The previous issue ended with Maria Hill and Captain America’s actions sending Old Man Logan into a berserker rage. Ulysses’s predictions became self-fulfilling, and Old Man Logan stabbed Gabby in the gut after his injuries and a bunch of tranquilizers warped his mind almost beyond recognition. Of course, when she watches her sister being stabbed right in front of her, that knowledge doesn’t help calm All-New Wolverine down.
Written by Tom Taylor, this issue begins with a brief look into Old Man Logan’s universe, where he desecrates Gabby’s tombstone in the aftermath of whatever killed Laura in his post-apocalyptic future. In the present, Laura chases Old Man Logan into the sewers, while Captain America stays above ground tending to SHIELD’s wounded and Gabby’s unmoving body. The fight scene in the sewer is appropriately intense, with Logan now in a full-on berserker rage, but hindered by the tranquilizers in his back. Even so, Laura uses her tactical mind and slower, aged body to avoid his attacks and take advantage of him, landing some good blows.
Even though the big reveal in this moment is partially spoiled in the preview images for All-New Wolverine 13, I won’t say part of what happens in this comic, but let’s just say that the right people see to reason, even if they need prompting first. In the aftermath of the fight, Laura gives a bit of a speech to Captain America about how she disagrees with both sides of the Civil War II conflict. Not only is it a very well-written speech, but it’s perfectly in character. Laura’s has a history of avoiding hero on hero conflicts, including Schism and its aftermath, Avengers vs. X-Men, and now Civil War II. The fact that Captain America let her go in her Target X origin miniseries is also touched on, and she uses it as a point of argument. This speech is one of the reasons I like Laura so much as a character. Although she does have emotional issues and is a bit arrogant at times, she’s grown to be wise beyond her years and is often more mature than the more experienced superheroes.
The art by Ig Guara is good for the most part. The opening scene is well detailed in its post-apocalyptic backgrounds, with a graveyard in partial ruins, and Gabby’s tombstone cracked and missing a few pieces even before Logan desecrates it. The fight scene in the sewer flows well – it’s easy to figure out when characters move and why. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotions, whether it’s Logan’s mix of a berserker rage and depression, Laura cringing in tears while holding Gabby’s body, and of course the stunned look in Steve’s face after Laura tells him off. Sometimes character proportions feel a bit off though, and there are a lot of panels with blank or mostly blank backgrounds. Michael Garland’s colouring is great though. Despite the fact that half of this comic takes place in a brown sewer featuring a shirtless old man and a young woman in a mostly yellow outfit, this comic is quite colourful. There’s water splashing round during the fight, red is often used to make everything feel more intense and the outside pages are well-varied. Also, everyone’s eyes are the right colour.
All-New Wolverine continues to be the best X-Men book on the market right now. There’s a great balance of dramatic storytelling, intense action and fun. Even though Laura shows herself to be wise beyond her years, she’s a touch naïve to balance it out. Best of all, there’s a real family feel to this book, something that’s missing from all of the current team books (All-New X-Men approaches that feeling from time to time). X-23 fans should be buying this, and fans of the original Wolverine should at least give her a chance if they haven’t already.