Kitty and Wolverine Visit the Animal Farm
Wolverine: First Class could also be called 'The Untold Adventures of Wolverine and Shadowcat', as it takes the reader back to when Kitty Pryde first joined the X-Men and Logan took her under his wing. While the action unfolds during the X-Men's history, it is written and drawn with modern day lingo and technology.
Even though it is difficult to deny that Wolverine: First Class is riding the coat-tails of its predecessor, X-Men: First Class, thus far it has proved to be an entertaining series.
A brief synopsis:
The book begins with a short, stylized telling of the history of a tall, steely being in a purple tunic called, the High Evolutionary. He comes off as an honorable 'man', and has created his own small town of humanoid animals. Time passes and the X-Men's first dynamic duo find themselves smack in the middle of this town in search of one of their arch-nemesis. Since the appearance of a strange light high on a nearby mountain peak, the towns new men have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Are the two related? Wolverine and Shadowcat take it upon themselves to investigate.
Other characters in this issue include a town full of 'Manimals' (as dubbed by Kitty), a classic villain who's first appearance was in 1966, and even Thor!
This issue was Part 1 of the Wundagore story arc, and while not action packed due to the delivery of exposition, it was a fun read.
Some thoughts on the issue:
-Fans will appreciate how writer Fred Van Lente doesn't neglect Logan's old personality traits. 'Bub' comes up appropriately, and at one point Wolverine nearly goes into a berserker rage, which Shadowcat calls him out on. Van Lente also succeeds in capturing the youth, spunk, and naivete of a young Kitty Pryde.
-While Salva Espin's art is cartoony in comparison to the other X-Titles, this should not be viewed as a negative. Espin's work runs in congruity with the art of Roger Cruz (X-Men First Class Vol. 2). While seemingly a minor detail, I appreciate it for it serves as bookends to the First Class genre. Only one awkward panel comes to mind, and it is of Wolverine performing multiple acrobatic moves in lighter shades, with the final pose being a darker color. It seemed a bit out of place, as this style is typically found in Nightwing or Robin, and was an odd way to represent Wolverine's early stage of a berserker rage.
-The splash page appears at the end of the book, which I am not a fan of. Still, the final shot informs us why we shouldn't ever trust a lemur.
-This issue had a couple of good one liners:
"Don't let the goofy getups fool you- Me an' the girl know how to take care of ourselves." -Wolverine
"Bessie." -The name Wolverine purposely (and incorrectly) calls a cow Manimal multiple times. As he does so, she constantly corrects him in a nonchalant way by simply saying her real name, 'Bova.' It's funny to see Logan being a jerk.
-The High Evolutionary seems like a guy who has the potential to do some serious damage. In this issue, however, he doesn't see too much action.
-It's totally awesome seeing Wolvie in his browns and yellows.
The final word:
While easily done, this book should not be shrugged off as a kids title. While cartoony at a glance, Wolverine: First Class stays true to the past traits of its characters, and succeeds in delivering the stories in a modern setting. X-Men and Wolverine fans alike will enjoy this title, but Kitty Pryde fans should relish it. After all, until she figures out how to get out of a giant bullet, this is all the Shadowcat you're going to get!