The first 6 issues of All-New Wolverine moved fast. Not only did Laura need to deal with an Alchemax-related lab making clones of her, but the situation led her to teaming up with Dr. Strange and the original Wasp in ways that actually made sense for the story. In the end, only one of the clones seemed to get out unharmed; the adorable Gabby. Written by Tom Taylor, this issue brings some much needed downtime for both Laura and Gabby, and as great as issue 6 is, this one is arguably just as good.
The core themes of this issue are very dramatic. It kicks off with Laura remembering a moment with Logan from when she first joined the X-Men, through a dream. It demonstrates how, while X-23 looked up to her clone father, he didn’t do a great job at taking care of her. The two lines, “Please don’t leave me” and “It’s not like I’m leaving you forever” are perfect. They also directly tie into Laura and Gabby and how Laura wants Gabby to try and live a normal life, away from her.
Squirrel Girl is also in this issue a lot, and her arrival has something to do with a very energetic looking squirrel that Laura put her tracker on in issue 3. Their dialogue and following adventure is fun, and while Laura is clearly annoyed at first, Squirrel Girl slowly grows on her as they search for the missing squirrel. The adventure not only help lighten the mood of this otherwise very dramatic issue, but it helps Laura realize that she needs to try and be better than Wolverine was when it comes to helping Gabby. After all, Laura’s ability to quickly learn from her mistakes helps separate her from the original Wolverine. The issue ends with the perfect final line, and a great reaction panel of Gabby’s face.
Speaking of Marcio Takara’s art, it’s great. The opening pages show Laura blocking Wolverine as he’s riding his motorcycle away from the X-Mansion. Laura looks much younger here than in the main story, and the rain and dark light emphasize the dramatic mood. The look on Laura’s face when she says “please don’t leave me” says it all. Great facial expression continue throughout the issue, whether it’s Squirrel Girl’s optimistic smile, the stunned look in Laura’s eyes when Gabby says “please don’t leave me”, and Gabby’s confused look when Laura says something about Galactus without explaining the context. The environmental detail is also great. Logan’s old apartment is in rough shape, the city lights at night glow through some of the windows, and there’s a variety of buildings and trees on the streets. The colouring by Jordan Boyd is also good. It’s bright and colourful in interior scenes, and the sun reflecting on Laura and Doreen looks realistic when they’re walking around at sunrise. If I have one complaint about the colouring, it’s that Laura’s eyes seem to be green in some panels as they should, but they appear brown-ish in others. A lighter tone of green would probably work better.
This issue could have easily been a filler issue, but it’s anything but. This downtime issue really helps build the relationship between Laura and Gabby, while dealing with emotional issues facing both of them. Squirrel Girl’s boundless optimism is great foil for Laura’s relative realism, yet Doreen isn’t obnoxious. Well, save for knocking on Laura’s door so early in the morning and bringing an actual wolverine. Anyway, X-23 fans should be reading this series, and it’s worth checking out for fans of the original Wolverine as well. I can’t speak for Squirrel Girl fans since I’ve read very little of her, but her fans should at least check this issue out.
Also, this issue has convinced me to at least pick up the first Squirrel Girl trade at some point, probably when I order my next batch of trades.