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5.0 out of 5 stars Doop!, 3 Feb 2013
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
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Like the last book, Volume 4 of Wolverine & the X-Men continues to be affected by the Marvel Event "Avengers Vs X-Men" but the effects are less noticeable this time around (hallelujah!). KItty goes on a date with Phoenix Colossus, the X-Men prepare for all-out war with the Phoenixes, the origin story of Kade Kilgore - pre-pubescent Black King of the Hellfire Club - is revealed, and, perhaps most significantly of all, we find out what Doop's been up to since he joined the Jean Grey School.

While I disliked the "AVX" Event, I quite liked the issues in this book that were involved in that storyline. The Kitty and Phoenix Colossus date was interesting and gave Colossus some space to show his new character, space he wasn't given in the main event book, while the "Eve of War" was brilliant and built up the stakes to the larger fight that takes place in the main book to the point where, even though I know what happens, I was invested in these characters and their struggle. If these issues had joined the main book I might not've had as many problems with the event as I did - they give flesh to the bones of the event. If anything this book shows how constrained he must have been on the writing of "Avengers Vs X-Men" because the storyline sparkles in this book while in the main book it's dull and underwritten.

The excellent Chris Bachalo draws the Kade Kilgore issue which is coloured mostly in sepia tones, and tells the story of how a psychopath is born. While being quite a massive tonal shift from the kind of light-hearted stories often featured in this book, I thought it was an enjoyable and necessary story to tell in order for his character to become more than the caricature that he seems.

And speaking of caricatures, Doop gets his own issue (at last!). Doop is the Slimer-from-Ghostbusters-esque figure with an attitude who, until now, has been a visual gag, hanging around in the background of panels, and whose presence in the school is now addressed as we find out what he does. This is the funniest issue in the series so far and I was laughing on every page! When the Westchester School Authority plans to shut down the disruptive school Doop goes to the house of the female speaker dressed as a plumber and changes her mind; then he goes to the house of male leader dressed as a French maid and changes his mind (I refer to Doop as a "he" but its unclear what gender he is). He takes on the League of Nazi Bowlers single-handedly while joining Howard the Duck on an intergalactic mission against robo-barbarians! And Warbird finds him ridiculously attractive!

I loved the Doop issue and read it twice. I haven't even described half of what crazy things go on in that issue but Jason Aaron shows he can do comedy as brilliantly as he does drama. Mike Allred draws the hell out of this issue too, his style perfectly matching the cheerful tone.

The book ends alongside the finale of the "AVX" storyline so hopefully this means that event is done with this series and it can resume its anarchic and creative stories without having to showcase a lot of pointless fighting between cosmically powered beings anymore. But there's so much cool stuff going on in this book that I didn't even mind the cut-aways to the fighting against the Phoenixes. It also sets up the villains of the next few books nicely while rearranging the cast, introducing new students and "disposing" of others, laying the groundwork for a tantalising second year at Jean Grey's.
I loved this book, from Aaron's masterful characterisation and background buildup to the AVX series to the darkness of the Kilgore story and the outright brilliance of the Doop issue, there's lots to enjoy in every part of this book. All of the artists bring their A-game to Jason Aaron's top class script to make Volume 4 one of the best in the series so far. Here's to a second year at the most fun school in comics!

Oh, and I know you joked about "Doop Vs. Galactus" Jason Aaron, but please do that as an issue!
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5.0 out of 5 stars BEST TITLE OUT THERE, 8 July 2013
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