Brian Wood's "Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega" #5 brings to a close a solid little mini-series that only further proves what a great thing it is to have Brian Wood playing in the Marvel Universe.
In this issue, Quentin Quire's alternate reality construct has come off the rails. Now with Quentin trapped inside as well and unable to stop it, his fate, along with Wolverine and Armor's, is uncertain. But Wolverine does what he does best and the gamble gets everyone home. That alone wouldn't have made that impressive a story, but what comes afterward is definitely of merit.
In this five-issue mini-series, Wood has managed to take one of the most over-exposed X-Men around (Wolverine) and actually tell an interesting story with him that I didn't expect. In this book, unlike every other book I read with Wolverine in it, Wolverine actually loses. He not only loses, but he admits to losing. And because Logan has grown and changed over the years, most notably of late, taking on a new role as headmaster, he approaches that loss as a learning experience. It's nice when a writer can surprise you with a character. And Wolverine, even in books I like by writers I enjoy, has not surprised me in a very long time. For that alone I found this book wholly satisfying.
Throughout this series the art was handled in an interesting way with different art teams responsible for the two realities readers watched unfold. One art team, led by Roland Boschi, was in charge of the real world, while the other, lead by Mark Brooks, dealt with the reality constructed by Quentin Quire. It's a smart solution to multiple artists on a book, and one of the only solutions I've seen that can actually strengthen a book rather than weaken it. While all of that holds true in this issue, the art in this issue felt a bit rushed, especially when compared with the first issue. Backgrounds were a bit thin (or non-existent) in both worlds, and though the action was good in the construct world, it didn't have the richness we've seen in previous issues. Additionally, in the real world, there was some inconsistency with characters that came off as a bit sloppy. That said, the duality of these art teams worked very well together and on the whole created an interesting vision.
"Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega" was a good mini-series that has me anxiously awaiting what Wood will do next, especially since he has a lot of X-Men stories on the horizon with "Ultimate X-Men" and adjective-less "X-Men" starting next month.