The mystery concerning All-New Wolverine’s sisters continues to grow with each issue. At the end of All-New Wolverine 3, we learned that whatever Alchemax did to stop Laura’s clones from feeling pain is also killing them, and just as the cover suggests, Laura gets Doctor Strange involved. All-New Wolverine 4 begins pretty much right where the last issue left off.
Writer Tom Taylor is doing a fantastic job with this series. The opening pages combine story development, character development and comedy to keep things both entertaining and dramatic. The moments where Strange uses his Eye of Agamotto to see into each of the clones further emphasizes what part of young X-23’s personality they each represent in a quick but amusing way. Laura’s own characterization is spot on and the conversation she shares with the doctor in private is nice. It touches on both why Laura believes it’s worth saving the sisters and how she feels about taking on the Wolverine name. Of course you wouldn’t get a Doctor Strange appearance without some sort of weirdness going on – weirdness that’s caused by Bellona’s overly aggressive nature.
The action scene further emphasizes the differences between the clones, while showing that even Bellona has a heroic nature behind her rage issues. But as good as everyone’s characterization is, and as much as Dr. Strange contributes a lot, Gabby is this issue’s real star. Gabby is the youngest clone who represents the innocence that Laura never could achieve. Her nervous curiosity in the Sanctum Sanctorum is fun, and her conversation with the hospital’s doctor captures her good nature perfectly.
David Lopez’s art is great. The opening pages in the Sanctum Sanctorum emphasize how weird Dr. Strange can be without going overboard. The page where Dr. Strange looks into the sisters with the Eye of Agamotto combines different facial expressions and images in the background to demonstrate each sister’s personality, whether it’s the pink bubble behind the smiling Gabby, Zelda’s confused look with a fuzzy purple background or Bellona’s death stare combined with fire. The weird monster that Bellona unknowingly unleashes is complete with giant teeth, fur and glowing snakes coming out from his mouth. The Avengers picture on the wall while Laura and Strange talk about Logan is a nice touch. The montage where Strange looks into Laura’s own past, drawn by David Navarrot, perfectly sums up X-23’s past without any need for words. And of course the colouring by Nathan Fairbairn adds life to these pages.
Of the current X-Men titles released so far, this is quite possibly the best. It mixes dark storytelling with fun for an overall entertaining experience. Laura’s characterization is great, the three sisters are interesting and Doctor Strange’s inclusion in this issue helps expand Laura’s role in the Marvel Universe. If you’re an X-23 fan, you should be reading this. Anyone who’s either a fan of the original Wolverine or is curious to check Laura out should give this series a chance.