

Fresh off of his return from the dead in Wolverine’s solo book, Sabretooth joins up with the new Hellfire Club to help them take out the heart of the Jean Grey School–Beast.

During his attempt to con an intergalactic casino out of space money that is somehow good on Earth, Wolverine’s unbreakable adamantium legs were broken.  Beast, the school’s resident scientist and doctor, puts forth the theory that the casino’s guards were able to do this with a matter transmutation ray to weaken the adamantium, which re-hardened shortly after.

Basically, Beast needs to use the same type of ray to surgically repair Wolverine’s legs.  Only problem?  Beast’s matter transmutation ray seems to have gone missing, and they are outlawed around the globe.

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Of course, dating the director of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) has its advantages, so Beast sets out to the department’s space station in Earth’s orbit to hit up Abigail Brand for the device.  When he gets to the space station, however, he finds that Sabretooth has already arrived and taken out S.W.O.R.D. on his own.

Meanwhile, Angel (who still doesn’t remember who he is and thinks he’s a real angel) sets off with the school’s students to the casino where Wolverine’s legs were broken to recover the matter transmutation ray there.  How he knew about this, I have no clue–but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The story here jumps around a bit, and it’s often fairly confusing–especially with Chris Bachalo’s artwork.  Bachalo’s work tends to be fast-paced and frenetic, and I’ve really enjoyed it on a lot of stories.  Unfortunately, it made it a little difficult to tell what was going on here–especially in some of the more monochromatic panels.  This could possibly all be a problem on the scripting level.  The story does tend to jump around a lot, and we never really get details for how Angel knew about the matter transmutation ray.  On the other hand, I also considered that maybe my book was missing pages (that did happen to me with a recent issue of Secret Avengers and I’ve been paranoid ever since).

On the other hand, this story does a good job of setting up a relationship between Angel and Genesis (the clone of Apocalypse), who agree to help each other figure out who they really are.  It also shows a more vicious side of Beast than we usually get to see and does more to establish the Hellfire Club (what do those kids not have their hands in?).

This isn’t a perfect issue, but it’s still fun if you can avoid the aforementioned confusion.  Now to go find out if my copy is missing pages…

STORY:  6.5/10
ART:  6.5/10

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Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Right on with your comments, especially about the artwork. I have never had to re-read panels just to figure out what was going on so much in my life. Bachalo is usually really good with that – but not this time. It sucks too, because other than that it was a good read.

    Any insight as to how long Bachalo will stay on this book?

    • Not sure. From what I’ve noticed, the art teams on this book are rotating, and there’s quite a bit of difference in styles when they do rotate. Bachalo took a bit to grow on me, but I’ve really enjoyed his art on things like the “Shed” storyline in Amazing Spider-Man a few years ago. Maybe this was just an “off” issue, you know? His art on the last one seemed to be all good again.

  2. Right on with your comments, especially about the artwork. I have never had to re-read panels just to figure out what was going on so much in my life. Bachalo is usually really good with that – but not this time. It sucks too, because other than that it was a good read.

    Any insight as to how long Bachalo will stay on this book?

    • Not sure. From what I’ve noticed, the art teams on this book are rotating, and there’s quite a bit of difference in styles when they do rotate. Bachalo took a bit to grow on me, but I’ve really enjoyed his art on things like the “Shed” storyline in Amazing Spider-Man a few years ago. Maybe this was just an “off” issue, you know? His art on the last one seemed to be all good again.

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