I’ve been waiting for this series since they first released the teaser of Laura in Wolverine’s costume. I even downloaded a countdown app for my phone so I could count down the hours to when my comic shop opened today. Normally I wait until I get home before I read my comics, but I read this in the shop. This is All-New Wolverine, formerly known as X-23, and it’s every bit worth the wait.
Written by Tom Taylor, All-New Wolverine 1 is an action heavy issue, 30 pages of it. An assassin is trying to kill an unnamed business man in the streets of Paris, and Laura’s on the way to both protect the man and stop the killer. The action is intense, and Laura almost dies at one point involving a drone. The fight scenes allow Laura to use both her fighting and tactical skills in ways she hasn’t been shown using in a while. The story is appropriately dark for a comic titled “Wolverine”. That said, the dark storytelling is balanced with fun and some good jokes to lighten the mood. There’s a reveal at the end that ties directly into Laura’s past, which gives this series a clear direction that could bring all sorts of action and drama in the issues to come.
There are some things that X-23 fans I’ve read from online were concerned about when it came to this series. One, they worried about her dialogue, especially with the way Brian Michael Bendis wrote her in All-New X-Men. Her dialogue still sounds more normal than the perfect English she spoke in the past, but not to the same degree that Bendis wrote. There’s still a touch of Laura speak in there. It also makes sense for her speech patterns to evolve by this point, since this takes place 8 months after Secret Wars ended and she’s been away from the lab for years anyway. The other worry is the relationship between Laura and Angel. Their relationship never bothered me in concept; it’s just that Bendis rushed its beginning. They have good chemistry in this issue, which will hopefully ease fans’ worries.
The art by David Lopez is great. Some of the fight choreography looks like it’s straight out of a martial arts movie, and there’s a smooth sense of progress in the action. Facial expressions do a great job at showcasing emotions. There’s one particular moment where Laura’s healing from several bad injuries, and Angel looks very worried for a moment, followed by a re-assuring smile from Laura even as she cringes. There’s a fair amount of environmental detail, showcasing some of Paris’s famous buildings and a good view of the city from far above. David Navarrot handles the flashback. It’s a simpler look, but there are also some good facial expressions with Wolverine as he gives her some advice. The colouring is all handled by Nathan Fairbairn and it’s all great. Laura’s eyes are green as they’re supposed to be. There’s a lot of yellow and blue in this comic, but for a rainy day full of explosions and gunfire, that’s perfectly fine.
This is my favourite comic of the week, and not just because it stars my favourite X-Men character. It’s fun, dramatic and intense all at once. It’s self-contained, yet there’s a chance that the story ties into a loose plot thread from Laura’s previous solo series, and that only makes it more exciting. X-23 fans should pick this up. Wolverine fans should at least give the All-New Wolverine a chance. Anyone who enjoyed Laura in All-New X-Men can learn more about her in this series. Anyone who’s interested in supporting well-made titles about female characters, here’s another one to check out.