In honor of the new movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which I thought was a lot of fun) I picked up this compilation graphic novel from my shelves to peruse. It seemed like a nice, easy prelude to diving into the very thick Ravenor: The Omnibus, which I am currently reading. As it is more of a collection of a few stories, below are mini-reviews, a la a collection or anthology.
"Weapon X: First Class" by Marc Sumerak: In a retelling of the classic Barry Windsor-Smith Weapon X, but in an all ages variant, we are introduced to the entire gruesome history behind Wolverine, as Professor X helps Wolverine delve into his deep, forgotten past. While the all ages factor limits some of the dark story's potential, it still was well done. However, of exceptional note are the three very short back-up stories included with this main tale, "The Recruit," "No Class," and "The Job," all of which were very well done vignettes that really seemed to be the cream of the crop.
"The Buddy System" and "Surprise" by Fred Van Lente: Continuing the all ages focus of the book, we move to two stand alone stories from the new ongoing series Wolverine: First Class, which pair Wolverine with Kitty Pride, back when she had just joined the X-Men. Both of the tales have a great focus on character interactions without hurting the story or taking away action, and they both really use the all ages format well, avoiding excess violence or adult situations without making it obvious. Very well done.
"Kickin' It Old School" by Marc Sumerak: The second story in the series Wolverine and Power Pack, this one doesn't really fulfill the claim on the back of "tales from Wolverine's mysterious past," as this one is rather modern, but it was still a fun, light way to wrap up the collection, and certainly introduced me to a series I would have avoided like the plague before. I still don't know if I will pick up any collections of Wolverine and Power Pack, but it was fun enough.
Overall, Sumerak and, especially, Van Lente do great jobs of playing with the all ages format, pulling out stories that have emotional depth while not ratcheting up the violence or excessive gore. A good collection for X-Men fans of any age, this was a fun way to relax before a much larger venture.