In the first two issues of Enemy of the State II, Laura was forced to kill an entire village with the trigger scent, dropped onto the village with a group of water bombers. Any time she smells this scent, she blacks out, and by the time she wakes up, everyone around her is dead. After escaping from SHIELD’s custody when she learned they wouldn’t pursue the bombers further, she hires a pirate crew to take her to Madripoor. Meanwhile, the teasers revealed that Kimura, Laura’s old handler, is behind everything. That’s where this issue begins.
Written by Tom Taylor, All-New Wolverine 15 begins on the pirate ship. While this story is dark for the most part, Gabby helps balance the mood out with her boundless optimism and consistently entertaining lines. It’s hard to talk too much about this comic’s events without spoiling things, but most of this issue takes place on the boat. Despite the fact that Laura’s on the run from SHIELD and only has a handful of friends to rely on, she’s still willing to risk destroying those allegiances to protect the innocent. What she discovers on the ship resonates with her on a deep personal level. She spring into action, willing to delay her search for answers in Madripoor to protect innocent lives.
Without spoiling the ending, it’s an intense cliffhanger taking place after Bellona, now covered in some kind of machinery, joins the fray on the pirate ship. Bellona (Laura’s emotionally unstable albino clone) was revealed at the end of the previous issue as working for Kimura, after having disappeared at the end of issue 6. At this point we don’t know exactly what Kimura did to her, but it’s hard not to get excited for whatever comes next. It’s clear that Kimura’s been planning Laura’s recapture, and has even gathered some powerful allies.
As good as the writing is, the art by Djibril Morissette-Phan feels like a downgrade compared to the rest of the series. The facial expressions are generally well handled in how Laura looks appropriately distant and depressed, while Gabby alternates between cute smiles, looks of surprise when Laura uncovers something disturbing on the pirate ship, and the look of betrayal in her eyes at the end of the comic. The faces themselves sometimes feel a bit off though. There’s one particular panel where Laura’s nose looks broken for some reason, even though nobody was shown punchign her. There isn’t a lot of detail in the backgrounds, although the plaques and the TV in the dining hall are a nice touch. Michael Garland’s colouring is decent. There’s nothing particularly bad about the art overall, but it’s not great either. It’s just kind of there.
The writing is as good as ever for the All-New Wolverine series, but I don’t like this issue as much as usual because the art feels like a downgrade. That said, this is still an easy recommendation. Laura’s characterization feels spot-on for someone who was just used to kill a bunch of innocents. Wolverine still feels the need to protect the innocent even if it risks her chances to find answers. This arc grows more intense with each entry and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. X-23 fans should be reading this series, as should anyone who’s interested in Logan’s daughter figure taking on his mantle after his death. It’s consistently been the best X-Men series on the market since its beginning.
Also, the pirate ship is called the SS Yost, named after Chris Yost, one of Laura Kinney’s creators. Nice touch.