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Wolverine: First Class #1

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Fred Van Lente
Andrea Di Vito, Laura Villari (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Wolverine: First Class #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 26.

Journey back to a time when the X-Men lived together as a strange college family, going to classes, meeting new mutants, and having tons of new experiences. It's a time when Wolverine had no idea who he was, and Kitty Pryde was just a young sweet girl. Wolverine: First Class is an updated reminder of what the Marvel mutant team was like before seismic events tore them apart. Despite the title, the series does not focus on Wolverine, but on Kitty Pryde instead. She is sent on an operation with the brusque bub to locate a strong mutant presence. Wolverine isn't happy taking the newest X-girl on her first mission, but in doing so, embarks on a mission of his own: learning to trust others.

The use of Kitty Pryde as the narrative eye allows the reader to view Wolverine from a distance. The audience neither sees what's going on in his head nor has his problems spelled out. Instead, Kitty interprets his actions and summarily makes a judgment. When the team is playing volleyball, Kitty calls Wolverine to catch Nightcrawler's off sides lob. He does so puncturing it with his claws. It's clear Wolverine doesn't want to participate, but Kitty assesses that his amnesia has made him cranky.

She is a nave, sweet girl whose innocent fortitude counters Wolverine's feral heroism. Logan doesn't know his past yet; it's still a fractured mirror that refuses to reflect himself. Therefore, his fear of this unknown self and his more tangible bestial rage makes him shy away from Kitty's untouched youth and sincerity. But like in the original Claremont run, the two characters make an unlikely but terrific duo that bring both heart and a great deal of humor to their relationship. It's not sexual or parental; instead they form a friendship between two generations looking for pieces of themselves in each other.

That said, why not the read the original watershed Claremont and Milgrom Kitty Pryde and Wolverine limited series where this relationship was first forged? Try finding it. The six issue series where Kitty Pryde becomes a woman and summarily "Shadowcat" has not been reprinted for some twenty years. Moreover, news of a hard cover collected edition of the 1985 classic may not even seem appealing to prospective new fans.

Wolverine: First Class is a relevant and modern introduction for new readers who haven't been captured by the charm of a team up between a spry young girl who can phase through walls and a gruff guy with claws. Therefore, old fans may scoff and deride this series for not living up to an ancient comic book morsel elevated upon some nostalgia pedestal. My advice to them: wait till May 2008 to clutch the hardbound classic in your hands.

To those interested in jumping into the X-Men saga, here's your landing pad.






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