"Little Girls" is the story featured in the sixth issue of "Wolverine: First Class", and it somehow manages to completely avoid all Skrull-duggery. This title hasn't always been on my radar, even though I did make a solid effort to buy the first issue (due to the spiffy art by Andrea De Vito) and the fifth issue, which featured Alpha Flight.
In the interim, and unbeknownst to me until very recently, my eldest daughter, Amanda, took quite a shine to the first issue. When she saw me reading issue #5, she asked what the deal was with the "cover numbers" (issue numbers). This I explained and she asked when I was going to get the issues in between #1 and #5, as she was interested in reading them. "Oh. I had no idea," was my reply, while my inner geek celebrated a victory -- we have a new comic fan! So I went back to the LCS and snatched up the issues to plug the gap, and also happened to walk right into the timing for the release of issue #6.
Which is where we are now. I liked this issue, but then again, I firmly believe comics should be fun more often than not. The "Wolverine: First Class" series was, no doubt, conceived from the lack of presence Wolverine had on newsstands and in comic shops today (yes, that was sarcasm). That said, it hearkens back to tales from Kitty Pryde's initial adventures with the X-Men, an era fondly remembered by most mutant fans with more than a decade or two comic reading experience.
Throughout the series to date, Van Lente has liberally established the shared universe this title appears in, as we've seen Sabretooth, Angel, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Professor Xavier, the High Evolutionary, Alpha Flight and even mention of Dazzler. This is a nice nod to the older readers of this title, but it also provides nice entry threads into the greater tapestry of the Marvel Universe.
Beyond that, Van Lente's writing is fun, and his teens/tweens are believable. They are not burdened by ultra-hip lingo or scenarios threatened to be outdated in a matter of weeks, but they are rough, and in many cases naive. That's the crux of this issue, where Wolverine simply tries to watch game seven of the Stanley Cup while trying to keep four young mutant ladies from falling into unsolicited peril.
Espin's art is solid and clean, with a near-manga that stays rooted and never fully becomes manga. It also manages a nod to the original style of this era of "Uncanny X-Men," John Byrne, while providing the clarity of line similar to Paul Smith.
All in all, this title provides a fun, relaxed read, allowing one to escape the finality of the monthly comic crises without speaking down to anyone. The younger readers may not grasp the full concept or context of the storylines, but they certainly get the idea. My daughter, upon reading issue #6 had some thoughts of her own:
I personally thought the writing in the book was very good. I could follow the story easily and I could understand what was going on. I like how in most of the comics there is a different language that has been translated into English. In the end I was surprised to find out that Amp now liked Wolverine. I like how there is a lot of sound effects.
I could tell from the start that there was a different illustrator because Kitty Pryde and Wolverine looked different. Compared to the other comics, the illustrations look more animated. And I think that it is okay. I like it.
The characters and their mannerisms didn't seem to change that much but there were some things that I noticed:
- Aside from the different look of Kitty Pryde, she seemed more focused on Colossus and more willing to compete to win him over.
- In the first comic, we hadn't gotten to know Amp (Michelle) very well, which had made me very anxious to see her when she appeared next. Amp had always been in my mind a very kind person.
- Wolverine hadn't changed much but in the end he seemed nicer, in a way.
- Siryn, since she was a new character, hadn't changed at all. I didn't understand what Siryn's mutant powers were. I could tell that she had "sonic powers," which I didn't understand what exactly they did, and I think that she had the power of flight though I can't be sure.
Over all I think that this comic was very good, but not the best of them all. Still I would recommend it to most of the people that I know.