"Wolverine and the X-Men" #29 from Jason Aaron and Ramon Perez is a bridging issue that closes one portion of this title while seeding plenty more for the future. Opening on Wolverine speaking at a time capsule burying ceremony, the issue segues into a 25-year time jump where Wolverine digs up the time capsule and is stirred into action. The results are equally touching, intriguing, hilarious and flat out awesome.
Playing with time in the X-books can be done well or quite poorly, but readers can be thankful that Aaron and Perez build an issue chock full of reasons to glimpse this future. There are so many visual Easter Eggs, and Aaron layers the dialogue thickly so snippets of intrigue and amazement come fast on each page. It's easy to tease a future when there's no build, justification or pay off, and yet Aaron goes above and beyond all this with the wonderful ideas he seeds. This is time fracturing done very well.
At the heart of this issue is Wolverine. This is an emotional issue that gives a beating heart behind a dense layer of superb world building. It is also quite impressive to see Eye-Boy really given space to be used in a serious manner, so that this goofy concept of a hero might actually have a chance at becoming something real. Real creations are given space to breathe, as the future shows them getting past the initial shock of a new mutant power and trying to stand amongst the titans fans have known and come to accept.
Ramon Perez creates little moments of facial expression and nuance amongst pages that often require six panels and space for Aaron's dense word balloons. His Logan is fantastically iconic and warm, which suits the idea of him running a school down to the tie around his neck. Laura Martin's colors bring out the awesome in those scenes with scope and the smaller moments are subdued to soothe.
"Wolverine and the X-Men" #29 is one of those standalone issues that doesn't move forward as much as it shuffles the plot around -- yet, that's why I love it. This issue slows down to discuss character and setting, and why they're at the core of the X-franchise. The ability to range around and have fun glimpsing the future is exactly why X-books work. If placed into a new reader's hands, this issue could get them hooked on "Wolverine and the X-Men" while simultaneously hunting down all the back issues and connected titles. This one is a world builder, both on and off the page.