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Wolverine and the X-Men #36

Review by Paul Bowler

Wolv & Xmen #36 (cover)

Dr Henry McCoy brought the original X-Men to the present to try and reunite mutantkind. When young Scott Summers was almost killed, temporarily erasing his older self from reality, the X-Men argued whether or not they should send the young mutants home. Matters were complicated further by the arrival of a team of X-Men form the future, who insist the original X-Men must return to their own time. Jean Grey refuses and goes on the run with Scott; they evade the pursuing X-Men and seek help from the adult Cyclops and his Uncanny X-Men. Cyclops agrees to help but Emma Frost has contacted the X-Men who quickly arrive on Utopia. Confronted by the future version of Jean Grey, who wears a Xorn mask to control her abilities, the X-Men of the present and the future stand ready to fight to protect the past and save the future.

With Xorn, the young Jean Grey, Emma Frost and the Cuckoos standing motionless as they battle psychically, the adult Scott Summers and his younger self begin to realise that Xorn is actually an older version of the young Jean Grey – the one who never returned to her own time and consequently grew up in the future.

Faced with the X-Men from the future, Wolverine, and the present day-day X-Men, the Uncanny X-Men watch on as Logan offers the “slim and slimmer” incarnations of Cyclops a chance to be reasonable and stand down. Wolverine is quick to criticise the adult Cyclops for brining his young team into the field of battle, however Cyclops is having none of it, stating that he believes the responsibility for their conflict rests entirely with Logan and Hank McCoy.

The teenage Cyclops brings their argument to a head by attacking Wolverine. After ordering Magneto to gets their students to safety, Cyclops remains to help young Scott fight the present-day X-Men and their future counterparts. Meanwhile, Emma’s psychic battle with Xorn begins to falter as first the Cuckoos, and then Emma herself, succumbs to Xorn’s telepathic assault, leaving Jean alone against her future self. As Jean gets an unexpected glimpse into Xorn’s mind, back at the school the young Beast and Iceman travel into the future with Magik to try and discover what the X-Men from the future have been hiding from them…

Wolv & Xmen #36 (preview 1)

Wolverine and the X-Men #36 sees tensions between X-Men strained to breaking point as Battle of the Atom explodes into all-out-action. Jason Aaron keeps the action moving at a break-neck pace as standoff between Cyclops and Wolverine inevitably leads to conflict, with the future X-Men also becoming more aggressive, Storm tries to calm the situation and Beast admits he regrets bringing the original X-Men to the present. We also get a great scene where Kitty and Rachel discuss the situation with Kitty’s future self, with Rachel noting that she is no longer the leader she once knew.

With some great art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and finisher Andrew Currie, along with colorists Matt Milla and Edgar Delgado, Wolverine and the X-Men #36 has some excellent fight scenes, with everyone getting a good slice of the action. However, it is the psychic combat with Xorn that is the real highlight this issue, and I really like the way Camuncoli portrays the raw power of this psychic battleground. We also get to see the toll this fight takes on the combatant’s physical bodies, as blood pours from their noses, and in Xorn’s case, from the corner of one eye of her mask as she fights Jean on the psychic plane. This issue features another eye-catching cover by Arthur Adams, with the X-Men attacking en masse as Cyclops and his younger self, together with Rachel and Kitty, stand their ground to protect Jean.

Jason Aaron maintains the tone and style already established for this crossover event by Brian Michael Bendis, while adding just the right amount of humour to Wolverine and the X-Men #36 as each twist and turn of the plot unfolds. It’s good to see some of the other X-Men from the future taking a more active role in proceedings, with Deadpool giving a heartfelt – if not entirely honest – speech and the hulking Iceman going on the rampage.

Wolverine and the X-Men #36 introduces some significant plot developments, decisions are made that will no doubt have a big impact as Battle of the Atom progresses, and the startling ending will leave you  eager to find out what happens next.