Although there are dramatic moments, All-New Wolverine isn’t as dark of a series as Wolverine titles are usually known for. There’s a good balance between dramatic storytelling and humour to lighten the mood. It’s true that there’s still humour in Enemy of the State II so far, but it’s already a much darker story. The previous issue ended with the trigger scent, which always sends Laura Kinney into a mindless killing frenzy when she smells it, being dropped all over a small village. That’s where today’s issue picks up.
Right away, you can tell that wiping out a village has deeply affected Laura. She’s on the ground in tears, and doesn’t resist when SHIELD shows up and arrests her. One thing that’s great about Nick Fury’s portrayal here is that, despite what’s happened, he still listens to Laura and seeks the planes that dropped the trigger scent. He’s portrayed as much more reasonable than Maria Hill was in the Civil War II tie-in (not that she was out of character). When the chase goes entirely wrong, Laura takes matters into her own hands with an impressive escape.
The rest of this comic shows Laura on the run, and how good she is at staying off the grid. It’s also where this comic balances itself out with a bit of a light hearted touch. Gabby refuses to abandon Laura the same way she refused to abandon Gabby in earlier issues. It shows how strong their sisterly bond is growing, and that Gabby is fairly wise for her age. That said, no matter how hard she tries, and even when her observational sense of humour makes other people laugh, she can’t seem to cheer Laura up like before. It’s a delicate balance that’s hard to pull off, but writer Tom Taylor handles it perfectly.
The art by Nik Virella is also good. For the most part it’s a simple look, but there’s plenty of detail when there needs to be. The opening pages show Nick Fury’s team standing ready in their jet in one panel, with the grass on the ground blowing away from the jet as it’s landing in the next. The village is complete with burning buildings and cars, multiple corpses on the ground, pools of blood and puddles from the rain. It looks straight out of a horror movie in all the right ways. This detail continues through the comic with Logan’s old cabin that’s not nearly as messy as before thanks to Gabby’s cleanup job, a variety of wilderness settings as Laura and Gabby are heading West, and the sign outside a small internet café, with a coffee cup sign hanging above with the Wi-Fi symbol in the cup.
Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotions. Although there’s a variety of determined looks, a touch of anger and clear fatigue, Laura looks depressed during the entire comic. Gabby’s more optimistic smiles and a stubborn stare help balance it, and there’s a character I won’t name whose grin at the end of the issue helps ramp up anticipation for next month’s entry. Michael Garland and Jesus Aburtov both handle the colouring, and I can’t tell where one’ s work ends and the other begins, but it’s great. The general red tone while Laura is in captivity emphasizes the intensity of the situation. There’s great use of shadows and an orange hue during a sunrise scene, and the rest of the comic is bright and colourful.
This is a great comic. The tone is much darker and more intense than this series has been so far, yet Taylor still keeps it balanced with enough humour and fun that it’s not a complete tonal shift. The ending cliffhanger not only answers several questions, but promises that this story arc is about to get more intense in both action and tone. All-New Wolverine continues to be the best X-Men comic on the market right now, and fans of X-23 should be buying this if they aren’t already. Fans of the original Wolverine, or those curious to check out a female wolverine, should also give this series a chance.