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I think the best description for this latest issue that it is the Uncanny X-Force Aftermath issue. And that’s an interesting thing about the X-Books post-Schism: the Wolverine books seem to be a lot tighter than the Cyclops books. At the end of the last Uncanny X-Force issue (not counting the recent point one issue meant to be an introduction to Age of Apocalypse), we found out that Fantomex’s Apocalypse clone (Genesis) was to attend Wolverine’s school, that Angel had been mind-wiped by the experience, and that Beast now knew about the new X-Force (something he’d left Cyclops over a few years ago). This is quickly recapped at the beginning of WatX #4, but if you really want to have a great appreciation for the events of this issue, you really should pick up the trades of Rick Remender’s amazing run on Uncanny X-Men.
Interestingly, we have Nick Bradshaw as the artist this issue. Until now it’s been Chris Bachalo and I think his art style has been perfect for the tone of the book. Bradshaw does such a good job imitating his style, that I didn’t even realize at first that it wasn’t Bachalo. If you decided to pick up this issue you’ll want to keep an eye on the background as Bradshaw has littered it with easter eggs. For example, on the second page we see a dart board in the teacher’s lounge with Cyclops’ face on it. Another, later, panel has Quentin Quire trying to set a book on fire. I don’t want to spoil all of them for you, so just keep a sharp eye out as you read the issue.
The bulk of the story revolves around Genesis joining Kitty Pryde’s class on Future History 101. A lot of the featured kids at this school are the dregs of the younger X-Men ranks so there’s a lot of back and forth between the kids that’s distressing to Genesis. He has a hard time in particular with Kid Gladiator and Quentin Quire’s aggression. A Deathlok unit comes in to talk about the future, but ends up talking about the futures of the kids. What I love about this is that Jason Aaron has him give predictions in terms of probabilities so that they can fan the flames for the readers who love to read about the future of these characters. We probably have that fascination with the future because time passes so slowly in comics that our kids will probably still be reading about Scott and the other original X-Men leading instead of being old men. Speaking of this, a scene where Deathlok contemplates the future of one of the kids leads to some really interesting messing with the fans. Let’s just say that people who have been shipping (a fan term for wanting two characters to be in a relationship) Idie with Broo since the last issue might be in for a shocker.
The other chunk of this issue deals with how crazy Angel has become after his mind-wipe and how that has affected Bobby since they were both founding members of the original X-Men lineup. I have to say that the new Angel is just as disturbing to me as it is to Bobby, and I saw it coming since I’ve been reading Uncanny X-Force. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes.
This issue ends with a huge shocker that, on second read, they have been foreshadowing since the first few pages. And that leaves me wondering just where this book goes. I’m glad they’re done with the annoying fight against the Hellfire Club Kids. This issue seems to introduce the last of the new characters for now. So the next issue will probably start the next big story arc. And I think that’s when we’ll finally get the best feel for where this series is going – will it mostly take place on the school grounds? Will the kids adventure around? With X-Men Legacy also taking place on the school grounds, although focusing on the adults surrounding Rogue, we could have one book end up focusing on school adventures and another on the around the world stories we had back during Xavier’s School for the Gifted. Regardless of where it’s headed, I have been enjoying this book since the first issue and this one did not disappoint.