Did you read My Life In Comicbooks? You did? Okay, let’s get to it then!
The recent X-Men: Schism miniseries tore a rift in the very heart of the X-Men, and resulted in an ideological split between Cyclops and Wolverine. The reason? As always, to sell more comics. But, cynicism aside, splitting the mutants into two different camps does make a lot of sense; in theory, it should allow each title to focus on character-driven stories, something that has been lacking at times in recent years.
As the title tasked with establishing the new direction, X-Men: Regenesis #1 is best viewed as a necessity, one that puts the relevant pieces into place for what comes next. Outside of that remit, it does little to dazzle. In particular, the decision to use a tribal gathering as a metaphor for the split between Cyclops and Wolverine is massively misjudged; it adds nothing to the story, and thematically it is a tenuous fit at best, coming across as a cheap attempt to add some action to an issue that is otherwise entirely devoted to talking heads. Still, the conversation scenes are well-written, and carry the kind of weight you would hope for, given they are supposed to sell the important nature of the decisions being made. Some strong character scenes lift this into above average territory.
Rather than doing anything dramatically different, Wolverine and the X-Men #1 follows a rather tried and true approach (calling to mind, for example, Grant Morrison’s Riot at Xavier’s arc), and yet still manages to feel like a breath of fresh air. That’s largely down to the injection of a sense of humour; X-Men comics are typically handwringing affairs, what with the constant deaths and victories that look more like defeats. Jason Aaron undoubtedly has a handle on the characters, with his version of Beast (as a super-genius far too occupied with his intellect to pay attention to anyone or anything else) feeling as true to the character as any in recent years. Chris Bachalo’s art tends to be an acquired taste, but I’ve always been a big fan of his brand of hyper-expressiveness, and the bright colour palettes inkers tend to use for his work. The clarity of the splash page that ends the issue could be questioned; the villain is ambiguous in a way I’m not convinced is intentional. But that’s a minor quibble. and other than that this is an excellent first issue.